The transfer window saga has ended. As the dust settles, the squads have been finalized. Even if the managers have got the desired results, or not, they have to cope with these players only. Let us examine the signings and how the teams have performed in this crazy transfer window.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
- Manchester United: Incoming players include Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. Considering the position which Matic plays, he is a steal for 40 million pounds. He unlocks Pogba thereby allowing him to unleash his creative capabilities. However, he is a temporary solution as he is near the age of 30. Mourinho didn’t get the last piece of the puzzle which is a creative winger. A certain player like Bale or Perisic would have given him full marks in this transfer window. But he has pretty much concluded his business. And he being unsuccessful to sign, gives players like Martial and Rashford a chance to prove themselves in the big matches, until the next transfer window. One thing to remember. Everything will go haywire once Zlatan arrives. Consider this a warning EPL contenders. Zlatan and Lukaku will play together this season. Yeah. He and Zlatan will play together
- Liverpool: Klopp has been successful in dictating his philosophy across all players. Even the board is backing him up. Maybe this is the reason they haven’t allowed Coutinho to leave because Klopp realizes that he is the lynch pin in the team. He is responsible for stitching the team together by providing accurate balls to the finishers. Klopp has concluded his business in general by bringing in pace. And by pace, we mean “Blistering Pace”. Klopp has signed Mo Salah and Oxlade Chamberlain. He already had pacey wingers in his squad. Just a thought. If Klopp changes to 3-4-3, he can have three defenders, one defensive midfielder, two midfielders at the flanks, one attacking midfielder, and three up front. His flank can include Ox and Wijnaldum. Attacking midfielder Coutinho. And front three are already confirmed. And he is getting Naby Keita as a holding midfielder next year for sure. He has thought long term. The only thing he missed out on was a defender. That can prove to be the Achilles’ heel. Too much pace to burn.
- Chelsea: They have by far, had the worst window among all teams in the English Premier League. They have got the replacements only for players which they lost. Morata for Costa. Bakayoko for Matic. And Rudiger for Terry. Besides, they haven’t been able to dispose of Costa. So technically he doesn’t play for Chelsea. Yet he will be paid his weekly wages. Chelsea has gone on to sign a wingback, Davide Zappacosta. And the midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Now bearing in mind the amount paid for them is 60 million pounds, the players need to justify the amount paid for them. But the key point here stands that they were not the first choices. Chelsea has to settle for the second choice players. They didn’t get the players they wished for. And they have had a bad start. A point worth mentioning here. Conte left Juventus because they weren’t able to sign players from his shortlist. Chelsea is pretty much doing the same. Won’t be a surprise if he walks away. The answer to Chelsea’s prayers??
- Arsenal: Call it no matter what. Call Arsene Wenger a senseless individual. Call for Wenger’s resignation. Wenger took all the bullets for his team. Even if he is not successful in bringing key signings, he has done one thing for sure. He has kept Sanchez and Ozil together. He has also brought in Lacazette. And right now he still has a chance to persuade these players to sign a new contract. And if he is successful, he can also concentrate on bringing in Lemar next window. But this is a huge gamble. His actions may have upset many people. The fans, the players. In particular, Sanchez, because he was waiting for the move to complete. And reports suggest that Arsenal didn’t complete the deal because they thought there won’t be enough time to complete the deal. Lacazette to save Wenger??
- Manchester City: The only team which can make the defense spending spree of nations look nothing. Man city has spent a whopping 200 million pounds. They have brought in Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, and Kyle Walker. And they have also broken the record for the amount spent on a keeper. By bringing in Ederson they have been successful in fortifying the position of a goalkeeper. On a long term basis too. Moreover, they are bringing in youth. Bernardo Silva, 22, is a long term replacement. Guardiola is replacing the old guard with new personnel. It has taken time but he has eventually got there, with “some” spending. And Guardiola’s tactics and gameplay depend heavily on full backs. His tenure at Barcelona saw him develop wingbacks like Dani Alves and Jordi Alba. So one can consider that these signings will be playing a crucial role in this team. City’s goalkeeper. Period??
- Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino has done his business in the most subtle way possible. His signings were done at the last day. They were carried out in such a way that no one would have thought of such signings. Furthermore, making these signings on the last day didn’t cause any speculations around the players. The VVD saga being one example. Spurs got their targets without any hesitation. And these are long term solutions. They have signed Davinson Sanchez from Ajax for 36 million pounds. Serge Aurier for 22.5 million pounds. Llorente from Swansea for 11.7 million pounds. And Juan Fuyth for 8.1 million pounds. All of them complete the puzzle. They can act as back up and can play in the first eleven. Overall, it turned out to be an incredible transfer window for Spurs.
