The 2020 summer transfer window was a quieter affair than we are used to enjoying, but we still saw some exciting moves confirmed around Europe.
Italy has become a hotbed for current and former Premier League stars in recent years, with many transforming their careers from flops in England, to top of the pops in Italia.
Romelu Lukaku is currently destroying Serie A in his second year away from Manchester United, and looks set to win the scudetto with Inter to end their decade-long drought. Excellent business well done.
But of the new arrivals this year (including those who completed permanent moves after previous loans), who is lighting up Serie A this year?
Southampton fans were probably scratching their heads in bemusement at how Wesley Hoedt had earned himself a move back to Lazio in the summer, after his catastrophic displays for Saints.
Well, it’s only a loan deal with an option to buy, and most importantly, he was very much a last resort in the hunt for a backup. Injuries have dictated when the Dutchman has actually taken to the field this season and, well, he’s been a disaster.
Key mistakes and penalty clangers in massive matches tell the story of a man who is being forced to play at a level well above his own.
Having seen all the success that Inter have enjoyed in raiding Man Utd’s most unwanted, Lazio had a crack of their own with Andreas Pereira. One goal and a single assist in 16 bit-part appearances stink of a man who’s still to find his level.
In fairness to the midfielder, it’s almost impossible to shift Sergej Milinkovic-Savic or Luis Alberto from the Aquile’s engine room, and he has been handed little chance to really stake a claim for a starting place.
It was not the fresh start Pereira hoped for, that’s for sure.
Roma has become a bit of an old folks’ home of late, and the arrival of the 30-plus Pedro came as little surprise. The Spaniard was awarded a hero’s welcome upon touching down in the Italian capital, and sent his new followers into mayhem when he struck a stunning winner against Udinese.
That was early on in the season, and since then, he’s not done much else. The 33-year-old has suffered some injury woes which ruled him out for a good chunk of the campaign, but he’s back and hoping to make a difference.
There’s no time better than the present, Pedro.
Man Utd have made a habit of offloading their misfits in Italy, and Milan were more than happy to take Diogo Dalot off their hands. Unfortunately for the Portuguese defender, the Rossoneri are stacked in this position.
Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria have dazzled at full-back this season, and Dalot has been restricted to impressing in the Europa League, where, in fairness, he has done a good job.
He did start against Verona on Sunday though, and scored a screamer in a 2-0 win. The start of a run in the side?
Tiemoue Bakayoko has definitely found his happy place in Italy. The Frenchman endured a miserable spell in England with Chelsea, but temporary periods with Milan and Napoli have helped him recapture the eye of the tiger.
Now anchoring the Partenopei’s midfield, the 26-year-old is a consistent performer and looks to be well at home. Make this one permanent, Tiemoue, and give up on the Chelsea dream.
This one is a bit of a surprise. It’s no news that Roberto Pereyra is full of potential and can be a match-winner on his day. The problem is, that day doesn’t roll around often enough.
After suffering relegation with Watford, the Argentine took the underground escape tunnel to Udine, where he is now enjoying the comfort of mid-table in Italy.
Pereyra has been an important part of this average success, scoring three goals and managing five assists in Serie A. Much better than slugging it out in the Championship.
Smalldini is back in Italy! Chris Smalling was a revelation during his loan spell at Roma last season, so much so that the Giallorossi made the move permanent this summer.
Unfortunately, the English centre-back hasn’t been the hero of last year, although admittedly, that’s through no fault of his own. The 31-year-old has been riddled with fitness issues, but he now appears to have come out the other side of that dark tunnel.
Smalling is back, and he’ll be crucial to Roma’s top four ambitions.
Inter took a gamble on Alexis Sanchez in 2019/20, and although he was dealt a cruel injury blow early on, he still did enough to convince the Nerazzurri to make that loan move permanent.
And considering he is very much playing second fiddle to Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, the Chilean hasn’t let that get him down. He has chipped in with five goals and five assists, including a vital brace in a recent 2-1 victory over Parma.
Should Inter finally end their title drought, then Sanchez can tinkle away on his grand piano in peace, knowing he has played his part.
This deal materialised in January 2020, and it could be one of Milan’s most important in the past decade. The Rossoneri have struggled for defensive cover, and the poor form of captain Alessio Romagnoli forced Stefano Pioli to take action in the winter window.
The silky, sultry voice of Paolo Maldini was enough to convince Chelsea star Fikayo Tomori to join the Italian giants on loan, with an option to buy at the end of the season.
He’s seen his opportunities limited, as Pioli has tried to stand by his captain, but when presented with the chance to shine, he’s grabbed it with both hands. Tomori’s display in a 2-1 win over Roma was particularly impressive. He looks made for Serie A football.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived in Rome in the summer of 2019 and had an impressive first season, but it’s since he made his loan move from Arsenal permanent that he’s really come to the fore.
The 32-year-old has served up 18 goal contributions in 25 appearances – that’s nine goals and nine assists, to be exact – and he is the talisman of this attacking Roma side.
The Armenian is aiming to fire the Giallorossi to Champions League qualification, which is a stage he more than deserves for his terrific form and undeniable talents.