Although Mario Balotelli had an evidently frustrating evening against his former club Inter - see dent in San Siro goal post - the controversial forward has had quite the impact back in Milan. Having previously been branded as a 'rotten apple' by Silvio Berlusconi of all people, the Italian inevitably made his return to Serie A last month and has looked back to his best.
In this piece we'll look at Balotelli's stats from his four league games thus far, as well as a number of other January signings that have hit the ground running at their new clubs. We've compiled a top 5 based on our WhoScored ratings, only including players to have made at least 4 appearances since switching sides in the window, and Super Mario leads the way.
Mario Balotelli (AC Milan) - 4 apps / 8.07 rating
Having fallen down the pecking order at Manchester City after a disappointing start to the campaign and more off-field altercations with manager Roberto Mancini, the love-hate relationship between the pair was finally brought to an end when Milan's interest was formalised. Forking out a fee believed to be in excess of €20m is certainly proof of the faith that the club have shown in the rambunctious 22 year old and Balotelli has already began to repay them.
In 4 league appearances he has netted as many goals and could well have had a hat-trick in the most recent derby with Inter - the only game in which he has failed to score for the club. A combination of profligacy and brilliance from Samir Handanovic thwarted him on Sunday night, but his strikes in the previous three league matches all ensured that Milan picked up points. He struck twice on his debut against Udinese to earn the hosts all three, once to pick up a point in Cagliari and then again to ensure the Rossoneri won against Parma despite an injury time consolation by Nicola Sansone.
Balotelli's confidence in front of goal never wavered, despite netting just once in the Premier League this season prior to his departure. He's averaged a monumental 6.3 shots per game for Milan, with the next highest figure in Serie A belonging to Edinson Cavani, down at 4.2. With 3 aerial duels won, 1.8 dribbles, 1.3 key passes and 1 tackle per game to boot, he's contributing well all round but it’s his crucial goals that have earned him a rating of 8.07 from WhoScored.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) - 5 apps / 7.84 rating
The form of England international Sturridge and the lack thereof from Ba and Torres in particular in the league may well have Chelsea fans scratching their heads. Despite numerous unsubtle hints that he wanted to play as a central striker at the Bridge he never got his wish and the Blues’ loss has been Liverpool's gain thus far. In 5 appearances, the first of which came as a substitute against United, the 23 year old has netted 4 goals and since he left Chelsea Ba and Torres have just 1 league goal between them.
Another player, like Balotelli, who doesn't lack faith in his own ability, Sturridge has struck 4.8 shots per game for his new club, with that average only below teammate Luis Suarez and the in-form Gareth Bale in the Premier League. His partnership with the Uruguayan has been key to Liverpool's impressive run in the league, with the defeat to West Brom in that time notable by the forward's absence. A goal and an assist in his most recent appearance against Swansea was perhaps his strongest performance yet for the Merseyside outfit and with 2.2 key passes per game and an 89.1% pass accuracy he is certainly contributing to the team as a whole.
Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle) - 4 apps / 7.58 rating
Though most rightly saw Newcastle's capture of Toulouse's Moussa Sissoko as a coup few would have predicted the immediate impact the Frenchman would have on Tyneside. A player who promised much in Ligue 1, it seems that the midfielder needed a new challenge after his form somewhat stagnated in recent seasons, and he is certainly relishing the chance to play in the Premier League. Alan Pardew deserves great credit for giving the 23 year old the license to drive Newcastle's attacks from an attacking position and the France international is thriving in his new role.
Another goal at the weekend took his tally in the English top-flight to three in just 4 appearances, while he also has two assists, the first of which, on his debut at Villa Park, was inch perfect and set the tone for the displays to come. His trio of goals have come from 10 shots already, having only mustered 19 in as many appearances for Toulouse, while 8 key passes, 6 dribbles and 3 accurate through balls have certainly injected life into the Magpies faltering, Ba-deprived attack.
Lucas Moura (PSG) - 6 apps / 7.52 rating
The fact that the Brazilian wonderkid's superb rating has come despite failing to find the net in his 6 league appearances for Ligue 1 leaders PSG is testament to his all round team play - something that was questioned prior to his mega-money arrival. Many had reservations as to whether Moura's flamboyant style would be an instant hit in European football but thus far those worries have been quashed. The 20 year old has 3 assists in the league and though respectable, his WhoScored rating of 6.92 in the most recent match with Marseille is his worst since moving to France.
Moura has displayed the flicks and tricks that were expected of him, averaging 2.2 successful dribbles per game, but has also proven to be a real creative force. His average of 2.2 key passes per game is the most at the club and he is benefitting from the free role afforded to him by Carlo Ancelotti. His finishing needs a little work, having failed to score from 12 shots in the league, but 6 accurate crosses from just 11 attempts and a surprisingly high average of 1.8 tackles per game suggest that the youngster is settling into his new luxury lifestyle just fine.
Michel Bastos (Schalke) - 4 apps / 7.42 rating
Another Brazilian winger whose arrival came amid a far more depressing time for his new club, Michel Bastos has been a bright spark in a dismal spell for Bundesliga outfit Schalke. Following despondency from the fans after the loss of Lewis Holtby and the sacking of former manager Huub Stevens, Bastos has got his head down having never really been in favour with Remi Garde at Lyon and is impressing in Germany.
A goal on his debut certainly will have helped settle him in, despite coming in a shock home defeat to bottom club Furth, and a brace shortly followed in an away draw at Mainz. His three goals were supplemented with an assist in his most recent encounter against Dusseldorf in a match that proved to be Schalke's first win in six. Bastos’ average of 3.5 shots per game is equal to that of the highest in the league (Andre Schurrle), while 2 successful dribbles and 2 tackles per game will have endeared him to the home fans further.