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Transfer Window Winners

Neymar and Lionel Messi reunite at PSG

A look at the summer transfer window: Who are the top five big-money moves? Most surprising deals that took place? What about the Business Gurus? And who are the real winners?

The summer transfer window has been one to remember! The two biggest names in modern-day football made big moves. Meanwhile, the English Premier League broke their transfer record and the clubs who don’t normally spend ‘big money’ broke their club records in the process.

The big spenders always grab the headlines with astronomical fees which are more and more becoming a part of the footballing world. Players have to go into their new clubs with that fee hanging over their heads. We know the players more often than not, and their talent and class on the field is not in question – but their ability to live up to their hefty price tag always is.

Check out the top five big-money moves of the summer transfer window.

Ben White (Brighton Hove and Albion to Arsenal, £50m)

Arsenal defender Ben White

Perhaps surprisingly to most, Arsenal have finished as the transfer windows biggest spenders, and the name with the biggest price tag for the North Londoners is English centre-back Ben White, who arrived from Brighton for about £50m. White has proved himself at three different levels of English football and exceeded, having played for Leeds, winning the Championship in 2019-20, as well as winning Leeds United’s Young Player of The Season and PFA Championship Team of the Year awards. Before that, White played in League Two with Newport County where he won the Player of the Year Award in the 2017-18 season. After having a promising spell down south with Brighton Hove and Albion last season, Arsenal have scooped up the young talent on a five-year deal.

Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan to PSG, £51.4m)

Achraf Hakimi

Arguably one of the best right-backs in top-fight football last season, PSG beat many suiters for the signature of Moroccan national Achraf Hakimi on a deal reported at £51.4m. Hakimi played a key role in Inter Milan’s Serie A winning squad last season, making a total of 45 appearances, scoring seven and assisting 11 with 16 clean sheets. The 23-year-old has already made four competitive appearances for the Parisians, scoring one and assisting two. Hakimi might have been PSG’s most expensive signing this window, but comes nowhere close to the Paris based club’s record transfer fee.

Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, £72.8m)

Jadon Sancho

One of the ‘big returns’ has to be Jadon Sancho back on Manchester soil. After leaving Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017, the young British talent is back and featuring for rivals Manchester United on a £72.8m transfer fee that sees him at number 17 in the all-time transfer deals and number four in United’s history. Sancho has already put 117 minutes on the clock in United colours, though has yet to make a decent impact. With the quality the new number 25 produced at Dortmund, he will definitely have his shining moments. 

Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan to Chelsea, £98.5m)

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku

A reliable and world class striker has been in many Chelsea fan opinions the missing piece of Thomas Tuchel’s puzzle. So, the man for the job has come in the name of the big Belgian Romelu Lukaku for Chelsea’s club record transfer fee of £98.5m. In his second debut for the Blues, he found the back of the net against Arsenal but failed to make an impact against Liverpool – to be fair, he had little support once Chelsea were reduced to 10 men. Lukaku is still in fine form, scoring a goal in each of Belgium’s World Cup qualifiers and showing he is always going to be a force to reckon with.

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa to Manchester City, £100m)

Man City's Jack Grealish

Breaking the bank yet again, Manchester City have made just one signing this season and they have bought England’s poster boy Jack Grealish on a £100m. The £100m transfer fee breaks another record this window and is now the British record fee holder. Jack has slowly progressed and finally emerged as one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and after an outstanding showing in the Euro 2020, his market value and top club interest skyrocketed. The Manchester City number 10 has already featured in each of City’s four fixtures, scoring and assisting one.

Out of left field deals

Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez

The transfer deadline day normally has unexpected deals that nobody really saw coming throughout the window. Of the lot that were out of left field, I have a selected few that were rather shocking deals to say the least.

Willian: With most transfer talk focusing on the incoming of players, one outgoing that stands out is Willian who left Arsenal and £20m behind for boy hood club Corinthians. After much criticism over money chasing by the media and things admittedly not working out on the field for the player, Willian mutually terminated his contract with the Gunners which had him earning just under £20m on the remainder of his contract. In a stamen posted via social media, he made it clear he was never there for the money and for the project that Arsenal were building and proved it in his actions with the transfer deadline day decision.

