Despite a mass exodus of talent, the league brought in an exciting shipment of new faces in 2021. Read on to find out more about the best Serie A newcomers of 2021.
Every year, Serie A puts up a great show of its young and talented players for the world, and 2021 was no exception. Whether there is a defender who wants to develop his tactical abilities or a box-to-box midfielder who wants to showcase their decision-making or even a striker with pace and power to finish an attack with a goal, they can all have their moments in Serie A.
It is also a good place for unrecognized talents to step out of their comfort zone and prove they are worthy of playing in the top teams in Europe. All in all, here we want to take a look at the most influential new players in Serie A in 2021, names that you might hear of or yet to hear in the years to come.
Some of the best players on the peninsula said their goodbyes to the league, including last season’s Best Goalkeeper, Best Defender, Best Striker, and Overall MVP.Romelu Lukaku
, Achraf Hakimi,Gianluigi Donnarumma
, Rodrigo De Paul, Cristian Romero, and Cristiano Ronaldo have all moved on to different pastures.
Any league in the world would suffer from losing two of its biggest superstars in the space of a single summer, so it's no surprise that Serie A lovers are fearing for the reputation of Calcio following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku.
That’s an absurd amount of quality and practically impossible to fully replace. The financial struggles of many Italian teams made it even harder to find adequate fillers but there are still some fascinating newcomers to the league.
There is no doubt that this season's Serie A promises to be one of the most competitive we've ever seen, but which stars should you keep an eye on this season? Here are some of the
most valuable players in Serie A in 2021
Full name: Mike Peterson Maignan
Date of birth/Age: 3 July 1995 (age 26)
Main Position: Goalkeeper
Team: AC Milan
best Serie A newcomers of 2021
. On 27 May 2021, Maignan agreed to sign for Serie A club AC Milan on a five-year contract, right after his championship campaign at Lille in Ligue 1. He immediately became the number one for the Rossoneri, since the departure of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Unfortunately for Maignan, he underwent surgery to his left wrist injury in October and was expected to be out of action for 10 weeks, however, he was back in the field after merely 6 weeks. Considering this, he has played 19 matches for Milan in Serie A and has successfully kept a clean sheet for 8 matches.
He has been a great help so far to his team as they are currently sitting on top of the table. The fact that Maignan is an excellent shot-stopper is also shown by the ratio of shots on target against and saves made. The French keeper conceded an average of 2.82 shots per game in Ligue 1 last season.
In addition to his shot-stopping ability, Maignan excels in other areas of goalkeeping: sweeping and claiming crosses are the two stand-out metrics in the Frenchman’s game.
His athleticism, including pace, power, and frame, allows him to dominate his penalty area very effectively, as Maignan is also very aggressive coming off his line or even acting as a sweeper outside the box.
Mike Maignan seems to be at his prime right now, making saves and stopping shots left and right, helping his team come out of the game victorious. He, in addition to Tomori, Romagnoli, and Simon Kjær is the standing wall that not many teams can infiltrate at San Siro.
Also, in France national team, considering the age ofHugo Lloris
, Maignan can be a safe replacement, even in the coming World Cup, should anything unexpected happen to their current captain.
Full name: Denzel Justus Morris Dumfries
Date of birth/Age: 18 April 1996 (age 25)
Main Position: Right-wingback
Team: Inter Milan
Another player among the
best Serie A newcomers of 2021
who joined Serie A champions, Inter Milan, on 14 August 2021 for €12.5 million, with a further €2.5 million as a bonus for the PSV Eindhoven. He was bought after the departure of Achraf Hakimi to PSG, and to fill his position at right-wingback in Inter’s 3-5-2.
His amazing performance with the Netherlands in Euro 2020 competitions was actually the main reason that persuaded Inter to purchase this young talent.
Dumfries made his debut for Inter Milan as a second-half substitute against Genoa on the opening day of the 2021–22 Serie A season, winning 4–0. Since then, he has played in 21 matches this season in Serie A, starting in 11 of them.
He has scored 3 goals and provided 3 assists for his teammates during this time, too. Not that bad of statistics from a newcomer to the league. He was a bit rusty at the beginning of the season and took him a bit of time to adapt, but after a few months, he was challengingMatteo Darmian
His best form came in December, where he played 480 minutes out of 540 minutes possible, scoring all three of his goals during this period.
Denzel’s style of play is very unique. You can’t name him among the fastest player but he has always been seen commuting from their own half to the opposition wings all game long.
His determination and physicality are his strong points, he can also infiltrate into spaces provided to him by his teammates. Thus, making him a player that Nerazzurri can put all their trust in.
