With the official passage of Mohamed Salah to Fiorentina on loan and the presentations of both Salah and Aleandro Rosi this week, and a thumping Cuadrado-less victory in Rome on Tuesday, this transfer window is definitively behind us. Here to breakdown the whole window are all three of the writers at Viola Nation:
What was the best move of the Fiorentina transfer window?
Chloe: For me it would have to be Salah. I have seen his goals for Basel against Chelsea in the CL and I think that he is a hugely exciting prospect. I don't think it means a great deal that he hasn't featured for Chelsea much, as so many promising players have been signed by them and then left in the reserves. Take the example of Romelu Lukaku, who had scored more goals at 21 than any of Messi, Ibrahimovic, and Suarez. Despite his evident promise, he was sent on loan for two consecutive seasons and then sold by Chelsea. I feel that Salah is going to want to prove himself and the fact that we have the option to extend the loan for a further year is an added bonus.
Uros: It has to be the Cuadrado-Salah deal. Not there were a lot of dealings this window, but this is a good deal for all parties involved. It's true we lost one of the best players - and I'd always rather have a great player stay than get a lot of money, but it had to happen sooner or later. Even though this wasn't the best few months of Cuadrado's Fiorentina career, he will be missed. But Salah brings something, too. He's perhaps a less versatile, and probably generally not as great a player, but his quickness will likely drive Serie A defenses crazy. In general, with him, Gilardino and Diamanti, we now have a number of options up front.
Lorenzo: Certainly much will depend on how we eventually invest the money, but getting €31 million and a good player for Juan Cuadrado is quite the coup. Hopefully we will use the money in the summer either on a) getting the new stadium going or b) on refreshing the roster and readying the team for a run at the real top of the Serie A table in 2015-16… or both of those things. Regardless, we sold a player who wanted to leave at the top of his value, and in a moment when his contributions to the team were unreliable. Adding Alessandro Diamanti is a solid second-best move.
Worst move of the window?
Uros: Not getting a midfielder(s). We desperately need at least one. We went from an abundance of last season, to only having Pizarro, Mati, Borja and injured Aquilani as quality options in the middle. With all due respect, non of the alternatives are not at the desirable level. So, getting a muscular midfielder, someone like Kurtic except, you know, good, and someone to replace Badelj in a role of Pizarro replacement.
Another thing is, we have too many players. We should reduce the squad to around 20 players, plus some primavera boys. It cannot be easy for Montella to work with 30 players.
Lorenzo: Not bringing in a serviceable midfielder. On the one hand, I understand the logic. Prices are inflated in January, and there are likely going to be some real bargains on excellent midfielders this summer, when we will still have the Cuadrado cash in our pocket. But on the other, it is nothing more than horribly depressing thinking that we essentially have 4 good midfielders, and then Jasmin Kurtic, Milan Badelj, and Andrea Lazzari. Considering our quality in attack and our growing confidence in defense, this was the department that clearly needed help, and with a huge fixture pileup approaching, I am a bit pessimistic about our ability to play well and win consistently over the next couple months.
Chloe: Not selling Ilicic after the speculation of a move was a disappointment, as I personally don't think that he adds much to the team. Having said that his performance was a bit improved on Tuesday against Roma, and he has been included in the Europa League squad. Hopefully this will give him the incentive he needs to push on. I also question the wisdom of signing Alberto Gilardino. I know that Gilardino has been earmarked for a role in the staff, but do we really need him in the meantime? He has only scored one goal every three games in China so I'm not sure how much of an impact he can now have in Serie A, and I hope that it doesn't impact on Khouma Babacar signing his new contract if he feels like he has been pushed down in the pecking order.
What was the most underrated (or overrated) move of the transfer window?
Uros: We won't know for sure until the end of the season, but Diamanti will probably be underrated. He will definitely have a big role, at least until Salah is ready. What he has showed so far in the role of seconda punta, frankly, isn't much worse than what Cuadrado did - which makes sense cause it is his natural position, which cannot be said for vespa.
Lorenzo: I was going to say the most underrated move was the sale of completely useless Oleksandar Iakovenko to Den Haag, but then remembered it's only a six month loan. So after a couple painful tears were shed, I must admit that I overrated this move. Maybe one day we will finally be rid of the Mystery of Iako. Also, the renewal of Stefan Savic has been pretty dang underrated. He's been really excellent for us this season, and is growing into the defender people thought he could become.
Chloe: I probably underrated the Diamanti move. It didn't seem like a very ambitious transfer at first, but int he games that he has played he has shown great work rate, scrapping for every ball and snapping at the heels of defenders like a dog after a bone. He could provide some valuable experience in the second half of the season.
What move do you wish we had made in January?
Chloe: Being based in England and exposed to a lot of Premier League football, I think that Kevin Mirallas of Everton would be a good signing for us. He has already made noises about wanting a move away. He has plenty of pace, has scored some fantastic goals, and can play on either wing or behind the striker. He can use his head scores from inventive set pieces. Signing him might even give Joaquin a rest from time to time! Just don't ask him to take a penalty...
Lorenzo: Missing out on both Matteo Darmian and Daniele Baselli when being linked to both of them in the same window was pretty dispiriting, especially since they will both get better and more expensive. Would have been nice to move Mounir El Hamdaoui to Cesena too, but il Mago didn't want to go…
Uros: Out of players we were linked with, I wish we signed Baselli, or Montoya (or both). But who I think would fit this team nicely and probably isn't too expensive is Empoli's Mirko Valdifiori. At 28, he's missed an opportunity to become a star, but he is a big club material - certainly no less then some players we have in a rotation. He would be a perfect Pizarro alternative, proven in Serie A, with great stats in the current season, a player that doesn't look like an actual professional player in a slow motion.
Overall mercato vote?
Lorenzo: 5 I am pleased with signing of Diamanti, and think that selling Cuadrado at those terms was right, our inability to address our needs in midfield for 3 consecutive windows is downright embarrassing (remember when we signed Anderson on loan? Great times). I still think this team has the potential to do well on all fronts because of the talent already in place and the coming returns of Giuseppe Rossi and Federico Bernardeschi. But we'll have to be lucky, because as of now we are 2 injuries and a suspension away from fielding Kurtic and Lazzari in Europe. Add onto the midfield cluster**** that we began this window with Neto declaring his intention to leave and were still unable to sell, and you have yourself a pretty lousy transfer window.
Chloe: 6 Despite losing Cuadrado, we have managed to turn this transfer window into a positive one. We have brought in some quality additions and still have the money from the Cuadrado transfer for the summer when hopefully fees will be lower. I was pleased that Micah Richards didn't end up going to Inter, and hope that he gets more of a chance to show what he can do from now on. The resurgence of Mario Gomez, capped by his two goals in Rome on Tuesday is almost like having signed a new player. So many of the team have chipped in goals already this season, and if this continues alongside Gomez's apparent return to form, I think we are in for an exciting few months.
Uros: 5- Selling Cuadrado for a lot of money and getting someone like Salah counts as a great deal. And in all honesty, I was afraid that we'd have to lower our price for the Colombian. But we failed at getting a decent midfielder and an actual replacement for Cuadrado on the right. Oh, wait, there's Rosi. Awesome.