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AC and Inter Milan attracting stars again in Serie A arms race

After a troubled season in Serie A, AC Milan (16/1 with Coral to win Serie A) and Inter Milan (16/1), with respectively poor 10th and eighth place finishes, made the wrong kind of history, as next campaign is the first time for 60 years that the city rivals will both be absent from European competition.

Of course the balance of power has shifted dramatically from Milan back to Turin since Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning stint in 2010, while Rome always provides the nearly-men, yet the forthcoming term may not be so clear cut.

The Milan giants have undoubtedly fallen, but recent transfer activity suggests they intend to clamber back to their feet, tired of watching Juventus sweep all before them domestically.

A case in point was the Rossoneri’s stunning signing of Sevilla sharpshooter Carlos Bacca for around £21m, a sum which may be common place in the Premier League but is far from short change for any Italian team.

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The Bacca announcement brought with it much clamour of a Rossoneri revival, so of course Inter responded quickly, seemingly keen not to be kept out of the limelight for too long, by announcing just hours later a deal for Brazil defender Miranda, in-line with their tradition of snapping-up South American talents.

Reports, and the Nerazzurri’s twitter feed, also suggests Barcelona right back Martin Montoya will soon follow on a two-year loan deal after a medical is completed, but Inter’s neighbours beat them to the next headline with another eye-catching swoop, this time for classy Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano.

These significant showings of strength also illustrate contrasting approaches, as Inter have focused so far on improving defensive stability, luring midfield shield Geoffrey Kondogbia from Monaco and also adding Colombian centre half Jeison Murillo. AC, meanwhile, have mainly sharpened their attack with Adriano, Bacca and attacking midfielder Andrea Bertolacci their most pricey purchases.

Few of these deals came cheap, and Inter boss Roberto Mancini’s rumoured interest in Wolfsburg wingman Ivan Perisic will likely not either, though this spending is good for Serie A, which desperately needs it’s main players to flash the cash again. The glory days of Italian football may be gone, but that does not mean Serie A need except a low-billing behind the Bundesliga, which snared an extra Champions League spot at their expense.

Juventus have also done good work in the transfer window so far, with attention-grabbing buys in top marksman Mario Mandzukic, also acquired from Atleti, and exciting Argentine attacker Paulo Dybala, while Roma are reportedly eyeing Edin Dzeko.

All these are good signs of an Italian top tier in recovery and ready to become riveting and competitive once again, with the historic title-contending clubs digging in to their coffers, while also-rans Napoli, Sampdoria, Fiorentina and even Genoa are ever-improving.

As for AC and Inter, both San Siro sides’ foundations have undergone significant shake-ups, in both presidential and managerial positions, but look to have emerged from the mist with ambition intact, which can only be exciting for Italian football.

A stronger Serie A benefits all, so hopefully the Rossoneri and Nerazzurri will continue to attempt to out-do each other in the transfer stakes as well as on the pitch, with the Derby della Madonnina becoming a star-studded event once again.