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Weston McKennie (L) will be the first American to play for Juventus.

Football

Five new signings to watch in Serie A

MILAN, Italy, Sep 18 – There will be a clutch of new faces when the 2020/21 Serie A season kicks off this weekend.

AFP Sport looks at five new signings to look out for in Italy this season:

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

Napoli paid French club Lille a club record fee of up to 80 million euros ($94.6 million) to bring the Nigeria forward to southern Italy on a five-year deal.

Napoli won the Italian Cup, their first trophy in six years, last season © AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTE

The total fee is almost double Napoli’s previous club record of around 40 million euros paid for Gonzalo Higuain in 2013 and Hirving Lozano last year.

Osimhen scored 18 times last season and was one of the revelations of France’s curtailed campaign with 13 Ligue 1 goals as Lille finished fourth.

“For me, being here means having made a big leap in quality,” said the 21-year-old.

Napoli finished seventh in Serie A and qualified for the Europa League after winning the Italian Cup, their first trophy in six years.

Weston McKennie (Juventus)

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Weston McKennie joined Juventus on a season-long loan from Bundesliga club Schalke and will become the first American to play for the Italian champions.

McKennie, 22, moves to Turin for an initial fee of 4.5 million euros.

Weston McKennie (L) will be the first American to play for Juventus. © POOL/AFP/File / Martin Meissner

The deal includes an obligation for Juventus to buy the midfielder for 18.5 million euros if certain targets are met this season.

The US international spent four years in Germany and made 91 appearances for Schalke, but the Bundesliga club found itself in a perilous financial situation after the coronavirus pandemic.

“Playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, seeing how he moves and how he works will bring me great benefits,” said McKennie before Juventus’s first game against Sampdoria on Sunday.

Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan)

Morrocan defender Achraf Hakimi spent two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund. © POOL/AFP/File / Federico GAMBARINI

Real Madrid full-back Achraf Hakimi joined Serie A club Inter Milan for a reported fee of 40 million euros plus five million euros in bonuses.

As part of the sale, Madrid have negotiated a clause giving them first refusal on the Morocco international for the next five years.

Achraf, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, has joined the Serie A runners-up on a contract until June 2025.

The pacy defender will bolster Antonio Conte’s defence, occupying the right flank where neither Antonio Candreva nor Victor Moses fully convinced last season.

Vedat Muriqi (Lazio)

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Kosovo international striker Vedat Muriqi arrives from Turkish club Fenerbahce to support Lazio’s Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile as the club return to the Champions League after a 13-year break.

Simone Inzaghi’s side are reported to have spent 20 million euros ($23 million) for the services of the 26-year-old forward on a five-year deal.

Immobile scored 36 goals last season as the Romans challenged for a first Serie A title since 2000, eventually finishing fourth having been just one point behind Juventus before the coronavirus break.

Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta)

Atalanta signed versatile Russian attacking midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk from Lokomotiv Moscow just after their Champions League last-eight exit with Slovenian striker Josip Illcic absent because of personal and psychological problems.

Miranchuk scored 12 goals in the Russian league last season and two against Juventus in the Champions League.

The Bergamo side paid a reported 20 million euros for the 24-year-old, who can play in a central attacking midfield role or as a winger on either flank for last season’s Serie A top scorers.

Miranchuk will be separated from his twin brother Anton for the first time after they emerged together at Lokomotiv and in the Russian national team.

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