I like to stick my neck out there every now and again. Sometimes it pays off like when I tipped Burkina Faso to do well in the African Nations Cup at the start of the year. Then again it all goes wrong sometimes; like my tip for Mapou Yanga M’Biwa to be a star for Newcastle (I reserve judgement on that one).
But either way the risk factor is what makes it so much fun; and I am a bit of a punter.
So here it is; my bold prediction for this week.
Fiorentina will win Serie A next season.
To many, at this present moment of time, they do not look beyond Juventus when it comes to winners of the Scudetto. Those people would also happily point out to me that the side has improved if anything this summer. Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez and Angelo Ogbonna’s arrivals should secure Antonio Conte yet another trophy.
Then there is Napoli; who have replaced Edinson Cavani with the more then able Gonzalo Higuain and also brought in Pepe Reina, Jose Callejon, Raul Albiol and of course Rafa Benitez.
Then there is the nobody knows factors under AS Roma and Inter Milan; with new managers and systems they too should be dangerous.
While AC Milan have an inspired Mario Balotelli in their ranks and the likes of Lazio cannot be discounted either.
Whereas on the surface Fiorentina look weaker. They have lost Stevan Jovetic; arguably their best player.
So why do I think they will win the league? Because I genuinely think they might have the best attacking line-up in the league next season.
The club will finally have use of Giussepe Rossi next season after he finally recovered from his series of knee injuries; and the former Manchester United player has been banging in the goals so far in pre-season.
They then have Adem Ljajic, now tied down to a long term contract and another player with United links. He had a breakout season in 2012-13 and will support the front-men with his skill and guile.
Then, there is arguably the most important acquisition of the lot, Mario Gomez.
Quite frankly the signing of the German international from Bayern Munich is the coup of the summer. If he doesn’t score 30 goals next season I will eat my hat. I will have to buy one first as well so that is how convinced I am.
Add to that the additions of experienced pros like Joaquin and Massimo Ambrosini; as well as Josip Illicic, who in time could be the perfect Jovetic replacement, and you have the makings of title winners.
Even the less eye-catching signings are excellent buys. Gustavo Munua, Marcos Alonso, Oleksandr Yakovenko and Marko Bakic should all make their mark in 2013-14.
But the most important factor they have going for them is their manager, Vincenzo Montella.
One of Europe’s most exciting young managers he strikes me as somebody capable of pulling something out of the bag this season.
There is now talk that La Viola are also chasing Marco Veratti of Paris Saint-Germain.
And if that were to happen I would not be confident of Fiorentina being crowned Italian champions this season; but I would be absolutely assured of it.
How do you think Fiorentina will do this season?
image: © carca