Why is Serie A losing rising stars to Premier League?
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There's a new trend in Serie A. Italy's brightest prospects conduct light to the Premier League. Heralded to lead the Azzurri next era, Patrick Cutrone and Moise Kean could perch in England next season. What’s behind this shift?
When Italian greats are mentioned, familiar names come to mind. Roberto Baggio, Paulo Maldini, Francesco Totti, Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Alessandro Del Piero. This bunch led the Serie A revolution in the 1990s which transcended into the national team.
With the exception of Del Piero and Pirlo, others completed their entire careers at home. Granted, Serie A was extremely strong at the time as the lure from the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or even Manchester United never managed to attract them abroad.
Since the turn of the century, Italy's elite division declined and fallen far behind the other top European leagues of England, Spain and Germany, yet the Azzurri cream still remained at home. Even those who didn't, elected to move to Asia and America instead of rival European leagues.
These days, though, Italy's homegrown talents face extinction. Not that the talent pool has gone dry, the influx of foreigners may be pushing the next generation elsewhere. Cutrone and Kean – two youngsters who broke forth in the last two seasons are reportedly leading the mass exodus to the Premier League.
Following Italy's failure to qualify for last World Cup in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called for a crackdown on the number of foreign players the division, overriding the existing rule which allowed three per club. Even when the Serie A was at its peak in 2003/04 season, foreigners made up 33.3%. Today, that number nearly doubled.
Italian clubs spend heedlessly to catch their rivals in Spain and England. Of the nine players AC Milan lavished £200m on in 2017, only Leonardo Bonnuci and Andrea Conte were Italians. Juventus spent almost that figure on two players in two successive summers – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands).
Let's hope Cutrone will find himself here, and this Italian offensive duo will shine with ther international duties. https://t.co/0Z1k7pDNf6
While Kean is still undecided about leaving home, Cutrone's frustration pushed him to Wolverhampton Wanderers. AC Milan allowed their once-prodigious prospect to depart owing to Krzysztof Piatek's solid impact in his first six months at San Siro.
Cutrone signed for Milan in 2007 aged nine, rising through the ranks to debut in 2016. He showed good signs with his finishing and positional sense, similar to Filippo Inzaghi. His first full season yielded 10 league goals, dropping to just eight last term. With no assurances from Marco Giampaolo about his future, Cutrone jumped to England.
Despite a stellar campaign, Kean may strategically follow suit. He could be sacrificed to accommodate either Romelu Lukaku or Mauro Icardi. That's after Gonzalo Higuain opted to run down his contract while Mario Mandzukic reportedly didn't attract any suitors.
The potential Everton striker was simply fantastic for Juventus last season. It took until 2019 for him to actually get a start, but he made sure it wouldn’t take long for him to get back on the field when he scored against Bologna in that first appearance. From there he added six goals in his next seven appearances. During that run, he also scored two goals for the Italian National Team in important Euro qualifiers.
Serie A's overly tactical nature made managers tend to be less inclined to place faith in younger players in the starting XI. They don't trust them with the tactics. Rather than test and trust that he will grow, coaches often purchase older and more experienced players who often are foreign mercenaries. Cutrone and Kean are the casualties now. More could follow...