The staggered European transfer window has finally closed with an amazing £5 billion being spent by clubs in Europe’s top five divisions. That represents an £800 million increase on the figure spent in the previous year, but how much of that money has been spent wisely?
In this article, we take a look at the 5 most pivotal transfers on the continent – deals that could have a significant impact on football tips throughout Europe’s elite competitions.
- Harry Maguire: Leicester City to Manchester United – £80 million
When Manchester United lost 2-0 at home to Cardiff City in the final game of last season, they finished the match with a back four of Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Ashley Young.
Two of those players were wingers brought to the club by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2009 and 2011 respectively. The other two – Jones and Smalling – were centre-backs deemed not good enough for the starting line-up under Ferguson.
With those four players regularly featuring for Manchester United in 2019, it is no wonder that the club has performed so poorly in recent years. The £80 million acquisition of Maguire signals United’s first significant defensive investment in over a decade.
Whilst Maguire’s status as an elite defender is questionable, he is undoubtedly better than what United had previously. His presence in Solskjaer’s backline should bring new stability to the team that can, with a little luck, return them to Europe’s top table.
(United fans will be hoping that Harry Maguire can take the Red Devils to the next level.)
- Eden Hazard: Chelsea to Real Madrid – £89 million (rising to £149 million)
Los Blancos were rudderless last season under Julen Lopetegui, only improving marginally upon the return of current manager Zinedine Zidane. The reason for Real’s drop-off from the previous campaign was obvious.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus left Real Madrid without a talismanic forward player. With Gareth Bale misfiring, the Spanish Giants no longer had an advanced player capable of dragging them through games. With the addition of Hazard from Chelsea, Real will be confident they have found the long-term successor to Ronaldo.
- Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid to Barcelona – £107 million
On a balmy evening in Liverpool, last season all hopes of Barcelona’s return to European dominance were destroyed in devastating fashion. In the first leg of this Champions League semi-final Barca was incredibly fortunate to beat Liverpool 3-0 at home.
In the return leg, they got what their performance over the tie deserved and was sent back to Spain with their tails between their legs. Barcelona were in clear need of a striker to take the burden off of aging forward Luis Suarez, and in a mega-money deal, they have done that with the transfer of Antoine Griezmann.
(With Luis Suarez past his best, Antoine Griezmann will have to shoulder Barcelona’s goal-scoring burden.)
- Joao Felix: Benfica to Atletico Madrid – £113 million
Spanish clubs doubled their transfer spending from 2017 over the course of this summer spending a whopping £1.24 billion on players. One of the biggest deals was made by Atletico Madrid who replaced Antoine Griezmann with Joao Felix.
The talented Portuguese attacking midfielder has all the attributes needed to become one of the best players in the world. In his short Atletico career thus far he has already dazzled fans and pundits with his skills. Long-term he could prove to be a phenomenal signing for Atletico.
- Rodri: Atletico Madrid to Manchester City – £62.8 million
For a club with the financial backing of an entire country, £62.8 million is hardly a lot of money to spend on a player. Yet this fee could turn out to be the best money spent by any club in Europe this season.
For years the Champions League has been the Holy Grail for Noveau-rich City, and Rodri could be the missing piece of the jigsaw. Pep Guardiola has been overly-reliant on midfield enforcer Fernandinho, but the arrival of Rodri should lessen the expectations on the Brazilian midfielder.