The infamous January transfer window has shut. To everyone else it’s old news but here at Pondering Calcio we like to linger, or ponder you might say, a little longer on certain, if not all, things. Today I have put together a small list of the transfers I find the most wise of the winter. Read along and see if you agree with me or you find me to be an utter imbecile.
Alberto Gilardino from Fiorentina to Genoa
While the world cup winning striker might not have become the world beater we had hoped for, he has never failed utterly either. He’s a well proven man with a lot of both national and international experience, and at an age of only 29 he still has some good years in him. Genoa is a club desperately screaming for someone or something to pull them out of mid-table mediocrity. They also need experience and continuity. Given the right working conditions Gilardino can give them all that, even if he’s a player who needs service from the midfield and especially from the wingers. Given that Genoa might have found their target man for the next three or four seasons.
Gilardino has tried the biggest stages of them all, with mixed results, and might thus like to stay in less stressful Genoa, even if he should get a considerable amount if success there. In a club where half the team is changed every year it remains just to be seen who his team mates are going to be next year. My guess is that Rodrigo Palacio isn’t going to be one of them.
Eduardo Vargas from Universidad de Chile to Napoli
Don’t let his strange display in his debut fool you. This guy is proven quality and huge potential in one convenient package. His debut was marred by the usual Napoli lacklustreness against a small team and the fact that Walter Mazzarri’s tactics can be a bit hard to grasp when thrown directly into them. His mistake at the Cesena goal was probably just a result of an overeagerness to prove his work ethics in front of a coach who’s attackers play an important part as the first line of defence.
Vargas has scored goals on high international level and he has a big name in South America. The fact that Napoli was able to sign him, for what appears to be a reasonable sum even, shows that both the club and Serie A in general still has a lure in that part of the world. Should he end up being more of a José Luis Calderon than a Gabriel Omar Batistuta, no one can blame Napoli for taking the chance with him.
I think Vargas will be a success when he has settled into tactics and atmosphere. Napoli needs speed and ideas to break stalemates, especially if Lavezzi isn’t playing. Against defensive side the wingers cannot do it alone and the balls to target man Cavani are becoming few and far between – Vargas is an extra weapon in those situations. If Napoli want to compete in three competitions every year, they need quality depth, and competition, in the squad. Even if Vargas doesn’t become a first team regular within his first year in Italy he gives them just that.
The Juventus spring cleaning
Spring cleaning came early, or late depending on the eyes that see, in Juventus. The dead bulk of players who never saw time on the pitch is gone. Iaquinta and Toni, two heralded former world champions, were at a dead end street in their waning careers and it’s best for everyone that they leave the space that has already been taken away from them by Antonio Conte over the younger players.
Amauri, Motta and Pazienza are young players who given the right nurture can blossom again somewhere else. Especially the latter is a good, no bullshit midfielder who deserves first team football and who will benefit from a shorter or longer stay in Udinese. Motta has been really bad for Juventus – last year he even lost his place at right back to a totally unproven, young, Danish central defender. As some kind of wing back or simply just a right midfielder Motta might still have to relaunch his career, but it’s not going to be in Juve, and with good reason. The same, apart from his position on the field, can actually be said about Amauri, who went from being wonderful in Palermo to woeful in Turin.
That was five players out of Juve in one short January window, making The Old Lady almost appear Genoa-esque. It was however, not one too many.
I like Chievo’s purchase of Dario Dainelli, who’s a proven and humble defender. He’ll be good for them and I hope that they can and will hang on to him. I also like the idea of Emiliano Viviano as first choice in Palermo, where his 50/50 ownership signals at least some kind of ambitions both for his part and the club’s. Genoa also made a good signing in Davide Biondini who might not be a world slayer, but who provides steady, no-nonsense work in the midfield – I like that if anyone should be in doubt.
Finally I think that Novara made a good deal with the cheap signing of Danish midfielder Daniel Jensen. There’s little to no risk for the club, and they gain a seasoned midfielder, who I’m pretty sure won’t mind to stay around in Serie B next year and add some grit and some experience. He obviously won’t save them from relegation.
Photo by debephoto