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wm72
New York/Roma
Member since Mar 2010
3774 posts

Serie A is on the decline?


Here's my rant:

Much English language press I read which continually alludes to the decline in Serie A seems blown out of proportion and I question how often it comes from people who actually follow Serie A all that closely.


There are certainly problems in the league: laws that make building new stadiums more difficult than necessary, overall economical concerns and ticketing policies hurting actual attendance and a resistance to "destroying identity" by selling clubs to foreign ownership, which may well have to eventually happen due to the economy.

However, the TV deals are still much better than anywhere outside the EPL and are similar to La Liga (that has many of the same economic concerns). The fan base in South America and Asia is pretty solid.

I would argue that some of what's being seen as decline is simply that 2 of the big 3 no longer play as prominently in bidding wars for the handful of heftiest priced players shopping their wares. However, this doesn't mean that clubs aren't still spending an awful lot of money and using it to bring in some serious talent. It would seem that an Arsenal or Dortmund model is more the spirit the moment than competing straight up with Chelsea, Real Madrid, Man City, PSG etc in the transfer market. . .

Some of the main tenets of arguments that the league is declining just don't hold much water though:

1) "all the best talent is leaving the league"
I would argue that recently there have been no more than the same handful of transfers here and there that have always been the case even in the league's high point with one special exception: PSG.

However, the Italian flavor of PSG can't be ignored in this case. I don't think a Verratti leaves Italy if Leonardo and Ancellotti (who mentored Pirlo) aren't at PSG and the club being built as a seemingly misplaced Serie A side. It's those ties that played a major role in bringing Lavezzi, Pastore, Silva, Sirigu and maybe Ibra as well though he'd pretty much go anywhere. If, for example, Pastore or Verratti leaves PSG, I'd put money of them returning to a Serie A side and probably Lavezzi and Silva as well.

And, really, haven't even more high profile players left Bundesliga and La Liga recently?


2) "There's no interest from foreign investors"
I've actually read this repeated in so many English articles when it just seems downright false. Every major club that's been for sale has had interest from Middle Eastern and Chinese big shots. AS Roma was very close to being sold to an Egyptian oil bigwig before the DiBenedetto group came in (and that guy claims he had a much larger offer turned down supposedly due to American's overall marketing plan being preferred). Inter, Milan and Roma all have lots of interest from Chinese investors. Napoli and Palermo (and rumor has it, Lazio) have turned down offers from Arab buyers.
There is a resistance to sell clubs to foreign groups but that's not all bad and the positive changes the American group is making at Roma may change that to some degree anyway.




This post was edited on 12/17 at 7:32 pm



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wm72
New York/Roma
Member since Mar 2010
3774 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


3) "The quality of play is declining"

Many Serie A sides are on the rise from a couple of down years (that have as much to do with Juve being relegated in the Calciopoli scandal as anything and, along with losing playing scrubs in Europa League, cost Serie A a CL spot.)

While it's certainly true that the league doesn't have as many clubs that could potentially win a CL title right now as it has historically, there's quite a few clubs whose fans have reason to believe that they're on the right track:

Fiorentina: There were my dark horse candidate to contend for a CL spot and they haven't disappointed. Theirs was a huge buying market this summer and every single purchase seems enlightened: Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, David Pizarro, Matias Fernandez, Juan Cuadrado, Alberto Aquilani has been excellent, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Mattia Cassani, Facundo Roncaglia. Even getting Stefan Savic and cash from Man City for Nastasic seems to be working pretty well as Savic has shown the promise that caused Man City to buy him in the first place. They play an exciting style under Montella--who seems on a fast track to becoming a top manager -- and have plans for a new stadium. They're as solid of a squad as there is in Europe outside the superpowers and even if they lose Jovetic to Juventus this summer they've had a lot of success while he's been out and will re-invest that money in a couple of players like Alejandro Gomez and still be solid.


Napoli: Even though DeLaurentiis has spent freely they probably lack the wherewithal to really emerge as a consistent title threat due to depth concerns but don't be fooled by Lavezzi being sold (which is another thing that always seems to be mentioned in English articles). Insigne will be better. Vargas is also coming into his own as well. They've also brought in some defensive help in Bruno Uvini et al. Behrami is a very solid addition. They're better a team than they were last year.

AS Roma: things are starting to click after a few months under Zeman. For those that haven't been watching, they already boast as potent of an attack as any team playing football. Lamela's breaking out as an all-out star along with Osvaldo and Pjanic and a heady amount of talented 18-22 year olds like Destro, Florenzi, Tachtsidis are starting and improving by leaps and bounds. The 19yo kid Marquinhos has been nothing short of a revelation at CB. Even when Totti retires, the table is set for a pretty bright future even though Totti may still have a couple of years of magic left in him: At 36, he's easily been one of the few best players in football period so far this season (as a quick glance at any stat site like whoscored bears out).

