Long gone are the days of big spending splurges from Italian teams in the January sales. Once dubbed "ricchi scemi" (rich fools), club owners are now much more likely to be found rifling through the bargain bucket than visiting any designer outlets.
Loan deals or low-cost gambles appear to be the order of the day. But that doesn't mean there haven't been some interesting acquisitions during the winter window. Here are five of the more intriguing arrivals in this cut-price start to 2021.
Among the many doubts cast up by Milan Scudetto-sceptics is how the Rossoneri might cope without their talismanic old striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Their answer - not slow in coming - has been to bring in another one in the shape of Mario Mandzukic.
A well known figure in Serie A, he might have a few more miles on the clock but the former Juve front man surely guarantees some presence up front. If you want another example of the winning mentality they are trying to instil at the San Siro these days you don't need to look any further.
Nobody can guarantee goals but if it comes down to a straight battle of wills to take the title then he will be a most able foot-soldier in the fight.
We Need to Talk About Kevin.
If there was a perfect deal for everyone this January it might just be Lasagna's move away from Udine and off to Verona.
In a European Championship year - Covid permitting - the hitman needs regular football to keep his name in Roberto Mancini's mind in the months ahead. There is surely no better way to do it than trading up from an Udinese side that keeps producing performances less palatable than a mountain man's home-brewed grappa.
Instead, he moves to a Hellas team crying out for a prolific hitman to cap its credentials as the revelation team of this year's championship. Attacking midfielders and even defenders are among the top scorers for Ivan Juric's side but that might well be about to change.
The Pharaoh Returns.
Another player seeking a window to boost his Azzurri chances is Stephan El Shaarawy, back to Roma in an eye-catching arrival
He has shown glimpses of what he is capable of for his country and will be desperate to secure a place in the squad come the summer. He is part of a theme this winter of returning stars who are looking to rekindle the magic or promise they have shown on previous appearances in Serie A. Despite all the rumblings of discontent, Roma have had a good season and they enjoyed a pretty successful transfer window.
El Sha offers a splash of invention, creativity and goal supply to help give depth to a squad which already looks more than half-decent.
Dan’s The Man?
The speed in which football opinions change can be truly supersonic and few have suffered a quicker demise in their perception than Daniele Rugani, brought in by Cagliari to help their relegation battle.
Once upon a time he was thought to be the future of Italian defending but he is not the first player to languish on Italian football’s answer to the naughty step - the Juventus bench. When he did get his chance with the Bianconeri, he appeared to have lost all confidence or ability in a role where he once looked like a major prospect.
A move to Rennes failed to generate the game time he hoped for so he has come back to more familiar climes to try to kick-start his career. The Sardinian side, for their part, desperately need someone to help patch up one of the worst defences in the country and they will hope they have finally found their man.
Guess Who Else Is Back?
Completing the homecoming theme of this transfer window is another man on a mission to help his new club, in this case Parma, avoid Serie B.
The last many Italian eyes will remember of Graziano Pelle was his grim penalty miss at Euro 2016 which sent him trundling off to China with a gigantic pay cheque as compensation. It has actually been the best part of a decade since he played his club football in his homeland with Parma and Sampdoria before he set off on his travels to Feyenoord and Southampton where he enjoyed the run of form which catapulted him into the national team in the first place.
Now in the twilight of his career, his days with the Azzurri are - most will hope - behind him. However, if he can bring a few goals to an attack which boasts less than a goal a game so far this season, it would be a most welcome contribution to the cause.