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2010-11 Transfer Report Card: How Good Were Milan's Signings?

Director of sport Adriano Galliani seemed nothing more than an innocent bystander as a Berlusconi family power struggle was taking place last summer. Eventually father Silvio defied the calls of daughter Marina and the club president turned up for the first game of the season against Lecce with Zlatan Ibrahimovic under his arm. Just a few days later, Robinho was brought in from Manchester City.

The pair were added to a series of loan and cut-price signings picked up during a turbulent summer, but further reinforcements arrived in the winter as Galliani looked to bolster the league leaders' squad in their bid to become champions of Italy for the first time in seven years. Of those, Mark van Bommel and Antonio Cassano have had the greatest impact, though there are still fairly high hopes for Didac Vila and Urby Emanuelson as first team regulars of the future.

IN: Amelia (Genoa), Papastathopoulos (Genoa), Yepes (Chievo), Boateng (Genoa), Ibrahimovic (Barcelona), Robinho (Manchester City), Didac Vila (Espanyol), Legrottaglie (Juventus), Van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Emanuelson (Ajax), Cassano (Sampdoria)

OUT: Dida (retired), Kaladze (Genoa), Onyewu (Twente), Huntelaar (Schalke), Zigoni (Frosinone), Favalli (retired), Borriello (Roma), Mancini (Inter), Beckham (LA Galaxy), Adiyiah (Reggina/Partizan), Donnarumma (Piacenza), Ronaldinho (Flamengo)


Zlatan Ibrahimovic: A-

From: Barcelona

Fee: Loan leading to €25m permanent deal

Position: Forward

Appearances/Goals: 37/19

Despite his recent Champions League no-show and red card double whammy putting the club under pressure, Ibrahimovic has been the key man in Milan's transformation from nearly men to league leaders. His 14 goals have been only part of the story as he has proven to be the go-to man in many a tight spot this season.

Mark van Bommel: B+

From: Bayern Munich

Fee: Nominal fee

Position: Midfield

Appearances/Goals:
9/0

He may well have played only eight league games for the Rossoneri, but the Dutchman has supplied exactly the kind of positional discipline, experience, leadership and drive which they had been missing. Particularly key given the continued absence of Andrea Pirlo, Van Bommel will likely make the perfect foil for the Italian upon his return.

Kevin-Prince Boateng: B

From: Genoa

Fee: €3m (co-ownership)

Position: Midfield

Appearances/Goals: 26/3

Little was expected of the Ghanaian after his confusing move from Portsmouth via Genoa was first announced, but he has been a revelation for the Diavoli. His energy and battling qualities allied to his ability on the ball have made him a key component of the Milan squad, so much so he was rushed back into the side after injury recently.

Robinho: B

From: Manchester City

Fee: €18m

Position: Forward

Appearances/Goals: 36/11

The Brazilian originally seemed to be one frivolous signing too many following off the back of Ibrahimovic, but his form over the first half of the season was such that Ronaldinho was allowed to leave in January. Has gone missing once too often to deserve an A, but a few more big performances could help the Rossoneri become champions.

Antonio Cassano: C+

From: Sampdoria

Fee: €5m

Position: Forward

Appearances/Goals: 14/2

Potential-wise he was the bargain of the winter, but his suitability to the Milan forward line has been questionable at times. He has played an average of little over 45 minutes per game over his 12 league appearances so far as a result, but his impact has helped the Rossoneri rescue difficult situations against Udinese and Bari among others.


Sokratis Papastathopoulos: C-

From: Genoa

Fee: €7m

Position: Defender

Appearances/Goals: 6/0

The Greek has looked unsure at times when called upon at the back, but that is generally the going rate outside of Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta, and Papastathopoulos has the time on his side which many of his contemporaries don't. Still not 23, he could yet prove Milan right in their €7m splash over the remaining four years of his deal.


Marco Amelia: D+

From: Genoa

Fee: Loan

Position: Goalkeeper

Appearances/Goals: 5/0

His season was always going to be a struggle once he was beaten to a starting shirt by Christian Abbiati, rendering him nothing more than a replacement for the rest of the campaign given the first choice's decent form for the most part. Appearances against Real Madrid and Tottenham in the Champions League were his highlights, but he hasn't justified a longer stay.


Mario Yepes: D+

From: Chievo

Fee: Free

Position: Defender

Appearances/Goals: 11/0

It sounded like a joke when Milan announced they had agreed to take the Colombian for three years on a free transfer from Chievo, but he has been one of their better performing reserves this season. Now 35, he's not going to get any quicker, and Aaron Lennon showed the way for Serie A forwards to attack him when leaving him for dead in the Champions League last month.


Urby Emanuelson: D

From: Ajax

Fee: Undisclosed

Position: Midfielder

Appearances/Goals: 6/0

Yet to really settle into either a favoured position or Italian football after his January switch from Ajax. Having been brought in primarily as cover for the Rossoneri's troublesome left back slot, he has largely been used from the left side of midfield on the rare occasions he has been called upon. Next season needs to be his real breakthrough.

Others

Didac Vila: N/V

Yet to make an appearance after his January move from Espanyol as a possible long-term solution to the left back problem.

Nicola Legrottaglie: N/V

Signed on January 31, he made his debut the following day against Lazio but lasted only 38 minutes due to a heavy knock to the head. Still yet to return to the pitch despite having made it as far as the subs' bench lately.

Final Grade: B+

After six years of making up the numbers in title races, Adriano Galliani had to ensure that Milan were at least very serious challengers, if not front runners, this season. With names such as Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Cassano, Boateng and Van Bommel all having had a big impact at one stage or another, it's so far so good on the home front.

The period of failure in the Champions League may well have continued into a fourth year, but the real target has been the Scudetto since very early on in the season, and there's still a decent chance of a domestic double. All this from a side lacking any kind of organisation or leader's instinct on the pitch just a year ago. Galliani has done an excellent job... now it's up to the "champions" he's bought to live up to their moniker in the home straight.