There’s usually no grey when it comes to January reinforcements.
It’s simply black or it’s white.
The signings in the transfer window either add that sprinkle of stardust or defensive solidity which win football games or prove vastly overpriced, often disrupting the balance and rhythm of a team.
Betting odds for teams can change significantly in the second half of a season, solely based upon the arrivals or departures in January.
In Germany, it’s not just who is arriving but rather who is departing.
Players may be enjoying their winter training camps as the window opens for business but the Wolfsburg door is revolving as we speak.
The departure of highly sought after forward Julian Draxler to Paris St Germain for a reported £35.5 million is an undoubted loss to the league.
That Wolfsburg appear to have recruited well to replace him – with Yunus Malli arriving from rivals Mainz and Riechedly Bazoer joining from Ajax – will still not dispel the thought Draxler will be a big loss to life at the Volkswagen Arena.
When action resumes next week, it’s hard to see past another title triumph for Bayern Munich who do not plan to sign anyone this month.
Yet the talk of the town have been lesser known clubs.
In only their eighth season, RB Leipzig lie in second place and have given the league a new lease of life – they have been strongly linked with Celtic striker Moussa Dembele and Udinese midfielder Seko Fofana – while Hoffenheim are in fifth and are only one of two unbeaten teams in the major European leagues.
There’s not expected to be much movement at the major clubs in Italy either.
Juventus are on course for an unprecedented sixth straight Serie A success and did their main transfer business last summer when Gonzalo Higuain arrived for £75 million from Napoli and guaranteed goals.
That’s not to say they won’t add to their squad this month should they be able to lure Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel.
Whether there are reinforcements for the Rossoneri remains to be seen.
After defeating Juve on penalties to win the Italian Super Cup, Milan appear unable to strengthen until the sale of the club to Chinese investors goes through.
It means Vincenzo Montella may have to wait until the summer to get his hands on a reported war chest.
Loan moves for Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini or Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu appear unlikely, while a link with Cagliari defender Marco Storari refuses to disappear – even if they have the worst defensive record in the Italian top flight.
Perhaps a departure of Luiz Adriano or Keisuke Honda can free up some funds.
Across the city, it appears increasingly likely Inter will bid farewell to Sevilla bound Stevan Jovetic, although the 14 goals so far from skipper Mauro Icardi (Serie A top scorer at the halfway stage) will help offset that.
Napoli also hope to be in the goals, boosting their attacking prowess with the signature of Leonardo Pavoletti from Genoa, while Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa probably wishes it was February 1 already.
The loss of either of Nikola Kalinic, Federico Bernardeschi or Milan Badelj, who have all been linked with big-money moves, would be a major loss for a club struggling in mid-table.
However, if reports are true that the Viola have agreed a mammoth 45 million euros deal for Kalinic with Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian, the money could prove a blessing.
Over in Spain, both Madrid clubs are unable to sign anyone because of a transfer ban.
That is not helping rivals Barcelona, however, who reportedly have had a £80 million bid for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala turned down with the Argentine quoted as saying he’d favour a move to Real.
Veteran full-back Darijo Srna is also being linked with Barca, while title rivals Sevilla are preparing to welcome Jovetic as mentioned.
Forget the top half of the table though.
All eyes should be on Valencia who are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and where boss Cesare Prandelli has admitted he wants to sign four players.
Simone Zaza seems on the verge of joining from Juve after an unsuccessful loan spell at West Ham in the English Premier League.
How his goals could maintain their proud record – Valencia have only spent one season out of the top flight since 1931.
Finally, one to watch out for – former Real man Jese is supposedly willing to take a pay cut to return to Spain with Las Palmas.
Out of favour in France at PSG, it could prove an inspired move.
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