Having lifted the Serie A trophy for six seasons on the bounce, you’d be forgiven for considering a seventh Juventus title to be a banker. But a closer look at the picture in Italy shows that 7/1 shots AC Milan have everything in place to steal the Old Lady’s crown.
Let’s start with the fantastic business Vincenzo Montella has done this summer – strengthening his squad immeasurably and weakening several of Milan’s title rivals.
Four of I Rossoneri’s summer buys arrive from fellow Serie A outfits, with all of the quartet key performers for their former clubs.
Defender Leonardo Bonucci was arguably the key man in Juve’s defence last term, while Lucas Biglia captained Lazio and chalked up four goals from defensive midfield during a stellar campaign. Meanwhile, Franck Kessie and Andrea Conti arrive from Atalanta, who finished last season in fourth spot.
Elsewhere, Montella has also splashed the cash on a number of top talents from other major European sides.
Prolific Portuguese hitman Andre Silva arrives off the back of 21 goals in 44 games for FC Porto last season. Meanwhile, Hakan Calhanoglu was sensational for Bayer Leverkusen in the first half of the campaign, before his four-month suspension relating to an uncompleted move back in 2011.
It’s not all about the new recruits
However, the idea that Milan will be gelling together an entirely new side would be wrong.
The club have brought through a talented crop of youngsters in the past few seasons, and all of those key talents will continue to play a major part in 2017-18.
World-class goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has pledged his allegiance to the club with a new four-year deal, while exciting talents like Manuel Locatelli, David Calabria, Mario Pasalic and Suso will also benefit from the first-team experience they enjoyed last term.
In addition to the strengthening of the red-and-black San Siro outfit, there’s also a case to be made that Juve might falter next term.
The Old Lady ended the campaign with just two wins from their final five Serie A games, before suffering a 4-1 demolition in the Champions League Final at the hands of Real Madrid.
Add that to the loss of Bonucci, and the fact they’ll once again – unlike Milan – have to juggle a UCL campaign with domestic concerns, and they could lose their spark in the league race. The gap is certainly closing – they won the 2014-15 title by 17 points, the following season by nine, and last term they edged it by a mere four points.
So, after a six-year wait, is this the year that AC wrestle the title back? We’re certainly not ruling it out.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing