Serie A 2017-18: Five players to watch out for this season
Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala are among the five players to watch as the new Serie A season kicks offfootball Updated: Aug 18, 2017 14:38 IST
The Serie A season begins on Saturday when Juventus start their bid for a seventh successive Scudetto with a home game against Cagliari.
Roma and Napoli are once again likely to provide the primary challenge to Juve’s dominance, while AC Milan will be looking for a resurgence after an extremely busy transfer window.
Ahead of the 2017-18 kick-off, we look at five players to keep a close eye on in the battle for the title.
Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan)
No Serie A transfer raised more eyebrows than Italy centre-back Bonucci’s move from champions Juventus to AC Milan - one of 10 new additions for the Rossoneri. Bonucci left Turin amid a breakdown in relations with coach Massimiliano Allegri and will be depended on to solidify the defence as Milan aim for a return to the Champions League under Vincenzo Montella.
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Argentina forward Dybala may have only scored 11 Serie A goals last season in a campaign hampered by injuries, but he announced himself in the Champions League with his stunning display against Barcelona in the quarter-finals. Even with Gonzalo Higuain up front, it is Dybala who is poised to ascend to superstar status for the Bianconeri and his growing reputation was furthered by a double in the Supercoppa Italiana loss to Lazio.
Dries Mertens (Napoli)
Previously linked with Chelsea and Manchester United, it is something of a surprise Mertens remains at Stadio San Paolo after an incredible 2016-17. The Belgian forward netted 28 goals in 35 Serie A games last term and shows no signs of slowing down after a fine finish in Wednesday’s Champions League play-off first leg victory over Nice.
Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)
One of the hottest properties in Italian football, Berardi scored five goals and registered nine assists last season to help Sassuolo finish 10th and has since been linked with Juventus, Roma and Inter. Even Real Madrid have been talked up as a possible suitor for the 23-year-old forward, and such links will only intensify should he impress again for the Neroverdi.
Cengiz Under (AS Roma)
Roma paid €13.4million to prise Turkey forward Under away from Istanbul Basaksehir as sporting director Monchi and coach Eusebio Di Francesco plot a challenge for the title. Under, who plays predominantly on the left, recorded seven goals and five assists to help Basaksehir to second in the Super Lig. The 20-year-old already has two goals in four caps for Turkey and will look to take the next step in the capital.
First Published: Aug 18, 2017 14:35 IST