20 Biggest Serie A Talking Points from the January Transfer Window

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

20 Biggest Serie A Talking Points from the January Transfer Window

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    The transfer window closed on Friday and has given followers of Serie A much to digest as moves that did or didn't happen shape the landscape of the league.

    Some of the peninsula's biggest clubs have been involved in the more intriguing stories, but the lesser lights have grabbed the headlines, too.

    On the following pages are the 20 biggest plotlines to emerge from a hugely entertaining January. Enjoy!

Alessandro Diamanti's Chinese Call

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    Bologna playmaker Alessandro Diamanti may have been the subject of January's most surprising storyline. A bid from Asian Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande would have seen the 30-year-old earn a huge pay increase.

    With his World Cup hopes very much alive, it seemed a strange move despite Marcello Lippi's presence as coach of the Chinese side. It remains to be seen if the offer will resurface in the summer.

Anderson at Fiorentina

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    In a move few could understand, Manchester United midfielder Anderson arrived at Fiorentina. The Viola are known for free-flowing and quick passing, two attributes one could rarely associate with the Brazilian at Old Trafford.

    Already seeing playing time, his chances of a permanent move will be played out between now and the summer.

Sassuolo Changing Strategy?

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    Newly-promoted Sassuolo hit Serie A with an exciting brand of attacking football under coach Eusebio Di Francesco but struggled to adapt to the top flight.

    January saw them sack the man who brought them out of Serie B for the first time in their history and replace him with Alberto Malesani. They also signed Sergio Floccari, Paolo Cannavaro and Thomas Manfredini, three veteran players who all featured in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Hellas Verona.

    Whether this sudden influx of experience can save them remains to be seen.

Genoa: The Serie A Graveyard?

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    Marco Motta, Paolo De Ceglie and Nicolas Burdisso are hardly the most exciting signings a club could make, the trio regularly viewed as failing to meet their once-great promise.

    Bringing in any one of the three seems like an idea few could rationalise—combining them into any kind of cohesive defensive unit would be incredible coaching.

Michael Bradley to MLS

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    Arriving at Toronto FC alongside Jermaine Defoe, the move back to North America of US international Michael Bradley could well be the most significant move of the past month.

    It is a huge statement of intent from the Canadian side and MLS itself, with the 26-year-old opting to play there instead of in the Champions League with Roma.

    With time left before the season gets underway, this is a story that has yet to truly begin.

Striking Choices at Juventus

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    Pablo Osvaldo's arrival from Southampton could shape not only the remainder of Juve's season but also Italy's World Cup squad and the Turin club's future transfer policy.

    He gives Antonio Conte six strikers to choose from, which should help once the Europa League restarts, but could drastically reduce playing time for Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco.

    That could see the Montenegrin leave this summer, while the latter pair may also do the same and could miss a trip to Brazil if they hardly play.

    Of course, Osvaldo could just as easily endure another explosion and hastily exit himself...

What Now for Lazio?

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    Just half a season since they won the Italian Cup, Lazio are a vastly different club. Coach Vladimir Petkovic is gone, as is Hernanes, long viewed as their best player.

    What happens now under the returning Edy Reja will be important as they currently appear to lack any coherent direction.

From Cagliari to Leeds..Via Miami

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    A disaster at Cagliari almost entirely his own making, Massimo Cellino now arrives at Leeds United in a bizarre move.

    Constant legal wrangles mean the Sardinian side play in front of fewer than 5,000 people while confusion reigns over the position of Brian McDermott as coach of the Elland Road club after Cellino reportedly tried to sack him.

The Revolution Continues at Napoli

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    Since arriving in the summer, Rafael Benitez has overseen a dramatic change in Napoli's playing style. That continued in January with the signing of midfielder Jorginho.

    A revelation at Hellas Verona in the first half of this campaign, the Brazilian offers far more than the players previously available to the former Liverpool coach and will help further improve their attacking prowess.

Just Six Months Left of Antonio Di Natale?

