For an attacking midfielder, Hamsik is physically strong but his greatest asset is being in the right place at the right time. His anticipation, eye for a goal and ability to dictate play have led to comparisons with the recently retired Paul Scholes. The Slovakian signed for Napoli in 2007, after two seasons in Serie B with Brescia, as the club marked their promotion back to Italy’s top-flight. He also broke in to the Slovakian national side later that year, featuring in South Africa last summer as the team were narrowly beaten by eventual finalists Holland at the first-knockout round. Hamsik featured 36 times for Napoli last term, scoring 11 and assisting 6, as the club remarkably achieved a third placed finish in Serie A, securing Champions League football for next campaign. As much as the winger has voiced his desire to stay and compete in Europe’s premier club competition next year, Hamsik has already attracted the likes of Manchester City and AC Milan, and would be tempted to forgo representing the club which he helped reach the competition for another with a greater chance of competing for the title. Likely transfer fee – £23million.
The Fiorentina midfielder completed another consistent term of Serie A football, despite the club he has been playing at for the last six years finishing in a disappointing ninth place in the Serie A table. He has been a regular member of the Italian national team and was billed as the long-term successor to Andrea Pirlo, in that his best position is as a deep-lying playmaker with good vision and an excellent range of passing. He is just as proficient, if not more threatening, in an attacking role, and competed 29 times for the Viola last season, scoring 2 and assisting three. Several observers have linked the long-haired midfielder with a move away this summer, seeing as his contract expires in the summer of 2012 and he has refused to sign extended terms. Internazionale were the first club to declare firm interest, but it is believed that Montolivo is open to a move abroad after spending his entire career in his native Italy, and would prefer to join a club with a European offering, preferably in the Champions League. Likely transfer fee – £18million.
Unlike the above two, Sergio Floccari is a player who blossomed late in to his career, and at 29 represents a signing with instant quality and a wealth of experience playing in the Italian leagues. Was a significant contributor in Lazio’s successful season – just missing out on Champions League qualification by finishing in sixth – scoring 8 in 25 starts. He initially joined the Rome-based club on loan for the latter stages of the previous season, with the club triggering an option to by the striker last summer for 8.5million Euros, a fee which is likely to tempt Lazio to sell this year.