As we wave goodbye to 2018, and say hello to 2019, it is now time to list the 10 best performing transfers from the summer market – based on the impact each has provided to their respective clubs during the first half of the 2018-19 Serie A season.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus): Seeking new pastures and challenges in Italy, Ronaldo’s massive €100 million transfer from Real Madrid last summer was the largest ever for an Italian club and highest fee dished out for a player over 30. Most players aged 33 would struggle to adapt in a new league, but the Portuguese international isn’t “most players”. 14 goals, 5 assists in 19 Serie A matches at the halfway point has further established “the Old Lady’s” dominance at the top of the table.
Krzysztof Piątek (Genoa): Largely unknown around Europe at the time of his estimated €4 million move to Liguria, Krzysztof Piątek has taken to Italy like a duck to water, amassing 13 goals – good for 52% of Genoa’s total output. Plenty of bang for the buck and a sizable profit down the line when Enrico Preziosi is given an offer he can’t refuse for the 23-year old hitman.
João Cancelo (Juventus): The 24-year old served a superb seasonal loan at Inter in 2017-18, convincing the Bianconeri to splash €40 million on him this past summer. Under the guidance of Max Allegri, Cancelo has exceeded expectations, and so much more, becoming one of – if not – the best fullbacks in the game today for the Champions League contenders.
Duván Zapata (Atalanta): The big Cali-born striker’s 2017-18 perhaps got lost in the shuffle as Fabio Quagliarella’s cult-hero status stole the show for Sampdoria. Atalanta and Gian Piero Gasperini liked what they saw in the Colombian and decided to upgrade over Andrea Petagna by securing his services on a two-year loan with an option to buy. Since then, the 27-year old is amongst the top goal producers with 10 goals. A career-year in the works for the former Napoli forward.
Fabián Ruiz (Napoli): No Jorginho? No problem. Although the new Chelsea man and Fabián Ruiz aren’t exactly identical in profile and playing styles, nor share the same role, the Spaniard’s been a bit of a Swiss army knife for Carlo Ancelotti in that he can play anywhere across the midfield without sacrificing much in quality. At €30 million, the Partenopei acquired one of the best young midfielders in Europe – and we are quickly seeing why.
Luigi Sepe (Parma): Napoli brought in three goalkeepers this summer in Ospina, Karnezis and their expected number one Alex Meret, leaving Luigi Sepe surplus to requirements. In an effort to keep goals to a minimum, up stepped newly promoted Parma who brought in the 27-year old on a season-long loan. Six clean-sheets to his name has helped the Crociati finish the first half in a respectable 11th position, while at a very minimal cost.
Keita Baldé (Inter): With Champions League football added to the equation, Inter went out to bolster their attacking ranks with several key pieces, none providing more than Keita Baldé. The Senegalese winger returned to Italy after a pitstop in Monaco, and has picked up right where he left off from his days in the capital with Lazio, collecting 4 goals and 2 assists in just shy of 700 minutes. Expect Luciano Spalletti to increase his workload in the second half, and with that, reap the benefits.
Christian Kouamé (Genoa): The 21-year old Ivorian’s sparkling form since arriving from Cittadella has largely gone unnoticed by many on the peninsula by virtue of his teammate Piatek and the barrage of goals he has scored. However, it is hard to argue against Kouamé’s contrasting, yet complimentary, profile, as a major reason why his Polish strike partner is thriving so much. 3 goals and 3 assists do not paint the full picture of his influence on a 14th place Genoa, and the proof is in the clubs currently circling for his signature – including Milan, Napoli, Roma and Valencia. Safe to say Preziosi hit the jackpot with his strike partnership.
Ola Aina (Torino): The Chelsea loanee, like so many others before him, has benefitted tremendously from the challenge of playing in Italy. Under Walter Mazzarri, Aina’s gone from strength to strength in Turin as a solid wingback who has proven equally impressive on both ends of the game. Torino hold a friendly £7 million buyout clause to retain Aina beyond this season and make him a key fixture in their 3-5-2, but time will tell if he wishes to remain in Italy over a return back to England.
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Sassuolo): The former moon-walking Milan midfielder made the switch back over to Italy this summer on a free transfer, and has since taken many of the youngsters at Sassuolo under his wing, just as the old guard did for him during his first stint at Milan. The 31-year old veteran has contributed more to Roberto De Zerbi’s side than just goals (4) and assists (1) with leadership and a voice of reason in the changing room.
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