- Everton: There is a certain beauty about English Football. The magnitude at which EPL has been marketed has caused a turmoil. It has helped Everton lure top players. Moreover, the extent of such marketing has provided clubs like Everton with a surplus amount of cash. Even after not playing in the Champions League, they still have a huge transfer budget. This helped Everton attain their targets, without hesitation. Everton bought players in crucial areas, although they had to part with their most valued asset, Romelu Lukaku. The parting of Lukaku helped them get their prodigal son. Lukaku’s departure meant Rooney’s arrival. Everton also signed Gylfi Sigurdsson for 44.6 million pounds. The Merseyside club reinforced their back four with the signing of Michael Keane, arriving from Burnley for 25.65 million pounds. Everton also signed a keeper, to replace Tim Howard. Jordan Pickford is signed from Sunderland for 25.65 million pounds. Everton has also signed a playmaker to pair up with Sigurdsson. Klassen is signed from Ajax for a sum of 24.3 million pounds. Overall, Everton signed some marquee players. Everton doesn’t look like title contenders. But their up-gradation means that they can eventually disrupt the run of eventual champions. And somewhat decide the champions of England.
The Prodigal Son Returns
- Real Madrid: Madrid has gone pretty much opposite to the philosophy of “The Galacticos”. Despite having Perez still as their president, Madrid has decided to hand over the reins of the team transfer completely to Zidane. After all, Zidane has won them the Champions League titles back to back, among many accolades. Therefore, Zidane has been allowed to implement his philosophy. Madrid, after a long time, will be seeing a team which is bringing youth from their academies. Real Madrid has, therefore, started emphasizing on players who are home grown players. This transfer season Madrid have signed two players only. All the rest are graduates from the Castilla. The signings are Theo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for 27 million pounds and Dani Cellabos from Real Betis for a sum of 14.85 million pounds. The point worth mentioning is that the signings are done to cover up the aging players like Marcelo and Modric. Moreover, at such a young age Zidane gets a chance to mold them. Zidane is a very successful manager in bringing out the desired results from the players. Therefore, at such a tender age, he can mold the players accordingly and has the time to play them in different positions. But every coin has two sides. This window sees Madrid sell some of their players or either send them on loan. Players like Danilo, Morata, Pepe, and Rodriguez were allowed to leave the club. Now, apparently, they were not first team players, to be honest. But they were still important to the squad. They provided the depth to the squad to a great extent. Those players leaving, sees the Madrid squad thin out in certain positions. The instance of the last match at the Bernabeu stands alibi. Madrid did not have a huge number of options. Zidane has till now, not put a foot wrong. He has not signed any recognized players in this window and is giving young players a chance. Zidane has previously worked with them. Although he is playing a huge gamble with such young players. Only time can now tell us whether the gamble played brings back returns or not. Dani Ceballos
- Barcelona: The transfer window which closed recently, is one which every Barcelona fan would like to forget as soon as possible. Because if it was to be said in decent words, Barcelona was humiliated. The incoming manager has had the worst start possible. Losing a key player, not getting their key signings and then settling on second choices. Before the window opened, Barcelona was heavily linked to Veratti. At the end of the window, they didn’t get their player. PSG, on the other hand, stole their second most prized possession. Considering the depth of the pockets of PSG, they could have taken Messi himself, by activating his clause. But that is a different tale altogether. Barcelona was also not able to bring Coutinho. Liverpool’s resilience kept him tied down at the club. The main problem with Barcelona was the amount which they had in their pockets. The amount received for Neymar inflicted further agony. Every team knew the situation and were able to exploit Barcelona. Additionally, they even had desired to sign Ozil. Had they been successful to convince Arsenal, they would not have been able to sign him. Madrid had a buy back option, giving them 48 hours to buy back the player if they wished. It is somewhat good that Barcelona did not do so. Had they tried to do so, Madrid, without doubt, would have activated the clause. Imagine, Madrid’s midfield combined with Ozil. As a result, Dortmund had to part ways with their player. But they did get an amount which is absurd for a player of such an age. Concluding this window, Barcelona only got Dembele and right back Semedo. And they exercised the buyback option on Deulofeu. Apart from these transfers, they were not successful in bringing any of their preferred targets. The new No. 11
- Atletico Madrid: The only team in the Spanish sub-continent which can challenge for the title. Atletico, the noisy neighbors of Real, have already done wonders. Courtesy of the managerial skills of Diego Simeone. Despite having a transfer ban, they have somehow signed Vitolo from Sevilla. He arrives for an estimated fee of 32.4 million pounds. However, he will join with the Rojblancos after the winter transfer window. And Costa’s move is also all but certain. All they have to do is wait for is the winter transfer window. And the most important factor is that they still have Griezmann in their squad. The only negative point was that they lost one of their most promising full backs to Real Madrid.
