Screams of pain were heard across Europe at midnight last night as the January transfer window banged shut on the greedy little fingers of a multitude of panicky chairmen and managers who were hanging on desperately to the window in the hope of being able to reach out and grab one last unnecessary and overpriced player during the last seconds before the deadline. So let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the Serie A transfer window.
Brescia: No spectacular signings but none was expected from Brescia. By retaining Andrea Caracciolo and by attaining two reliable players in Cristiano Zanetti (Fiorentina; M) and Pietro Accardi (Sampdoria; D) and signing talented Davide Lanzafame (Juventus, A), Brescia have strengthened their squad for an extremely difficult spring.
Cesena: Fellow relegation candidates Cesena are one of the biggest winners in the ‘mercato’, one of the most active at least. The departures include mostly just dead wood (apart from Yuto Nagatomo (Inter; D) and Matias Schelotto (Catania; (M)) and the arrivals some pretty interesting captures. The signing of Davide Santon (D) from Inter can be considered a coup, as is snapping up Alessandro Rosina (Zenit; M/A) who, despite possessing audacious talent and flair, must start providing the goods on a day-to-day basis. You’ll excuse me for my Finnish bias as I mention little known Roope Riski (TPS Turku; A) and Jusu Karvonen (Taranto; M) among the arrivals, but it’s not every day that a Serie A club signs two Finns. And these two are definitely among the biggest talents in Finnish football. Furthermore, Riski’s tally from lasts season is pretty impressive no matter where you play: the 19-year-old striker bagged 12 goals in 18 matches during his first season in Veikkausliiga (the highest league in Finland) and also scored a hat-trick in each of the three highest divisions (including Veikkausliiga) in Finland.
Inter: Title holders Inter have found their form with Leonardo in charge of late and now reinforced (and reinvigorated) the squad in order to try to make a late sprint for the Scudetto. In came talented centre-back Andrea Ranocchia and Houssine Kharja (M) (both from Genoa) and Yuto Nagatomo (D) from Cesena. The biggest transfer, however, was Giampaolo Pazzini’s arrival from Sampdoria. Pazzini has had a quiet season so far but has the quality be a big hit at Stadio Meazza (his debut at least could not have gone any better). The departures include mostly just fringe players plus Mancini (Atletico Mineiro; A) and Sulley Muntari (Sunderland; M) whom Inter will hardly miss.
Juventus: Juve can be considered amongst the winners for one sole reason: they finally got rid of Amauri (Parma; A). The Brazilian, who scored his last league goal somewhere back in the spring of 2010, was probably the highest paid player in the club’s ranks and definitely the most useless. When out of the treatment room, he was mostly lumbering aimlessly around the opposition’s penalty box and falling down every now and again. And despite being strapped for cash, Juve did make a few decent signings. Alessandro Matri (Cagliari; A) will provide a boost to Juve’s injury-gripped attack, Luca Toni (Genoa; A) can still be useful, although he immediately got injured, and is a huge upgrade to Amauri and Andrea Barzagli is a reliable centre-back.
Genoa: Oh my how Genoa have fallen from the heights of Champions League candidates to mid-table anonymity. A team that seems always in construction and never finished. The summer signings (Toni, Miguel Veloso, Rafinha and co.) have been disappointing and the fresh arrivals do not really set your heart racing either. Luca Antonelli (Parma; D) has been in Cesare Prandelli’s Italy side and is still young and talented. As is Alberto Paloschi (Milan; A) who, despite his huge potential, still has everything to prove at the highest level. Floro Flores (Udinese; A) is a clearly there to make the numbers and Zé Eduardo (Santos, A) remains a wild card. The departures have (not including Andrea Ranocchia (Inter; D)) all played little role this season for some reason but especially Giuseppe Sculli (Lazio, M/A) and Raffaele Palladino (Parma; M/A) have been important players in Genoa’s rise in the last couple of years. Genoa also lost Luca Toni (A) to Juventus and Houssine Kharja (M) to Inter.
Sampdoria: Samp are by far the biggest losers in this January’s transfer window. Losing the two players that define their whole attacking game is a big enough blow in its own right, but to lose them at a time when they have won only once in their last nine games spells potential disaster. The players in question are of course Antonio Cassano (Milan; A) and Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter; A). That’s really enough said about Samp’s transfer window, and the rest of the season for that matter. Signing talented striker Federico Macheda on loan from ManU, Jonathan Biabiany (Inter; M/A) and journeyman Massimo Maccarone (A) from Palermo is little consolation to Samp fans.
Other notable transfers:
Milan decided that what they need is a 33-year-old defensive midfielder and a 34-year-old over the hill centre-back. Therefore, they signed Mark van Bommel (Bayer Munich) and Nicola Legrottaglie (Juventus) respectively. And Catania’s talisman Giuseppe Mascara packed his bags and moved to Napoli who, despite being a hot team in Serie A at the moment, are still in need of some passing guile in the attacking third.
A full list of all comings and goings of January 2011 Serie A transfer window is found here.