Abandon hope, all ye who follow Italian football. In recent years, the summer transfer window has assumed a hellish nature for anyone who holds Calcio close to their heart. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over every big name departure from the peninsula.
Napoli and Roma both found the newly-discovered financial clout of Paris Saint-Germain irresistible as they sent Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos across the Alps. Fiorentina eventually got a big money buyer for Stevan Jovetic in the shape of Manchester City. In the process, Serie A was shorn of three of its finest performers.
Cue the claims of terminal decline in the Division and bleak forecasts for the future. No doubt the League is a less thrilling place for their departure but, with about €100m going into Calcio coffers, was it really such bad business? The proof, of course, comes with the reinvestment process.
In Tuscany, that is already under way. Huge crowds turned out to greet new arrival Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich and season ticket sales are soaring. With repeated rumours that even Marco Verratti might be tempted to join the Viola "project" – nobody at the Stadio Artemio Franchi is feeling too downbeat about the new season.
And how about in Naples, where they have just punched a huge hole in their attack and filled it with a pile of cash? Aurelio De Laurentiis has promised new manager Rafa Benitez a huge war chest to plough into the transfer market. The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, for example, has surely eased the pain.
Roma, too, have been spending their Marquinhos bonus on arrivals like Kevin Strootman and Mehdi Benatia. Only time will tell if they perform better or worse without their teenage Brazilian talent. But it is worth remembering that even with him in the side they still missed out on European football last year.
Other sides, too, have been trying to give a little glamour back to Serie A. Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez might not be outright elite names in world football, but they are both top quality performers added to the Juventus ranks. Inter have done their shopping closer to home with young strikers Mauro Icardi and Ishak Belfodil joining the fray. And Milan are continually courting Keisuke Honda in a deal which would surely put a smile on Adriano Galliani's face.
Of course, only the truly bonkers or blinkered could compare this era with the golden age of big spending Italian sides snapping up whoever they liked each summer. There are simply some transfer fees which are beyond the reach of Serie A teams these days. If you don't have a sheikh or an oligarch on board, your strategy needs to be a bit more inventive than simply: "Pay them whatever it takes."
That does not have to spell disaster, however. It simply requires clubs to think a little differently in how they approach each Calciomercato campaign. A combination of opportunism, imagination and the occasional outright gamble can still produce impressive results.
Is it likely to mean they can compete with the mega-big spenders? Probably not. However, it can still bring some of the buzz back to Serie A and allow its clubs to build a more sustainable model than they had in the past. Money, of course, still talks but there are other factors Italian teams can utilise in their efforts to attract players. Improving their stadia, better marketing and drawing back the fans are all part of that package.
So it does not have to be all doom and gloom. There will be great players leaving the country but we can also coax a few back into the fold. A resurgent Juve, the Milanese giants, free-flowing Fiorentina, the capital clubs, Udinese's global scouting scheme and many other clubs can do their bit to bring Italian football back into the limelight. We can't do things like we used to do them, perhaps, but that doesn't mean we don't still have some good times in store.
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