The Guardian's James Richardson serves up a colorful preview of the return of Serie A this weekend. There may have been few big-name signings in Italy's top flight this summer, as the likes off Thierry Henry, Carlos Tevez, Fernando Torres and Franck Ribéry opted to go elsewhere, but Richardson points out that Italian giants Inter Milan, AC Milan and AS Roma already have many of the world's best players.
Indeed, with apologies to Juventus-which makes a welcome return to Serie A- those three will be vying for this season's Scudetto, and it should be a far tighter race than last year's washout. Star-studded Inter didn't need to do much to bulk up for its title defense, although the additions of David Suazo in attack and Christian Chivu at the back will only make Italy's champion stronger. With one of the best midfields in Europe and the likes of Zlatan, Crespo, Adriano and Suazo up top, Inter is still the odds on favorite to repeat.
Roma, the second favorite, perhaps, was more active in the transfer market. The savvy Luciano Spalletti replaced Chivu with Brazilian center-back Juan, while adding three speedy, crafty players in Cicinho, Mauro Esposito and Ludovic Giuly (described by Fabio Capello as "the signing of the summer") who you could see perfectly fitting in with Roma's thrusting style of play. Milan made perhaps Serie A's most high-profile signing of the summer in 17-year-old Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato. Richardson says that even with the young Brazilian phenom, the European champion's attack looks slim. Milan's other noteworthy signing is defensive midfielder Emerson from Real Madrid.