Transfer window: latest news
Some big movements were made since I’ve completed the last article, in this transfer window. Ok, not really big ones, but definitely some that are worth mentioning.
Gonzalo Higuain, still under contract with Juventus, had his Milan loan cut short to make a 6 months loan move to Chelsea for the fee of £8.10m. It’s unclear whether this deal has an option to buy in summer, when the loan ends, but the Blues have made an interesting deal. However, Higuain only found the net 8 times in all competitions with Milan, and his 6 Serie A goals this season is technically his worst display in the Italian championship ever since arriving in Italy in 2013, when he left Real Madrid to join Napoli. On the other hand, Higuain is now reunited with his former Napoli coach, Maurizio Sarri. Under his leadership, in the 2015/16 season, Napoli came second place in Serie A, behind Juventus, while Higuain became the league’s goalscorer that season with an impressive run of 36 goals. This move could either be a sound success, or a complete flop, but Sarri so far has brought what’s best of the Argentinian striker.
Krzysztof Piatek was quickly bought by Milan from Genoa to be Higuain’s replacement for a reported fee of €35m. In his 6 months stay at Genoa, the Polish striker broke records set by footballers like Schevchenko and Batistuta, such as scoring in each of his first Serie A matches, and was reported to be a target of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. It’s quite an impressive feat for the relatively unknown Piatek, who made his move from Cracovia, in his native Poland, to Genoa only last summer, and has since scored 13 goals in 19 Serie A matches, and 19 goals in all competitions for the Griffins. However, the difficult task of establishing himself at Milan will serve to prove whether Piatek is really the new Lewandowski, or just a one season bloomer.
Mario Balotelli has made a move to Marseille, a 6 months deal, after terminating his contract with Nice due to his conflict with coach Patrick Vieira, his former Inter and Manchester City teammate. Whether this is a good transfer for Marseille remains to be seen, even though he has just managed in his debut against Lille, a 1–2 loss. Balotelli now has quite the task, to establish himself in a position in which OM is lacking, with competition Kostas Mitroglou and Valere Germain having netted only 3 goals each. It doesn’t help that all the growing maturity the Italian striker has shown in his first seasons with Nice nothing but shattered after his fall out with Vieira, and his complicated character has once again surfaced. Before Nice, Balotelli has played for teams like Inter, Manchester City, Milan and Liverpool, and none of these spells have turned out right.
Also, Alvaro Morata’s transfer to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea seems to be facing some complications, despite Higuain’s arrival nothing but shortening any chances the Spanish striker had at getting playtime. If Morata does arrive by the end of this transfer window, though, it could also mean the departure of Atletico’s Nikola Kalinic, who has reportedly received offers from Tottenham Hotspur, Schalke 04, Real Betis and a few teams from China and the Middle East.
Emiliano Sala: still no news
6 days after, there’s still no news on Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala and the plane which he boarded to get from the Canare Islands to Cardiff. The forward made a transfer from Nantes to Cardiff City this transfer window, but after completing his medical at Cardiff, Sala returned to Nantes on the morning of 19 January on a plane arranged by football agent Mark McKay, to “take care of a few things”. His intention was to return to Cardiff on 21 January in order to attend his first training session with his new club the following morning, however, the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane he was on went missing. Funds are still raised with the purpose of his retrieval, with Kylian Mbappe being the latest donor.