But just what have Napoli done this month? There was a lot of talk, but very little action in the end, with Napoli involved in just eight transactions involving first-team players, most of them headed out the door instead of in. Let's take a look at the ins, outs, and notable misses of the last four weeks of transfer activity.
- Midfielder Alberto Grassi signed for €8 million plus bonuses.
- Defender Vasco Regini joined on loan with an option to buy.
- Midfielder Eddy Gnahore signed for €200,000 and was loaned to Carpi for the remainder of the season.
- Defender Henrique transferred to Fluminense (Brazil) for €2 million.
- Midfielder Jonathan De Guzman joined Carpi on loan.
- Midfielder Josip Radosevic joined Eibar (Spain) on loan with an option to buy.
- Midfielder Jacopo Dezi joined Bari (Serie B) on loan.
- Defender Camilo Zuniga joined Bologna on loan.
- Negotiations for midfielders Christoph Kramer (Bayer Leverkusen) & Hector Herrera (FC Porto) broke down over high transfer fee demands.
- Forward Ciro Immobile re-joined Torino despite initial interest from Napoli.
- After several rumored agreements for a loan with an option to buy, negotiations for defender Nikola Maksimovic broke down after Torino kept raising their demanded price repeatedly.
- A transfer for midfielder Nikola Ninkovic (Partizan Belgrade) broke down because Napoli were unable to free up a non-EU transfer slot. He signed with Genoa instead and was loaned to Chievo Verona.
- Defender Federico Barba (Empoli) chose to join Stuttgart (Germany) instead of Napoli.
- Not sure this strictly counts as a miss, but Napoli's transfer for striker Filip Raicevic (Vicenza, Serie B) was delayed until June instead of being finalized on deadline day.
In the end, it was a fairly quiet transfer window for Napoli despite high hopes coming into January. Aurelio De Laurentiis had promised to sign a "top player," and while they certainly tried with their efforts to sign Kramer and Herrera, Napoli's valuations of the two midfielders just didn't mesh with that of their respective clubs. The only first-team signing who will have an impact this season is Vasco Regini, who will help Napoli's previously paper-thin depth at center back.
There's also Alberto Grassi, Napoli's one decent-money signing of the window, he's mostly around to help the midfield depth and be a piece for the future. He's also hurt, though should only be out for a few weeks. They also picked up a wild card signing in Eddy Gnahore, who could be great or could be nothing. That's a no-risk scenario considering that his fee was basically pocket change to a club of Napoli's size.
There's a lot of departures, but considering that they've played a grand total of zero minutes for Napoli it doesn't matter much. Dezi and Radosevic need the minutes, and the others were various forms of disgruntled. No losses here. The misses are more annoying over how they happened or "that would have been nice" than anything actually painful.
There was also one intriguing subplot that developed during the window -- an apparent partnership forming between Napoli and Carpi. The biancorossi took two Napoli players on loan and were linked to a third before that deal got delayed to next summer, and there were rumblings off and on all month about other possible deals between the two clubs. Carpi don't look terribly likely to survive the relegation battle right now, but if Napoli can build up enough goodwill and set them up as a partner club of sorts to use for loans in Serie B -- or maybe even in Serie A if they stay up -- that could prove immensely valuable.
The biggest takeaway is that Napoli felt that they already had a strong squad for this season, so they decided to tinker rather than make big changes for the sake of it. There was a sense that they were willing to splash out on the "right" player, but otherwise didn't want to risk hurting the team's admirable chemistry.
Still, a lot of fans are going to point to ADL's "top player" promise and come away disappointed by what actually wound up happening. That's certainly understandable, but with Napoli on top of the table and playing extremely well, it's hard to argue too much with choosing to "just" improve the team's depth while getting rid of some deadweight. Does the team still have needs? Yes, but most of them would require a bigger makeover better done in the summer.