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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 4 hours ago
Read
Feb 2, 2011

Europe's top transfers

The English transfer window may have taken up a lot of attention with Fernando Torres, Andy Carroll, David Luiz, Luis Suarez, Darren Bent and Edin Dzeko all sealing moves in excess of £22 million. But Europe also saw some movement, albeit not quite as explosive in terms of the money spent.

While the likes of Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri joined Juventus on loan and Real Madrid snapped up Man City's Emmanuel Adebayor for the rest of the season, here ESPNsoccernet looks at some of the top permanent transfers in January.

Luiz Gustavo - Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich

With a flagging title challenge beginning to turn itself around, Bayern were forced to let Mark van Bommel leave on a free, but they had already picked up an adequate replacement in the form of this 23-year-old Brazilian. Hoffenheim's versatile star was signed for around €15 million, but his transfer came at an even higher price for the club as manager Ralf Rangnick walked out after claiming that he had not been informed of the move. Bringing in Liverpool's Ryan Babel, Hoffenheim spent some of the money wisely, but Bayern are certainly the beneficiaries.

Giampaolo Pazzini - Sampdoria to Inter Milan

On the radar of the big clubs since before his hat-trick for Italy Under-21s against England in 2007, the 26-year-old is seen as one of the best Italian strikers in the league. With Sampdoria losing Antonio Cassano to AC Milan, and the likes of Diego Milito and Samuel Eto'o in first-choice roles at Inter, it was something of a strange move but likely to be one of the best. Pazzini immediately won over his new fans with a debut double against Palermo and, with the club also strengthening at the back with the signing of Andrea Ranocchia from Genoa (they bought his full ownership rights) and Japan left-back Yuto Nagatomo on loan from Cesana, a title challenge now looks very much on.

Ivan Rakitic - Schalke to Sevilla

The Croatian midfielder has been hailed as the 'new Luka Modric', which is some tag given how highly the Tottenham player is rated in his homeland. Rakitic, though, is only three years Modric's junior and has already made plenty of waves at international level. With his Schalke contract running down to the point where he would have been allowed to leave on a free at the end of the season, the player opted for a €1.5 million move to Spain where he will surely be a success. Backing up his capture with that of the combative Chilean midfielder Gary Medel from Universidad Catolica for €3 million, the club can now mount an assault on the European places.

Ibrahim Afellay - PSV Eindhoven to Barcelona

He may not walk into the first-team at the Camp Nou with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta around, but the versatile Netherlands international will provide Barcelona with squad depth unlike any other team in Europe. At only €3 million, his technique and skill on the ball will make him a valuable asset to call upon and he will fit very well into the club's philosophy of attacking football. His injury record is not the best but, at 24, is viewed as one for the future by the club's bosses.

Urby Emanuelson - Ajax Amsterdam to AC Milan

With Cassano's transfer to the San Siro hogging much of the spotlight, Serie A leaders Milan also made some changes at the back as they seek to rebuild their ageing defence. Netherlands international Emanuelson's versatility was one of the key reasons Milan were interested in bringing him in from Ajax and a fee of around €1.7 million was a bargain price. Able to play anywhere down the left flank, Emanuelson's purchase was backed up with that of Van Bommel, young Spanish defender Didac Vila from Espanyol and experienced Italy international Nicola Legrottaglie on a free transfer from Juventus.

Elias - Corinthians to Atletico Madrid

The Brazilian has been linked with a move to Madrid for about 18 months and they finally secured his signature for a fee of €7 million at the start of the window. With Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores keen to add some more attacking options, the midfielder will come in with the role of playing behind the strikers and moving the ball at speed. Having managed to keep Diego Forlan and Kun Aguero at the club, Atleti also brought in winger Juanfran from Osasuna for €4.4 million to add even more creativity.

Mahamadou Diarra - Real Madrid to AS Monaco

Having failed to nail down a first-team place among Jose Mourinho's stars in Madrid, Mali international Diarra opted to return to France where he had been such a success with Lyon. After moving to Madrid in 2006 for around €26 million, the tough-tackling midfielder vanished off the radar after struggling with injury and form issues, but Monaco managed to persuade him to swap a life on the bench in Spain for a regular spot in their battle against relegation this season. It was quite a coup.

Simao - Atletico Madrid to Besiktas

The Portuguese winger's best years are certainly behind him but, at 31, he still has a lot to offer. With decent pace and superb dribbling ability, he brings an extra dimension to the Turkish side, who have also splashed out on fellow countrymen Ricardo Quaresma, Manuel Fernandes and Hugo Almeida in recent months. With vision that only his experience at the top of the European game can bring, Simao's set-piece delivery will also play an important part of Besiktas' season and the fact that he cost under €1 million only adds to his profile.

David Healy - Sunderland to Rangers

A finisher of the highest standard, Healy's record at international level should have seen him a fixture for his club. However, the Northern Irishman has struggled to hold down a place in the first-team at Fulham or Sunderland and is still best known for his work at Preston and Leeds four years ago. The striker is looking to rebuild his career at the age of 31 and Rangers is a perfect destination for him to do. When he is on form, a better free replacement for Kenny Miller - who shocked the football world to join Turkish champions Bursaspor - there may not be.

Anthony Annan - Rosenborg to Schalke

Courted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe after some excellent performances in central midfield for Ghana, Annan has finally sealed his much anticipated move away from Norway. Having previously had spells with IK Start and Stabaek Fotball, Annan's international appearances have - a trial with Blackburn in 2008 aside - been his only shop window and the diminutive defensive midfielder eventually made the move to Germany for €2.5 million. Schalke may view the move as a bargain given the big-names linked with the player.

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