Serie A and Serie B
Maxwell Acosty (Latina): The 24-year-old Ghanaian winger snatched a crucial point with a 90th minute goal (1:37 in the video) in the 2-2 draw (which also featured a sending off for Viola legend Rubén Olivera) against table-topping Crotone, bringing his season tally to 6 goals and 3 assists in 17 matches. Although Latina are sitting just a point above the relegation zone, Acosty's been brilliant all year and is probably all that's keeping them in it; maybe it's finally all coming together for him. He probably won't be a superstar, but he's always had the pace to be a useful player, and with the goals falling out of him, he could find a place in the Fiorentina squad next season.
Filippo Bandinelli (Latina): The Florence-born 20-year-old who can play as a winger or a central midfielder hasn't even been in the matchday squad since October. If manager Mario Somma doesn't want to use him, it might be for the best that he looks for minutes elsewhere, maybe in Serie C2.
Joshua Brillante (Como): The 22-year-old Australian defensive midfielder was, as usual, on the bench for the 0-1 loss to Avellino. With the Lariani sitting at the bottom of the table, one might think that manager Gianluca Festa would shake things up, giving some of his reserves a chance in an effort to spark anything. It doesn't speak well of the hirsute Antipodean's future, though, that he can't even break into the starting lineup at a club struggling so much.
Leonardo Capezzi (Crotone): The 20-year-old midfield boss played all 90 minutes in Saturday's surprising draw against Latina, picking up an early yellow card. He continues to look like one of the best players players with the Squali, and may return to compete for a berth with his parent club next season. He's also impressed for the U20 internationals, and has the makings of a future star.
Nicolò Fazzi (Virtus Entella): The 20-year-old winger and midfielder was excluded from the squad for Saturday's 4-1 win against Vicenza. After spending the first 2 months of the season as a starter, manager and Alec Baldwin lookalike Alfredo Aglietti has dropped the U21 international recently, which coincides with a sudden surge in form for the Diavoli Neri. Fazzi has the quality to stay and fight for his place, so let's hope he gets it back.
Cedric Gondo (Ternana): The 19-year-old Ivorian attacker was dropped from the squad for 4-0 loss at Cesena. The week before, though, he scored his first goal of the season as a substitute in the 4-0 rout of Como last week with a neat finish on the break. He's come on strong in the past couple of months, forcing manager Roberto Breda to include him in the 15th-placed Rossoverdi setup. Hopefully, his absence last week was just some scheduled rest, and he's ready to kick on for the rest of the season.
Gianluca Mancini (Perugia): The 19-year-old centerback was on the bench for Friday's 4-1 win against Livorno. He hasn't gotten into the team since early September, and only has 3 appearances (2 in the Coppa Italia, from which the Grifoni are eliminated) this season. A move might do him good, as he's obviously not earned manager Pierpaoli Bispoli's trust yet. Perhaps Serie B was too much too soon for the youngster, and a move down a division would help him.
Amidu Salifu (Perugia): The 24-year-old Ghanaian midfielder missed the Livorno match, and we've finally figured out why he hasn't been playing: he's been dealing with a bum hamstring all year. Hopefully he can get healthy and get playing soon, since he remains a promising prospect as a midfield bruiser.
Ryder Matos (Carpi): The 22-year-old Brazilian attacker was rested for Sunday's 2-3 loss against Juventus. He also recently started in some Coppa Italia game that we didn't pay any attention to. Anyways, it looks like he's back in favor under manager Fabrizio Castori, although his last league goal was in early October. With the Biancorossi looking likely to drop back down to Serie B, Matos will probably return to Fiorentina next season; as a nippy, direct, hardworking, and versatile attacker, he will, at worst, be a useful squad piece in a Paulo Sousa system he seems tailor-made for.
Lorenzo Venuti (Brescia): The 20-year-old fullback was benched for Saturday's 1-1 draw against La Spezia. Ever since his straight red for a very bad tackle last month, manager Roberto Boscaglia has kept him off the field, coinciding with a push into 5th place. The U20 international certainly has the quality to regain his spot. With a bit of determination, he should have it back directly.
Luca Zanon (Virtus Entella): The 19-year-old leftback was on the bench for the Vicenza win. Aglietti (seriously, looks like Alec Baldwin) doesn't seem to like the U20 international, so a move elsewhere may be worth investigating to get a promising young player some actual playing time.
Lower Italian leagues
Alessandro Bacci (Pisa): The 20-year-old goalkeeper stayed on the bench for Sunday's 1-1 draw at Lupa Roma. Manager Gennaro Gatusso gave him the hook early last month, he's been second choice to Chievo loanee Matteo Brunelli. With the Torri riding high in 3rd place, the best Bacci can do is keep his head down (always good advice when near Gatusso anyways) and try to win his spot back.
Lorenzo Bardini (Prato): The 19-year-old goalkeeper was on the bench for Sunday's 2-4 defeat against Carrarese. He's been the backup for the Lanieri all season; his only action has come in their Coppa Italia matches, of which he started 2. Looks like the Florence-born player is progressing steadily, albeit unspectacularly.