Saul Niguez: With an already stacked squad, Chelsea added to their ranks with Spanish international Saul Niguez on a season-long loan from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and have an option to make the deal permanent for £30m this summer. Saul is no stranger to playing at the highest level and will compete with Ballon d’Or contenders Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, as well as Matteo Kovacic for a midfield position. But with Kovacic and Jorginho having just played World Cup qualifiers and Kante still suffering with a niggling injury, Saul could make his first impact in Chelsea colours in his first possible game with the Blues against Aston Villa on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid moved in for World Cup winner and ex-player Antoine Griezmann after the Rojiblancos completed a season-long loan move for the Barcelona forward with a mandatory £34m option to buy. The Frenchman heads back to where he crafted his name after a two-year hiatus. Griezmann made 257 appearances, scored 133 goals and assisted 50 times in his first time at Atletico and will look to extend his helping hand to the club yet again.

Eduardo Camavinga: Real Madrid have signed highly sought-after midfielder Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes for a reported £34.4m. The French national had interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain to name a few, but never any talk of Los Blancos securing the youngster’s signature. Real see the 18-year-old as a potential long-term replacement for 35-year-old Luka Modric, who in May signed a one-year extension to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu. The youngster has yet to appear for Madrid but has just featured for France in UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifying in which he netted a goal in a 3-0 win over Macedonia.

The Business Gurus

Lionel Messi

Paris Saint-Germain have not spent much but have brought in the biggest names in world football. Achraf Hakimi was the first of those signings and at a pretty penny of £51.4m. Shortly after three free transfers took place with the contracts of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool, Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid and Gianluigi Donnarumma from AC Milan, then out of constant unrest at Barcelona, the deal nobody thought would ever happen, Lionel Messi playing in colours other than the Catalans for free! Messi made the move to Paris following Barcelona unable to offer the footballing legend a new contract. A signing of Portuguese national to solidify the midfield was then completed of Danilo Pereira for £14m. Finally, on deadline day, PSG beefed up their left-back option with the loan signing of Portuguese national player Nuno Mendes from Sporting Lisbon. The Parisians have been in constant pursuit of a European trophy, falling ever so short in the last two seasons. Now, with the business end done, the players can prove their value as they are favourites to take European glory this campaign.

Manchester United’s transfer window has been one to take them back to where they belong. After struggling in recent years, the once consistent champions of England finally feel it’s their time to reclaim the throne. Players of winning mentality have now made the move to Old Trafford, and one special return. After failing to sign Jadon Sancho in the past, United finally made another move for the young English talent and secured him on a deal of £72.8m from Borussia Dortmund where he won the domestic league cup last season. Close behind came the signing of one-time World Cup winner, four-time Champions League winner and three-time La Liga winner Raphael Varane on a £34m deal. Lastly, and most importantly in the eyes of most, if not all United fans, the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Chelsea signed just two players on permanent deals this summer with one on a loan with option to buy. The first signing was back-up goalkeeper Marcus Bettineli having been out of contract at Fulham, followed by the return of Romelu Lukaku on a club-record transfer fee of £98.5m and on transfer deadline day, another midfield option in Saul Niguez on loan. While much of the focus has been on the incomings, it is the outgoings that earn Chelsea a spot on my “Business Gurus” section. While the club broke the bank for a striker, they finished the window “in the green” with over 20 outgoings, including end of contract and loan deals. The Blues managed to sell the likes Tammy Abraham, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud to name a few. One of the top teams in all the leagues to make a profit in the transfer window.

And the winners are…

Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain are without question the transfer market winners in my opinion. They have strengthened their first team in every area of the field by big margins. Getting a European Championship winning goalkeeper in Gianluigi Donnarumma on a free transfer, the experience of Sergio Ramos on the books to sure up PSG’s backline on a free transfer, alongside Serie A winning Achraf Hakimi and Portuguese Primeira Liga winner Nuno Mendes as well. The middle of the park sees Georginio Wijnaldum and Danilo Pereira coming in to play alongside an already strong midfield approach. Lastly, and most importantly, signing Lionel Messi for their attack, probably the world’s best ever player on a free transfer to partner with former teammate Neymar and France’s very own Kylian Mbappe. PSG are without question ready to take on the world this season and their business deals make them this transfer windows’ winners.

Written by Joshua Gaillard