Another dramatic summer transfer window has slammed shut last night — it’s always a slam, never just a close — and one that often felt more dramatic than most, perhaps because of being scrunched by Euro 2020/1, or because of trying to make up for lost time from last summer, or because Lionel Messi did something he had never done before in his career, switch teams!
That’s right, Messi’s now in Paris, Cristiano Ronaldo’s now back in
court Manchester United, Antoine Griezmann’s back at Atlético, and Harry Kane is ... still at Spurs. He tried, bless his trophy-less heart, and he even checked out, but he couldn’t actually leave. Manchester City signed Jack Grealish instead for a Premier League record fee, while United added Jadon Sancho (and Raphaël Varane). And we of course signed Romelu Lukaku after making an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Elsewhere, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé both stayed put, but primed the scene for massive transfer sagas next summer that in many ways have already begun, and Bayern Munich signed their closest rival’s best defender (Dayot Upamecano), best midfielder (Marcel Sabitzer), and head coach (Julian Nagelsmann) as well. No wonder they didn’t need the Super League! They’re already in a Super League of 1.
But perhaps nothing has been more amusing than Arsenal having the biggest transfer outlay of all, and spending almost all of it on second-rate talent, including £24m on a backup goalkeeper. Their start to the new season — 0 points, 0 goals, 0 wins, bottom of the table after three rounds — has matched that rather fittingly.
Chelsea spent big as well, again, but also collected a handsome amount, again, to balance the books. Not everything Marina Granovskaia touched turned to
gold blue, including Jules Koundé, and perhaps we missed a trick by not going after the likes of Eduardo Camavinga or Aurélien Tchouaméni, but she and the rest of the front office can probably use a well-deserved vacation after the last few months.
Romelu Lukaku (from Inter Milan) — €115m (£100m)
Saúl Ñíguez (from Atlético Madrid) — €5m loan fee
Marcus Bettinelli (from Fulham) — $FREE
Lukaku becomes Chelsea’s record signing, arriving for the second time almost exactly ten years to the day he signed the first time. He’s come home, and it feels so good, and a goal just 15 minutes into his (second) debut was written in the stars. Bettinelli is as solid a third goalkeeper as we could’ve asked for, while Saúl’s deadline day loan (with a buy-option) addresses a depth issue in midfield without risking another Bakayoko or Drinkwater situation.
Tammy Abraham (to AS Roma) — €40m (€80m buy-back)
Olivier Giroud (to AC Milan) — €1+1m
Victor Moses (to Spartak Moscow) — €4.5m
Kurt Zouma (to West Ham) — £30m
Fikayo Tomori (to AC Milan) — £25m
Marc Guéhi (to Crystal Palace) — £20m
Tino Livramento (to Southampton) — £5m (£25m buy-back)
Davide Zappacosta (to Atalanta) — €10m
Ike Ugbo (to KRC Genk) — €3.5m
Not all the departures earned universal applause or approval, especially for those players coming originally from the Academy, but our emphasis on buy-back clauses in select cases has certainly been a welcome development.
We also collected token transfer fees for: Pierre Ekwah-Elimby (to West Ham), Charlie Wiggett (Newcastle), Luke McCormick (AFC Wimbledon), Lewis Bate (Leeds United), Myles Peart-Harris (Brentford), and Dynel Simeu (Southampton).
And we released just as many older players for free: Willy Caballero, Marco van Ginkel, Jamal Blackman, Danilo Pantić, Izzy Brown, Marcel Lewis, Jon Russell, Jack Wakely
In addition to releasing several younger players as well: Filip Lissah, Zane Myers, David Roberts, Dubem Eze, Finley Munrow, and Kyrell Wilson.
At the time of writing, only Jamal Blackman and Willy Caballero have not found new teams.
LOAN ARMY 2021:
The Loan Army continues to operate in large capacity, despite incoming new FIFA regulations. If push comes to shove, a lot of the older loan warriors can probably just be cut loose eventually. Gallagher, Gilmour, Broja, Ampadu, Sterling are certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Ethan Ampadu (Venezia)
Baba Rahman (Reading)
Thierno Ballo (Rapid Vienna)
Tiémoué Bakayoko (AC Milan — two years)
Michy Batshuayi (Besiktas)
Nathan Baxter (Hull City)
Armando Broja (Southampton)
Juan Castillo (Birmingham City)
Jake Clarke-Salter (Coventry City)
Levi Colwill (Huddersfield Town)
Jamie Cumming (Gillingham)
Danny Drinkwater (Reading)
Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)
Billy Gilmour (Norwich City)
Henry Lawrence (AFC Wimbledon)
Dujon Sterling (Blackpool)
Ian Maatsen (Coventry City)
Matt Miazga (Alavés)
Karlo Žiger (Rudar Velenje)
Despite all that activity, we have some players who have failed to find a new assignment or placement for this season. They include Ross Barkley, Malang Sarr, Charly Musonda, Lewis Baker, and Tino Anjorin, though his move to Lokomotiv Moscow should be announced soon, presumably as soon as we figure out whether it’s a loan or a transfer. Russia’s transfer window remains open for almost another week, as does Turkey’s, plus a few others’.
Football returns after the international break in about ten days. And then the season will have truly began.
Here we go!
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