Soccer

Serie A Power Rankings: Juventus take pole position; titleholders Inter Milan slip after Romelu Lukaku’s exit

CBS Sports

The new Serie A season is almost upon us, and Inter Milan come into the new campaign looking to defend their title without Romelu Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and Antonio Conte due to the club’s financial worries.

Juventus were finally deposed at the Italian summit last term and although Massimiliano Allegri has returned and Cristiano Ronaldo remains, there has not been much transfer activity for the Turin giants.

Atalanta BC and AC Milan will be competitive once again while SSC Napoli and AS Roma have new bosses in Luciano Spalletti and Jose Mourinho.

All the action kicks off on Aug. 21, on Paramount+ and CBS Sports. CBS Sports HQ will provide pre- and post-match and halftime coverage through the first two weeks of Serie A action. We take a look at who starts this coming season in the best shape.

1.

Juventus

Although it has not been a particularly active summer, keeping Ronaldo and bringing back Allegri puts the Bianconeri in an early position of strength. After the disappointing spell under Andrea Pirlo, the Old Lady can finally get back on top and re-establish some order in Serie A. (In: Kaio Jorge; Out: Merih Demiral)

2.

Atalanta BC

Once again, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men look solid and ready to better their previous season’s finish of third. Juan Musso solves their goalkeeper issues while Matteo Lovato and Merih Demiral adequately replace Cristian Romero who has turned a quick profit. Atalanta’s strength will be their lack of major changes. (In: Juan Musso, Matteo Lovato and Merih Demiral; Out: Cristian Romero)

3.

SSC Napoli

Spalletti takes over from Gennaro Gattuso and has so far made few changes to this Napoli outfit which while getting older, is still competitive near the summit — as evidenced by the two-point gap on Milan in second. Sacrificing a big name like Kalidou Koulibaly could bring in funds to add players elsewhere, but Partenopei are good to go as is. (In: Matteo Politano; Out: Elseid Hysaj)

4.

AC Milan

Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu are big losses for the Rossoneri but Mike Maignan is a very smart replacement between the stick while Olivier Giroud brings in plenty of experience and goal threat while Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to recover from injury. (In: Mike Maignan, Olivier Giroud, Fikayo Tomori and Fode Ballo-Toure; Out: Hakan Calhanoglu and Gianluigi Donnarumma)

5.

AS Roma

As Roma continue to build Mourinho his new squad, Stadio Olimpico will continue to be something of a revolving door. Eldor Shomurodov brings goals while Matias Vina will strengthen the defense and Rui Patricio is a reliable presence in goal. Pau Lopez, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert were mainly peripheral figures and will not necessarily be missed. (In: Eldor Shomurodov, Matias Vina and Rui Patricio; Out: Pau Lopez, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert)

6.

SS Lazio

Like Roman rivals the Giallorossi, Biancocelesti are under new management with Maurizio Sarri now on the bench and he immediately moved to bring in familiar face Elseid Hysaj. Marco Parolo and Senad Lulic mean that some experience will be missed but keeping Euro 2020 champion Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will be a big boost. (In: Felipe Anderson and Elseid Hysaj; Out: Marco Parolo and Senad Lulic)

7.

Inter Milan

Unusual to place defending champions so low to start with but Inter’s summer has been disastrous so far with key figures Lukaku, Hakimi and Conte moving on with more likely to follow. Simone Inzaghi is a good replacement, but he is facing a mammoth task to keep the Nerazzurri competitive in the short to medium-term. (In: Zinho Vanheusden and Hakan Calhanoglu; Out: Romelu Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and Matteo Politano)

8.

ACF Fiorentina

Bringing in Nicolas Gonzalez while keeping Dusan Vlahovic and appointing Vincenzo Italiano as Gattuso’s replacement after a bizarre short-lived spell is strong work from a club that should be looking to break back into the top half this season. (In: Nicolas Gonzalez; Out: Franck Ribery)

9.

Bologna FC 1909

The additional firepower that Marko Arnautovic and Mus Barrow bring should more than make up for the loss of old timers like Rodrigo Palacio and could turn Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men into dark horses for Europe. (In: Marko Arnautovic and Musa Barrow; Out: Rodrigo Palacio)

10.

US Sassuolo

Roberto De Zerbi will be a tough act to follow but Alessio Dionisi has not seen his squad stripped by the former boss and Marlon for Hamed Traore represents minimal unpheaval. (In: Hamed Traore; Out: Marlon)

11.

UC Sampdoria

Roberto D’Aversa will be looking to bounce back after Parma’s relegation to Serie B and he will be looking to push on after Claudio Ranieri to return Blucerchiati to the upper reaches of Calcio. (In: Antonio Candreva; Out: Gaston Ramirez)

12.

Hellas Verona

After losing Ivan Juric, Eusebio Di Francesco has a tough task to keep this team upwardly mobile after losing the likes of Matteo Lovato and only really adding Antonin Barak of note. (In: Antonin Barak; Out: Matteo Lovato)

13.

Venezia FC

Perhaps a surprise choice so high up, but Venezia’s transfers have been thought out as well as their kit designs and launches so far with a significant American influx with Tanner Tessmann and Gianluca Busio. (In: Tanner Tessmann, Dor Peretz and Gianluca Busio; Out: Sebastiano Esposito)

14.

Genoa CFC

Italy’s oldest club are going for defensive solidity with Salvatore Sirigu and Zinho Vanheusden while attacking threat will be less without Eldor Shomurodov. (In: Salvatore Sirigu and Zinho Vanheusden; Out: Eldor Shomurodov)

15.

Cagliari Calcio

So far, uninspiring with only Razvan Marin in and Nahitan Nandez keen to leave after last year’s close scrape with relegation. This season could be even closer unless they strengthen further. (In: Razvan Marin; Out: Kiril Despodov and Radja Nainggolan)

16.

Torino FC

With only Marko Pjaca coming in from Turin rivals Juve and Andrea Belotti still of massive importance, do not expect too much of Il Toro right now. (In: Marko Pjaca; Out: Soualiho Meite)

17.

Spezia Calcio

With the inexperienced Thiago Motta at the helm, a transfer ban looming and question over the ownership already, this will be a very difficult campaign for Spezia. They will likely need more than Viktor Kovalenko and Kelvin Amian to have a chance of staying up. (In: Viktor Kovalenko and Kelvin Amian; Out: Riccardo Saponara)

18.

Udinese Calcio

Losing key men Rodrigo De Paul and Juan Musso as well as Antonin Barak, it is shaping up to be a long, long term for Luca Gotti’s men. (In: Lazar Samardzic; Out: Rodrigo De Paul and Juan Musso)

19.

FC Empoli

With mainly Petar Stojanovic in and Hamed Traore out, Empoli do not look ready for the fight to survive in Italy’s top-flight. (In: Petar Stojanovic; Out: Hamed Traore)

20.

US Salernitana 1919

Salernitana were not even guaranteed a place in Serie A due to ownership issues so it is impressive that they are even here but they will need to work hard before the transfer window closes to stand a chance of staying up. (In: Joel Obi; Out: Tiago Casasola and Mirko Antonucci)



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