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Serie A Forces Clubs To Go Italian

serie-a-logoIn response to last season’s Inter v Udinese match in which neither team featured an Italian in their starting lineup, Serie A has decided to make sure that is unlikely to happen again.

Starting from next season Serie A will require squads to include four youth team players and four players with a background in Italy.

Specifically, every team must include four players who spent at least three years, between the ages of 16 and 21, with the club’s youth team, and another four players who must have spent three years with any Italian club before reaching the age of 21. Both these categories may include foreigners, though in practice the vast majority of these players are likely to be Italian.

While the federation’s move is likely to prove popular among the fans, it places many clubs in a difficult situation with regards to the transfer market, and has already been the object of some criticism.

“Italian football is not prepared for this rule,” said Juventus sporting director Beppe Marotta, as reported by the Gazzetta. “It would have been best to adopt some remedies first, and then action the reform.

“The squad has to be reduced, penalising players that are useful over the economy of a season, especially for a team like Juventus, that has to play in three tournaments and more than 50 games.”

This is similar to what they have in the Premier League with home-grown players and the impact of the rule their has driven up the price of young English players. I expect to see a similar impact in Italy as clubs rush to sign Italian-born and Italian-trained players in the coming months.

Inter have already been hard at work at it, as they target a move for Lazio‘s Antonio Candreva and attempt to repatriate Paris Saint-Germain’s Salvatore Sirigu, who has grown frustrated with playing second-fiddle at the Ligue 1 club.

Juventus are fine with Claudio Marchisio, Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon in their squad. Though, with Neto likely to leave for more first-team opportunities, it might lead them to seek a rule-friendly replacement.

As such, the Old Lady are therefore pondering a move for Antonio Mirante, although convincing him to leave Bologna to play back-up to Buffon will be complicated.

Fiorentina have issues to address as well, and so seek to bring back Pierluigi Gollini and Adem Ljajic, with the former having featured from their youth team and the latter played for La Viola between 2010 and 2013.

The goalkeeper has been plying his trade at Hellas Verona, while the Serb spent last season on loan at Inter from Roma.

The search for strikers to fit the rules should be a particularly heated one. Ciro Immobile is likely to be on many clubs’ shortlists, following a loan stint at Torino. AC Milan-owned Alessandro Matri, who spent last campaign at Lazio, should also become the target of a few sides.

Outbound Manolo Gabbiadini, who struggled for playing time at Napoli, and in-demand Pescara hitman Gianluca Lapadula should be particularly hot property come this summer as well.

Lower down the Serie A table however, a club like Udinese could see their system of scouting South American talents come under threat.