Calcio Debate: Top 20 Serie A Stars Not Playing In Europe

Serie A is well known for its strength in depth. Carlo Garganese picks out the top 20 stars from clubs that did not qualify for Europe, players whom the super-giants in Italy and Europe should be taking note of during this summer's transfer season…
All those listed below played for clubs that did not qualify for European competition for 2009/10

20) Edinson Cavani (Palermo)

Filled in admirably for Amauri, who departed for Juventus last summer, scoring 14 Serie A goals. The 22-year-old is one of Calcio’s most promising young strikers, and he could be a smart investment for a big club, starting off as third or fourth striker before working his way up the pecking order.

19) Takayuki Morimoto (Catania)

May not be ready just yet for a top team, but it is surely only a matter of time until he will be. Labelled the ‘Japanese Ronaldo’ by some, the 21-year-old Morimoto’s explosive qualities in attack make him a truly exciting prospect.


18) Houssine Kharja (Siena)

On his way to Genoa, and at the reported €3.5 million, this will be a superb piece of business. The 26-year-old Kharja has been a real menace for the bigger Serie A clubs over the past couple of years, and while he may not be strong enough to start for any of them, he would certainly be an interesting addition to their squads.

17) Cristian Zapata (Udinese)

Has suffered all kinds of injury problems over the past two seasons, but now appears to be moving back towards full fitness. If he can stay healthy for a prolonged period, it will be no time at all until either Juventus, Inter or Milan sign Zapata up. The Colombian is fast, powerful and dominant at the back, and can play on the right or in the middle.

16) Gokhan Inler (Udinese)

For a while last term it appeared that Inler was suffering from the infamous second-season syndrome, but he recovered for a strong end to the campaign. A very complete midfielder, who is comfortable moving both ways, Arsenal have been after the Swiss star for 18 months now.

15) Alessandro Diamanti (Livorno)

Has been linked with Inter, Milan and Chelsea following a stunning season in Serie B where he dragged Livorno to promotion. Diamanti is a nippy, flashy forward with one of the best left foots you will ever see. Expect to see plenty of long-range goals next season.

Watch out for Diamanti next season!

14) Alessandro Rosina (Torino)

The fantasista will be the bargain of the summer transfer market following Torino’s relegation. So much natural talent, skill and creativity – the former Under-21 star could explode if given the opportunity.

13) Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria)

A rock for Sampdoria, Palombo has never really translated his club form to the national team. The midfielder is partly to blame for this, as he could have moved up at least a couple of gears by joining a big club. Jose Mourinho is well known to be a huge admirer of the 27-year-old, but he will stay put after signing a new contract.

12) Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria)

Discarded by Fiorentina despite being, some would argue, a far more talented hitman than Alberto Gilardino. Pazzini has superb movement inside the box, and play him alongside a creative, intelligent support striker like Cassano and you are guaranteed bags of goals.

Pazzi for Pazzini

11) Fabrizio Miccoli (Palermo)

Similar to Antonio Cassano in that he will never fulfil his career. The pint-sized Miccoli has so much natural ability – he is fast, skilful, creative, has a brilliant long-shot, and excels at free kicks and set-pieces. Deserves a big club, but few are prepared to give him the freedom he craves. Will also never play for Italy under Marcello Lippi due to reasons that are perhaps best left untouched.

10) Simon Kjaer (Palermo)

One of the best young defenders in Europe, Kjaer just oozes class, and it is no surprise that he is wanted by the likes of Milan, Inter, Juventus and Liverpool. Fast, tactical, technical, and good in the air, Kjaer could be a youngster to look out for at next year’s World Cup, assuming that Denmark make it.

9) Sergio Floccari (Atalanta)

Like Luca Cigarini, Floccari’s summer transfer has already been agreed, as he will be on his way to Genoa to replace Diego Milito. The Italian will be a more than able replacement for the Argentine. The late-bloomer has every attribute in his locker – pace, skill, strength and aerial ability – a mystery why he hasn’t received a chance for Italy yet.

8) Fabiano Santacroce (Napoli)

Had a slightly disappointing season last term, but there is no doubting that Santacroce is a future star. The 22-year-old’s reading of the game is reminiscent of a young Alessandro Nesta or Fabio Cannavaro, and he just requires a coach to curb his impulsiveness. The potential of this lad is frightening.

The 'New Alessandro Nesta'?

7) Walter Gargano (Napoli)

Napoli’s season all but collapsed after Gargano got injured. The Uruguayan is possibly the most under-rated player in the whole of Serie A, a tactically perfect midfielder who can tackle, read the play, and keep the game ticking over. Very similar to Esteban Cambiasso in many ways.

6) Marek Hamsik (Napoli)

Like Santacroce, Slovakian midfielder Hamsik failed to match his achievements of 2007/08 last term. Nevertheless, he still remains one of the most complete young midfielders in the world, a player who any of the big clubs in Europe would love to have in their squad.

5) Luca Cigarini (Atalanta)

Almost certain to join Napoli, and what an addition he will be for the Partenopei. A superb passer, inventor and dictator in the centre of midfield, Cigarini showed in the recent Euro U-21 Championships that he could be the Italy national team heir to Andrea Pirlo. Along with Gargano and Hamsik, Napoli will have a fine midfield next season.

The 'New Andrea Pirlo'?

4) Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese)

Quite probably the next great centre midfielder to come out of Ghana, and Africa. The 20-year-old is the complete modern midfielder, with explosive pace, everlasting stamina, bull-like strength, and moves tirelessly from box-to-box. A mix between a peak Edgar Davids and Manchester United’s Anderson.

3) Gaetano D’Agostino (Udinese)

Will join Juventus this summer if the Old Lady can finally reach an agreement with Udinese over a transfer fee. D’Agostino was the best Italian midfielder in Serie A last season, and his deep-lying playmaking would be an asset to not only Juve, but Inter or Milan also. The 27-year-old has turned into a really classy schemer.

2) Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)

Needs to improve his scoring record, but this would not deter any European supergiant, all of whom would snap up Lavezzi given the opportunity. The Argentine is electric when in full flight, possessing bundles of energy and skill. A defender’s nightmare.

1) Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria)

It could only be Cassano at No.1. Arguably the most gifted player of his generation in Serie A, Cassano had the ability to emulate Roberto Baggio, but his troublesome personality has always held him back. At 27, there is still time, and all Azzurri fans will be praying that Marcello Lippi somehow performs a u-turn over ‘Peter Pan’ before the 2010 World Cup.

Cassano with the No.1 of motorsport - Valentino Rossi

What are your views on this topic? Who are the best Serie A stars not playing in Europe who would be good enough for a top club? Which club should buy which player? wants to know what YOU think…

Carlo Garganese,