Juventus Transfers: Best and Worst January Signings in Recent History

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2012

Juventus Transfers: Best and Worst January Signings in Recent History

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    The January transfer window is nearly upon us, and with that in mind, we'll take a trip down to memory lane and look back at some of the January signings Juventus have made in recent times.

    Mid-season transfers are always tricky, and Juve's front office are well aware of this. The number of players the Bianconeri have signed in January over the last decade has been fairly limited, and fans shouldn't expect a major overhaul of the roster this time around either.

    Some January signings pan out and greatly contribute to solving a problem the team might have or help in a potential title run. Others, well, not so much.

    So, let's take a look at some of the players that have moved to Turin during winter and see which deals were the best and the worst!

Best: Luca Toni

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    Luca Toni only played 14 games for Juventus and scored just twice. So how does that make him one of the better signings?

    It's simple really: he joined the team on a free transfer.

    Any time you get some kind of production from a player who didn't cost you a cent, that counts as a win.

    When Toni joined the team in 2011, he was already a player far removed from his peak, but it never hurts to bring in an experienced player at a very low cost.

    This is the kind of deal teams should make in January. Toni added depth to a squad that needed some—and hardly cost anything. He scored one very important goal against Cagliari that ultimately ended up being crucial to Juve's title chances.

Worst: Mohamed Sissoko

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    Mohamed Sissoko was supposed to solve all of Juventus's problems in midfield when he arrived in 2008 from Liverpool, but his time in Turin was marked by injury and inconsistency.

    His first 12 months with the club were solid (if unspectacular), but soon after, everything went downhill.

    The big defensive midfielder couldn't stay healthy, and in those rare instances when he could play, it was clear he didn't really fit into the team.

    PSG came knocking for his signature in the summer of 2011, and Chilean Arturo Vidal was brought in from Bayern Leverkusen to replace Sissoko.

    Vidal has gone on to become a key part of Juve's MVP midfield and was instrumental in Antonio Conte's first title run.

Best: Adrian Mutu

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    Signing Adrian Mutu for free was a brilliant move by the Juventus coaching staff, and if it weren't for the Calciopoli scandal that saw the team get relegated, the Romanian would most likely have enjoyed several successful seasons with the Bianconeri.

    Mutu was released by Chelsea in 2004 for failing a drug test and was banned from football for the better part of 2005. Juve, however, signed the disgraced player in January of that year, and as soon as the ban was finished, he joined the team and was able to get ready for the 2005-2006 season—a season in which his goalscoring abilities helped the team win yet another title (though it was later taken away in the wake of Calciopoli).

    When the severity of Juve's punishment became clear, Mutu was sold to rivals Fiorentina for a reported eight million. Not a bad haul for a player that joined the team on a free transfer and scored some important goals during his time in the black and white.

Worst: Hasan Salihamidzic

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    Hasan Salihamidzic didn't join the team until the summer of 2007, but the deal had already been made six months before.

    For a player that was so good at Bayern Munich, it's hard to comprehend how he could be so mediocre for Juventus. After a solid first season, his play regressed dramatically, and he quickly became an afterthought in Turin.

    The tricky winger with incredible vision was soon forgotten by the general public, and fans nowadays often don't even remember Salihamidzic ever played for their team.

    Injuries certainly played their part, but the Bosnian was a huge disappointment for the Bianconeri. His contract was not extended when it ran out in the summer of 2011.

Best: Alessandro Matri

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    Alessandro Matri moved to Juventus on a loan deal from Cagliari in the summer of 2011 and was the team's leading scorer for the second part of the season, a campaign that can be seen as a return to prominence for the Bianconeri.

    During the summer, he was signed to a permanent deal and became Antonio Conte's primary striker. The following season, he again led the team in scoring, and it was his equaliser at the San Siro against AC Milan that proved the difference in Juventus claiming their first Serie A title since Calciopoli.

    Matri might have struggled so far this season, but his importance to the team in the previous two campaigns cannot be overstated.

    Bringing him in on a loan deal in midseason was the first step the Bianconeri made in building the team's current juggernaut.

Worst: Thierry Henry

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    Let me emphasize: There was nothing wrong with the move Juventus made for Thierry Henry. The team recognised his potential and decided to give the young Frenchman a go.

    During the six months Henry spent with the team, you could see what kind of player he was going to become. While his time in Turin might have been difficult, and though Henry failed to live up to expectations, he should have been given more time.

    Why this deal can be classified as one of the worst January signings in Juventus history is because the team allowed one of the best strikers of his generation to walk away for the smallest of profits before he was given the chance to blossom.

    Signing young, talented players is how you build for the future, and the team should have put in an effort to make him feel at home and explore how he could best be utilised.

    If Henry had been given one more year in Turin, and a chance to play as a striker alongside Alessandro Del Piero, the entire decade might have belonged to the Bianconeri.

    Let this be a lesson for the future: Young players should get a fair chance and enough time to fully develop into the players they may become. That is how you build a dynasty.