Our Italian correspondent Steve Mitchell looks at how the different Serie A team will be spending their summers

It’s only just over six weeks since Milan were crowned champions of Italy but thoughts are already turning to the new campaign as the peninsula’s premier clubs prepare for pre-season training. Over the past month or so, the Italian sports dailies have been dominated by transfer speculation and pictures of Serie A’s superstar players relaxing on exotic beaches with their gorgeous wives and girlfriends.

But the holidays are coming to an end and it’s time to jettison the Louis Vuitton suitcases in favour of the Louis Vuitton wash bag in preparation for seven weeks of hard graft before the big kick-off at the end of August.

Reigning champions Milan are staying at home for their summer training, preferring the familiar surroundings of their Milanello training base rather than the alpine reaches as so many Italian clubs choose nowadays. Their cross city neighbours Inter, are heading for the beautiful  resort of Pinzolo and already the club’s marketing department are one step ahead of the game with the “Inter Village” as it is referred to, already open for business in an attempt to garner new supporters ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

The summer training camps are seen as charm offensives and a chance to generate much needed revenue at a time when Italian football needs every penny it can muster. New Roma tactician Luis Enrique will take his charges to the stunning location of Riscone di Brunico for the third successive summer with Napoli also heading for fresher climes, high in the mountains. Indeed, a whole pre-season tournament could be played in the region with Parma and Palermo also heading to the Trentino hills.

Turin giants Juventus, like Milan, have decided to stay at home for the summer as have Sicilian side Catania. Out of 20 top-flight teams, only Genoa has decided to leave the peninsula with new boss Alberto Malesani, taking his side over the border to the Austrian town of Neustift.

With so many managerial changes made during the summer break, the “ritiro” as it is known in Italy, is also an important bonding exercise between the new coach and his squad. Ten of Italy’s top-flight clubs have a new man at the helm and most of the 20 clubs in Italy’s premier division have lost players to the Copa America tournament currently being held in Argentina.

With so much transfer speculation around, many players are still unsure were they will be plying their trades next season and coaches and sporting directors are eagerly awaiting the decision of the Federcalcio as to how many non EU players each squad is allowed to contain. Currently it stands at just one but within the next 24 hours we should know if that figure has been increased to two. (editor – the decision was made today and two non-EU players are allowed in each squad)

So the first few weeks back at work look set to be as frantic as ever, but this is nothing new for the men at the helm of the peninsula’s top-flight teams. Finally, a reminder that Italian football fans based here in the UK will have a chance to see Fiorentina during their pre-season preparations when they visit St James’ Park on August 6 to play a prestigious friendly against Newcastle United.


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