At the start of January the winter transfer window opened and it is a great chance for clubs to bolster the depth of their squads or look for minor improvements.
It is rare to see major transfer deals completed in January but there are acquisitions that nonetheless can make an impact on a team’s performance for the remainder of the season.
Here I will have a look at the 20 Serie A clubs participating in the 2017/18 season and assess what they have been looking for, which players they are linked with, and who they should look at.
I will focus on a particular position or role for each club instead of going into extensive detail on every position so I can highlight the biggest weak point at each club and the clubs will be listed alphabetically.
It is evident that Andrea Conti has not been adequately replaced since he transferred to Milan and his replacements Timothy Castagne and Hans Hateboer have been underwhelming.
At the moment, Atalanta has been linked wingers more than wing-backs such as Emanuele Giaccherini from Napoli and Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice. Giaccherini has played as a left wing-back for Italy but it remains to be seen if he could play on the opposing flank.
Benevento full-back Lorenzo Venuti is another reported target for La Dea and he is a natural right-back despite operating as a left wing-back in recent games for the Sanniti. Even if he doesn’t arrive in January, he could be an option for the future.
The Stregoni need to boost their depth in all departments but a creative midfielder would suffice and Sampdoria trequartista Filip Djuricic has been linked with the southern Italian club.
Djuricic plays in the hole and Benevento coach Roberto De Zerbi has been using the 3-4-3 formation lately so the system might not suit the Serbian midfielder. Even if he does not arrive, the Sanniti need to find midfielders who can control the tempo because Danilo Cataldi and Ledian Memushaj have been underwhelming.
Simone Verdi is rumoured to be leaving for Napoli and if he does decide to leave during the January transfer window, Bologna needs a replacement on the right-wing assuming that Federico Di Francesco is kept on the left side of attack.
Benevento winger Marco D’Alessandro is an apparent target for the Felsinei but he possesses different characteristics to Verdi. Verdi is more technically gifted and he is also a dead-ball specialist whereas D’Alessandro has more stamina and he is more direct in his approach.
Diego Lopez replaced Massimo Rastelli in October 2017 and Cagliari has switched from the 4-3-1-2 formation to the 3-5-2 so natural wing-backs are required.
A few defenders are reported targets with Gaetano Letizia from Benevento, Maxi Olivera from Fiorentina, and Luca Caldirola from Werder Bremen possibly arriving at the Sardinian club. The first two can cover the flanks while the latter is an option for the centre-back roles.
Olivera has not been able to adapt to Italian football but Lopez might be interested in recruiting one of his Uruguayan compatriots. Letizia would be a better fit in my view and should be able to provide Leonardo Pavoletti with some fine crosses.
With Roberto Inglese likely to head to Napoli in January, Chievo doesn’t want to let him go lightly or with a proper replacement because he has scored seven goals in Serie A this season, five more than anyone else.
Giampaolo Pazzini has struggled for playing time for rivals Hellas Verona and he is a possible target for the Flying Donkeys. Throughout his career he has performed better in an attacking duo than in a lone striker role so Rolando Maran’s system should be ideal for the 33-year-old.
New coach Walter Zenga has maintained Davide Nicola’s philosophy of defending deep and working hard but Crotone is struggling offensively.
Although the Squali could do with better wingers and a more prolific centre-forward, they need more creativity in the middle of the park. They have been linked with former player Lorenzo Crisetig, who is owned by Bologna, and he has played his best football in his two stints in Calabria.
According to Sky Sport Italia, Crisetig should arrive on loan with an option to be bought outright but the Pitagorici would be better off signing him permanently as soon as possible.
Coach Stefano Pioli has tried a number of formations since arriving from Inter but he needs better central midfielders regardless of the system he uses.
Jordan Veretout has been a fine performer since arriving in the summer from Aston Villa but Marco Benassi has been inconsistent and Milan Badelj is once again a transfer target for a number of clubs.
The Gigliati have been linked with deep-lying playmakers such as Federico Viviani from SPAL and Danilo Cataldi at Benevento. Viviani would be a better acquisition because of his consistency and his ability in dead-ball situations whereas Cataldi has been inconsistent throughout his Serie A career.
The Grifone could be depleted in January due to Armando Izzo and Davide Biraschi potentially leaving the club and Leandro Castan from Roma could be a likely replacement.
Coach Fabio Pecchia has alternated between the 4-3-3, 4-4-2, and 4-2-3-1 formations this season so that is why I have decided to use forwards in general as opposed to one role.
Ryder Matos from Udinese and Bruno Petkovic from Bologna are reportedly close to arriving and possibly Lucas Boye from Torino. Those three players are not defined by one system or philosophy and they would probably be happy to play at a club that will give them a chance.
Matos is arguably the most ideal because of his versatility but Petkovic could provide Moise Kean with competition in the centre-forward role.
Coach Luciano Spalletti is crying out for more defenders but he also needs more creativity in midfield.
The Nerazzurri have been linked with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Javier Pastore, and Alex Teixeira as well as Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu but their attempts have not been successful.