- Bayern Munich: Bayern Munich is most probably the only team which has got all their targets this transfer window. Without bending any rules, any fuss or any of their targets’ links to other teams. Moreover, they get to keep the players also by sending them on loan and helping them nurture. Bayern saw two of their most vital players retire last season. They knew they had to bring players who could fill their boots. Bayern brings in Tolisso and Sule. Tolisso and Sule’s signings brought wonders. They have not only filled the boots but also provide flexibility. The key factor is their age. They are young and can adapt to Bayern gameplay. Bayern also brings in James Rodriguez for a two-year loan period with an option to buy. A very smooth move considering they have wingers who are aging. He can be paired with Muller at the flanks. They also have brought in Coman on a permanent deal. Bayern has also loaned out Renato Sanches and Douglas Costa. This gives them an option to monitor the growth of these players, without disturbing the rhythm of the team. Transition under Progress
- Borussia Dortmund: Dortmund is a team which is known to come back from the dead. In the last four to five seasons, they have proved it. Dortmund has seen their key players leave ultimately. Beginning from Mario Gotze (who came back), Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Gundogan and the recent player, Osumanne Dembele. Although they did not let go of him cheap. Dembele was allowed to leave for Barcelona for 94.5 million pounds, which will rise up with certain clauses attached to his contract. Borussia is to receive a substantial sum if the player completes 50 matches in a season for Barcelona. This is something bound to happen. Dortmund is certainly a master of the transfer window. The sale paved way for new signings. Andrey Yarmolenko comes in from Dynamo Kyiv for 22.5 million pounds. They have also signed a defender, Omar Toprak from Leverkusen. He comes at a price of 10.8 million pounds and he has experience of Bundesliga. They have also signed youth players. The most prominent of them being Jardon Sancho. He arrives from City for an estimated amount of 6.3 million pounds and will be wearing the jersey number 7. He will be a player to watch out for because Dortmund has a lot of faith in him. And you never know. He might also turn out to be as industrious as Dembele.
- Wolfsburg: The German team has seen some changes take place in their squad. The most prominent signings are John Anthony Brooks and Divock Origi. While Brooks is a centre back, he is very young and has proved his grit in Bundesliga. Origi, on the other hand, gets a second chance to prove himself. This was an escape route for him. With the World Cup, round the corner, he would like to grab this chance with both hands. Wolfsburg although saw some key players leave. The most prominent of them is Ricardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez joins Milan as they bring in a complete change of personnel.
- AC Milan: The new management of Milan, is showing the whole footballing fraternity how to change their teams at one go. It is simply because of the new acquisition. Teams from Spain should learn from Milan how to achieve the targets without any hesitation. Milan, this summer, has gone all out. They have completely revamped their squad. They have brought in reinforcements for all positions and even have a new captain. The new hierarchy has also made it sure that Milan has a new team and structure. Milan sees the signing of Leonardo Bonnuci, Rodrigez, and Mussachio in defence. The midfield sees new faces of Andrea Conti, Calhanoglu, and Frank Kessie. The new forwards to sign are Andre Silva and Kalinic. They were not able to get Aubameyang. This is so because Dortmund made it sure that he won’t be leaving. They would have allowed him to leave had they got a replacement. But that’s again a different story completely. The new Captain of Milan.
- Juventus: The defending champions of Italy have seen some major signings. After the annihilation faced at the hands of Madrid, they needed reinforcements. Good options which are reliable and have proved themselves on the field. Federico Bernadesci arrives to cover the wings. He arrives from Fiorentina for 36 million pounds. Juventus have successfully reinforced all aspects of their game. They have brought three wingers, two defenders, and a keeper. Douglas Costa arrives on loan, while Cuardardo completes his move on a permanent basis. Blaise Matuidi arrives from PSG. He shall provide coverage for the defense as well as create the game. Juventus have been missing players in such a position for a long time, after departures of Pogba and Vidal. Howedes arrives on the last day of the window. He comes in on loan with an option to buy, should Juventus exercise it. Largely, Juventus have fortified their squad which will help them in all competitions.
