Serie A's January Transfer Market Review
With the January transfer window in full swing, it is time for a deep look into the biggest clubs in Italy and their needs. It is unlikely we will see any moves in Serie A such as the Coutinho move to Barcelona or the Van Dijk move to Liverpool, but some clubs on the peninsula surely need reinforcements. Let's take a look:
Background: Napoli currently sit in first place, one point above Juventus. Earliest reports show that they are really going for it, as they believe this is their best chance to overcome the Bianconeri for the scudetto.
Needs: They need a left-back after Faouzi Ghoulam's injury, however, Mario Rui has been playing well and they might just be looking for someone to take Rui or Hysaj's place in the event of another injury. In addition to this position they will be looking for an attacking player that can replace Insigne, Mertens or Callejon in the starting eleven when one of them needs a breather or goes down with an injury.
Names: Some names that have been linked with Napoli are Barcelona's Aleix Vidal as a full-back and Gerard Deulofeu as a winger. In addition to Deulofeu they are very interested in Bologna's Simone Verdi, but Verdi is worried about joining the club because many player's have joined Napoli only to find very little playing time. They also seem to have a deal with Benevento's Amato Ciciretti who will be a free agent in June. The only question is whether they can convince Benevento to let go of the player now. It was long thought that they would take their player Roberto Inglese back from Chievo and send them Milik instead, however, these talks have cooled lately as Chievo don't seem to want to give up Inglese and Milik could be close to a return.
Likelihood of Market Moves: Very Likely. Napoli are close, they have a one point lead with just over half of the season over. They also were eliminated from the Champions League and the Coppa Italia which gives them an advantage in Serie A because Juventus will be fighting on all three fronts. They are still in the Europa League but I wouldn't count on them taking that seriously. Look for them to sign a winger and a full-back.
Background: Juventus are currently in second place, one point behind Napoli, and have the strongest and deepest squad in Italy. Juventus have stated that things will be quiet during the January market.
Needs: Juventus could probably use another right-back. Mattia De Sciglio has played much better as of late and looks like he could fill the starting role, however, when he goes down Juventus have no options as Stephen Lichteiner seems to be passed his prime and was left off of the Champions League roster during the group stage. There were rumors that Max Allegri would use Juan Cuadrado as a right-back, as he could be more of a Dani Alves type of player, so given their statement that they will stand pat it seems they will fix their issues in house. They are covered in all other areas of the pitch. Earlier this season it looked like they might need another center-back, however, Benatia has looked brilliant lately.
Names: There has not been much talk of people joining Juventus during this period. They are close to signing Emre Can from Liverpool on a free transfer for June, while there have also been rumors of Alex Sandro leaving. Juve will not want to sell Sandro during the winter and they have stated that the player has not asked to leave.
Likelihood of Market Moves: Although I don't see any flashy signings happening, I believe Juventus will make one smart calculated investment during this period knowing that they are fighting on three fronts and will try to win them all.
Background: Inter started off really hot, but have struggled mightily lately. They are winless in their last five Serie A matches. Luciano Spalletti is desperate for reinforcements as it seems a team that was fighting for the title could now slip out of the top four.
Needs: A major need for Inter is a trequartista. Joao Mario, Brozovic and Valero have all filled in in this role, but none have been stellar. They need a playmaker that could break teams down consistently and play behind Mauro Icardi. In addition, they need another central defender. Andrea Ranocchia has been the alternative to Miranda or Skriniar this season, and even though he has played well, he is the only replacement. When he went down in the last match with an injury against Fiorentina, Inter did not have another center-back to put in the match.
Names: There have been some big names linked with Inter such as Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan and PSG's Javier Pastore, Deulofeu and Jiangsu's Ramires (also owned by Suning), however, due to Financial Fair Play restrictions they don't have the funding to complete a deal. They will need to be creative and go with a loan and obligation to purchase, but that takes cooperation from other clubs. Recent rumors suggest that Barcelona are offering Rafinha to the Nerazzurri, so this is an offer they might take.
Likelihood of Market Moves: 50/50. If Inter are able to sell Joao Mario, it will open the door to signing new players. They could also convince a team to loan a player with an obligation to purchase. They are desperate for a reinforcement and will need to be creative to get it done.
Background: Roma, like Inter, had an impressive run and was very close to the top of the table but have struggled in recent matches. Their main concern is also a playmaker. After selling Salah to Liverpool, they don't have anyone other than Diego Perotti who can break teams down. Most of their players like El Sharaawy or Nainggolan depend on strength and speed over creativity.
Needs: Roma could use a creative winger. As mentioned above, they rely on speed and strength but when bottom half of the table teams sit back and defend for 90 minutes, the Giallorossi have a hard time breaking them down. They need someone who could find even the slightest space and make a difference. They had a defensive need to partner alongside Manolas, however, Fazio has been great for them this term and has settled into the defense nicely. Their midfield is also very deep so this is a team that is well rounded and doesn't need any major reinforcements.
Likelihood of Market Moves: Don't expect any flashy signings from Roma. It is Monchi's style to look for cheaper options or younger ones that could develop, such as Kolarov or Cengiz Under. There is talk of Bruno Peres being sold, but as far as incoming signings I wouldn't anticipate much. Monchi purchased Defrel, Under and Patrick Schick over the summer, and they already have El Shaarawy, Perotti and Dzeko, so they are going to look to solve the problems in house.
Background: Although they are not competing for the title or even a top four spot at the moment, they are still one of the most intriguing sides in Italy. They have gotten off to a disastrous start but have been playing better lately, winning 1-0 against Inter in the Coppa Italia, drawing away to Fiorentina and winning at home to Crotone with a professional performance. They had eleven new signings over the summer and it is taking them a while to gel together.
Needs: Even though they have not played well, they don't have any glaring needs. You could make the argument for a left winger, if Bonaventura is going to play midfield, however, it looks like they would like to utilize Hakan Calhanoglu in that role and he has been playing better lately. Their biggest need is to get the best out of their summer signings.
Likelihood of Market Moves: There were rumors of them signings Jankto from Udinese, but the Friuliani don't want to sell in January. I would be shocked if they make any significant signings, but could see them signing a couple of young players for the future. Their biggest "move" will be Andrea Conti's return from injury. Conti looked great in the preseason and in the beginning of the season until he got injured, so they will be vastly improved on the right side when he returns.