|Football Bettor's Survey|
"How the mighty have fallen.."
This time last summer most of the big summer signings were being conducted by Bayern Munich as the club looked to put a terrible year behind them.
The addition of Frank Ribery and Luca Toni were instrumental in the German title triumph that indicated the Bavarian giants were back in what most people consider to be the club's rightful place.
Bayern Munich may have bounced back after a poor season but with a return to the Champions League there is no time for the team to rest on their laurels. With Oliver Kahn having departed the scene, the club has brought in Hans Jorg-Butt from Benfica to stand between the sticks for them. Tim Borowski has also been added to their squad from Werder Bremen and the midfielder will give them extra options and strength in depth.
There is no doubt that the work put in Bayern Munich last summer has paid dividends and another major European team will be looking to bounce back as well as the German giants.
Can AC Milan Bounce Back Like Bayern Munich?
AC Milan find themselves in the same position that Bayern Munich were in last season and a Uefa Cup slot is a stark reminder of how far Milan have slipped in the past season.
Their recent success has been built on an aging squad and it appears that 2007/08 was a season too far for their experienced heads and legs,
There is likely to be a lot of upheaval for Milan this season and the rumours about Ronaldinho and Shevchenko won't go away.
However none of these players have been signed yet but there has been some activity so far this summer.
Mathieu Flamini from Arsenal and Gianluca Zambrotta have already been added to their squad for the challenges ahead. Zambrotta was brought in for a fee of over 8 million euros and will be a key player in the clubs ambitions of returning to the top of Italian football.
Inter and Mourinho
Their city rivals and stadium sharing opponents may be the current Serie A champions but they have made a lot of changes this summer too. The most important one has come at the top with Roberto Mancini no longer being the man in charge.
Guiding the team to another league triumph wasn’t enough to make up for another disappointing showing in the Champions League and a change in manager was called for. Inter Milan ended Jose Mourinho's term of unemployment and are hoping for big things from the Special One. There has been a lot of talk of Chelsea players coming to Inter to be reunited with their former manager but so far nothing has been announced. Do not expect that to remain the same throughout the summer though and there will likely be many additions to the Inter Milan squad before the window shuts.
Arne Riise Heads to Rome
Roma were the team who finished a close second to Inter in the Italian league race last season and they have already made moves to strengthen their squad in the hope of going one better.
John Arne Riise had many highs and lows throughout his time at Liverpool but it seems that one of his last actions in the red jersey will be the one that remembered the most. Liverpool were holding a goal lead over Chelsea in the Champions League semi final first leg when Arne Riise bulleted a header past his own goalkeeper to give the London side a vital away goal.
No matter the amount of stunning 30 yarders that the Norwegian cracked home for Liverpool, his role in Liverpool's demise in the Champions League will be the first thing that people will recall from his time. A move to Roma will offer the player the opportunity to make a fresh start and make himself a first team regular once again.
Simone Loria has been signed from Siena but Roma will need to add a few more first team players to make a bigger impact on the Champions League. The side from Rome will be firm favourites to make it through the Champions League group stage but at the moment they appear to be short of the genuine class that will put them into the last four in Europe's premier tournament.
Juventus Return to Champions League
Joining Inter Milan and Roma in the Champions League are Juventus and Fiorentina. The return to the Champions League is another step in Juventus' rehabilitation after the scandals that have rocked Italian football.
The club made an early start to their expenditure by signing up Olof Melberg from Aston Villa to add some strength to their defence. A bigger signing has been the addition of Amauri from Palermo. Juventus have splashed out over 22 million euros on the Brasillian and for that money there will be a lot of expectation placed on him.
The Croatian player Dario Knezevic has been added on loan from Livorno and this summer has shown how confident and silky Croatian players and he will be a decent addition to the Juventus squad for this summer.
Fiorentina Aim to Build on Their Success
The last Champions League entrant from Italy is Fiorentina who had the pleasure of depriving AC Milan a seat in the top tournament. Gilardino has arrived from AC Milan for 14 million euros with Nikola Gulan, Felipe Melo, Juan Manuel Vargas and Gianluca Comotto have also been added to the Viola's squad for the Champions League campaign.
After a Uefa Cup semi-final place last season there is no doubt that another lengthy European adventure would be most welcomed by Fiorentina and their fans.
With well over a month until the transfer window shuts, the two teams facing Champions League qualifiers may find their budget and player needs change before August is over so there may still be a lot of transfer action to come from Italy. With AC Milan looking to ape the bounce back skills of Bayern Munich and Jose Mourinho wanting to stamp his mark over Inter Milan, you can rest assured that many more players will be moving between clubs in the Serie A.
It may be too early to second guess how the Italian league season will pan out but do not be surprised to see both of the Milan clubs in the news most weeks over the coming season.
for The Silver Circle at www.footballtip.co.uk
I've been a member since July 2003, maybe one of the first to join the Silver Circle. 2004 was a good year but I really enjoyed the long run we had in, I think, July 2005. It was exhilarating! 2006-2007 was not as exciting although still quite profitable and so far 2007-2008 looks quite good. I'm wondering if we're going to hit a long one again soon. Anyway, it's been a pleasure as always with your service, Greg. Armstrong and you are one of the few people I trust on the internet. You have made my retirement so much more fun and financially happy!
Best Wishes, Trent Wrayford, Sidney