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Transfer Window: A touch of Italian spice needed in attack?

The top five attackers from Serie A to bolster Manchester United’s frontline

Arrivals from Italy have been relatively scarce during the modern era of Manchester United. In fact, other than the recent return of Paul Pogba and the acquisition of Matteo Darmian last year, the last player to arrive from the Serie A was way back in 2001 when United broke the English transfer record to sign defensive midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron. Following a rather unsuccessful period in England (The Times listing him amongst the 50 worst transfers ever in Premier League history). Veron perhaps left a feeling of distaste of transfers from the Italian league around Old Trafford.

However, in the present day, I believe it would be a fair assessment to categorise many players within the Serie A as world-class talent and certainly many of their top performers would provide more than satisfactory acquisitions for the current United side. I have therefore taken a look at their top five attacking players that could bolster Manchester United’s front line.

 

 

5: Lorenzo Insigne

Club: Napoli

Age: 25

Position: Winger/Second Striker

Estimated Cost: £35 million

Ranked at number five is the flamboyant Italian, Lorenzo Insigne. Notorious for his rapid pace, there aren’t many quicker attackers out there than the Napoli forward. Insigne’s quick acceleration allows him to be deployed as either a winger or second striker, operating in the space behind the number nine. Although he is dangerous out on the right or left-wing, I believe Insigne would best suit in United’s current system in the space behind Ibrahimovic, were once granted a free license to attack he is able to drive forward with the ball and create chances.

Having been described by his former teammate Goran Pandev as the ‘Italian Messi’ there is no doubt that Insigne’s best quality lies within his dribbling. Operating behind Ibrahimovic, Insigne would be able to start attacks on his own by driving the team forward, something United have not seen in the middle of the park since the prime years of Wayne Rooney.

 

 

4: Andrea Belotti

Club: Torino

Age: 23

Position: Striker

Estimated Cost: £45-£50 million

Unsurprisingly to appear on this list is the current top goal scorer in Italy himself, Andrea Belotti. The Torino talisman has certainly made a big name for himself this season after scoring an impressive 22 goals in just 26 appearances. Belotti’s possession of a small burst of pace and agility have actually seen him been utilised as a second striker and in some cases even a winger. However, with a goal scoring record such as his own, it is clear that the Italian needs to be in and around the box with his teammates making chances for him, not the other way around.

Belotti’s youth team coach has described him as an ‘old fashioned center forward’ and following his muscly physique and a close eye for goal, he must be utilised up top. This would, therefore, suit United in their current 4-3-3 formation, as Belotti works most effective when the team is structured around himself as others can create chances that he so clinically puts away.

 

 

3: Mauro Icardi

Club: Inter Milan

Age: 24

Position: Striker

Estimated Cost: £50 million

The first non-Italian to make the list is presumably a player that some English fans are familiar with following recent speculation linking him with a move to Arsenal. It is certainly no surprise that the Argentinean striker is receiving interest from Europe’s top teams following his impressive goal scoring performances with Inter Milan. The famous black and blue stripes of Italy may not have had much to celebrate over recent years but one thing is for sure; they have a true talent in their number one forward. Famously recognised for his pace and movement in the box, Icardi acts as a poacher and his goal scoring record of 67 goals in 117 league games certainly suggest he is an effective one.

Performing in this poacher role, Icardi could potentially replicate the sort of striker United had in Hernandez a few seasons back. Should United choose to challenge league rivals Arsenal in signing Icardi they would ultimately be rewarded with a proven goal scorer which much of his career still ahead of him.

 

 

2: Domenico Berardi

Club: Sassuolo

Age: 22

Position: Winger

Estimated Cost: £40 million

The youngest player to feature on the list coming in at number two is the ever-promising Domenico Berardi. Whilst potentially being the least recognised name on this list, following his belonging to a rather lesser side, Berardi’s ability cannot go unrecognised. As a left footed right-winger, Berardi’s style of play consists of flying down the wing and then cutting in on his favored foot, parallel to the technique of an Arjen Robben or Gareth Bale.

Through his attacking minded mentality and extreme pace, Berardi is one of the most dangerous wingers in Italy having scored a remarkable 51 goals in 140 league games. The current ability that Berardi possesses at such a young age thus indicates that he is a potential world-beater in the making and surely it will not be long until a team challenging for titles and trophies come knocking at the door of Sassuolo.

 

 

1: Paulo Dybala

Club: Juventus

Age: 23

Position: Striker

Estimated Cost: £75-£80 million

The second Argentinean striker and the player topping this list and arguably the most promising attacker on the planet right now – Paulo Dybala. Ever since his £30 million move to the Italian champions, Dybala has established himself as one of the first names on their team sheet whether it be operating as the sole striker or alternatively as the number 10 playing in the space in the final third of the park.


Notoriously recognised for his ability to easily beat a man with his quick agile dribbling, Dybala has drawn strong resemblance to hotshot Sergio Aguero. As a number nine, Dybala is able to run off the back of the opposition’s defence with his rapid acceleration thus making him a dangerous threat on the counter attack. Alternatively, Dybala can also operate behind the main striker, something he does effectively behind Gonzalo Higuain, where he is able to showcase his dribbling abilities driving forward with the ball and starting off attacks for his team.

Dybala would certainly be an expensive transfer but all the hype around him is certainly justified. A player with immense potential and also exciting current ability, it is argued that he is the Argentinean heir to Lionel Messi.

Written by Joshua Gmerek-Iftakhar

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