Even in today’s world of 24-hour football news, the start of the January transfer window still sees rumours and speculation intensify. Given that the biggest clubs always generate the most interest, it is no surprise to see that Italian coverage focuses heavily on Juventus, Milan and Inter, their huge fan bases generating more internet traffic than all of their rivals, regardless of their respective League positions.
At every Press conference over the past few weeks, Max Allegri has been pressed about various stories concerning arrivals or departures from his squad, the Coach quizzed about Paulo Dybala, Emre Can, Stefano Sturaro and everyone in between. He has, as usual, batted away those questions, quick to tell the journalists present that while he of course has a major influence, decisions about buying and selling players are the responsibility of Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici.
Yet while Allegri simply dismisses almost every scrap of speculation thrown in his direction, supporters are left wondering just what to expect from those in charge of the Bianconeri chequebook. So far, January 2018 has been quiet for Juve, loaning the fit-again Marko Pjaca to Schalke to allow him to gain some much-needed playing time, in a system that will benefit both the player and the Old Lady.
The promising Croatian winger has been unable to stay healthy long enough to have any impact in Turin, but he netted on his debut for the Bundesliga outfit, helping them to a 2-1 friendly triumph against Genk. That bodes well for the future, as does the widely-reported news that Emre Can has already agreed to join Juve when his contract with Liverpool expires in the summer, making him the latest in a long line of superb, free-agent acquisitions.
However, while that move will continue a tradition which includes Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Dani Alves and Sami Khedira, fans of the Bianconeri will hope that the lack of other genuine targets means another long-standing habit of Marotta and Paratici has come to an end.
Indeed, while the two directors deserve immense credit for their work in assembling what remains a superb squad of players, their efforts each January have been almost laughable in comparison. Able to attract the likes of Arturo Vidal, Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain in the summer, the winter periods have seen them instead opt for signings like Marco Borriello, Dani Osvaldo and Tomas Rincon.
“The January transfer window is about repairing your squad and fortunately we are covered in all departments,” Marotta said over the weekend, and that seems to largely be true. Another central midfielder would of course help, but if Can is to join in June then spending now seems unnecessary, and Stephan Lichtsteiner will surely be added to the Champions League squad for the knockout rounds to ease the pressure at right-back.
Perhaps a few minor moves will happen, with even a chance to sign Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante being touted in recent weeks. Yet the 22-year-old will almost certainly remain with the Bergamo outfit until the summer, meaning this will be a month with no tangible changes in Turin.
Given their past mistakes when spending in haste, that will perhaps be no bad thing for Juventus.