Deadline day for the English Premier League is finally over, and it was fairly frantic, with three of the top six from last season involved in last-minute signings to shore up their Champions League squads.
The only one of the big guns to make a profit apart from Tottenham were Arsenal, who made a measly two signings while pocketing a (healthy?) €22.8 million net. Alexandre Lacazette is the only player they paid a fee for, presumably due to no pressure of involvement in Europe’s biggest club competition.
PSG’s capture of Neymar dominated the headlines for most of the window, before the Parisiens finally got their man. They didn’t stop there, bagging the most prized asset of their rivals, Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, in a deal that could go upto €180 million, making him the second most expensive player of all-time.
Overall, the top five European leagues have seen 1665 deals made worth a total of €4.32 billion. We bring you the ten of the best, starting with a loan signing.
10. Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich to Swansea City) - Loan
A year ago, it felt like Sanches had the world at his feet. A goal and a consecutive run of games at the Euros, where the then-19-year-old was a key component of the Portugal team that went on to lift the trophy, had catapulted the teenager into public consciousness, only to be snapped up by Bayern Munich in a deal, rising upto €80 million.
Six league appearances later, Sanches has been unable to break into the first team and finds himself on the way to Wales, where Paul Clement (formerly an assistant coach at Bayern) will welcome him with open arms. This is a massive coup for the Swans, who have surely landed one of the best young footballers in Europe.
9. Sead Kolasinac (Schalke to Arsenal) - Free
There is no doubt that Arsenal have signed an absolute beast in Sead Kolasinac. The ex-Schalke man ran down his contract to join the Gunners, where Arsene Wenger has tinkered with the left-back’s position, playing him at centre-back and then dropping him altogether against Liverpool.
With three goals and seven assists in all competitions last season, this could prove to be one of the free signings of the season if and when Wenger does decide to play him at left-back.
8. Andrew Robertson (Hull to Liverpool) - €8.7 million
An upgrade on Alberto Moreno and James Milner at left-back, Jurgen Klopp must be happy that Liverpool managed to plug a significant gap in the first eleven for under ten million pounds in an inflated transfer market.
The 23-year-old Scot started 75 games for Hull City across the last two seasons, making him one of their most consistent performers. It remains to be seen whether Klopp persists with him, or involves him in a job-share role with Moreno, but the fact remains that Liverpool have strengthened their weakest position for very little.
7. Sandro Ramirez (Malaga to Everton) - €5.75 million
The 22-year-old’s release clause is baffling, especially considering that he bagged 16 goals for a mediocre Malaga team in last season’s La Liga. Atletico Madrid registered their interest, but Everton had their way, and Sandro was on his way to Goodison Park.
Having initially broken out at Barcelona in the 2014-’15 season, where he was unable to break the now fabled MSN trio, he was transferred to Malaga last season, where he finished as top scorer. Now with the likes of Davy Klaasen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and others providing service, Sandro should fancy his chances in the Premier League.
6. Andre Silva (Porto to Milan) - €36.35 million
The 21-year old striker has taken his time to settle in at the San Siro but Cristiano Ronaldo and other members of the Portuguese team believe the future of the team is in secure hands, thanks to Andre Silva’s meteoric rise.
At first glance, €36 million might look steep but this is a forward with a phenomenal scoring rate at all age groups of football, including the senior level, where his first 8 games in a Portugal shirt yielded 7 goals. Compare that to the fact that defenders (Victor Lindelof) and goalkeepers (Ederson) have been bought at the same price from the same league and the price may be a bargain, if Silva has three to four good years with AC Milan.
5. Dani Ceballos (Real Betis to Real Madrid) - €15.75 million
Rudi Voller. Laurent Blanc. Davor Suker. Luis Figo. Fabio Cannavaro. Andrea Pirlo. Juan Mata. Thiago Alcantara.
Dani Ceballos has illustrious predecessors as he looks to step up to the tag of being voted the best player of the UEFA Under-21 Euros tournament.
The 21-year-old had already amassed more than a century of caps for Real Betis and his electrifying performances for La Furia Roja ensured that Real Madrid had to pay more than his release clause for his signature. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will provide stiff competition for first team places, but Ceballos has shown the ability to step up when it matters.
4. Dani Alves (Juventus to PSG) - Free
What can be written about the Dani Alves that hasn’t already been written? At 33, the ex-Barcelona man dragged Juventus to the semifinal of Champions League last year, scoring one and assisting the other three of the Bianconeri’s goals in the semis against Monaco.
Despite possessing Belgium’s first-choice right-back Thomas Meunier in their ranks, it’s no surprise that PSG opted to sign Alves. He was also instrumental in bringing Neymar to Paris, and Juventus will surely miss his quality, as much as PSG will enjoy it.
3. Niklas Sule (Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich) - €21 million
Already a full international for Germany having played for them in the Confederations Cup, the towering Hoffenheim man was signed well before the summer and rarely has a Die Nationallmannschaft defender been so highly rated.
Sule has come in and slotted in at the centre-back’s position, alongside Mats Hummels, a pairing that may start for the national team in Russia next summer at the World Cup. One for the long-term, don’t be surprised if Sule gets the German armband in the future.
A regular in their run to the Olympic final, Sule is another player who rejected Chelsea for Bayern, and has played for the Germans at every age group possible.
2. Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht to Monaco) - £21.6m
Such is the penchant for European heavyweights to sign the big names, that they often miss out on the most obvious ones. Monaco made a tidy profit in excess of 100 million this summer, and Tielemans may be another player that really rakes in the money for the club from the French principality.
Tielemans’ numbers are incredible – 19 goals and 12 assists from midfield as a 19-year-old for Anderlecht last season. Highly intelligent when on the ball with an eye for the killer pass and a sledgehammer for a long shot, the Belgian is one of the most complete midfielders of his generation.
Three players have broken the 100 million barrier so far, expect Tielemans to join that club if he keeps repeating the performances of last season and more.
1. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus to AC Milan) - €38.2 million
Hold on, you’re thinking, how can 35 million plus be considered a great deal for a 30 year old defender? But Bonucci isn’t any defender, he was the best defender in the Juventus back-line, that dominated Europe last season, conceding only two goals on their way to the Champions League final.
In a market where Kyle Walker is worth 50 million pounds and Southampton wanted 60 million for Virgil Van Dijk, Bonucci’s price makes his seem like a steal. Not only that, he was the youngest of the three defenders (Giorgio Chiellini is 32 and Andrea Barzagli is 36) that made it to two CL finals in three years.
Bonucci, having fallen out with Max Allegri, shifted allegiances to Milan and was immediately handed the captain’s armband. If the 30-year-old can inspire a Milanese resurgence, then all prices will be well and truly forgotten.
What are your thoughts? Did we miss someone? Let us know your thoughts.