Lazio: these bastards aren't bad with Hernanes, Mauri, Klose, Candreva, Ledesma et al and as long as Lotito et al can stay out of prison they'll continue to be a pretty strong side in the near future.

Internazionale Milano: They're clearly not back to the level they were in recent years but they're signing a lot of younger talent, shedding underperforming veteran payroll and already on the upswing. It's not like they don't have some mature talent in Milito, Cassano, Samuel, Handanovic, Palacio, Gargano, Cambiasso and Ranocchia, Ricky Alvarez, Freddy Guarin, Juan Jesus, Alvaro Pereira, Coutinho et al is already a solid base of youth. I don't think all of the payroll shedding means they have no money at all as much as it signifies a changing focus.

AC Milan: Pretty similar to Inter though maybe about a year behind in integrating youth and purging bloated contracts. They may have a tougher road than Inter in the near future but El Sharawaay may single handedly bridge that gap. Still Nocerino, Montolivo, Mexes, Pazzini, Robinho, Emanuelson, De Jung, Boateng is a decently solid group of veterans with young talent like Mattia De Sciglio and Francesco Acerbi in addition to El Sharawaay. They'll be spending money in the summer to make their move next season.

Juventus: is pretty damn good already and only figures to improve in the upcoming winter / summer markets.

Atalanta, Bologna, Catania and Genoa currently have a lot of young talent that will probably end up moving to strengthen the top clubs. Sampdoria is improving and Udinese will continue to annoy with their keen eye for talent and Guidolin's ability to have a completely new roster playing like gangbusters by February.

My point is simply that Serie A is better talent wise than a lot of people who don't keep up with it (mainly the English press) seem to think. Right now, only Juve can realistically compete with Bayern, Barca, Real, ManU, Dortmund but it's not like there are a lot of clubs in their leagues that can either. There are a lot of clubs in Serie A that are just as good as any right below that plateau though and they're all more likely to improve in the near future than fall back.



This post was edited on 12/17 at 7:35 pm


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hendersonshands
USA Fan
Univ. of Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Member since Oct 2007
113519 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


The perception comes from when you turn on a Serie A match and seemingly half the stadium is empty. That's no indication of the quality of play but it just looks bad and that's enough for some people.





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TN Bhoy
USA Fan
Sketty, Wales
Member since Apr 2010
38938 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

The perception comes from when you turn on a Serie A match and seemingly half the stadium is empty. That's no indication of the quality of play but it just looks bad and that's enough for some people.



It's also bad for perception when the "big" clubs like Milan and Inter aren't serious contenders for domestic or European titles.






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wm72
New York/Roma
Member since Mar 2010
3774 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


I agree about attendane. It's really typical Italian mentality to continue to have astronomical prices when following a German model of lowering ticket prices even if it doesn't really mean significantly higher receipts would do wonders for TV marketing.

They should at least sell the seats the cameras face at Curve prices.



Also agree that Inter and AC Milan rebuilding means Juve is the only real CL threat at the moment. I would add that those powers are arguably in no worse of a position to return to that level of prominence as big EPL sides like Arsenal and Liverpool and have better prospects than any other club in Europe without that same pedigree.

Also, Napoli, Roma and Fiorentina are all building the type sides that can make CL runs even if not really on par with the TOP 4 or 5 superpowers.

Inter and Milan may compete for Top3 this season in the league race but the marked improvement of the clubs I mentioned above, and those bastards Lazio as well, means there's not much gap between 2-7 in the table.








This post was edited on 12/17 at 11:15 pm


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TFTC
LSU Fan
New Orleans, LA
Member since May 2010
10082 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


I used to watch a good bit of it, but with bein sport not being on Cox, I haven't at all this year... It's a shame because there a lot of talented guys I'd like I watch play...





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RandySavage
Member since May 2012
6300 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


Am I missing something? Surely the fact there have been two major match fixing scandals in the last 5-6 years involving some of the biggest clubs in Italy has to do with the lack of interest? Who wants to watch a competition if they can't trust what they are watching is even legit?


This post was edited on 12/17 at 8:10 pm


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Xenophon
LA-Monroe Fan
Aspen
Member since Feb 2006
32357 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


going by attendance, im guessing no one





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RandySavage
Member since May 2012
6300 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

going by attendance, im guessing no one


I'm not pretending to be an expert on the issue as I don't really follow the league that closely nor do I know all the details of the match fixing so someone can correct me if I'm wrong; but it seems like, on the surface anyway, that is far and away Serie A and Italy's biggest problem at the moment.



This post was edited on 12/17 at 8:13 pm


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TFTC
LSU Fan
New Orleans, LA
Member since May 2010
10082 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


Well, the most recent match fixing was in the lower divisions... but point taken..

