The development of Serie A has been intriguing over the past few years, with Juventus jumping to the summit under Antonio Conte and a number of different teams challenging for European places.
Napoli, AC Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Inter have all been in and out of form during the last 3 seasons, but one side has remained a constant, overachieving threat. Udinese have finished 4th, 3rd and, most recently, 5th under the tutelage of Francesco Guidolin.
Another consistent trend during the 57-year old's reign at the club has been the club's willingness to cash in on their best players, and that shows no signs of abating having allowed Moroccan centre-back Mehdi Benatia to leave for Roma.
It's the nature of the beast in Udine that if an offer comes in for one of their top young players - who they seem to churn out on a conveyer belt with great regularity - than the club will sell and re-invest in cheaper, lesser-known youngsters that have inevitably gone on to become stars. The club take gambles on players that seem to always pay off.
Since the summer of 2011 the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Zapata, Gokhan Inler, Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah, Samir Handanovic and now Benatia have all left the club. The fact that the evergreen Antonio Di Natale has stayed loyal, then, since 2004 is juxtaposed against the transfer merry-go-round surrounding the rest of the squad.
Udinese know, however, that their captain cannot last forever, despite his goalscoring record suggesting otherwise, with the Italian international turning 36 in October. In turn they've needed to try and secure their legacy beyond the legendary frontman's tenure and, perhaps the most crucial outcome from the current window will be convincing striker Luis Muriel to stay. His signing as a teenager was in keeping with the dealings and outstanding scouting network in place in at the club, with the forward making only a handful of senior appearances in his native Colombia before Udinese swept in.
The 22-year old returned to the Stadio Friuli last summer after a successful loan spell with Lecce and picked up the Serie A Young Player of the Year award for 2012 along with Stephan El Shaarawy. In doing so he became the first Udinese player to receive the award since its inception in 1997 despite the aforementioned wealth of young stars that the Bianconeri have boasted.
Muriel is a rapid forward whose technique and ability on the ball has drawn comparisons to fellow South American and Serie A star Ronaldo. Indeed, up to now it seems bemusing that more concrete interest from across Europe - given the number of clubs that are seemingly in search of a striker - has not been lodged in the Colombian, despite his agents claims that his client is content in Udine.
Having made just 22 Serie A appearances last season, Muriel's goal tally of 11 was impressive. He netted 10 of those goals in just 15 starts, picking up 3 assists in the process and ended the season in fantastic fashion, scoring 5 goals in his last 6 appearances.
His strikes, unlike many young forwards trying to impress, came from a modest number of shots at goal (41). In turn, his chance conversion rate of 26.8% ranked a superb 9th of the 125 players in Europe's top 5 leagues to net 10 or more goals last season. That figure was way in advance of Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani (18.6%) who has just joined PSG for the fourth highest transfer fee in history.
A shot accuracy of 43.9% is less impressive but still the equivalent of Ligue 1's leading marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season, and when he did hit the target his powerful efforts proved unstoppable more often than not. Indeed, of the same 125 goalscorers only three were able to better Muriel's exceptional on target conversion rate of 61.1% - two places ahead of Lionel Messi in this regard.
It's clear that the Colombian's finishing is up to scratch but his game is much more than that of a goal poacher. He does very little of his work in the box, more often than not offering an electric outlet on the counter and his ability with the ball at his feet is aided by an impressive upper body strength as he's able to hold off or outmuscle opponents.
He can look to do it all himself at times, with only ten Serie A players embarking on more dribbles per game than the Udinese man (5.4), but having completed 2.3 per game on average he was way ahead of any teammate. Meanwhile, his WhoScored rating of 7.20 from last season was the fourth best at the club despite playing a bit part in the first half of the campaign. When you exclude substitute appearances that average rises to 7.44, which was only bettered by the offloaded Benatia last season.
In terms of weaknesses, Muriel could perhaps develop his work rate when it comes to his defensive contribution, having averaged just 0.6 tackles and 0.2 interceptions per game last season. Elsewhere he isn't particularly strong in terms of aerial duels but he's more of a second striker than a target man, so that much is understandable.
Although there is certainly room for improvement in his all round game, Muriel only turned 22 in April and this is clearly a player with a bright future. Where that future lies remains to be seen, but if Udinese's transfer policy is anything to go by, it may be away from the Stadio Friuli sooner rather than later.