Every team playing in competitive championship, regardless of category, address their weaknesses in January transfer market. This January was not an exception to the generally known rule. As usual, financially stronger teams took advantage and further strengthened their rosters while doing their best to offload some financial burden in the form of player salaries most of all.
Contrary to last January when Lazio signed Diaz and Floccari, which basically changed the course of season and were instrumental parts in avoiding relegation, this January things were quite different. As the team does not fight for relegation, the management only thought of addressing immediate needs of the team, and according to Mr Reja, that was a striker. Several options were tackled, but without any doubt the priority was Hugo Almedida from Werder Bremen. Lazio was after him and there was no denial in that. But the Turkish club Besiktas was more determined to acquire the player and so they did by giving high a salary that Lazio could not match and a more adequate compensation to his former team. Then came several other options like Santa Cruz but Lotito dragged the deal far too long and the player finished with his former club Blackburn. I am glad that he did not join us. I had a bad feeling about this deal. At the end, Giuseppe Sculli joined us after Lotito and Preziosi quickly stroke a deal. Many argue if Sculli was the type of a player Reja wanted, but since the latter was in favor of Sculli coming to Lazio and personally calling him, I believe that Mister has more concrete plans in his head concerning this player. Other players we were seriously interested were Reto Ziegeler, Sampdori`s left back and an exchange of Blasi for Foggia with Napoli – both failed.
But what about the other teams we compete this season.
1. Milan – further strengthened the team with Emanulsson, Van Bomel, Legrotaglia and Dida(!). Serie A title is their to lose. They are several points ahead in the standings and it is highly unlikely they let that advantage vanish.
2. Inter – the name of Pazzini speaks alone. First match = 2 goals and a penalty. Kharja and Nagatomo of Catania could also prove to be valuable players for them.
3. Juve – made an excellent purchase in Matri, but will he be able to bring Juve the goals they are so desperately looking for to continue the chase for a CL spot. I think by now it is clear that they are no serious candidates for the title.
4. Roma – considering their societary status, they did not bring any player this campaign.
5. Napoli – the most relevant team for us: they signed Mascara, one fantastic midfielder from Catania and added quality to their roster as well as a Spanish defender Ruiz. It goes without saying that they were more skillful in the market than Lazio.
It is my view that following this January mercato campaing, Lazio finds itself in a weaker situation than before it. Main rivals this season have purchased quality players, being without any doubt, in a more favorable financial situation. Considering the number of injuries the team is facing right now and the number of matches played by several players on the roster, a quality midfielder was needed to maintain the hope of a possible Champions League alive. By no means I say that we have no chance for a CL spot, but considering the acquisitions made by other teams, that is less likely.