"It was an incredible feeling when my agent told me about the interest from Inter," said Dumfries, speaking to ¡Qué Golazo! and CBS Sports. "I was very happy, very honored and I am happy that I can play for Inter right now."
Full name: Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola Tomori
Date of birth/Age: 19 December 1997 (age 24)
Main Position: Centre-Back
Team: AC Milan
is among the
Serie A best defenders in 2021
. On 22 January 2021, he joined Italian side AC Milan on loan for the remainder of the 2020–21 season with an option to buy. Four days later, he made his debut in the Copa Italia quarter-final againstInter Milan
in the Derby Della Madonnina, coming on as a substitute.
After half a season in the black and red shirt, and gaining the trust of the coach and board members, Tomori signed a permanent deal with AC Milan until 30 June 2025, after the club exercised their €28 million buy option from his previous loan.
Tomori scored his first goal for Milan in a 3–0 away league win over rivals Juventus, one of the best performances from the 24-year old. Tomori became the first Englishman to score for Milan since David Beckham in 2009 and it was the club's first away win against Juventus in the league since March 2011.
So far, he has played in 35 matches, in total, for AC Milan and he has started in 33 of them in all competitions. He is fast and strong on the ground and having a height of 185 cm, he can easily win any aerial duel.
This season he has also made 50 clearances and has 21 successful tackles from 42 attempted tackles. Numbers that show the quality of this young star.
Tomori is now one of the most expensive young defenders in Serie A, as the Transfer market priced him for €45 million at the end of 2021. Rossoneri is more than happy with his performances and development and wishes they can have a robust defense pairing Tomori with Romagnoli, who seems to have a good understanding of each other.
AC Milan is currently sitting on top of the league with an extra game played than Inter, and Tomori and his teammates wish to bring the club their first Serie A title in the 2010/11 season.
Full name: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa
Date of birth/Age: 16 November 1995 (age 26)
Main Position: Defensive Midfielder
signed a new three-year contract with the Championship club, Fulham, on 31 August 2021, before heading out on loan with the option to buy to Napoli for the 2021–22 season. Napoli will finally have their replacement for Allan who has been badly missed since his transfer to Everton last summer.
Anguissa will slot right in as the defensive midfielder who’ll provide cover and break up attacks for the defense, but also start the counterattacks and distribute the ball to the attackers like Allan used to do forNapoli
. While dealing with some minor injuries, he has played 20 matches for Naples, 17 of which he started.
Anguissa is a unique box-to-box defensive midfielder. He has great tackling skills; when he does lose possession, he is able to recover quickly using his physicality or his tackling ability. He likes to tackle to break up play and start the counterattack and that really suits his playstyle.
He’s not much of a deep-lying playmaker, considering Napoli has Fabián Ruiz in that rule, but he does provide that extra body in the attacking third to help out the attack. The Cameroon international, also, covers a vast expanse of ground out of possession.
In sum, Anguissa’s role is as a functional cog in a physically dominant, defensively astute zonal midfield. He has shown a tendency to play aggressively out of possession, roaming to pressure and harass opposition players.
Although he is playing for the Partenopei on loan, the negotiations on buying him from Fulham has been started. His presence during the last months has been one of the main reasons Napoli is in third place in Serie A while only having 2 points less than the first team.
Anguissa and Ruiz duo can guarantee the safety and creativity in the middle of the field for Luciano Spalletti, something they’ll need indefinitely to maintain their championship hopes in this season’s Serie A title race.
Full name: Nicolás Iván González
Date of birth/Age: Apr 6, 1998 (23)
Main Position: Left Winger
Team: ACF Fiorentina
On 23 June 2021, former Bundesliga young talent,Nicolás González
, signed a five-year contract with Serie A club Fiorentina until 2026. The contract will run until 2026 and pay €2.7 million a year.
The move has been expected for days, but was delayed due González’ commitments to Argentina’s Copa America campaign. González made his debut for Fiorentina in a 4–0 win against Serie B side Cosenza in the first round of Copa Italia scoring the second goal in the 37th minute, talk about an instant impact.
Gonzalez has had 19 appearances so far this season in Serie A, scoring twice and providing 4 assists to his teammates. He has started 60% of all possible games this season in the purple shirt.
Gonzalez seems to be containing the fabulous impact he had in his former team,Stuttgart
, as he has been named “Man of the match” three times by Fotmob, in his short time at Fiorentina. All of which Fiorentina was victorious in.
The Argentinean was purchased for €22 million and he has shown the league he was worth every penny of it. He has quick feet and he can dribble past almost any defender if he is given the space.
Now, with the departure of Dušan Vlahović, Nicolas has even a better opportunity to show his finishing skills and take a more important role in Fiorentina’s attack.
