From Pulisic to Thuram: The Best XI New Serie A Stars

While the summer transfer session is still underway, the new Serie A season is just around the corner. As is the case every year, the Italian top flight bid a host of its stars farewell. Some departed towards greener pastures (Sandro Tonali, André Onana), others took the most financially rewarding path (Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Roger Ibanez) while some decided to put an end to their legendary careers (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fabio Quagliarella).

But luckily for Calcio fanatics, the football gods take with one hand and give with the other. Therefore, a host of new stars will ply their trade in the Italian peninsula next season.

Whether these newcomers will live up to expectations or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, these arrivals have sparked enthusiasm all across the country.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the most exciting new Serie A stars while placing them in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Goalkeeper: Yann Sommer (Inter)

We begin with the men between the posts. With no other contender offering Yann Sommer a run for the his money, the new Inter goalkeeper is arguably the easiest pick on the list.

The Beneamata have just lost the services of one of the best custodians in the world in the shape of André Onana. Moreover, legendary captain Samir Handanovic vacated his locker after more than a decade of service at Appiano Gentile.

Therefore, Sommer will have some gigantic gloves to fill, but the Swiss is one of the most experienced profiles the Nerazzurri could have picked up on the market.

The 34-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers in the Bundesliga for the last nine years and possesses more than a decade of experience on the international stage.

Honorable Mention: Benoit Costil (Salernitana)

Right-Back: Timothy Weah (Juventus)

The incredibly versatile American is the solitary Juventus representative on the list. The 23-year-old will effectively replace Juan Cuadrado at right wingback, but can also play all along the flank in addition to other positions on the pitch.

The former Paris-Saint Germain and Lille player already earned plaudits for his impressive displays in pre-season. So we shall see if the 23-year-old will be able to replicate the success of his legendary father George Weah who terrorized Serie A defenses during his heyday at Milan.

Honorable Mention: Rasmus Kristensen (Roma)

Centre-Back: Natan (Napoli)

Last summer, few believed that Kim Min-jae would manage to plug the major gap left by Kalidou Koulibaly’s departure to Chelsea. Nonetheless, the South Korean arguably eclipsed the Senegalese’s saga in the Southern City, and he has a Scudetto medal to back his claim.

This summer, Napoli have to do it all over, as Bayern Munich activated Kim’s release clause. Thus, the Partenopei had to pull another rabbit out of the hat, and in came Natan, a 22-year-old defender Brazilian who touched down in Europe for the first time.

So will the former Bragantino centre-back manage to write a saga at the Maradana Stadium comparable to his predecessors’?

Only time will tell.

Honorable Mention: Yann Bisseck (Inter)

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Centre-Back: Evan Ndicka (Roma)

This summer, Roma hit the jackpot by signing one of the most sought-after defenders in European football. The Frenchman proved his worth during his stint at Eintracht Frankfurt, helping the club lift the Europa League trophy in 2022.

The 23-year-old saw out his contract with the German club before signing for the Giallorossi. The versatile defender can either play at centre-back or left-back. Therefore, he will be perfect for the José Mourinho’s three-man backline, slotting on left side to make up for Roger Ibanez’s departure towards Saudi Arabia

Honorable Mention: Yerry Mina (Fiorentina)

Left-Back: Mitchel Bakker (Atalanta)

This one was a coin toss between two Atalanta new signings. At the moment, it remains unclear who will earn Gian Piero Gasperini’s trust and lock in a starting role at the Gewiss Stadium, but we opted for the younger option, leaving the more experienced Kolasinac for the honorable mention slot.

Mitchel Bakker is a 23-year-old wingback who rose through the ranks at Ajax but struggled for playing time during his spell at Paris Saint-Germain between 2019 and 2021.

In the last couple of years, the Dutchman sharpened his weapons at Bayer Leverkusen. So despite his relatively young age, the player has now collected some valuable experience all cross the Old Continent, so we’re curious if his Serie A venture would bear success.

