On Sunday we looked at the winners of the January window while today we look at those who have been weakened after the four weeks of transfer moves
The absolute worst case scenario possible from the ill timed Mehdi Benatia sale materialized as rapidly as Don Draper drinking an Old Fashioned. Both Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini suffered injuries leaving Allegri no choice but to start Daniele Rugani and new addition Martin Caceres against Parma- a match in which the bianconeri ended up giving up 3 goals at home against a newly promoted team.
Predicting how much this will continue to be a problem for the Serie A champions essentially comes down to how much you believe in Rugani, but it’s important to note last season the former Empoli center back was given first crack at replacing Leonardo Bonucci and ended up losing his spot to Benatia which resulted in Juventus’ defense looking substantially better.
Regardless of how you feel about Rugani, the bottom line is Juventus replaced their second best pure defender after Giorgio Chiellini with Caceres who was on his way to Japan after failing to establishing himself at Lazio. Juventus should have done more to make it worthwhile for Benatia to wait five months before moving for Qatar by offering him more financially rather than investing in Caceres on top of the opportunity of being on a potential Champions League winner.
The two Roman clubs were very quiet during the January window with Romulo as the only fairly substantial addition joining either club. While Zaniolo’s explosion as well as Pellegrini and Cristante’s strong performance made it logical for Monchi to stand pat when it came to improving his midfield, not signing a defender- especially after giving up 7 goals to Fiorentina the day before the window closed- may cost the team substantially.
When you go beyond looking at the January window in a vacuum for both clubs, not doing more to bolster Inzaghi and Di Francesco’s squads is even worse when you consider the substantial improvement Milan with Piatek and Paqueta.
If you want to take context and opinion out of the equation, no team in Serie A lost a player as substantial in the January window without a replacement than the partenopei with Marek Hamsik. As I write this the deal with Dalian isn’t completed yet, but in the very likely event that it goes through Napoli at least showed clubs interested in Koulibaly, Allan and their other jewels that they will not be bossed around and will only sell on their terms.
On Wednesday, Napoli announced that the deal with the Chinese club was off because of the payment terms (not to be confused with transfer fee) which showed the rest of the world they will not be bullied even when it comes to accommodating the wishes of one of their most iconic players. Letting Marko Rog go out on loan now looks a bit more adventurous, but as long as Napoli don’t suffer multiple injuries they should have no problem replacing Hamsik in the summer considering their great track record with midfielders.
Completing deals that will send Traore and Rasmussen to Fiorentina in the summer made sense considering that the Tuscan club has always been about selling players who shine for them for profits only to replace them with new prospects, but letting Zajc go to Fenerbahce effective immediately may come to bit them since other teams in the race to avoid relegation (SPAL and Cagliari especially) made fairly substantial improvements.
Emanuele Giaccherini and Stefano Sorrentino
While Chievo essentially waived the white flag in the race to avoid relegation by selling Radovanovic, Obi and Birsa the former Juventus midfielder and stand out goalkeeper ended up staying. At least Sorrentino will be to tell his grandchildren that he saved a Ronaldo penalty by staying with the Flying Donkeys, but Giaccherini was deprived of the opportunity to play for a team that can also give him an opportunity in Serie A next season. The Antonio Conte favorite is still effective enough to start for quite a few mid table teams in Serie A.