Inter has a lot of defensive and workman-like midfielders while Borja Valero is the main creator. The Spaniard is at his best operating from deep so the Biscione needs someone who can play in between the two wingers in the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Mattia De Sciglio is fit now but Stephan Lichtsteiner is past his prime and workhorse midfielder Stefano Sturaro cannot be a long-term option in that role. Matteo Darmian has been linked with Juventus but he will likely move elsewhere.
The Bianconeri have been focusing more on free transfers if the reports are anything to go by. Turkish-German midfielders Emre Can and Mesut Ozil could be signed from Liverpool and Arsenal respectively, with the former providing more versatility and the latter adding more creativity.
Originally I had listed the centre-back role because Stefan De Vrij is rumoured to leave and Bastos has been erratic but Martin Caceres has joined from Hellas Verona so that role is filled. The 30-year-old Uruguayan can play as a centre-back and right-back so he provides options.
If there was a role that Lazio can add depth to, it would be the right wing-back role. Dusan Basta is 33 years old so perhaps a younger option for that position might be convenient. Even if the Biancocelesti don’t acquire someone now, a player like Manuel Lazzari would suit Coach Simone Inzaghi’s system.
The Rossoneri need to sell players more than they need to buy but an old school centre-back would be useful. Matias Musacchio, Leonardo Bonucci, and Alessio Romagnoli are all ball-playing centre-backs but the Diavolo need someone who is more physical and has a no-nonsense approach.
Gustavo Gomez and Cristian Zapata have these attributes but they are not reliable performers and struggle to establish regular spots in the team.
AC Milan is also linked with Udinese midfielder Jakub Jankto, who has similar attributes to Giacomo Bonaventura, and he would also add more options on the left flank.
Although Napoli has an excellent first XI, its squad lacks depth. A centre-forward would be adequate because Arkadiusz Milik is still injured and Dries Mertens is out of form so Roberto Inglese will probably be called back from his loan at Chievo earlier than anticipated.
Despite trying to bolster the attack with more centre-forwards and wingers, another left-back is essential for the Partenopei. Faouzi Ghoulam has been a loss and Mario Rui has been a decent deputy but someone of a higher quality is needed for the title chase.
Numerous clubs including Napoli have been linked with Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian, who has struggled to adapt to English football. A move to Naples should provide him with a chance to return to form and also be a protagonist while Coach Maurizio Sarri could do with his versatility.
With Monchi and Eusebio Di Francesco in their first season as sporting director and coach respectively, Roma is still in a transitional phase. Although the Giallorossi have been competitive, their performances have not always been convincing.
The Lupi have plenty of box-to-box midfielders but they need a player that can win the ball back and distribute it around.
Daniele De Rossi has battled with injury and suspension this season while Maxime Gonalons has been a disappointment. Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj is reportedly a target for Roma and he could be the pivot that Di Francesco’s side needs.
Coach Marco Giampaolo has created a team that can press and also dictate the play but it is vulnerable defensively. Another issue with the defenders is that not many of them are comfortable on the ball.
The current central defensive pairing of Matias Silvestre and Gian Marco Ferrari are good stoppers but their characteristics do not suit Giampaolo’s possession-based style. Perhaps the Blucerchiati should have bought Jorge Mere from Sporting Gijon before he went to FC Koln. I would acquire Vlad Chiriches from Napoli, who can also score goals at set-pieces.
It does not seem that Sampdoria will chase a ball-playing centre-back but another midfielder because Federico Viviani is a target. If he does arrive, he would operate in a similar role to Dennis Praet or take the place of Lucas Torreira if the Uruguayan leaves in the near future.
Domenico Berardi and Matteo Politano could leave in January so new coach Giuseppe Iachini needs to make sure that he has some attacking flair in wide positions. Defence needs bolstering with Paolo Cannavaro gone and Lorenzo Tonelli from Napoli as well as Armando Izzo from Genoa are Neroverdi targets.
Tonelli would probably be the more keen to arrive due to a lack of playing time at Napoli and Genoa might not want to get rid of one of its best players.
Midfielder Jasmin Kurtic will arrive from Atalanta and he should improve its midfield depth but SPAL needs to improve the defence too. The Biancazzurri could be another team battling out for Napoli’s Lorenzo Tonelli and they could try and bring back Kevin Bonifazi from Torino but new Granata coach Walter Mazzarri wants to keep him for now.
After an impressive 2016/17 campaign, Andrea Belotti has struggled with a knee injury this season as well as former Toro coach Sinisa Mihajlovic switching from the 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 formation. The Granata have been linked with Diego Falcinelli from Sassuolo and Stefano Okaka from Watford.
Falcinelli might be a possible arrival but Okaka is no longer a target according to Torino president Urbano Cairo.
New coach Massimo Oddo has transformed the form of Udinese and it does not need a lot of reinforcements for the time being. If the Zebrette had to add to their squad, another centre-back would be ideal.
Brazilian defender Samir regularly start for the Friulani but his form has been erratic and his compatriot Lucas Verissimo from Santos has been linked with a move as well as Napoli centre-back Lorenzo Tonelli.
Udinese could sell Czech starlet Jakub Jankto to Milan so the Zebrette might need to find a replacement in midfield too and defender Gustavo Gomez could be included in the deal.