The international transfer window has been open for over a month now and many clubs are wasting no time in bolstering their squads in preparation for the new season. After Neymar’s £200m transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, the prices in the transfer market have soared incredibly, making it tricky for clubs to do good business without breaking the bank. Some have managed it, but others haven’t. Let’s look at some of the biggest deals that have already happened and how they’re going to affect their respective clubs and leagues.
Crystal Palace -> Manchester United (£50m)
The right-back position for Manchester United has been an area of concern for several seasons. It’s been so long since they’ve had an out and out right back that the use of converted wingers Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia has become an infuriating meme among United fans. Well, with the purchase of the league’s best right back from last season – Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £50m – they’ve managed to solve their problem well. He’s still only 21, so he’ll feature for years to come. He had the highest tackle numbers for a defender in the entire Premier League last year, so his addition will have beefed-up their right flank considerably.
Matthijs De Ligt
Ajax -> Juventus (£67.5m)
After an exceptional run with Ajax in the Champions League, making their way all the way to the semi-finals, all eyes were on De Ligt for his incredible performances and unusual maturity for a 20-year-old. He’d been promoted to captain at the club, and clearly showed why he was so highly esteemed during the entirety of last year for club and country. Juventus must have been watching carefully, and because all their starting centre-backs are over 30, they’ve been in need of some defensive reinforcements for some time. Considering De Ligt’s age and his exceptional quality his price-tag will look like an absolute bargain once he settles in Turin and performs for them as he did for Ajax.
Frenkie De Jong
Ajax -> Barcelona (£68m)
Another exemplary performer from Ajax’s epic Champions League run was Frenkie De Jong, their central midfielder that showed fantastic composure and work ethic to create from midfield and open up opposition defences. Barcelona’s modern midfield has had some stellar occupants, Iniesta and Xavi the two best examples, and Barcelona has looked for worthy heirs to their positions for a number of years. Ajax plays a very similar style of football to Barcelona, so De Jong is likely to slot right in and take over the mantle from the likes of Rakitic and Busquets, both of which are getting on in years. Like his Dutch compatriot De Ligt, his price will end up looking like a bargain due to the quality and energy he’ll add to their midfield.
Chelsea -> Real Madrid (£88.5m)
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid, the team has struggled to identify a talismanic forward that could replace him. Gareth Bale’s time at the Bernabeu is about to come to an end, Marco Asensio is a tad too young and has been ruled out through long-term injury, and Karim Benzema isn’t prolific enough as a creator or scorer to cover the goals Ronaldo guaranteed. Eden Hazard is a player much in the same mould as Ronaldo, equally capable of creating and scoring, and is at the right age to lead a bit of a resurrection for Real. While he hasn’t ever posted numbers quite as impressive as Ronaldo’s, he’ll be moving to a better team which should provide him with a platform to put in some of his best performances.
Atletico Madrid -> Barcelona (£108m)
After seemingly turning down a move to Barcelona last season, with a melodramatic video announcement, it seemed Griezmann’s move to Barca was well and truly dead. However, after a disappointing season for Atletico, he decided to announce his intention to leave, and Barcelona were waiting in the wings to complete his signing. The price, at £108m is exceptionally high for a player in his late 20s, but due to Luis Suarez’s age and the fact that Griezmann is considered a prolific scorer, this move makes good sense in several ways. Griezmann is a hard worker on the field and covers a lot of ground, converts half chances, and he’ll be a commercial asset for the Barcelona brand, too. While his price is astoundingly high, he’ll be worth the fee if he settles in quickly.
There’s still quite a bit of time left in the window for clubs to get some fresh legs into their squads, but considering how inflated prices are it might be difficult for each aspirant team to tick all their transfer boxes.