Analysis

12 bold predictions for 2017: Simeone leaves Atletico, Poch to Barcelona

Mauricio Pochettino
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9. Milan returns to the Champions League

Vincenzo Montella has done a brilliant job at San Siro, turning Milan from mid-table also-rans into Champions League challengers. With plenty of youthful verve within the Rossoneri's squad, Montella will be confident of taking the seven-time European champions back to the biggest stage of all.

10. Veratti and Fabregas swap teams

Chelsea have been linked with a move for PSG metronome Marco Verratti in the January window, but the French giants won't want to sell him midway through the campaign.

The Italian could demand a move away from the Parc des Princes in the summer, though, while Chelsea would be willing to let Cesc Fabregas leave if they're able to secure an upgrade. It's a logical swap.

11. Arsenal beats Bayern but finish outside top four

A Champions League is the only thing missing from Arsene Wenger's medal collection, and the Frenchman will fancy his side's chances of finally overcoming Bayern Munich – in something of a transitional year under Carlo Ancelotti – in the knockout stage of this season's tournament.

Progression to the quarter-finals could come at a cost, though, with Manchester United and Tottenham both hot on the Gunners' heels in the Premier League. This might be the year that Arsenal slip out of the top four.

12. Valencia relegated to the second tier

The mess at Mestalla might be beyond repair; Valencia are no longer just treading water, they're drowning. There's certainly enough talent in the squad for Cesare Prandelli's charges to win their battle against relegation, but the club is in disarray and crisis is never too far around the corner.

What's more, Sporting Gijon and Granada have shown signs of life in their recent outings, which spells bad news for los Che.

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