Although, he showed his worth even before he arrived at Fiorentina as he was part of the Argentina team that had won Copa America in July, where Gonzalez played 161 minutes in total, including 11 minutes in the final match against Brazil.
He wishes his performances in the months to come can guarantee his spot in the lucrative Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Full name: Teun Koopmeiners
Date of birth/Age: Feb 28, 1998 (23)
Main Position: Central Midfielder
is AZ Alkmaar’s protégée, having played for the club’s academy since 2013. On 30 August 2021, Koopmeiners signed for Serie A club Atalanta for a reported fee of €12 million.
He made his debut on 11 September in the home match againstFiorentina
. Despite having a rough start in the club, due to the traffic of players in his position, he has forced himself into Gasperini’s ideology lately.
He has played 24 matches since arriving at the club, starting in 16 of them. Having scored 2 goals and provide 1 assist, his statistics do not meet the expectations. But whenever he plays, he influences the game and his teammates positively.
His strength seems to be his lungs, he is a non-stop runner. The Dutchman energy in on a top-level during 90 minutes and due to his position, you might see him defending in front of their penalty box and seconds later, in the opposition’s penalty box joining the counter-attack.
He is also an excellent passer, he has made a total of 883 passes in the goddess shirt and he has an astonishing 82% pass accuracy. His dribbling skills do not match the best dribblers in the world but he can also find a way to showboat his magic in small spaces, like his fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp.
Koopmeiners has now an €18 million price tag in the transfer market which shows how much of a bargain he was for Atalanta, and judging by his age and potential, this number can skyrocket at any point.
Especially now that his national team is also in dire need of help in his playing position on the road to Qatar 2022. In Atalanta, however, he still has to fight for his spot in the starting eleven with the likes of, Pasalic, Illicic, Pessina, and Malinovsky.
Full name: Norberto Bercique Gomes Betuncal
Date of birth/Age: Jan 31, 1998 (24)
Main Position: Striker
Born in Lisbon of Bissau-Guinean descent,Beto
started his senior career with amateurs URD Tires in the Lisbon Football Association. Beto moved straight to the Primeira Liga on 3 June 2019, joining Portimonense S.C. on a four-year contract.
After three promising seasons in Portugal on the last day of the 2021 summer transfer window, Beto was transferred to Italian club Udinese Calcio on a season-long loan with an obligation to buy.
The Portuguese youngster has been the best player on his team so far, playing 21 games in which he started in 17 of them. He has scored 8 times in his short time in Serie A, showing just how quickly he was able to adapt to his new league and team.
His best performances came in October when he scored in three consecutive games against Sampdoria, Bologna, and Atlanta. AlthoughUdinese
was not able to win any of these three games, Beto’s goals were surely crucial.
He was also the one who scored against Serie A’s leaders, AC Milan, as Udinese was able to take one important point in their home ground.
Beto’s pace and positioning, combined with his quick decisions have made him one of the best strikers in Serie A at the moment. Udinese board are currently trying to buy him permanently as they are seeing him not only as a key player but also as a good investment.
His current market value is estimated at €10.00 million, a number that looks to be increasing in the months to come if he plays the way he has been playing so far. Udinese fans have a lot of hope in their young start to avoid relegation and move forward in the league this season.
Full name: Josip Brekalo
Date of birth/Age: 23 June 1998 (age 23)
Main Position: Winger
Team: Torino FC
has been on many scouts’ lists for a long time and finally, now, he seems to be getting the recognition he deserves. The offensive player has signed a loan contract until the end of the season. There is also a purchase option amounting to a rumored 13 million Euros.
Brekalo moved from his Croatian homeland to VfL Wolfsburg in 2016. After a loan season at VfB Stuttgart, the 23-year-old became a top performer with the Wolves. However, it became known a long time ago that the Croatian had deposited his request for a change with the VfL officials.
Although he is in Serie A on a loan spell, this had nothing negative to do with his performance, as he has already bagged himself 6 goals in 18 matches. If it not had been for his minor injuries, he could have surely improved his stats.
He has been a constant pain in the back for Serie A defenders due to his position in the game.Torino
plays a classic Italian formation of 3-4-2-1, and Brekalo is one of the two wingers behind their striker, a position that not only requires a lot of running in the wings, but also cutting inside as a secondary striker.
A job fit for the young Croatian. His best performance came a few weeks ago against Fiorentina at home, as he scored twice in his 80 minutes on the field. A game that ended 4-0 and Brekalo was named “Man of the match”.
His former team of Wolfsburg that is in the position of the player is currently receiving bids from Europe’s big team for their talented winger. He is currently estimated to be worth around €13 million, a number that will surely arise in the months to come.
Full name: Felipe Anderson Pereira Gomes
Date of birth/Age: 15 April 1993 (age 28)
Main Position: Right Winger
Team: SS Lazio
Filipe Anderson is rather a new signing than a newcomer, as he played in the same team ofLazio
for 5 years from 2013 to 2018 and his €38 million departure to West Ham.
He had played 73 games for West Ham scoring 12 goals. On 16 July 2021, Anderson returned to Lazio, where he had already played 137 games, on a permanent transfer for only €3 million.
Upon his comeback, he has played 25 games for the eagles, 20 of which he started. He has been able to dish out 6 assists to his teammates, while scoring half of this amount, too. He has been called by Maurizio Sarri to the starting eleven 80% of the time.
The Brazilian, who was once one of the most interesting in Europe, now, looks to gain his best form in his late twenties. His presence seems to be one of the main reasons Lazio is now seeing their hopes alive as one of the teams in competition for the European competitions.
Anderson seems to be more mature now, and it is very much visible in his plays. He used to use his pace to get past defenders which are not always but this season, he is trying to work more with his mind, making quick passes with his teammates, especially, Luis Alberto, making one-twos and helping the buildup, rather than putting up a solo show.
This is backed by looking at his passing statistics; 34 key passes averaging 1.4 per game, and 83% pass accuracy. His defensive side has been approved drastically as he has managed to make 10 clearances and win 12 interceptions for his team. All in all, a player Lazio is more than happy to have at the moment.
Full name: Olivier Jonathan Giroud
Date of birth/Age: 30 September 1986 (age 35)
Main Position: Striker
Team: AC Milan
Finally, after reading about so many youngsters, a world champion.Olivier Giroud
just might be one of the most underrated strikers in our time. Last year’s champion’s league winner joined on July 2021 as AC Milan announced the transfer of Giroud fromChelsea
permanently on a two-year contract. He is one of the
most valuable players in Serie A 2021
He was supposedly brought to challenge Zlatan, Ibrahimović, yet another veteran striker already at Milan. Giroud started scoring very early and welcomed this challenge, scoring twice in his second match in Serie A against Cagliari.
Giroud was trying his best but he didn’t get quite as much as he wanted because Zlatan was mainly coach Pioli’s first option but in the last months after Zlatan’s injury, Giroud has proven himself to be a worthy number 9.
Scoring 10 goals in 23 matches while averaging 61-minute of playtime per match has made him a threat to opposition teams. Being at 1.93 meters, His physicality, especially in the air has helped his team so many times this season.
He is also extremely calm and precise when it comes to finishing in the box, something that only comes from experience. Maybe that’s why he has been given the nickname “Phoenix”.
Rossoneri is current in the race for the championship in Serie A, sitting at 1st with a game more than Inter, and also a candidate to win Copa Italia. They will surely need depth in their front line as the season progress and Giroud has shown himself to be clutch on so many occasions in so many teams.
Four times English FA Cup winner has stated that he is very happy at San Siro and is looking forward to becoming league champions once again after 10 years.
Despite winning both the Champions League, Europa League, and the lucrative World Cup, his last league championship came in 2012 in Ligue 1 as he was playing for Montpellier.
Full name: Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham
Date of birth/Age: 2 October 1997 (age 24)
Main Position: Striker
Team: A.S. Roma
is among the
best Serie A newcomers of 2021
. He signed for Serie A club Roma on 17 August 2021 on a five-year contract, with the transfer fee reported to be £34 million, with Chelsea including a £68 million buy-back clause which can only be triggered after the player has completed two seasons with Roma.
Having fallen out of favor under Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, Abraham joined Serie A giants AS Roma in August in a £34million transfer move from Chelsea, with the England international proving to be a great signing for Jose Mourinho.
Last year’s Champions League winner made his Serie A debut on 22 August, assisting twice as Roma defeated Fiorentina 3–1, an instant impact from the Englishman.
Ever since he arrived at the club, he has been the first choice forJosé Mourinho
. The Portuguese manager has started Abraham 96% of the time in Serie A this season.
The striker, on the other hand, responded his managers’ trust with 11 goals in Serie A so far, the fourth best player in scoring in the league. He has played 33 times in all competitions for Giallorossi, scoring 18 goals and dishing 4 assists in these 33 matches, fitting numbers for a deadly striker.
Before joining Roma, Abraham was considered a one dimensional, tall and fast number 9, but working under the guidance of Mourinho, has helped him develop different aspects of his game. He is now more relaxed with the ball near the penalty box and is able to find his teammates very easily.
His positioning skills have also improved drastically. He feels more responsible at Roma than at Chelsea and combining all these characteristics with his natural pace and physicality, has turned him to a nightmare for Serie A defenders.
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