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

Coming off a treble, Inter were on top of the world and there was only one way to go at first: down. Rafael Benitez entered for Jose Mourinho, who could not resist the lure of coaching at the Santiago Bernabeu with Real Madrid, but an underwhelming transfer campaign played its part in a disappointing first half of the 2010-11 campaign.

While Benitez made a hasty exit, the holiday season provided Inter with a new coach in Leonardo and a fair number of new players as club president Massimo Moratti yearned to have his side challenging on all fronts yet again. The Beneamata have definitely turned things around since January, but what role have the new singings had to play in their fortunes this season?

IN: Castellazzi (Sampdoria), Coutinho (Vasco), Kharja (Genoa), Pazzini (Sampdoria), Nagatomo (Cesena), Ranocchia (Genoa), Castaignos (Feyenoord)

OUT: Balotelli (Manchester City), Burdisso (Roma), Obinna (West Ham), Destro (Genoa),  Quaresma (Besiktas), Jimenez (Ternana), Toldo (Retired),  Krhin (Bologna), Rivas (Dnipro), Muntari (Sunderland), Mancini (Atletico Mineiro), Biabiany (Sampdoria), Nwankwo (Parma), Kerlon (Parana), Santon (Cesena).
 

Giampaolo Pazzini: A-

From: Sampdoria

Fee:
€12m + Jonathan Biabiany

Position: Forward

Appearances/Goals: 10/6

With only Samuel Eto'o consistently finding the target for Inter in the first half of the season and Diego Milito's constant injury worries, a goalscorer was needed and Pazzini's arrival certainly fit the bill. Bagged two poacher's goals on a marvellous debut appearance against Palermo and has been in prolific mood since, scoring the winner against Lecce at the weekend. The price, and player, was definitely right.

Andrea Ranocchia: B+

From: Genoa

Fee: €12.5m

Position: Defender

Appearances/Goals: 14/0

Already co-owned by the Nerazzurri from a summer deal, they paid another €12.5m to the Grifoni to bring him to the San Siro this winter in an area that badly needed an influx of both health and youth. Walter Samuel's injury paved the way for his journey to the giants, but based on his first appearances he has a long and bright future. Started in shaky fashion, but has since settled into his position nicely and put in accomplished performances.

Yuto Nagatomo: B

From: Cesena

Fee: Loan

Position: Full-back

Appearances/Goals: 8/1

In a move that saw the struggling Davide Santon shift on loan in the other direction, the winter acquisition of the 24-year-old looked a stroke of genius. He had been very impressive with the Seahorses and in Japan's Asian Cup triumph and added a viable option to the left-back position. Though he has only made a handful of starts thus far, his presence could be key going into the final stretch of the season.

Philippe Coutinho: C

From: Vasco da Gama

Fee: None, return from loan

Position: Midfielder

Appearances/Goals: 17/0

Though he still has a lot to learn, the 18-year-old's talent is there for all to see. Yet to get off the mark despite being an attacking player, his main asset is the creativity he brings onto the pitch. Inconsistent so far and loses the ball a bit too often, but helped the Nerazzurri in their comeback win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Luca Castellazzi: C

From: Sampdoria

Fee: Free transfer

Position: Goalkeeper

Appearances/Goals: 17/0

A replacement for the retired Francesco Toldo, the veteran was never viewed as anything more than a back-up to Julio Cesar. Due to a knock the Brazilian suffered he has already made more appearances that one might expect in 2010-11, doing an average job in the process, but certainly not reaching the heights of Inter's No. 1.


Houssine Kharja: C-

From: Genoa

Fee: Loan

Position: Midfielder

Appearances/Goals: 12/2

A technically sound midfielder, the Moroccan was brought in as Muntari made his exit for Sunderland and has already chipped in with a couple of goals. While not of the calibre to maintain a starting place at a top club like Inter, his signing has certainly been useful in terms of depth and covering for absences. It remains to been seen whether the Nerazzurri will take up their option to sign him permanently.


Others

Luc Castaignos: N/V

Signed from Eredvisie outfit Feyenoord for a reported €4 million fee in March, the 18-year-old won't join the Italians until the summer, but is a much anticipated addition and has been compared to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

Final Grade: B-

It's hard to add anything to a treble-winning side, but director Marco Branca and company paid dearly for standing still in the summer, also offloading Mario Balotelli and leaving the side light up front, not to mention injuries and poor form striking a number of players. Their grade increased significantly though due to an enhanced winter campaign, that not only saw the arrival of a new coach in Leonardo, but also top players like Pazzini, Ranocchia and Nagatomo who have arguably made the Serie A champions the best and deepest squad in the peninsula once again.