The European summer transfer window is well under way, and a host of the Continents top teams have reinforced their squads in the hopes of guaranteeing some silverware in the coming season. As usual though, there’s been a healthy dose of drama to balance out the dreary back and forth before a transfer finally happens. Let’s do a countdown of the top 5 biggest transfers so far:
5. Roberto Firmino: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -> Liverpool
With the impending departure of Raheem Sterling Liverpool needed to find a good replacement forward that would chip in with some goals and create chances for his fellow forwards. They found that potential in Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. He enjoyed consistent success with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga over the past two years, as well as making a splash with the few starts for the Brazilian national team that he’s been given.
Although his rumoured £25m price tag isn’t cheap, he’s an up and coming talent and exactly what Liverpool need to assure their forwards get good service in a bid to get back into the top 4. Liverpool fans can look forward to a quick and skillful dribbler that isn’t shy to shoot and finishes off chances better than most wide players. He’s an adaptable forward that will contribute to the attack wherever he’s played, and he actually wants to be at the club…which is always a plus.
4. Arda Turan: Atletico Madrid -> FC Barcelona
Atletico Madrid have steadily been losing some key players since their recent successful seasons in La Liga. Diego Costa, Felipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois all moved to Chelsea at the beginning of last season, and this season they’ve lost one of their best creative midfielders to direct rivals Barcelona. Barcelona haven’t exactly got a shortage of midfield talent, with the likes of Rakitic, Iniesta and Rafinha all very capable in that role. However, they do add a robust and experienced player in Arda Turan to their squad.
The talented Turkish midfielder enjoyed great success with Atletico over the last three seasons, but in joining Barcelona he’s increased his chances of winning more silverware. An already formidable team can’t go wrong with the addition of the reliable attacking talent that Arda Turan possesses.
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger: Bayern Munich -> Manchester United
Manchester United’s path back to Premier League contention has been littered with speculative transfer stories, but few seemed as unlikely as Bastian Schweinsteiger leaving the Allianz for Old Trafford – and it that’s exactly what happened. Not assured by Bayern’s guarantee of a single year extension to his contract, the German national captain looked for a new challenge. Louis van Gaal and Manchester United’s need for midfield reinforcements have been well documented over the past few seasons. Having previously worked with Schweinsteiger during his time as Bayern
Munich manager, van Gaal immediately moved to secure the player’s signature for an unusually low fee of only £15m. Schweinsteiger is getting on in years, turning 31 soon, but his successful exploits at last years World Cup that saw him lift the trophy indicate that he’s far from being past his best.
2. Petr Cech: Chelsea -> Arsenal
Petr Cech has been one of the most consistent ‘keepers in the Premier League for the last decade, starting his time in England as part of Jose Mourinho’s first formidable Chelsea side back in the mid 2000s. He has enjoyed an incredibly successful period with the London side, but after the emergence of Belgian starlet Thibaut Courtois his opportunities at Stamford Bridge became quite limited. Instead of accepting that the gig is up and collecting a goof paycheck for benchwarming, Petr Cech decided that it was time for a new challenge: Enter clever strategist Arsene Wenger.
For a measly fee of around £11m, Arsene Wenger managed to snap up one of Europe’s elite ‘keepers, who at 33 years old still has a fair number of years left to play. Arsenal’s ‘keeper spot has been somewhat sketchy for quite some time, and with their overall squad looking quite capable now was the perfect time to get a Premier League great between the sticks.
1. Raheem Sterling: Liverpool -> Manchester City
Talented and showing signs of massive potential for the last two seasons, Raheem Sterling has been at the heart of the biggest British transfer saga for some time. Aided by an absolute plank of an agent in Aidy Ward, Sterling and his representatives made it clear at the end of last season that the young winger was looking for greener pastures. Not satisfied with helping Liverpool attempt the steep climb back to the top of the Premier League log, Sterling set his sights on a move to a “bigger” club.
Following a lot of back and forth in the press, a horrible and unsolicited interview with the BBC and a few ridiculous comments from his agent it seemed Sterling had done everything in his power to destroy the positive relationship he had with Liverpool Football Club. City tried to get him on the cheap with a couple of insulting bids, allegedly £25m and £35m respectively, but Liverpool held out for more. Their patience paid off last week when City returned with a staggering £49m bid that secured the transfer. Now, is Sterling going to be the next Neymar, or the next Shaun Wright-Phillips? Time will tell.
With over a month still to go before the European leagues resume we are definitely in for some more drama. Players of particular interest are Paul Pogba – the young Juventus midfielder, Angel Di Maria – Man United’s unsettled winger, and Gareth Bale – Real Madrid’s record signing that can’t seem to go a single game without either being booed by his own fans or causing an emotional outburst from team mate Cristiano Ronaldo. Some great deals have already happened, and some surprising ones are likely to be around the corner. Maddeningly frustrating at times but exhilarating at others, what are you hoping your team can do during this transfer period?