I just think the recent editions of Barca and Real and the powerful brand of the EPL have over shadowed them in the past few seasons...

I still think its a fun league to watch when I can get a game on the fricking tv



This post was edited on 12/17 at 9:10 pm


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flvelo12
LSU Fan
Clearwater, Florida
Member since Jan 2012
704 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

Am I missing something? Surely the fact there have been two major match fixing scandals in the last 5-6 years involving some of the biggest clubs in Italy has to do with the lack of interest? Who wants to watch a competition if they can't trust what they are watching is even legit?


Bingo!






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j1897
Arkansas Fan
Member since Nov 2011
794 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


League is pretty boring for me, watching jive cockslap everybody. Now that Conte is back it will be even worse.

If Juve had a top tier striker we could play with anybody in the world.






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wm72
New York/Roma
Member since Mar 2010
3774 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

Am I missing something? Surely the fact there have been two major match fixing scandals



What you're missing is that as ugly as match fixing scandals are, they've involved Serie B and lower table matches in the last fixtures of the seasons when little was at stake.

So, it's really not much of a concern as far as the "Who wants to watch a competition if they can't trust what they are watching is even legit?" argument unless you're referring to being let down by the 40th fixture matchup between Bari and Grossetto.

It's really just another example something English press who seemingly don't even research the details like to throw out half baked to eager listeners ready to criticize Serie A as if it's much more far ranging than it is.

I'm not saying it's not a big problem but Bundesliga has had similar issues in recent years and I'd guess you find it's happening more than anyone wants to admit or is eager to really investigate.

A much bigger concern as far as legitimacy of results for fans is probably the suspicion that bigger clubs get more than their share of questionable red card / pk calls.








This post was edited on 12/17 at 10:21 pm


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Vicks Kennel Club
USA Fan
2013 TDFL Champion
Member since Dec 2010
16818 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


I like watching Serie A. I was disappointed that ESPN3 stopped carrying it. Good thing my school has an Italian TV channel with some games.


This post was edited on 12/18 at 12:53 am


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chalmetteowl
New Orleans Saints Fan
Chalmette
Member since Jan 2008
11383 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

the suspicion that bigger clubs get more than their share of questionable red card / pk calls.


that happens everywhere






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RandySavage
Member since May 2012
6300 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

What you're missing is that as ugly as match fixing scandals are, they've involved Serie B and lower table matches in the last fixtures of the seasons when little was at stake.


Then why was Juventus implicated to the point where they were kicked out of Serie A?

quote:

So, it's really not much of a concern as far as the "Who wants to watch a competition if they can't trust what they are watching is even legit?" argument unless you're referring to being let down by the 40th fixture matchup between Bari and Grossetto.


Well rightly or wrongly if it's happening people are going to assume it's happening on a large scale. Especially when you consider Italy's shady politics and mob history.

quote:

It's really just another example something English press who seemingly don't even research the details like to throw out half baked to eager listeners ready to criticize Serie A as if it's much more far ranging than it is.


Probably true, but unfortunately a lot of times perception becomes reality.






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winner
LSU Fan
New Orleans,LA
Member since Jan 2007
2281 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

Then why was Juventus implicated to the point where they were kicked out of Serie A?


Juventus being demoted is what hurt this league, now that they've righted the ship Italian teams will begin to benefit from them.

All caused by lies from Morrati






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wm72
New York/Roma
Member since Mar 2010
3774 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

Juventus being demoted is what hurt this league, now that they've righted the ship Italian teams will begin to benefit from them.



It certainly hurt in regard to losing the CL spot and TV marketing of higher profile matches in the past few years.

Milan or Inter being demoted would have been as bad.

The league's certainly better if clubs like Roma, Napoli, Sampdoria, Fiorentina, etc challenge for titles / CL positions but all of the big three at least being in that mix is necessary.









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thenry712
Gonzaga Fan
Zasullia, Ukraine
Member since Nov 2008
14386 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


I think a big issue also deals with a lack of young Italian talent emerging during the post-Calciopoli era. I mean the best Italian players right now are in the aging fast to really old range (Pirlo, Buffon, De Rossi, Chiellini). Most of those guys are stalwarts from 2006.

It's still the fourth best league in the world, and normally possesses three teams that can compete for the Champions League title annually.

I mean look at the Champions League winner since 2006 (Post-Calciopoli):

2007: AC Milan
2008: Manchester United
2009: Barcelona
2010: Internazionale Milano
2011: Barcelona
2012: Chelsea

Italian clubs have the same number of titles as English clubs.






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flvelo12
LSU Fan
Clearwater, Florida
Member since Jan 2012
704 posts

re: Serie A is on the decline?


quote:

Probably true, but unfortunately a lot of times perception becomes reality.


On-going Investigation






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