Further down the table Lazio made a move to strengthen their hopes of claiming European football by beating Palermo to the signature of Brazilian playmaker Hernanes from Sao Paulo. The Sicilians were on the lookout for reinforcements partly due to the loss of Edinson Cavani to Champions League hopefuls Napoli.
Come the winter, the big three were all spending again. Inter made a handful of additions after their treacherous start to the season, and Juventus made some changes to aid their faltering Champions League push. Meanwhile, leaders Milan looked to touch up their squad with names like Mark van Bommel, Antonio Cassano and Urby Emanuelson.
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: 6
| Inter Sampdoria - €15m
One of the biggest differences between the Inter of last season and their pale shadow of 2010-11 has been the lack of a predatory instinct in the play of Diego Milito, and it moved the champions to bring in reinforcements in January.
Pazzini's impact was instant, scoring a brace as a sub on debut against Palermo as the Nerazzurri came from two down to keep their title challenge on track. He has added four more strikes since, and promises goals further down the line when the Pinetina side get back on their feet.
Goals Scored: 2
| Udinese Palmeiras - €1m
Little was made of the signing of the Colombian when he arrived in Friuli, but his introduction has led to the Zebrette taking on an even more fearsome counter-attacking approach.
Bought for a minor nominal fee, he has joined the long list of Udinese signings who have quickly appreciated in value after arriving in the North East with his electric pace and devil-may-care attacking ability from the left side of Francesco Guidolin's favoured 3-4-1-2 system.
Goals Scored: 6
| Bologna Penarol - €5.5m
In another move which went under the radar, the Uruguayan switched to Emilia-Romagna before even reaching the age of 20 and quickly adapted to Italian football and its culture.
In his role as an attacking midfielder-cum-second striker he has helped Alberto Malesani's side overcome a poor start and a three-point penalty to stay in Serie A with a great deal of ease, attracting a hoard of scouts from top European clubs along the way.
Mark VAN BOMMEL
Goals Scored: 0
| AC Milan Bayern Munich - €500,000
Many questioned the wisdom in signing the Dutch international on a six-month contract in the winter, but after a league debut red card he has hardly taken a backward step.
In a midfield which needed toughening up for the run-in Van Bommel has provided exactly the steel that Milan required, leading to his side dominating the centre of the park in crucial fixtures against the likes of Juventus, Inter and Fiorentina. As a result Massimiliano Allegri's side have one hand on the Scudetto.
Goals Scored: 9
| Juventus Napoli - €4.5m Loan
A player with a reputation for scoring spectacular rather than plentiful goals, Quagliarella's arrival at Vinovo met with a mixed response. But by Christmas he was Juve's top scorer and had been placed up on a pedestal alongside Milos Krasic as the key component in their Champions League push.
It all came crashing down on January 6 though, as in the first game of 2011 it took the striker only a matter of minutes to turn awkwardly and pick up an innocuous-looking, but highly-damaging knee injury. Juve have yet to properly get over his loss.
Goals Scored: 8
| Juventus CSKA Moscow - €15m
The parallels drawn between Krasic and former Juve flyer Pavel Nedved stretched to more than just their looks. The wingman quickly became the Turin side's most effective outlet after his signing from CSKA Moscow at the tail end of the summer transfer window.
His explosive runs have not always been met with the required end product, but eight goals - including a hat-trick against Cagliari - point to a job well done by the Serbian international.
Goals Scored: 10
| Lazio Sao Paulo - €13.5m
The Brazilian appeared to be on his way to Palermo last summer before Claudio Lotito snapped up his signature, and Lazio immediately made the most of his impact, leading the Serie A table until late in 2010.
His 10 goals and five assists tell only part of the story as his creativity in the central attacking midfield role of Edy Reja's 4-2-3-1 has been much of the reason why the capital club remain in the box seat in the Champions League play-off race going into the final five games.
Goals Scored: 19
| AC Milan Barcelona - Loan (€25m deal agreed)
Spanning spells with Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Barcelona, the Swede had collected seven straight league winner's medals when Silvio Berlusconi decided to grab the club purse away from his daughter Marina's clutches in August.
The result is set to be an eighth successive trophy for Ibrahimovic and a further endorsement for Berlusconi's free-spending ways as the striker's involvement in 34 goals has been much of the reason they sit six points ahead of the rest so close to the season's end.
Goals Scored: 3
| AC Milan Genoa - €3m (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: 32
| Napoli Palermo - Loan (€16m 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.