More often than not, the race for the Serie A Golden Boot throws up a few surprises, with Italy’s top flight a place where veterans can shine. Indeed, of the last five top scorers in the division, only one has been the right side of 30, the exception being Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Inter in 2008-09.
Antonio Di Natale, who will turn 34 in October, is gunning for a hat-trick of personal successes having finished top of the pile for the past two seasons and bwin make him the 7/1 second favourite this time around. However, with Udinese having sold key players such as Alexis Sanchez, Gokhan Inler and Cristian Zapata over the summer, the Italy international’s service will greatly depreciate this season, so avoid backing him for the prize.
Another veteran, Samuel Eto’o, is bwin’s favourite after the 30-year-old finished third in the pecking order last time out. However, withhold from punting on the Cameroonian just yet as a big-money move to Anzhi is on the cards. The Russian outfit having opened negotiations with Inter over a proposed £26million move – money which Inter desperately need. And with the prospect of becoming the world’s highest-paid footballer – on a mind-boggling £300,000 per week – being dangled in front of his nose, Eto’o will surely agree to the move.
Although Milan are quite rightly the title favourites, they tend to rotate up front due to the depth in quality they possess in that region with Ibrahimovic (8/1), Alexandre Pato (11/1), Robinho (34/1) and Antonio Cassano (100/1) each far from guaranteed to start every game. Rather, Milan prefer to treat their front men on equal terms, and it is no coincidence three of their four strikers finished on 14 goals last year. Sweden striker Ibrahimovic will also miss the start of the season through injury – a chance for others to steal a march on him.
If you’re an outsider kind of gambler, pick Roma’s Marco Borriello at 26/1. Serious investment has been put into the capital club this summer and former Milan striker Borriello, 29, can reap the benefits of added creativity in midfield, while the prospect of a pair-up with former Barcelona star Bojan Krkic is mouth-watering as Roma aim for their first title since 2001.
Borriello is a long shot, however, with last season’s runner-up Edinson Cavani without doubt the best value at 11/1. The Napoli man has resisted reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United to feature in the club’s Champions League debut this season and he will once again be one of the front-runners for the golden boot in his domestic league.
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has fought hard to keep key players such as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marek Hamsik, and of course Cavani, while the addition of Inler from Udinese will only strengthen the side. On only three occasions in the last decade has Serie A’s top scorer played for the title-winning side. While Napoli are a decent outside bet for the title at 18/1, the real place to make money on their season is through star-man Cavani, who has all the makings of a Serie A legend. Expect him to move on to one of the giants of Italian football in the near future, but not without cementing his reputation further with the Neapolitans first.
Fresh from Copa America success with Uruguay, the 24-year-old will be on a high and eager to lead the club to their first Scudetto since fellow South American Diego Maradona inspired them to their first-ever top-flight titles in 1987 and 1990. Much will depend on the whereabouts of Eto’o, of course, so pile your money on Napoli’s number seven before the Inter striker completes his move, when Cavani’s odds will surely be slashed.
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