Honorable Mention: Sead Kolasinac (Atalanta)

Central Midfielder: Tijjani Reijnders (Milan)

This summer, Milan have been the ultimate stars of the Italian transfer market. Following Sandro Tonali’s sale, the Rossoneri revamped the whole department.

So when making the list, we could have picked any of the new Diavolo midfielders, but based on pre-season displays, Tijjani Reijnders gets the nod.

The Dutch enforcer is your typical modern midfielder, combining strength, stamina and technique to boss the middle of the park.

The 24-year-old could be a genuine star in the making.

Honorable Mention: Yunus Musah (Milan)

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Central Midfielder: Houssem Aouar (Roma)

Once upon a time, a host of top European clubs were chasing Houssem Aouar’s signature. The Frenchman even received praise of the highest order from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Nowadays, the aura surrounding the 25-year-old has admittedly faded, yet, he remains a brilliant playmaker, one that any team would love to have among its ranks.

So if snapping up the services of Ndicka wasn’t enough, Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto pulled off yet another fabulous free coup in the form of the former Lyon star.

Honorable Mention: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Milan)

Right Winger: Christian Pulisic (Milan)

When Milan completed the signing of Christian Pulisic, many deemed it a publicity stunt on behalf of the club’s American owners, RedBird Capital Partners.

Perhaps this might be the case. Yet, the 24-year-old was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in world football not so long ago, particularly during his explosive stint at Borussia Dortmund.

Sadly for the American, things went downhill since making the transfer to Stamford Bridge in 2019. The never-ending managerial turmoil at Chelsea certainly didn’t help his case, and he ended up getting lost in shuffle.

Nevertheless, we should remember that Pulisic remains a splendid baller, so it will up to Stefano Pioli and his technical staff to extract the magic out of the winger and spark a remarkable career revival.

Honorable Mention: Samuel Chukwueze (Milan)

Attacking Midfielder: Daichi Kamada (Lazio)

At the start of 21st century, the Italian capital was home to a brilliant Japanese attacking midfielder called Hidetoshi Nakata. Fast forward to 2023, Daichi Kamada will be looking to replicate his compatriot’s success at the Eternal City, even if he finds himself playing for Rome’s other club.

The 27-year-old was linked to Inter and Milan among other suitors after ending his collaboration with Frankfurt. But it was Lazio who decided to put their trust in the Japan international. So let’s see if he’ll be able to repay the Biancocelesti’s faith and cement himself as one of the pillars of Maurizio Sarri’s squad.

Honorable Mention: Brenner (Udinese)

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Left Winger: Marcus Thuram (Inter)

Interestingly, Timothy Weah isn’t the lone second-generation star on the list, as Marcus Thuram is yet another “figlio d’arte” who’ll be eager to carve himself a legacy in Serie A worthy of his last name.

But while his father Lilian was an unyielding defender who wrote history at Parma and Juventus, Marcus is a versatile attacker who’ll be looking deliver the goods in front of goal for Inter.

At the age of 25, this is the perfect time for Thuram to make a career step-up. It will be interesting to see how he’ll fit in Simone Inzaghi’s tactical jigsaw.

Honorable Mention: Noah Okafor (Milan)

Striker: Mateo Retegui (Genoa)

In this spot, the likes of Noah Okafor and El Bilal Touré would have been worthy selections, but the “smaller” clubs deserve some recognition as well.

After spending a campaign in Serie B, Genoa are back to their rightful place. The Grifone made an immediate declaration of intent by poaching the services of an Italian international player.

Mateo Retegui is the latest Oriundo to join the Azzurri, so it was only matter of time for the former Boca Juniors man to leave behind his native Argentina and announce his arrival to his adopted home. So it’s only fitting to make his landing at the Port City.

Perhaps most of us expected to see him signing for more competitive club, but it would be interesting to see how he’ll fare under the guidance of his new coach Alberto Gilardino who happens to know a thing or two about bagging goals in Serie A.

Honorable Mention: El Bilal Touré (Atalanta)

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