Nicolò Gigli (Lecce): The 19-year-old centerback remained planted on the bench for Sunday's 2-1 win against Benevento. After a brief, injury-fueled run in the squad last month, he's back to riding the pine for the 4th place Giallorossi. Getting some minutes as a spot starter is decent progress for the youngster, although he probably needs another few years of seasoning to make an impact with his senior side.
Axel Gulin (Pordenone): The 20-year-old winger picked up a knock in training last week, which has kept him out of the squad since. He may benefit from a change of scenery once he recovers, as he's made just a single appearance for the 8th-place Ramarri and is stagnating when he ought to be fighting for minutes.
Saverio Madrigali (Arezzo): The 20-year-old centerback played the full 90 minutes in Sunday's scoreless draw at 2nd-place Maceratese. He's now started the past 11 games on the trot for the Amaranti, scoring a goal in the process and collecting just a single booking. Capable of playing anywhere across a three-man defense or in the middle of a back four, he's looking like he could be a solid defender for years to come.
Diego Peralta (Pisa): The 19-year-old Argentine winger played the last 18 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Lupa Roma. He also got 9 minutes last week in the 1-1 draw against Maceratese. He's only started once this term, but Gatusso likes him as a supersub; he's been subbed into 10 matches, scoring once and assisting twice. Counting the Coppa, he's averaging 0.64 goals or assists per 90 minutes played, so he's progressing nicely. Next step is to crack the starting lineup, but even he can't, he's having a productive season and is progressing nicely.
Jacopo Petriccione (Pistoiese): The 20-year-old midfield schemer converted the decisive penalty (incident begins at 1:07 in the video) in Saturday's 1-0 win over Savona. He's now started 4 straight matches, forcing his way into manager Massimiliano Alvini's setup. On the season he's got 12 appearances (6 starts), with a goal and a pile of yellow cards. In fairness, he's cleaned his game up in recent months, keeping his name out of the referees' books, and is starting to look like the sort of deep playmaker who could easily slot in behind Milan Badelj in a few years.
José María Basanta (Monterrey--Mexico): The 31-year-old centerback, fresh from a decent spell at Mexican side Monterrey, is technically a Fiorentina player again. I can't find any evidence that los Rayados have opted to make his loan permanent, so he may well end up in Florence again soon. It's unlikely that he'll come storming back to the first eleven, but, following a well-earned vacation, he could end up rejoining the squad again as defensive depth. We'll keep an eye on him over the coming weeks.
Steve Leo Beleck (CFR Cluj--Romania): The 22-year-old Caneroonian attacker came on for the last 23 minutes in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Dinamo Bukarest. The week before, he came on at halftime and "assisted" (I mean, it went as an assist on the scoresheet, so) Cristian López for the only Feroviarii goal in the 2-1 defeat at Botosani. The peripatetic Beleck continues to be a key man in manager Toni Conceição's squad, although he'll probably need another year or two on loan if he ever wants to break into his parent club.
Mario Gómez (Beşiktaş --Turkey): The 31-year-old German striker continued his resurgence, heading in a goal in Monday's 2-3 win at Osmanlispor. He also equalized in last week's 2-1 win over Galatasaray; he's scored in 3 straight, and has brought his total to 12 goals in 16 league games, as well as 2 in 5 Champions League matches. Thriving with the Kara Kartallar, his future's still a bit up in the air, but he's back with the German national team and has to be pleased to recapture his goalscoring form. It's a shame it didn't work out in Florence, but at least the Gomez button isn't dormant now. Also, the Süper Lig apparently guards highlights like nuclear codes, so there's no video on YouTube of Gomez's single-handed assault on goal nets across Turkey.
Ianis Hagi (Viitorul Constanta--Romania): The 17-year-old Romanian attacker was an unused substitute in Puștii lui Hagi's 2-3 win at Voluntari on Monday. He's slid to the bench in recent weeks, picking up a couple of DNP-coach's decision in 2 of the past 3 weeks. It's entirely possible that a full season in the rugged Romanian league is proving to be a bit much physically for his teenage physique, and his father/manager Gheorghe Hagi wants to keep him fresh. Substitute appearances may be what he's best suited for at this point, as he learns to keep his head down and work for a starting spot.
Rafał Wolski: The 23-year-old Polish attacker stayed on the bench for 3-1 loss at Leuven. He did get 20 minutes as a sub last week in the 1-1 draw with Lokeren. With minutes hard to come by under manager Aleksandar Jankovic, it may not hurt the former wunderkind's chances to move elsewhere in the window, although fighting for a spot might be just as good. While he's at least getting some scraps here and there, he needs significant minutes to rebuild his confidence, instead sitting on the bench or in the stands for 5 games in a row. All that early promise is in real danger of guttering out.
So yeah. That's how things stand right before the transfer window. Who needs a move, and where would you like to see them go?