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    January saw Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale announce his intention to retire at the end of the campaign, meaning we don't have long left to enjoy his brilliance.

    His presence is a huge factor in the club's continued success and losing him will undoubtedly affect the club. While we enjoy his last few months, they could sound a death knell for one of the continent's most intriguing stories.

Francesco Lodi to Catania

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    Francesco Lodi returns to Sicily having failed to make an impact at Genoa, but he will be feted by Catania fans.

    The skilful midfielder is loved by the supporters there and they will expect him to show the kind of form that will bring him back to the brink of Cesare Prandelli's World Cup plans.

Clarence Seedorf's Daunting Task

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    He already had a huge list of things to do, but January has shown just what lies ahead for new coach Clarence Seedorf.

    Out of the Coppa Italia, this weekend's disappointing draw with Torino left the Rossoneri no fewer than 15 points away from the Champions League places and 30 away from leaders Juventus. Both seem miles away at the moment with a knockout tie against Atletico Madrid equally daunting.

     

Alessandro Matri Back to Being Good?

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    Ending a disastrous six-month spell with Milan, Alessandro Matri has landed on his feet at Fiorentina. Injuries to Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez thrust him immediately into the starting line-up and he has not disappointed.

    Two goals in three games already have seen the former Juve man smile once again, and he is another knocking on Cesare Prandelli's door.

No Midfield Exits at Juventus

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    All four were linked with moves away, yet Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio remain in Turin.

    That will undoubtedly lead to another six months of speculation about each of them—Antonio Conte's ability to keep them happy and engaged will be vital.

Can Rudi Garcia Repeat His Gervinho Trick?

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    Still only 30, Michel Bastos arrives on loan from UAE club Al Ain, with Roma having the option of making the move permanent in the summer.

    He is well known to Rudi Garcia after their time at Lille, and the Giallorossi will hope he can undergo a similar resurrection to that of former team-mate Gervinho.

Milan's Midfield Question

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    Adel Taarabt, Keisuke Honda and Michael Essien all moved to Milan this past month, and it is difficult to see where they all fit.

    Clarence Seedorf will need to call on all his playing experience to form a cohesive unit from them, making for some interesting viewing over the next six months.

Can Hellas Verona Keep Going?

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    Hellas Verona enjoyed a wonderful first half of the season and currently sit in a surprising fifth place in the table.

    Much of that was due to the form of Jorginho, the midfielder netting seven goals and three assists in 18 league appearances.

    With him having been sold to Napoli, the ability of the Gialloblu to keep up that great form will be interesting to see.

Radja Nainggolan Improves Roma

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    Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

    While the exit of Michael Bradley provides its own talking point, Radja Nainggolan’s move to Roma reinforces a squad that was already impressing under Rudi Garcia.

    They may already be trailing Juventus in the Serie A title race, but a morale-boosting win over the Bianconeri in the Italian cup has given them belief they can topple the reigning champions.

    Champions League football next term is almost certain—Roma are most definitely a club to watch.

Mirko Vucinic Still at Juventus..

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    After completing a medical and perhaps even signing a contract with Inter, Mirko Vucinic somehow played against the Nerazzurri this past weekend.

    The spectacular collapse of this deal left the Milan-based club looking extremely incompetent and, despite words of encouragement from Juve management, many wondered how the Montenegrin striker could continue in Turin.

    Antonio Conte's actions spoke loudest, however, handing his player a late cameo as a substitute and he almost scored a magnificent goal. What happens to him once Pablo Osvaldo is able to fight for a place remains to be seen, but this was a great start.

..And Fredy Guarin Is Still at Inter

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    The other side of the Vucinic coin was that Fredy Guarin remained with Inter, despite fighting hard to leave the club.

    Unlike the Juve striker, however, the Colombian remains outside Walter Mazzarri's squad and what lies ahead for him is unclear. The World Cup and his ability make this a story to keep a very close eye on over the coming months.