2. Duvan Zapata
Napoli snapped him up in the summer of 2013, but seven goals in 22 outings in his first season in Naples saw him leave on a two-year loan stint at Udinese, with an option to buy, completed in 2015. However, once again a return of 19 goals in 65 appearances hardly set Serie A alight, and he duly returned to Napoli before being shipped out to Sampdoria, again on loan.
The 28-year-old striker finally enjoyed a barnstorming season for Atalanta as the club made history by finishing third in Serie A, reaching the Coppa Italia final and securing Champions League football for the first time. It can be dangerous to suggest their success hinged on one player, but without Zapata’s influence few would have backed the club to have reached such heights.
Finishing the season on 23 league goals, the forward also contributed with seven assists, in turn making parent club Sampdoria most certainly rue their decision to loan the striker to their Italian rivals on a two-year deal with an option to buy.
1. Ivan Cordoba
Who would have known that when Cordoba joined Inter in the early 2000s, he would have helped the club secure five league titles, four Coppa Italias and the UEFA Champions League in 2010. It sure could all have been very different had he moved to Spain at the start of the millennium.
The former Colombian international made 455 appearances in all competitions for the Nerazzurri, staying until his retirement 12 years later. He was always loved by the club for the commitment he displayed. Cordoba even managed to score 19 times during those 12 years, becoming one of many former Inter players that always will be remembered by the fans.