Serie A: Some of the best players you've probably never heard of
Now that Serie A seems to have regained some of the popularity that had been lost in the past ten years, more and more high-quality players are being developed in Italy, joining the top-class clubs but also climbing through ranks from the very bottom.
Napoli, Inter and Juventus have placed their most promising stars in mid-table teams to let them mature before taking them back on board.
Meanwhile, other outfits, like Atalanta and Fiorentina have managed to sign talents from around the world and are now enjoying the results.
Here are seven Serie A names that you will soon read more about in the news:
1) Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina)
The son of legendary Parma and Fiorentina forward Enrico Chiesa, 20-year-old Federico was under the spotlight this summer after his outstanding performances with Italy at the Under 21 European Championship.
The young midfielder was close to signing a contract with AC Milan, but has, in the end, chosen to remain with Fiorentina, where he's started the season magnificently.
Being young and inexperienced with top-level football allows him to play freely and often boldly, which, sometimes, might prove costly in the long run. However, a bit of discipline and training with the leading players in Serie A will allow him to improve.
2) Roberto Inglese (Chievo)
Chievo only managed to secure the services of the 25-year-old striker until the end of the season, as Inglese, who stunned Serie A fans in recent years as a Carpi player, has agreed to join Napoli.
The Italian ace is expected to move to Napoli in June, however, according to recent rumours he might be ready for a departure from Chievo in January.
Having netted four times in ten games, his technical abilities did not go unseen. Italy boss Giampiero Ventura, in fact, requested his presence for Italy's World Cup qualifier against Albania, although he eventually chose to keep him on the bench.
Inglese has a particularly exciting future ahead of him and will soon be able to play with Napoli stars Insigne, Mertens and Callejon.
3) Federico Mattiello (Spal)
Despite losing 4-1 to Juventus in Serie A's midweek match, Federico Mattiello's sorrows with SPAL could be ending soon in favour of a switch to the Turin side.
Young and talented, the 22-year-old right-back has grown and matured within Juventus' youth team and has been sent to SPAL this season with a view to return when ready.
In the past few years - which he spent with Chievo on a loan - he failed to impress due to several injuries, but has recently reclaimed his place at both Juventus and SPAL.
The defender has a particular attachment towards Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri, who was among the first ones to notice his skills and encouraged him to go out on loans to improve his performances.
4) Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta)
Like Mattiello, Leonardo Spinazzola is another product of Juventus' youth team to have profited from playing in Serie A with a mid-table squad.
Not only did he manage to play well, providing five assists last season and superbly covering the left-hand side of the pitch, but has also contributed to turning Atalanta into a formidable team.
The Bergamo side are currently ninth in the table though keep on posing threats to clubs like Juventus and Fiorentina, in addition to doing an impressive job in Europa League. Spinazzola fits perfectly in the ranks of this team, pushing his teammates forward and defending when necessary.
5) Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)
In his second season with Sampdoria, Uruguayan Lucas Torreira has become an asset for Giampaolo, an impeccable midfielder and one of the most targeted players in Serie A - but not only by clubs looking for a transfer.
Several teams, such as Inter, Roma and Atletico, have already shown interest in the 21-year-old, who, according to president Ferrero, is worth €25m.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, Torreira has become one of the most targeted players of the league - having suffered 28 fouls in the first eight matches - a figure that should prove how intimidating this youngster is.
He is working hard to gain his place in the Uruguayan national team, and his efforts seem to be paying off. Last week, when news that he had not been called up for duty Uruguay fans loudly contested manager Oscar Tabarez's choice to exclude him.
6) German Pezzella (Fiorentina)
During the summer window, Fiorentina had to sell most of their best players to their competitors due to financial reasons, sending away Borja Valero, Bernardeschi and Kalinic.
However, they were lucky to find in young Argentine centre-back German Pezzella a great player, technically impeccable and with a strong sense of sacrifice.
He is silently becoming the leader of Fiorentina who, at the beginning of the season, had very few chances to do well and are now seventh place in Serie A.
7) Mattia Caldara (Atalanta)
Mattia Caldara was the protagonist of a more than impressive season last year, proving crucial in several of Atalanta's games including the autumn wins against Roma and Napoli. This Italian talent is on-loan from Juventus and has recently signed a new contract with the Turin side and be re-joining them at the end of the 2017/18 after six years with the Bergamo side where he started out as a youth promising player.
The 23-year-old full-back has proved to be effective both when defending and assisting his team going forward finding the back of the net last year seven times in 30 games.
8) Remo Freuler (Atalanta)
In case you didn't notice, Atalanta have the biggest range of talented youngsters, who will no doubt become Serie A stars.
With Remo Freuler, a 25-year-old Swiss midfielder, the Bergamo side have found creativity and precision, two characteristics that were missing a few years ago both in the league and in Europe, where he is proving particularly successful.
Having already scored three goals and provided three assists in all competitions this year, Remo Freuler is the kind of midfielder who usually plays in the shadow of Papu Gomez and Ilicic, but when he's not featured his absence is often crucial and costly.