Juventus’s star signings mask unease while Inter and Napoli can challenge

The champions may have landed De Ligt, Rabiot and Ramsey but all has not run smoothly for Maurizio Sarri this summer

Italian football’s summer break began in much the same way as the season had ended: with Juventus way out in front. By 1 July they had concluded the free agent signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. Then they did something far more audacious: signing Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax for €75m.

Even for a club that signed Cristiano Ronaldo one year previously, it felt like a landmark deal. When did an Italian side last win a bidding war for one of European football’s most coveted young talents? At 19 years old, De Ligt had already started in a Champions League semi-final, a Europa League final and a Nations League final – not to mention winning a domestic double in the Netherlands. The centre-back was expected to land in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich or Paris. Instead, he came to Turin.

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