- Roma: Roma was one of the few teams which have been robbed. They have seen their central players leave, this window. Mo Salah leaves for Liverpool, while Rudiger leaves for Chelsea. Moreover, Roma has seen their long serving captain retire. This gives their ambitions a serious blow. Roma qualified for Champions League after a mouth-watering season. However, this season they do not have the depth or players to help Roma achieve something. Roma has gone on to sign a center back and a left back among their noticeable signings. Rick Kansdrop has been signed from Feynoord. He arrives after Roma paid 12.6 million for his services. The only interesting signing which Roma have made this season is of Cengiz Under. He arrives from Basaksehir for approximately 12 million pounds. Analyzing his last season, he has 7 goals and 5 assists to his name. It’ll be fascinating to see whether is able to create the magic which the previous wingers of Roma have done.
- PSG: Paris Saint-Germain is the reason for the market situation. Quoting Heath Ledger, “All it takes is a push”. Apparently, PSG has also followed the same principle. PSG in this transfer window has carried out some absurd activities which are going to have long repercussions. They are the only team at present to go to such lengths. PSG decided to activate the buyout clause of Neymar. By doing this, PSG decimated Barcelona in many aspects. PSG was not only successful in keeping Veratti in their squad, but they also brought in Neymar. To be honest, Barcelona wanted it to be a spectacle of Camp Nou, to watch Veratti and Neymar play together. However, there is a different ending. PSG have also gone on to sign Kylian Mbappe, the hottest property in football at the moment. They will complete the signing next summer. And moreover, they at the moment have the most feared attack on paper. And on form as well. PSG also brought in Dani Alves on a free transfer. It’s good news, considering the friendship which all the Brazilians share with each other. PSG have successfully created a team, with Brazilians holding the majority stake. PSG also had to part with some key players. Matuidi leaves for Juventus. Aurier leaves for Tottenham. Although Aurier was a player, they wanted to get rid of, considering his discipline problems. Perfect fit??
- AS Monaco: Monaco is a team which has been plundered for resources. The team which they had last season had almost seen them overthrow Juventus. But now if you see the team, they are in a situation of hand to mouth. Monaco has been stripped off their crucial players. The team has lost players at each position. This transfer window, they lost a defender, a holding midfielder, a winger, and an out front attacker. Considering the cash which Monaco possess, it is but a mystery to fans as to why all these players were allowed to leave. Monaco has brought in alternatives to fill in the positions. The most prominent being Keita Balde from Lazio and Jovetic from Sevilla. Keita joins for 27 million pounds. Jovetic joins for 9.9 million from Sevilla. Although Jovetic is a steal, the overall transfer window is a disaster for them. These players should have been brought in to play with players who have departed. Though the ship has now sailed. Mbappe’s replacement
- Olympique Lyonnais: Lyon and Roma are all but a tale of two cities. Both have shared the same fate. Both had two key marquee players which dragged the team across the line. And unfortunately, both teams have seen these players leave for new pastures. The previous season, Lyon had Lacazette and Tolisso in their bolsters. However, they are without these players now. Although, there is a ray of hope for this team. Lyon has secured the signings of two future prospects. Mariano Diaz arrives from Madrid. And Papa Cheikh arrives from Celta de Vigo. They are good players. Mariano comes for 7.2 million pounds. A change made with an intention to prove his worth, this move is suitable for him. Lyon will be competing in European Competitions. So there’s a brisk chance for him to make it to the National Squad. Papa Cheikh, on the other hand, gets a bigger stage to perform. Not only the big stage but from here if he performs, he might secure a move to Europe’s elites. One thing worth mentioning is that he is raw talent. And he plays in the defensive midfield position. One good season and he might see various teams seeking his services. It is so because of teams like Manchester United, PSG and Barcelona have players in this position who are getting old. And he might just be the replacement for them. Maybe “Agent P” in action.
Image courtesy provided chronologically as follows:
- Image via Google Search/Metro. (https://goo.gl/FG4BCL)
- Image via Google Search/SkySports. (https://goo.gl/1Pdoz1)
- Image via Google Search/ Daily Post. (https://goo.gl/zGSpWv)
- Image via Google Search/ Metro. (https://goo.gl/Kpw3uJ)
- Image via Google Search/ The Sun. (https://goo.gl/LY19Wc)
- Image via Google Search/ The Mirror. (https://goo.gl/WeCHFw)
- Image via Google Search/ Goal.com. (https://goo.gl/oFuunX)
- Image via Google Search/ Independent. (https://goo.gl/3jdsXZ)
- Image via Google Search/ ESPN. (https://goo.gl/AXwBn1)
- Image via Google Search/ AC Milan Offside. (https://goo.gl/BxyekP)
- Image via Google Search/ ESPN. (https://goo.gl/UZtEmr)
- Image via Google Search/ La Gazetta. (https://goo.gl/Ys1PVQ)