ROME (AP) — With Serie A Place to start Saturday Using Roma hosting Udinese and five-time defending champion Juventus Confronting Fiorentina, here are a few things to know about the Italian league:
HIGUAIN’S WAISTLINE: Gonzalo Higuain showed up overweight at his training session with Juventus After becoming the transfer in Italian football history.
Trimming his frame down, Higuain is not expected to start against Fiorentina and won’t be after the break for team play in early September until in form for a whole 90 minutes.
Higuain moved from rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million) after scoring 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record for goals in a single season.
Juventus covered its investment in Higuain by transferring Paul Pogba back to Manchester United for a world-record fee of 105 million euros ($116 million).
Bidding to become the first club to win Serie A six consecutive occasions, Juventus’ signings include winger Dani Alves out of Barcelona, playmaker Miralem Pjanic out of Roma and shield Medhi Benatia out of Bayern Munich.
Another addition for Your Bianconeri is Croatia winger Marco Pjaca from Dinamo Zagreb.
The Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday projected Pjaca to become the league’s best player.
Still another young player, 22-year-old Paulo Dybala, previously starred by scoring 19 goals last season for Juventus. With Higuain an option he’s expected to match against Fiorentina.
AC MILAN TAKEOVER: Since AC Milan endures a third season it’s ambitions of an entire overhaul stay on hold as Silvio Berlusconi finishes a deal to market the club to investors.
Earlier this month, Berlusconi’s investment arm Fininvest reached a preliminary agreement to sell his entire bulk stake in the seven-time European winner he has owned for 30 years.
The deal with a Chinese investor group, which includes the participation of a Chinese country investment fund, worth the club at 740 million euros (around $820 million) and requires that the investors to spend 350 million euros over three years on improvements.
The deal, to be finalized at the end of the calendar year, comes after retail giant Suning bought a majority 70-percent stake in rival Inter Milan.
Milan finished seventh last year.
SURPRISING SASSUOLO: Sassuolo was the surprise of the league last season with a sixth-place finish that included a victory.
One of those few Serie A teams featuring a virtually all-Italian squad, Sassuolo built on this success by beating Swiss side Luzern on 4-1 aggregate at the third qualifying round of the Europa League, then finishing out Red Star Belgrade 3-0 in the first leg of the playoffs on Thursday.
On the other hand, the club from Modena might need to overcome two key players’ departures with forwards Nicola Sansone offered to Villarreal and defender Sime Vrsaljko.
Forward Alessandro Matri joined the club and will discuss the duties with 22-year-old Domenico Berardi, who had been signed from Juventus and is regarded as one of Italy’s best young strikers.
Berardi, who scored all four goals in a 4-3 win over Milan in 2014 scored the opener against Belgrade, giving him four goals in three.
ROSSI’S RETURN: Former Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi is back with Fiorentina after a loan stint with Spanish club Levante for the second half of last season.
The United States-born striker discovered playing time. He seems to have more of a chance after Nikola Kalinic struggled for goals during the latter part of last year with all the Viola.
Rossi scored six goals using Levante, which finished in the Liga.
Fiorentina finished last season and coach Paulo Sousa’s side is going to be put into the test away to Juventus.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf
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