ByÂ Matthew Amalfitano.
The transfer window is almost upon us and Italian clubs are already on hot pursuit of talented players to reinforce their respective squads for the second half of the season. After slow starts, Napoli and Juventus find themselves within the first four places. Leaders Inter and Fiorentina have perhaps been the most surprising of the top teams while Roma and Milan round out the top six.
Here's an overview of what areas clubs should invest in during the January transfer window:
Roberto Mancini arrived in November of last year to replace Walter Mazzarri and quickly began to form the squad of his liking in the subsequent transfer window. Further additions were introduced this past summer and while the Nerazzurri currently top Serie A, introducing a couple fresh faces wouldn't be unexpected in order to continue their good form.
The club primarily need a midfielder with the ability to direct the team's attack from deep positions and lead them forward, in the style of a regista. The club were rumoured to be interested in Napoli's Mirko Valdifiori however it seems unlikely the Partenopei would be willing to give up their regista due to the number of matches scheduled ahead.
Inter are also looking to add much needed quality to their fullback department and Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo have reported that the Italian club are close to securing Paris Saint-Germain defender Gregory van der Wiel.
New coach Paulo Sousa has picked up the reigns of a Fiorentina side that have consecutively finished fourth and upped their intensity while implemented an attractive style. The result? The club have led at different points during the current campaign, first time enjoying life at the summit since 1999.
Despite their sexy brand of football, frailties have been noted during their Europa League matches. Basically, the squad currently doesn't have the proper depth to compete on multiple fronts this season. While in attack Sousa has plenty of options, it is in defence and midfield that Fiorentina should look to sign a few players.
Sousa has regularly called up Gonzalo Rodgriuez and three others for his three-man backline but surely at least one more quality defender will be needed in order to maintain proper fitness levels for the remainder of the season. The Viola are interested in acquiring Benfica's Lisandro Lopez which would be a nice addition for Sousa's squad.
Once Maurizio Sarri switched to a 4-3-3 in mid-September, he stuck with the same starting XI. Tired legs and slight predictability have been the result of this decision.
But it's become clear that a quality backup for midfielder and captain Marek Hamsik was desperately needed. AZ Alkmaar's Markus Henriksen has been identified as a potential replacement for the Slovakian international in order to offer pace and dynamism going forward. It could be argued David Lopez is not a good enough backup option for Allan, but the club will wait to reinforce this area.
With Henrique's return to Brazil looking more likely, the club will also look to acquire a fourth-choice centre-back. Empoli's Federico Barba played under Sarri last season and could re-join his former boss in Naples.
Despite Juventus' slow start to the season, the Bianconeri have won their last seven consecutive Serie A matches, further demonstrating their champion-like attitude and ability.
Newcomer Paulo Dybala has provided the spark in attack this season, picking up where compatriot Carlos Tevez left off. The 22-year-old has netted eight goals and three assists this term and is helping lead Juve's charge back to the summit.
While Alvaro Morata hasn't been his usual self this term, an attacking midfielder that is able to link up with midfield and attack could be useful. The club did acquire Hernanes from Inter in the summer, but the move hasn't exactly panned out.
If Dybala would happened to get injured at some point during the season, questions over the ability of Juventus' attack to respond would be raised.
With Juventus' poor start to the campaign, it was seen as Roma's year to lift the Scudetto. But things haven't gone according to plan.
The only creativity in the side lies with Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic. The former, unfortunately, has been injured for large stretches so far this term. However, Pjanic can't do it all and when Gervinho has been out of the starting XI, Roma have looked toothless in attack.
The worst showing of this came against Napoli, with Edin Dzeko waiting hopelessly up front for support. Therefore, a skilled support striker designated to linking midfield and attack is desperately needed at the Stadio Olimpico.
While Milan did well to initially invest during the past transfer window, more reinforcement are needed to improve the overall quality of the squad. Alessio Romagnoli has illustrated experience beyond his years but his centre-back partners have all failed to hold down the role and establish a connection with the 20-year-old.
The Rossoneri are also in need of a quality box-to-box midfielder to surge forward in attack and track back effectively. A winger would also be vastly improve Sinisa Mihajlovic's side seeing as Alessio Cerci has been unable to replicate his Torino form.
Whatever Italian clubs decide to do in January, the season has already provided us with an exciting start and rush of emotions, which should continue until May.