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Assessing the 6 teams competing for Napoli's Serie A crown

Melinda Meijer/ISI Photos / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Figuring out which team will challenge Napoli for the Serie A title is anyone's guess.

AC Milan is going through an offseason overhaul with a host of new players. Inter Milan is still missing a center forward with Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko both gone. Juventus remains a question mark after a highly disappointing season last year. Roma and Lazio appear a step behind, while Atalanta has made waves on the transfer market.

Before Napoli won last season, no team beside the Milan clubs and Juventus had claimed the title since Roma in 2001 and they'll be eager to bring the trophy back up north.

With the Italian league due to start on Saturday, here's a look at the top challengers:

AC Milan

No team in Italy has made as many big signings as Milan has, with six significant additions, including United States standout Christian Pulisic.

Yunus Musah, another U.S. international, has joined Pulisic in Milan in a return to the country where he spent a large portion of his childhood. Other notable signees include Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Noah Okafor, Tijjani Reijnders and Samuel Chukwueze.

But questions remain at center forward with only the 23-year-old Okafor to back up 36-year-old Olivier Giroud following the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The spending spree was largely funded by the sale of midfielder Sandro Tonali to Saudi-backed Newcastle for a reported fee of more than $75 million.

The aggressive approach to the transfer market came after former Milan captain Paolo Maldini was let go as Milan's technical director following a reported rupture with Milan's new American owners, investment firm RedBird Capital Partners led by Gerry Cardinale — with baseball's New York Yankees a minority investor.

Having reached the Champions League semifinals last season after winning Serie A in 2022, Milan will look to combine its recent experience with the new players and hope that 2021-22 league player of the year Rafael Leao continues to develop into the consistent star that the team expects. Maldini's last major impact with Milan was extending Leao's contract through 2028.

Inter Milan

Coming off a run to the Champions League final, Simone Inzaghi believes his club can do better than its third-place result in Serie A last season.

But until a replacement is found for Lukaku and Dzeko to put alongside Lautaro Martinez — who contended with Napoli's Victor Osimhen for the league's top striker honors last season — nothing is certain for the Nerazzurri.

New arrivals like David Frattesi (23), Marcus Thuram (26) and Yann Aurel Bisseck (22) make Inter younger, and together with former Juventus veteran Juan Cuadrado, should add speed and creativity.

Veteran Switzerland international Yann Sommer has replaced Andre Onana in goal after the Cameroon international was sold to Manchester United for 51 million euros ($57 million), but at 34 Sommer isn't as mobile as Onana.


A 10-point penalty for legal issues stemming from a false-accounting case. A seventh-place finish and then a UEFA ban that will keep Juventus out of the Europa Conference League.

Hardly anything went right for Juventus last season.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri has much higher hopes for this season, with Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic returning to full form, U.S. international Weston McKennie back after a midseason loan to Leeds and U.S. winger Tim Weah — the son of former Milan standout and current Liberia President George Weah — joining from Lille to replace Cuadrado.

Vlahovic has remained with Juventus after fans protested following speculation involving a possible acquisition of former rival Lukaku.

Veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci, however, has been removed from the squad, with the captain's duties handed to Danilo — making the Brazil right back the Bianconeri's first foreign captain in 60 years.

With no midweek European games, Juventus will have its full focus on Serie A.


Roma ended last season mired in protest after its loss to Sevilla in the Europa League final, amid speculation about Jose Mourinho's future at the club.

Mourinho, however, has stayed to serve out of the third and final year of his contract. But because of financial fair play constraints, Roma has not so far met Mourinho's demands in the transfer market.

Defender Roger Ibanez is gone, with 23-year-old Evan Ndicka brought in as a replacement from Eintracht Frankfurt.

The only other new players are midfielder Houssem Aouar and right back Rasmus Kristensen.

Roma's biggest "move," however, may be if it manages to keep key forward Paul Dybala — and to keep him healthy, after a continuous stream of injuries.


After a slow start at Lazio, Maurizio Sarri's impact was seen when the Roman club rode the Tuscan coach's fast-paced game to a second-place finish.

But with the loss of standout midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Saudi Arabia, Luis Alberto in a contract dispute with the club, little to show for in the transfer market and the challenges that come with returning to the Champions League, Sarri will be hard-pressed to repeat last season's performance.

Once again, Lazio's goals are expected to come from 33-year-old Ciro Immobile.


Back in the Europa League after missing out on Europe last season, Atalanta has signed physical forward Gianluca Scamacca from West Ham and purchased striker El Bilal Toure from Almeria for a club-record 30 million euros ($33 million).

After selling striker Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United for 64 million pounds ($82 million) and Jeremie Boga to Nice for 18 million euros ($20 million), Atalanta is also looking to add Charles De Ketelaere from Milan.


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