The All-Transfers Serie A XI
Serie A (should) return this weekend and there have been many changes to the teams within Italian football's top division with new coaches at Roma, Juventus and Inter as well as a whole raft of new players at every club across the league. While there have been some major talents lost - Javier Pastore's move to Paris Saint-Germain chief among them - there are also some excellent players arriving. Here's our pick of the best transfers, with a starting XI picked from those beginning the new season in brand new colours.
Goalkeeper: Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma)
After a number of seasons with Julio Sergio and Doni making mistakes, it was clear Roma needed a new goalkeeper and new sporting director Walter Sabatini made it a priority this summer. The capital club were linked with Espanyol's Carlos Kameni before eventually snapping up the Ajax and Holland number one for an impressive €6.3 million. Stekelenburg is perhaps the best goalkeeper to play for the Giallorossi in 20 years, vital as the team looks to rebuild, while his calm assurance can only help Luis Enrique's new-look side.
Right-Back: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus)
Much like Roma's goalkeeper situation, the Juve right-back slot has become tainted in recent years after a string of players tried and failed to fill the void left by Lilian Thuram. While Jonathan Zebina, Zdenek Grygera and Marco Motta are unlikely to be remembered fondly by fans of the Turin club, Swiss defender Lichtsteiner's arrival from Lazio for €10m could well end all that. His tireless efforts on the flank - earning him the nickname 'Forrest Gump' - and combative nature fit perfectly with new coach Antonio Conte's tactical ideas while his ability, both on the ball and in the air, make him a smart acquisition.
Central Defence: Miguel Britos (Napoli)
The one constant criticism of surprise Champions League qualifiers Napoli last season was their lack of depth as, whilst the first choice line-up was strong, the team was significantly weakened any time changes were forced upon coach Walter Mazzari. Rather than simply buy some strong back-ups however, the club went out and made some eye-catching signings, not least of which was former Bologna man Britos. The Uruguayan impressed many last season with his excellent reading of the game and intelligent defending.
Central Defence: Matías Silvestre (Palermo)
After conceding far too many goals in 2010-11, this summer has been a study in defensive improvement for the Sicilian side. Not only have they replaced Delio Rossi with the more cautious Stefano Pioli, but most of their transfer activity - funded by that incredible Pastore deal - has been centred around eradicating that failing. Bringing the coach's former pupil Andrea Mantovani from Chievo was a strong move but it is Argentinian Silvestre, arriving from neighbouring Catania, that sends a clear signal of intent. Linked with Juventus and Roma, the imposing 26-year-old is an impressive capture for the Rosanero.
Left-Back: Taye Taiwo (Milan)
Picked up on a free transfer after his contract with Marseille expired, the 26-year-old Taiwo is an upgrade to perhaps the weak-spot of the current Italian champions. Luca Antonini was exposed at times last year and the Nigeria International should improve what is already the best defensive line-up in the league. His powerful shot also provides the Rossoneri with another weapon in attack whilst his sheer physicality will help him adjust quickly to life in Serie A.
Right Wing: Ezequiel Schelotto (Atalanta)
After spending last season with Cesena and Catania, the Argentina-born Schelotto returns to Atalanta where his speed and crossing ability will be required to help in the newly-promoted side's bid for survival. With the club deducted points for the betting scandal surrounding Beppe Signori that task will prove extremely difficult and the Bergamo side will need players like Schelotto to be at their very best if they are to succeed.
Midfield: Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Not only is Vidal a top class midfielder, capable of playing in almost any position or formation, but Juventus were also able to fend off serious interest from Bayern Munich to sign the Chilean star. Of course the reluctance of Bayer Leverkusen to sell him to their domestic rivals played a part, but the 24-year-old still represents some impressive work by the Turin side. Expected to provide steel in a midfield already boasting the likes of Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Milos Krasic, Vidal is a superbly talented ultra-modern midfielder who can only improve the tactical options open to the Bianconeri.
Midfield: Gökhan Inler (Napoli)
Much like fellow new boy Britos, Inler not only adds depth to Napoli but also significantly increases the quality of the Southern side. The current Swiss captain played a huge role in former side Udinese's incredible season last year where his athleticism, strong tackling and intelligent passing were at the heart of the Zebrette's great play. Napoli will expect more of the same from the 27-year-old as they enter the Group Stage of the Champions League for the first time.
Left Wing: Bojan Krkic (AS Roma)
Barcelona product Bojan is a player with great potential, yet it is the details of the transfer deal rather than his on-field ability which has become a major talking point. Ostensibly a loan, the contract is filled with so many payments and clauses that it becomes almost impossible to comprehend. What is clear however is that Roma have secured two seasons of an immensely talented player that Luis Enrique knows well from their time together at Barca's B side. His understanding of the system, allied to an impressive range of skills, will make him a huge asset to the new-look Giallorossi.
Striker: Miroslav Klose (Lazio)
A man needing no introduction, but one whose record at club level regularly comes under serious scrutiny. An amazing goalscorer at international level, the Polish-born striker almost single-handedly increases the attacking threat of the club, a clear weakness last season. With 25 goals in 74 appearances in European competition, Klose's form over the past two seasons has not been his best, but the 33-year-old continues to net for Germany, proving he still has much to offer.
Striker: Adrian Mutu (Cesena)
While Mutu being on the move once again is no surprise given his well-documented off-field issues, it is his destination that provides a serious point of interest. Tiny Cesena, only two seasons removed from Italian football's third tier, could have made the greatest signing in their history if Mutu clicks for the Seahorses. Of course it could spectacularly backfire but the Romanian remains an amazingly talented striker who might just make the headlines for the right reasons for a change.