It’s been the most expensive transfer window in history with Premier League sides alone spending well over £1bn. Here we take a look at some of the biggest deals that took place across Europe this summer as well focusing on the Premier League winners and losers of the transfer window.
Neymar (£198m) Barcelona to PSG
Few people believed the rumours linking the Brazilian superstar to a move to the French capital when the story first broke. The former Santos man seemed to be enjoying the high life at Barcelona, playing for one of Europe’s greatest sides and forming part of an incredibly talented front three beside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The thought of a new challenge and perhaps the offer of an even bigger paycheque, was enough to tempt Neymar to the idea of moving to PSG however. Despite resistance from Barcelona, they were helpless as the PSG flexed their financial muscles and met Neymar’s release clause in a deal that was more than double the amount of the existing world record transfer fee. It is hoped Neymar will help take the Paris side to the next level, both on and off the pitch.
Kylian Mbappe (loan) Monaco to PSG
The acquisition of Neymar alone wasn’t enough to satisfy Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of PSG, who decided he want to snap up the young sensation Kylian Mbappe before others had the chance. Although the deal struck is only a loan, this is purely to circumvent UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. The loan arrangement includes the offer to purchase the 18-year-old for £165.7m next year, thus allowing PSG to put the transfer on next season’s accounts. It’s a huge fee for a player who only made a name for himself last term so it’ll be fascinating to see if he lives up to the hype. He looked certain to go to Real Madrid so this is another huge coup for PSG.
Ousmane Dembele (£97m)
Barcelona were forced to spend big in order to replace Neymar as teams knew the Catalan giants had money burning a hole in their pocket. The initial fee for the ex-Dortmund winger was agreed at £97m but it could rise by an additional £38m if all add-ons are met. It’s a big move for a player who’s only had two seasons playing top-flight football but the 20-year-old, who described the switch as dream come true, does seem to have bags of potential. Whether he can help Barca get back to the summit of Spanish and European football remains to be seen.
Romelu Lukaku (£75m) Everton to Manchester United
It may only be early days but Romelu Lukaku is already looking like exactly the striker United were crying out for. The 6ft 3in Belgian has made a strong start to the season and he is no stranger to football at this elite level. At the time, the £75m fee, which could rise to £90m with add-ons and £100m if Wayne Rooney is included, seemed on the high side but recent inflation stemming from the Neymar deal makes it seem like a good piece of business.
Transfers That Didn’t Quite Make It
For those that stayed up late on deadline day it was a quiet night. All the major deals were done before the last 24 hours and the final day of the Premier League window was more about the deals that didn’t get done than the ones that did.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal to Man City)
It’s been no secret that Alexis Sanchez has been open to a move away from the Emirates this summer. The Chilean has just one year left on his Arsenal contract and there’s been no desire from him to extend his stay. Arsene Wenger stated he would keep hold of the 28-year-old, although many fans were left wondering whether this was just to preserve Arsenal’s bargaining power when it came to negotiations. City stepped up their efforts to sign Alexis late on, including a bid worth £60m, but without a replacement lined-up, the Gunners were unwilling to proceed. This deal fell through because the Gunners couldn’t get Julian Draxler or Thomas Lemar to move to the Emirates.
Thomas Lemar (Monaco to Liverpool/Arsenal)
Ligue 1 title holders Monaco have had quite the clear-out this summer, shipping off several big players for even bigger fees. The French side were determined to retain the services of the young Thomas Lemar however, rebuffing interested from both Liverpool and Arsenal. The Gunners had made a move earlier on in the window but despite their initial efforts being rejected, they went in for a huge late swoop, offering a reported £92m for the Frenchman’s services. Had they managed to get him on board then Alexis Sanchez may well have secured a deal to Man City. As it was, it was a case of all quiet on the western front, although Lemar scored two as France beat Holland 4-0, one of his goals a scorching volley.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona)
Although he was never a direct replacement for Neymar, Barcelona were for weeks hell-bent on bringing Phillipe Coutinho to the club. The interest from the La Liga outfit caught the attention of the creative Brazilian who personally was keen to swap England for Spain (hmm, Liverpool or Barcelona, we can see his point). At least three bids were lodged for the 25-year-old, the highest being £114m and there were rumours of a fourth bid worth £138m. From the outset Liverpool insisted that the Coutinho was not for sale at any price however and this proved to be the case. The Spanish window remains open at the time of writing but we don’t see a deal happening.
Virgin Van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool)
The Southampton centre half was reportedly attracting the interest of many clubs over the summer but it was Liverpool who always looked in pole position. The saga began in June when Liverpool were accused of tapping up the Dutchman who would later submit a transfer request to try and get a deal done. Southampton remained resilient, preferring to force the Dutchman to train alone rather than to sell him. Their constant defiance made any deal look increasingly unlikely and there was no late push to sign the dissatisfied defender.
Premier League Transfer Winners
The Citizens have not held back signing players this summer and they now boast the most expensive defence in world football. Athletic fullbacks in the form of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo have massively strengthened a previously problematic area for City. The luckless Claudio Bravo has been replaced by Ederson in net and Bernardo Silva gives Pep Guardiola yet another excellent option in midfield. It may have been expensive but City look a much stronger outfit now than they did in May and are deserved favourites for the title.
A total of nine summer signings arrived at Goodison this window and although you might argue Everton are still a striker light, significant improvements have come all over the pitch. Jordan Pickford looks very assured in goal, Michael Keane will tighten things up at the back and the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen and Sandro give the Everton attack plenty of creative talent. The return of Wayne Rooney cannot be ignored either as the Premier League’s all-time second highest goalscorer looks to rekindle some of his old magic at his boyhood club.
Retaining Jonny Evans in the face of interest from Man City was a big plus for West Brom but they’ve also made some excellent additions to their squad. Kieran Gibbs could prove to be a steal at £7m and the loan acquisition of PSG midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has to be considered a coup. Goals from open play were sometimes a problem for West Brom last season but signing Jay Rodriquez from Southampton and Oliver Burke from Leipzig will bolster their attacking options well.
Premier League Flops
The Gunners faithful were not in the best mood before transfer deadline day and they have been left even more frustrated by their side’s lack of transfer activity. Things began promisingly as Arsenal picked up Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer and also bagged themselves the highly rated Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. While teams around them loosened their purse strings later in the window though, Arsenal didn’t spend another penny. The sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, despite Arsenal offering a much bigger weekly salary, seemed to sum up the current state of affairs at the Emirates. Wenger still hasn’t strengthened significantly at the back and the ongoing refusal to accept his team’s deficiencies in this area is the cause of much frustration among fans.
The Blues didn’t endure a terrible window but it turned out to be an incredibly frustrating one for manager Antonio Conte. The Italian looked set to secure the services of Romelu Lukaku earlier on in the window only for Man United to swoop in and deny the Belgian’s return to Stamford Bridge. Then the Blues agreed a fee for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, only for the Arsenal man to turn down their offer in a favour of a move to Liverpool. It would then be Tottenham’s turn to beat Chelsea to a signing, taking striker Fernando Llorente from under their nose. If that wasn’t enough, Ross Barkley would turn down a move to the Blues on deadline day after a last minute change of heart. Rumours of signing Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez also came to nothing.
Sides promoted to the Premier League often need to spend and strengthen if they are to survive in the English top-flight but this is something the Magpies haven’t really done. Just the five players have been added on a permanent basis to their ranks including Christian Atsu who was on loan last season. Rafa Benitez will begin the season without a recognised left-back and there is a distinct lack of quality attacking options in the squad. Newcastle fans are frustrated with the lack of transfer activity and with a net spend of around a lowly £21m, who can blame them.