Monday February 1 2021
Five big deals in a low key winter window

Giancarlo Rinaldi reviews the January transfer window in Serie A and picks the top 5 winter signings.

Long gone are the days of big spending splurges from Italian teams in the January sales. Once dubbed "ricchi scemi" (rich fools), club owners are now much more likely to be found rifling through the bargain bucket than visiting any designer outlets.

Loan deals or low-cost gambles appear to be the order of the day. But that doesn't mean there haven't been some interesting acquisitions during the winter window. Here are five of the more intriguing arrivals in this cut-price start to 2021.

Super Mario?
Among the many doubts cast up by Milan Scudetto-sceptics is how the Rossoneri might cope without their talismanic old striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Their answer - not slow in coming - has been to bring in another one in the shape of Mario Mandzukic.

A well known figure in Serie A, he might have a few more miles on the clock but the former Juve front man surely guarantees some presence up front. If you want another example of the winning mentality they are trying to instil at the San Siro these days you don't need to look any further.

Nobody can guarantee goals but if it comes down to a straight battle of wills to take the title then he will be a most able foot-soldier in the fight.


We Need to Talk About Kevin.
If there was a perfect deal for everyone this January it might just be Lasagna's move away from Udine and off to Verona.

In a European Championship year - Covid permitting - the hitman needs regular football to keep his name in Roberto Mancini's mind in the months ahead. There is surely no better way to do it than trading up from an Udinese side that keeps producing performances less palatable than a mountain man's home-brewed grappa.

Instead, he moves to a Hellas team crying out for a prolific hitman to cap its credentials as the revelation team of this year's championship. Attacking midfielders and even defenders are among the top scorers for Ivan Juric's side but that might well be about to change.


The Pharaoh Returns.
Another player seeking a window to boost his Azzurri chances is Stephan El Shaarawy, back to Roma in an eye-catching arrival

He has shown glimpses of what he is capable of for his country and will be desperate to secure a place in the squad come the summer. He is part of a theme this winter of returning stars who are looking to rekindle the magic or promise they have shown on previous appearances in Serie A. Despite all the rumblings of discontent, Roma have had a good season and they enjoyed a pretty successful transfer window.

El Sha offers a splash of invention, creativity and goal supply to help give depth to a squad which already looks more than half-decent.


Dan’s The Man?
The speed in which football opinions change can be truly supersonic and few have suffered a quicker demise in their perception than Daniele Rugani, brought in by Cagliari to help their relegation battle.

Once upon a time he was thought to be the future of Italian defending but he is not the first player to languish on Italian football’s answer to the naughty step - the Juventus bench. When he did get his chance with the Bianconeri, he appeared to have lost all confidence or ability in a role where he once looked like a major prospect.

A move to Rennes failed to generate the game time he hoped for so he has come back to more familiar climes to try to kick-start his career. The Sardinian side, for their part, desperately need someone to help patch up one of the worst defences in the country and they will hope they have finally found their man.


Guess Who Else Is Back?
Completing the homecoming theme of this transfer window is another man on a mission to help his new club, in this case Parma, avoid Serie B.

The last many Italian eyes will remember of Graziano Pelle was his grim penalty miss at Euro 2016 which sent him trundling off to China with a gigantic pay cheque as compensation. It has actually been the best part of a decade since he played his club football in his homeland with Parma and Sampdoria before he set off on his travels to Feyenoord and Southampton where he enjoyed the run of form which catapulted him into the national team in the first place.

Now in the twilight of his career, his days with the Azzurri are - most will hope - behind him. However, if he can bring a few goals to an attack which boasts less than a goal a game so far this season, it would be a most welcome contribution to the cause.



Have your say...
Sorry, but referring to Lasagna as prolific is terrible. Dude has average one goal every 280 minutes in his career. His BEST season was 4 years ago when he averaged one goal every 178 minutes! For a guy whose primary asset is his pace, he doesn't need great service, just someone who can put the ball over the top for him and get him into space. His finishing is just awful.
on the 3rd February, 2021 at 1:36am
I think kokorin for Fiorentina should be on the list...I think he is a good signing and cheap....Mandzukic for me he has to play only when Zlatanis is not playing otherwise Milan will lose the balance of the team....he should play in europa league...Tomori probably is for meite he wasn’t even playing at Torino same as krunic useless.

@maldinis heir Colombo had his chances he didn’t do anything 56 he didn’t score he didn’t perform either.I would love to see maldini...his has quality
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 5:55pm

Glad we can finally get rid of Peres & Juan Jesus. We need to get rid of Fazio & Pastore as well.

Regarding this Saturday against Juventus, this match will determine if we'll struggle for a top 4 place or chance the Milan clubs for the scudetto.

A win against Juventus will really boost our confidence but Juventus seemed to have exited that dip but we did humble Verona 3-1 who have had only leaked 18 goals before that weekend match but we're a sieve atm so I am worried.

Forza Roma!
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 3:25pm
Pretty happy with Roma this mercato.

SES will be a great signing and for FREE. He knows the city and fans, great goal scorer & will be great cover in the midfield.

Just wait to Zaniolo returns as well. We're going to be really strong! Fingers crossed his legs are still the same. Weirdly enough his first ACL injury actually made his leg a lot stronger after surgery. Hopefully the same with the other.

Reynolds at RB is a great back-up to Karsdorp and Peres (who is out of contract in the summer)
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 3:16pm

Fonseca is like: "Nooo!"
Dzeko is like: "Nooo!"
Mayoral is like: "Nooo!"
Some stupid ungrateful Roma fans are like: "Nooo!"
Fans of other clubs (who fear Dzeko) are like: "Nooo!"

...& I'm like:
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 3:05pm
Kokorin could be on the list considering what capello and mancini said about him...
Forza Viola
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 10:12am
i am interested in seeing how dennis man does for parma he has been prolific for steaua last season. parma desperately need creativity and goals if man is able to recreate his form we could see parma have a big late season revival.
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 9:03am
Here's the reforms I think are urgently needed to stop destroying players' careers:
a) a limit of 3 signings per summer;
b) a limit of 1 signing in January;
c) loans limited to 1 per player with a minimum length of 12 months;
d) squads limited to 25.

This would help focus minds and save careers.
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 1:52am
does this. Loan signings are practically unheard of in other team sports, and players do not move around nearly as much. There also aren't dodgy agents hanging around. This is supposed to be top level football. Where training and team cohesion are the difference between success and failure. But no, in January you sign a player on a Friday and they make their debut on the Saturday and everyone thinks it's the most normal thing in the world.
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 1:48am
It seems the Milan directors were also too busy to deal with the single biggest job - renewing Donnarumma. Instead they were off signing three new players to a team that was already top of the table. Because apparently the players who got us top were not good enough to keep us top (or something). And all this enthusiasm from the media. Transfer news is to football what gossip is to film. Why talk about the themes of the new Brad Pitt movie when you can talk about who he's dating? No other sport
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 1:45am
Take Colombo who is supposedly some promising striker at Milan. Did anyone at Milan sit down and plan what they would be doing with him this season? Was the plan really to wait until January to loan him out? We have have all these directors at the club overseeing about 60 senior and primavera players and they don't have time to put in place a plan for those players? Those assets? What do they do all day? How many loan players even benefit from their loans? Most top players never went on loan.
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 1:41am
Low key? 134 departures and 43 arrivals at just 20 clubs. That's an average of 6 players leaving and 2 players arriving at each club or a third of a first team squad. Of course many of those players are made up of youth team players being traded like cattle. Actually cattle are usually given a bit more time to fatten up. What's the point of a 6 month loan midway through a season without the benefit of pre-season? Is there any plan whatsoever for these players?
on the 2nd February, 2021 at 1:36am
Players like Lasagna should never be called up to the National Team. Mid-table player at best- Belotti, Kean, and Immobile are all miles better and we don't need four strikers.
on the 1st February, 2021 at 10:43pm

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