Serie A January Transfers: 5 Biggest Deals so Far
Serie A has been a busy market during the January transfer window.
Given that so many clubs partially own so many players, it is common for various clubs to use players, rather than cash, to make up the payments for certain players.
There have been many fascinating transfers, so I will endeavour to touch upon a few significant signings in the first slide before revealing the five biggest signings of the window with just over 24 hours remaining.
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It will not be Milan's biggest signing of the window, but the Rossoneri took Cristian Zaccardo and sent Djamel Mesbah to Parma in exchange.
Zaccardo will offer another option at centre-back, considering that none of Daniele Bonera, Philippe Mexes, Mario Yepes or Cristian Zapata have impressed enough.
Mesbah will likely challenge Massimo Gobbi for a spot on the left of midfield if Roberto Donadoni persists with a 3-5-2 formation, although both could be accommodated down the left of a 4-3-3.
With such a large collection of centre-backs, Milan relinquished Francesco Acerbi, with Genoa taking back the player's co-ownership from the Rossoneri. In a complicated deal, the Grifone turned Kevin Constant's loan deal at Milan into a co-ownership after receiving an additional €4 million.
Parma have been particularly busy this window, snapping up Rodney Strasser on loan from Milan and the prodigious Peruvian talent Alvaro Ampuero
Genoa have revitalised their squad in an attempt to beat the drop, adding a number of players in their customary bi-annual reshuffle.
As well as Acerbi, the Rossoblu brought in Lazio's Matuzalem, Udinese's Antonio Floro-Flores, Atalanta's Thomas Manfredini, Fiorentina's Ruben Olveira and Palermo Eros Pisano.
Mario Sampirisi (Chievo), Anselmo (Palermo), Alexander Merkel (Udinese), Michele Canini (Atalanta), Anselmo (Palermo) and Felipe Seymour (Chievo) are departed from the Marassi too.
Palermo are the only other club who can rival Genoa for total number of deals made, with Maurizio Zamparini rivalling Enrico Preziosi for madness.
The Rosanero drafted in Nelson (Real Betis), Salvatore Aronica and Andrea Dossena (Napoli), Mauro Formica (Blackburn), Mauro Boselli (Wigan) and Anselmo (Genoa).
Samir Ujkani (Chievo), Luigi Giorgi (Atalanta), Nicolas Bertolo (Cruz Azul), Pisano (Genoa), Mauro Cetto (San Lorenzo), Igor Budan (Atalanta) and Eran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel Aviv) just some of the names that left the Renzo Barbera.
Napoli reshuffled the pack in a bid to challenge for the Scudetto. Pablo Armero (Udinese) and Emanuele Calaio (Siena) came in to replace the departing Dossena, Aronica and Eduardo Vargas (Gremio).
Inter were in the market for a vice-Milito to bolster their attack and the Nerazzurri oddly settled upon Lazio's squad player Tomasso Rocchi.
5. Stefano Sorrentino, Chievo to Palermo, €4 Million
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The fifth-biggest signing in Serie A this window is open to interpretation, since the top four all went for significantly bigger fees than the rest.
I plumped for Stefano Sorrentino joining Palermo from Chievo as I felt it was one of the most intelligent moves that the Rosanero could make.
Many gulped at the €4 million fee for a 33-year-old goalkeeper, but I would say that this is a bargain and could be the difference between Palermo being relegated and not.
If you consider that Gianluigi Buffon and Samir Handanovic are in a league of their own, I rank Sorrentino as the next best goalkeeper in the league, comfortably.
He has been outstanding for the Flying Donkeys, and I expect him to eradicate the goalkeeping errors that Palermo became so accustomed to seeing under Samir Ujkani and Francesco Benussi.
4. Giuseppe Rossi, Villarreal to Fiorentina, €9.5 Million
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Giuseppe Rossi made his long-awaited return to Italian football this month by joining Fiorentina for €9.5 million.
The Azzurri international has endured a horrible 18 months due to a series of cruciate knee ligament injuries at former club Villarreal. Ultimately, his participation, or lack thereof, played a huge part in the Yellow Submarines being relegated from La Liga.
The Viola pounced for the highly rated forward in a move that should safeguard them from the inevitable sale of Stevan Jovetic in the future and surely propel Fiorentina into the race for the Champions League places in the coming seasons.
3. Wesley Sneijder, Inter Milan to Galatasaray, €10 Million
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Wesley Sneijder's departure from Inter was not amicable, with the Dutch international being frozen out for several months due to his unwillingness to renegotiate the terms of his contract.
Andrea Stramaccioni obeyed Massimo Moratti's wishes to not involve the player in his future plans until the matter was resolved; either the player would be sold or he would sign a new contract on reduced terms.
Ultimately Moratti chose to cash in on the player with negotiations over a new deal never getting off the ground, and Turkish giants Galatasaray gladly paid £8.4 million for the 2010 World Cup Golden Boot winner.
It was a sad day for Italian football fans to see Sneijder join another league as even if Sneijder's best days are in the past, Serie A has lost a great player.
2. Alexandre Pato, Milan to Corinthians, €15 Million
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Alexandre Pato's departure brought a tear to the eye of even the toughest Milanista.
But everybody was in agreement that the injuries had become too much in the end for Milan, and the Rossoneri finally ended what has been a wonderful romance since The Duck arrived at the San Siro six years ago.
The 2014 World Cup is in sight, and Pato's participation in Brazil's starting lineup was not guaranteed. Even a place in the squad was not assured if he could not hold down a place at his club and score some goals.
A deal that will cost the Timao €15 million was finalised, and Pato begins a new chapter in his career.
The 23-year-old enjoyed some great moments with the Rossoneri and had an excellent goalscoring record of 51 goals in 117 Serie A matches.
He will be sorely missed by the league, like Sneijder, but European football has surely not seen the last of Pato.
1. Mario Balotelli, Manchester City to AC Milan, €22 Million
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Could it have been anybody else?
Super Mario is back in Serie A, and it's a really big deal.
Not just for the fee of €22 million that blows any other transfer—either in or out—that has involved Italian teams in the January transfer window.
Mario Balotelli is the future of the Italian national team, so it is a huge boost that the 22-year-old will be plying his trade in the country's own league.
In a protracted move that saw both sides haggle over the fee, eventually City dropped their demands and Milan had their man.
Strap up, it is going to be exciting to watch Balotelli's career develop back in Serie A.