Despite the success of the league and its ability to both draw and produce supremely talented players, there is still a hold-up when Premier League clubs sniff around talent from Serie A.
Once rightly heralded as the greatest league in world football, these days those who adore calcio are mostly limited to football enthusiasts with no other interests, Italian natives, and those who exclusively wear charity shop Dickies trousers.
There’s a Venn diagram out there that best highlights the overlap between those three categories, but the point is that Italian football is – truthfully – nowhere near as sexy as it once was to the average fan.
If you can look beyond the storied history of scandals and the crumbling stadiums, though, there is still a charm there in the form of a pool of talent desperate to be given the limelight they deserve.
Fans of other clubs piled on Tottenham for their double swoop of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur in January 2022, accusing the north London side of snapping up Juventus’ cast-offs.
And while they were effectively doing that, in no way was it a true reflection of the two players they were actually signing.
In the time since, both Kulusevski and Bentancur have led a Serie A-inspired revolution at Spurs – spearheaded by an Australian. Go figure.
Ange Postecoglou has worked wonders in a very short space of time to take Tottenham from one of the most toxic and difficult to watch clubs in the Premier League into both one of the most exciting and ruthless.
Another Juve castaway appears ready to join that revolution.
Samuel Iling-Junior was born in Islington and earned an elite footballing education in Chelsea’s academy from the age of 11, representing England at various youth levels and zapping fellow youth prospects out of the game before they’d even got in with his tricky feet.
But in 2020, he took a step most English players are too scared to take and rejected fresh terms at Chelsea to head to Turin and become a Juve player.
Named in The Guardian’s 60-strong list of young talents born in 2003 later that year, it seemed nailed on that we were about to witness another English player head abroad and blossom – until he didn’t.
A victim of Juventus’ inevitable post-Massimiliano Allegri decline and the subsequent return to sufferball status quo with Allegri back in the hot seat, Iling-Junior’s time in Turin has unfortunately seen him become lost in the shuffle.
He’s way too talented for that, though. His stellar CV thus far for both club and country backs it up, as does Spurs’ interest and – crucially – the eye test which highlights a wicked left foot.
That’s a player who desperately needs to be given the keys to the city in a ruthless attacking unit.
Just imagine that flair and athleticism in Postecoglou’s already unrelenting Tottenham setup. Goodness.
Fearless in possession with a sublime agility to compliment that left foot and book of tricks, it’s incredibly easy to imagine him slotting in at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It’s even sweeter for Spurs fans to know he turned his back on Chelsea and could come back to haunt their rivals on a revenge tour of the capital. So, so sweet.
Big Ange is championing flair and freedom in north London right now. Iling-Junior could be the piece of the puzzle that propels them to dizzying heights which nobody expected this season, namely European nights once again.
By Mitch Wilks