The 2021 summer transfer window has come to an end in most of the top leagues in Europe. With most clubs struggling to bounce back from the financial challenge of the pandemic, business was slow at first but when it finally came to life, boy did it ignite. There have been crazy cheap bargains, excessive purchases, needless purchases, expensive and needless purchases, smart buys, etc. We take a look at some of the top deals of the summer.
Kurt Zouma, Chelsea to West Ham, 29.8 million Pounds
The French defender was deemed surplus to requirement at Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. They tried to include him in a deal for Jules Kounde but he refused. He wanted to stay in England. Zouma moved to London rivals West Ham where he will be under David Moyes. What an acquisition this is for the high-flying hammers. A defender with that has won the EPL, UEFA Champions League, Carabao Cup, and Super Cup. He is imperious in the air and has a mean slide tackle to boot. One of the best deals of the summer.
Andre Silva, Eintracht Frankfurt to RB Leipzig, 27 million Euros
Portuguese striker Andre Silva has finally found his feet in Germany after stints at AC Milan and Sevilla. In Frankfurt, he scored 45 goals and assisted 15 in 71 appearances. With Yussuf Poulsen, Alexander Sorloth, and Hee-chan Hwang all disappointing in front of goal last year, Leipzig brought in the 25-year-old to score the goals. He has scored 1 and assisted 2 in his 4 appearances for Die Roten Bullen so far. Hopefully, the goals roll in.
Rodrigo De Paul, Udinese to Atletico Madrid, 35 million Euros
The Argentine midfielder has been one of the best in the business for some time now. Despite playing for lowly Udinese, he has been one of the most underrated creators in Europe with numbers matching players from top clubs. After a sensational Copa America, De Paul signed for Diego Simeone’s Atletico. De Paul is a rounded midfielder that will give Cholo’s hard grafters a new dimension without missing a beat.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus to Manchester United, 25 million Euros
CR7 made it clear towards the end of the window that he needed to leave Turin. His agent Jorge Mendes tried to engineer a move to Manchester City after they failed to get Harry Kane. It looked like it was a deal in its final stage when Sir Alex Ferguson pivoted the deal back to the red half of Manchester. Ronaldo was back home in a matter of hours. After 29 Serie A goals last term, Ronaldo is back in the EPL to give his former side a boost as they look to win their first trophy in 4 years.
Romelu Lukaku, Inter Milan to Chelsea, 98.5 million pounds
Inter Milan won the Serie A after 11 years and lost two major components of that title win. Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi. Lukaku was a driving force for the Nerazzurri. His holdup play was vital for bringing his teammates into the game and his goals were vital for clinching points. 24 goals plus 11 assists meant he picked up the Serie A MVP award. He returned to Chelsea after leaving the club for Everton in 2013. His first two performances have been world-class. He wrecked Arsenal in the second matchday and was a handful for Liverpool the following match.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, AC Milan to PSG, free
Only naive Milan fans expected Donnarumma to renew his contract. With Mino Raiola in his corner and many big teams calling, the Italian number 1 left Milan for Paris. This was after a stellar Euro 2020 campaign. The 22-year-old has been on the bench for all of PSG’s matches so far with veteran Keylor Navas ahead of him. He was a long-term buy though. He will take over when Navas starts declining. Great deal for all parties.
David Alaba, Bayern Munich to Real Madrid, Free
In his 11 years at Bayern Munich, Austrian all-rounder David Alaba won 27 titles and made his name as one of the best full-backs of his generation. This is despite being a midfielder by trade. Alaba left Bayern a legend and decided to join a rebuilding Real Madrid. His start has been shaky in the center of defense. He is no central defender and there is no space for him in his preferred midfield position. He also refuses to move back to left-back. If the 29-year-old ever decides to move back to LB, he’ll be one of the best around. For now, this move is still shoddy.
Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, 75 million Euros
Jadon Sancho finally got his move to Manchester United a year after it was first speculated. The English creator joined from BVB where he scored 50 goals and assisted 64 in 137 appearances. Sancho is still adapting to the league but when he gets going, he will be formidable.
Raphael Varane, Real Madrid to Manchester United, 48 million Euros
Half of the legendary Madrid central defensive pairing joined Manchester United after 18 titles and 360 appearances. In his first game for United, Varane kept a clean sheet. He could form another solid partnership with Harry Maguire at United.
Achraf Hakimi, Inter Milan to PSG, 71 million Euros
The buccaneering wide man was a key figure for Antonio Conte as Inter Milan sealed the Scudetto. Despite interest from Chelsea, he signed for the French giants. He has been electric for the Paris side from his first game in preseason till now. The speedy Moroccan dominates the right flank and will continue to do so for years. Big money well spent.
Memphis Depay, Lyon to Barcelona, free
Memphis Depay was quite young when he came to Manchester United and he did not do well in his sole season at the club. He went to Lyon where he matured, as a man and as a footballer. Depay went on to captain the club. He scored 76 goals and assisted 55 in 178 appearances. Depay refused to renew his contract and left for Barcelona. The Dutchman has been an inspiration for his new team. 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 appearances already, this should be one of the bargains of the summer.
Jack Grealish, Aston Villa to Manchester City, 100 million Pounds
At the end of last season, if you asked any football fan what Manchester City needed going into this season, the answer would have been unanimous. A striker they would say. So it was very surprising to see City pour 100 million of the queen’s fine currency on Jack Grealish. Jack has already scored 1 and assisted 1, but you are still left wondering what exactly he was bought for considering the wealth of talent the Citizens have. Grealish scored 6 and assisted 10 last term, he will add to both tallies this season if Guardiola’s side plays in their top gear. The only problem is that they have still not signed that striker.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona to PSG, free
The Lionel Messi saga was spectacular to watch. One of the most successful clubs in the world was reduced to ridicule as they let their greatest player of all time go because they could not afford wages. Barca’s wages stood at 110% of their income at the beginning of the summer. La Liga had had enough, they refused to allow the Catalan club to register Messi. Even after he accepted a 50% pay cut. This paved the way for PSG to swoop in and pick Messi up for free. It was a strange and sad goodbye but then again fans are fickle. We are already salivating at the prospect of a Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Messi frontline.
Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona to Atletico Madrid, loan 10 million Euros with an option to buy for 40
Anyone that knows football already knew Griezmann to Barcelona would go south. The Frenchman has never been the main striker. Under Diego Simeone, he was a supporting striker who was paired with a centre-forward. Griezmann roamed the pitch. Even under Didier Deschamps, he supports Olivier Giroud up top. So he was never the Luis Suarez replacement or backup, he was neither a left-winger nor the right one. He was just a 120 million Euros signing that could not fit in. It was a football profiling mismatch. After 2 years in Barcelona, he will return to join Cholo as they look to retain their La Liga crown.
It is funny when you think that Griezmann’s transfer was one of the major factors that crippled Barcelona’s finances. Also, the Rojiblancos made their first move for Griezmann very early in the window but only made a decent effort when there was no chance of Barcelona retaining Messi. Lol.