Saturday Apr 10, 2021  
  05/02/2014: Few words on the January mercato
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Last weekend another January mercato was concluded and once again ended up in misery for the vast majority of SS Lazio fans, in particular for those residing in the Italian capital. Just like the last 2-3 campaigns of the same transfer window, Lazio management failed to bring proper re-enforcements but rather, this time faced numerous rejections by several players and concentrated on business rather than the needs of the team. At least this is the general sentiment circulating all around.

Only Helder Postiga (Valencia) and Gael Kakuta (Chelsea) arrived on loan with right to buy come June. On the other hand, Lazio sold Sergio Floccari (Sassuolo), Hernanes (Inter) and Beppe Sculli (Genoa).

Without wishing to defend the club management and despite all the negativity surrounding SS Lazio`s transfer campaign, allow me to argue why this transfer window could have been good!

The curious case of Hernanes

Both Hernanes and Lazio management clearly said that it was the player`s wish to leave the club. Lazio understood that the player had intention to move towards the expiration of his contract, which would cause Lazio make no profit at all from his sale. On the other hand, Mazzarri basically begged new Inter President Thohir to sign Hernanes as he saw him the missing puzzle for his midfield. Lazio negotiated hard and reached to a very solid price of 17+3 million Euros. Hardly anyone can complain about the price. But what infuriated the fans were the lack of a serious replacement and the timing of the sale.

Hernanes' crying and his statement that he wants to join a club who aims more than a Coppa Italia added more fuel to the already wild fire. But while Lazio has won a Coppa Italia, I may well ask Hernanes – what did Inter win in the process and with such a powerful Juventus, how sure can be he that he will actually win something with Inter?

I firmly believe Lotito was right to sell Hernanes for this amount; otherwise the club risked another Pandev case, meaning the loss of a player on a free transfer. On top of it all, let me remind you that Hernanes was having a mediocre season until that goal vs Udinese. Even in that match, he entered as a substitute which means that coach Reja believed he had better players to field that day.

Further, no one would bet that, had Hernanes stayed, Lazio would have done better in the standings. Lazio already is wounded by a very poor first half of the season and the possible stay of Hernanes would make little difference, in particular with the return of Mauri and with the emergence of the youngsters Keita and Perea.

Sergio Floccari was sold for nearly 2 million Euros which was a masterstroke, given that he would become a free agent in 6 months’ time. Further, he had little playing time so there was nothing to lose here, in particular, again, since the emergence of youngsters mentioned above. With Helder Postiga, Lazio risks nothing. If he scores well, if not then he will pack his bags in 6 months time. More or less the same could be said about the other arrival Kakuta, but if the latter shows signs of promise and progress, Lazio might well stick to him longer given his young age.

All in all, Lazio is owed 20 million Euros by both Inter and Sassuolo and from the business perspective this is brilliant. This is a massive amount to spend in the summer and Lazio could become an important player in the summer mercato.

Edy Reja`s gaffe and the ‘rejections’

It was no secret that Lazio courted a few players (mainly offensive) during the mercato as per Mister Reja`s wish. First Matri chose Fiorentina for the reasons only he would know. Then, Lazio made another attempt on Quagliarela and then on Giovinco and Biabiany - but all refused to move!

Now Edy Reja made a bald – and in my view one unnecessary statement – saying that some 10 players refused to transfer to Lazio this January market. He should not have said that because that will have a bad impact of club`s image. More so, he probably knew the rejections, but he could not have known the motives behind the rejections!

But the question I would like to put is this: did they refuse Lazio per se, or they refused to move anywhere?

Based on what I gather, it is the former because while Matri made a choice to join a team which has a better standing and a chance to play in Champions League, the same cannot be told about the others: in my view, Quagliarela and Giovinco proved to be poor sportsmen and preferred to remain benched and have another Scudetto in their name (despite being marginally involved) rather than have a significant role in Lazio`s second part of the season and probably next few seasons. The fact that Quagliarela refused to go to Sampdoria (club where he developed as a player) speaks again that he did not wish to leave Juve at this stage.

Regarding Biabiany, the player refused to go to China for better wages. His move to Milan also collapsed. So, why do the media not report the said two previous deals but rather, only his rejection of Lazio!?

Parma`s Ghirardi said that Tare acted properly and offered the player a very decent salary for a 4-5 year contract (starting with 1,3 million per season and increasing) but the player did not move for personal reasons. Rumors say that Biabiany wants to leave Parma in the summer and he wants to choose carefully his next club and not in the haste such was the case last week.

Based on the foregoing, I believe that above all Lazio lacks a proper handling of public relations which once again has a negatively impacted the image of the club. Furthermore, a friendlier approach with the Roman fans of SS Lazio would not be harmful at all.

If Lotito is sincere in what he is saying, why not hold a meeting with representatives of Lazio fans and explain to them in a civilized way what has been going on.

Author: Amir S
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