Udinese look to have their work cut out to improve on last season’s Serie A efforts, bwin’s top three betting market suggests.
Despite finishing fourth in Italy’s top flight, the Bianconeri are only 11/1 sixth-favourites to finish in the top three and secure automatic Champions League qualification this time around.
This puts them behind Roma and Juventus, both of whom finished below them in the 2010-11 standings, and means a successful £25 free bet on Udinese to finish in the top three, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return an attractive £300.
While Udinese’s status as outsiders will in part be due to expectations of improvement from Roma and Juventus, it is also a reflection of the uncertainty in Udine.
Of primary concern is the future of forward Alexis Sanchez, who scored 12 league goals in a successful strike partnership with Antonio di Natale last season.
The performances of Sanchez over the last 12 months have led to comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and the 22-year-old has found himself to be the most coveted player in Europe this transfer window.
Inter Milan, Manchester City and Manchester United are all among the clubs reported to be interested in signing Sanchez, although Barcelona appears his likely destination.
While a deal has not yet been completed, his departure appears to be inevitable and a suitable replacement will need to be found.
Head coach Francesco Guidolin could also be searching for another defender, with Cristian Zapata keen on a switch to Liverpool.
The question those considering Udinese bets will be asking is whether the replacements for these players will be good enough to take the club to the next level or whether the Bianconeri’s fourth-place finish was a mere flash in the pan.
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet.