Transfer Market Winners and Losers
Guys... Sad news!! (In case, you didn't know) THE TRANSFER MARKET IS OVER!!
That's right; the transfer window for Europe's major leagues is finally closed for this summer, but, which team did the best business? And which clubs failed to make the best deals they really wanted?
So, let's dive into it, "Neymar style":
Winners: Inter Milan & Atletico Madrid
Firstly, we can take one thing from Inter Milan's summer transfer strategy: They are deadly serious about ending their decade-long wait for a Scudetto. 9 years... It has been 9 years since they last won one.
It was a bold enough move to enlist Antonio Conte, who was a huge success with serial champions Juventus, as manager, but their on-field activity has made a statement too. Romelu Lukaku has his doubters, but the bare fact is that the £73M striker is one of the best, most prolific centre-forwards around (2 goals in 2 games? WOW!). Also, few centre-backs have shut down Champions League attacks as resolutely as former Atletico man Diego Godin over the past decade, while the exciting young midfielders Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella should push on, after joining from Sassuolo and Cagliari respectively.
And... What about "Chilean pianist sensation" Alexis Sanchez? The Man United on-loan forward, who turns 31 in December, was a total flop at Old Trafford, and his rumbustious, all-action best days seem to be behind him, but Conte could be the man to get a tune out of him again. It also seems a bonus, on the face of things, that the Mauro Icardi soap opera has rolled out of town and joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan on the final day of the transfer window.
Anyway, now it's the turn for the new upcoming (if they're not already by now) Spanish giants; Atletico Madrid.
No Antoine Griezmann? WHO CARES ABOUT THAT FRENCHIE! The manner of their star forward's £108M departure for Barcelona may have rankled, but in truth Atletico were due a refresher in any case and they appear to have reinvested superbly. With the likes of Rodri and Lucas Hernandez also leaving, "Los Colchoneros" brought in around £271M in transfer fees and may well be stronger for the way they have spent it. Splashing €113M on 19-year-old Joao Felix, they have a forward almost a decade younger than Griezmann who seems set to be a global star. The kid is already turning opposition's defenders apart. SOMEONE SHOULD STOP HIM!!
Lodi, Felipe, Herrera and Llorente are also great additions to the Madrid side, while Kieran Trippier is a canny signing from Spurs as well as centre-back Marco Hermoso, signed from Espanyol, who looks a perfect replacement for Diego Godin. The Uruguayan veteran is among those whose experience may be missed when the Champions League business end comes around but, judging by their flying start to the La Liga season, Atletico seem to have managed this summer's regeneration astutely. SIMEONE IS A GENIUS!!
Losers: PSG, Roma & Eintracht Frankfurt
Now, PSG... What can I say about "I Don't Care About Financial Fair Play Club"?
They have kept Neymar and added further firepower in Icardi (Specially after Tuchel only had Choupo-Moting as a replacement for Mbappe and Cavani), so what's not to like about the Ligue 1 champions' window? Mainly, the fact that their balance still seems all wrong and that the time would have been right to pursue a new model where slow, organic improvement rather than Hollywood glamour was the norm.
Tough tackling midfielder Idrissa Gueye is at least a good signing while Pablo Sarabia and Keylor Navas have the solid profile PSG should be pursuing, but Icardi brings a significant degree of baggage while Neymar's ego presents a sideshow that Thomas Tuchel could do without. How Tuchel manages both their strong and egocentric personalities at his disposal will define PSG's campaign; the nagging worry is that clear lessons have still not been learned. Good luck, Tuchel!
Meanwhile, in Italy, Roma are not the only Serie A side to have plundered an array of Premier League off cuts over the transfer window, their late trolley dash smelt of desperation and, critically, a lack of imagination.
Man United's Chris Smalling and Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan are hardly signings for the future and the latter has been on a downward spiral ever since leaving Borussia Dortmund. At 30, he is unlikely to recapture past glories. But, we'll see. We'll see.
However, Nikola Kalinic, now 31, was a success story with Fiorentina, but, clearly, has endured a fallow 3 years and seems little more than ballast for Paulo Fonseca's team. Fonseca himself should be a good signing having enjoyed a highly promising stint at Shakhtar Donetsk, but his current squad looks like a hastily assembled mish-mash that could do well to return to the Champions League spots (but don't bet your money on that). Clearly, Roma is going to surely miss defensive lynch-pin Kostas Manolas, who was sold to Napoli this summer.
Finally, in Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt played some thrilling football last season and were agonisingly close to reaching the Europa League final, not to mention a Champions League spot that ultimately slipped from their grasp. But,, much of that came through the brilliance of their front three: Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic, and none of them will be on show at Commerzbank-Arena over the coming campaign.
But now, that marvellous front-three will represent Real Madrid, West Ham and AC Milan respectively, the latter being confirmed when Rebic joined AC Milan in a season-long loan late on Tuesday night. Eintracht have received more than £98M in return but it is impossible not to feel that a golden chance to establish themselves among Germany's front runners has gone begging.
Who's Eintracht new front-three do? Andre Silva, Bas Dost and the exciting Red Star Belgrade forward Dejan Joveljic go some way towards filling the gap they have left... F***!! WHO AM I KIDDING!? EINTRACHT IS SCREWED!!