As always investments ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Our top ranked transfers of the summer and winter windows make for curious reading now, editor Ewan Macdonald's predictions running the gamut from the inspired to the foolish.
Now, with matters being a lot clearer on the pitch, we can more accurately gauge which transfers worked out and which did not. Below Goal.com presents its considered list of the top 10 transfers of the season.
We judged the 10 best transfers for 2010-11 based on:
- The player's overall contribution (this being the most important factor)
- How the player fitted into his new line-up
- How quickly the player adapted to his new surroundings, and vice-versa
- The transfer fee paid, if any, and any other financial details known. (Transfer fees unconfirmed by either club or otherwise unknown are given as approximations and are marked in italics.)
Goals Scored: 13
| AGOVV Twente - £440,000
Chadli was considered to be the most talented youngster around in the Dutch second division, but Amsterdam powerhouse Ajax deemed the versatile attacker not good enough yet to play a big role in the Eredivisie. Twente did take the gamble though, and to say it's paid off would be an understatement.
The Belgium international won the battle for a starting berth from Emir Bajrami and has been the biggest surprise of the season. Chadli impressed both at Champions League and Eredivisie level and could move to a bigger league in the not-too-distant future.
Goals Scored: 3
| AC Milan Genoa - £2.6m (co-ownership)
After initial confusion over the exact nature of his move from Portsmouth via Genoa, there were also question marks as to the Ghanaian's ability to succeed in an Italian league not known for its all-action hustle and bustle midfielders.
But his importance to the Rossoneri has been highlighted of late by the club's insistence he be rushed back after injuries for key games, most notably the Champions League away leg against Tottenham. He has latterly flourished at the point of a midfield diamond, using his power and willing to provide the attacking link from the middle.
Goals Scored: 10
| Dortmund Cerezo Osaka - £310,000
Given that he was arguably the best value signing in Europe up to the mid-season point, it really is a shame that Kagawa returned from the Asian Cup with a metatarsal fracture that has kept him out of the entire second half of the season.
Initially seen as a back-up playmaker, Kagawa's fine pre-season performances earned him a starting role in Jurgen Klopp's side. His goals only tell half the story of a playmaker who always makes the right runs, and passes. He will be a huge asset for BVB in the Champions League.
Goals Scored: 22
| Lille Rennes - Free transfer
Lille’s big problem last season was a lack of potency in attack. Rudi Garcia’s solution seemed questionable as he snapped up Moussa Sow on a free transfer from Rennes.
The front man had only managed 18 goals in his entire career before moving to the north east corner of France this summer, but he has since thrived. Already the 25-year-old has 21 league goals to his name this season, and though he can be erratic at times in front of goal, his value has been outstanding.
Goals Scored: 3
| Real Madrid Chelsea - £7m
A key player for Jose Mourinho at Porto and Chelsea, Ricardo Carvalho joined up with his compatriot for a third time in the summer as he sealed a £7m move from west London.
The Portugal defender impressed instantly and has been a fixture in the previously inconsistent Madrid defence ever since. The 32-year-old has also scored three goals this season, including a vital winner over Osasuna early in the campaign, and looks good for more than another year at the capital club.
Goals Scored: 19
| Schalke Real Madrid - Free transfer
The veteran Spaniard has scored 12 goals in 30 Bundesliga matches, but his biggest impression has been in Europe, where his five goals have led Schalke to their first-ever Champions League semi-final.
Not long ago, the 33-year-old was considered finished, a surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. Since moving to Schalke, however, Raul has proven again and again that he still has plenty of class left in reserve. Earlier this year he claimed to be in the best shape of his life. At this rate, he could be around for several years.
Goals Scored: 32
| Napoli Palermo - Loan (£14.1m deal agreed)
From a sometime-goalscorer for Palermo, the Uruguayan has within 12 months propelled himself to the position of talisman and centrepiece for a side who still hold outside hopes of clinching the Serie A title.
A league haul of 25 goals, including three hat-tricks, has not only seen Napoli return to the top table after 20 years but also attracted the interest of top clubs all around Europe. His Champions League potential was highlighted by his seven goals in the Europa League in the first half of the season.
Rafael VAN DER VAART
Goals Scored: 12
| Tottenham Real Madrid - £8m
Bought for the surprisingly low sum of just £8m, Van der Vaart quickly became a star man at White Hart Lane, climbing the scoring charts, reaching double figures in no time during his first season in England.
His performances may have slightly tailed off towards the end of the season, but the Dutchman certainly played a crucial part in keeping Spurs in the race for fourth place, while scoring some vital goals in the Champions League before Redknapp's side were beaten in the quarter-finals by his old club.
Goals Scored: 18
| Manchester United Chivas Guadalajara - £8m
Potentially one of the best buys in Premier League history, Chicharito had been monitored by the club for a couple of years before they finally got their man in the summer of 2010.
Hernandez has scored some priceless goals for United in his debut season at the club, few more important than his double in the Champions League last 16 second leg against Marseille at Old Trafford. "We've stolen him," said Sir Alex Ferguson about the signing, and with every performance from Chicharito the statement rings more and more true.
Goals Scored: 10
| Real Madrid Werder Bremen - £13.2m
Mesut Ozil has quietly gone about his business since a £13.2m move from Werder Bremen in the summer. But that fee now seems a bargain: Ozil has scored 10 goals and set up 18 this season.
Madrid just look a better side when he is on the pitch, which was demonstrated as he climbed off the bench to help his team clinch a 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona on Saturday.
Still only 22, the German looks set to star at the Bernabeu for many years to come - and he's Europe's best signing of the last year.