Nobody would have expected Manchester City to lose the Premier League title by the distance they did last season. With former manager Roberto Mancini now gone from the Etihad, the club wasted no time in getting business done early in the transfer window.
£30million was splashed out on Shakhtar Donetsk defensive midfielder Fernandinho, who certainly carries a weight of expectation with a transfer fee that surprised many. This was then followed by the arrival of Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas from Sevilla. A star player for his club side for years, the £15m spent could turn out to be a good investment for the club – as long as the players’ known homesickness doesn’t become too much of a problem.
The announcement of new manager Manuel Pellegrini followed the signings, as City’s owners look towards the future with the former Real Madrid man.
Liverpool has also been busy early on in the transfer window, and not just with players coming in. Andy Carroll, a £35m signing from Newcastle in 2011 completed his move to West Ham for £15m, signing a six year deal with the Hammers. More recently Jonjo Shelvey left the club, signing on with Capital One Cup champions Swansea City.
Brendan Rodgers has been busy signing players for next season too, with no less than four new faces so far. Kolo Toure, joined on a free after being released by Manchester City and has been followed by Spaniards Luis Alberto from Sevilla and Iago Aspas from Celta de Vigo.
Pepe Reina’s future at the club has been in doubt for the last few years, but not until now has the speculation been so rife. The signing of Sunderland goal-keeper Simon Mignolet has confirmed that, as the Belgian international will look towards asserting himself as number one on Merseyside after an impressive few years at the Black Cats.
The future of Luis Suarez is also in doubt after the player made it clear that he was unhappy at Liverpool. The Uruguay international, who has just represented his country at the Confederations Cup is under the radar of Real Madrid, and more recently Arsenal and Chelsea.
It took new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho less than a month to recruit what most are predicting to be a busy transfer window for the Blues. Andre Schurrle joined the club from Bayern Leverkusen for £18m, and with Marko Marin leaving on loan to Sevilla, Schurrle will look to make a big impact at Stamford Bridge.
Despite a lot of news at the beginning of the summer being about David Moyes’ new role as Manchester United manager, the Scot has yet to have any transfer deals in the summer, despite a lot of speculation regarding Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Catalan club are denying that a bid has been made, but with a plethora of talent in the middle of the park already, it looks likely the Spanish U21 star will seek pastures new.
Brazil’s recent success in the Confederations Cup has seen Tottenham make a quick move on one of the tournament’s stars. Corinthian’s Paulinho looks set to move to White Hart Lane in a £17m switch in the next few days, as Andre Villas-Boas looks to strengthen his squad in order to qualify for the Champions League next season.
A name who has been mentioned daily throughout the summer is PFA player of the year Gareth Bale. The Spurs forward made headlines last season as he burst onto the seen, making quick strides in becoming a world-class player. Real Madrid have been linked with the Wales international who’s future is in the balance but with AVB strengthening the team, it could be worth staying put for now.
Arsenal scraped Champions League qualification last season, and whilst they enjoyed pipping rivals Tottenham for the coveted prize, Gunners fans will definitely be demanding more come August. Scoring goals was a major problem in Arsenal’s squad before Robin van Persie finally came of age. In return the Dutch striker wanted silverware, something he did not see happening any time soon at the Emirates. Replacing the one man they replied most upon proved difficult, with last summer’s signing Andre Pierre Gignac not enjoying the most prolific first season in English football. The hunt for that 30-goal man might be over within the next week though, as out-of-favour Real Madrid man Gonzalo Higuain looks set to break the North London clubs’ transfer fee.
Along with that, 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo has joined from Auxerre, but is seen as more of an Arsene Wenger type ‘development project’ rather than an initial first team regular.
Some recent signings from Real Madrid have made the La Liga transfer window far more interesting, as teams other than the top two are still suffering with the ongoing TV revenue problems.
The biggest story of the summer so far is Brazilian wonderkid Neymar joining Barcelona from Santos in a €57m deal. The goal-scoring forward who was the star of Brazil’s Confederation’s Cup campaign will join up with the likes of Lionel Messi and Xavi at the Nou Camp next season.
Real Madrid were unusually quiet until the signings of Malaga’s Isco and Bayer Leverkusen’s Daniel Carvajal within the past week. Isco who has been widely tipped as the next Andres Iniesta, cost Los Blancos €27m, and will look to assert himself in a squad which isn’t necessarily short of attacking midfielders.
Carvajal joins having only left the Bernabeu a year ago. A very successful spell for Leverkusen initiated Madrid’s buy-back clause on the player who proved to be one of the Bundesliga’s star defenders last season.
Despite being overloaded in the position Madrid still seem to be on the lookout for another midfielder. Asier Illarramendi has been heavily linked with club with latest signing Isco saying he would welcome the signing, and PSG’s Marco Veratti has also been mentioned as a possible addition.
Arguably La Liga’s best out and out striker Radamel Falcao has left Atletico Madrid for a move to mega rich Monaco in a £50m deal. The Colombia man, who won the Europa League twice in two years with both Madrid and Porto has joined Claudio Ranieri’s revolution at the newly promoted French Ligue 1 side.
Benat’s move to Athletic Bilbao for a reported €8 is the biggest transfer amongst the other clubs, as the midfielder has a great season for Real Betis, qualifying for the Europa League and breaking into the Spain squad even if temporarily.
Many would agree that Mario Gotze’s move from Borussia Dortmund to fellow Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich came far too soon. Announced before the sides’ clash in the final of the Champions League last season, the deal was a shock move for the German star whose release clause was met by the Bavarian club. Now looking to prove his worth to the German Champions, Gotze’s move could be defined as a breathtaking piece of business as new manager Pep Guardiola begins his long-awaited first season in charge at the Allianz Arena.
Another Mario, but this time Gomez’s future with Bayern has been speculated to be coming to an end, with the club looking to offload the striker due to not being a part of Guardiola’s future.
Borussia Dortmund’s latest signing will be looking to fill the shoes of rumoured outgoing striker Robert Lewandowski. St Etienne star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a forward who thrives off scoring goals, and with 21 in all competitions for the French outfit last season he will be looking to start his career at the Signal Iduna Park in the same fashion he France with.
Schalke’s biggest signing of the summer so far is Adam Szalai, who joined from FSV Mainz for €8m. And Bayer Leverkusen snapped up hot property Son Heung-Min from Hamburg, who had an impressive 2012/13 season attracting suitors from all over Europe, but opted to continue plying his trade in the Bundesliga.
Like La Liga, there hasn’t been much activity so far in the Serie A transfer market. Carlos Tevez’s arrival to Juventus, and being handed the legendary number 10, worn by the likes of Del Piero and Roberto Baggio, is the biggest news thus far. This looks set to be a great piece of business by the Italian champions, signing a proven goals-corer for £12m, with the Argentina international also agreeing a lower wage in order to seal his move to the Juventus Stadium.
Fernando Llorente has also joined Juve from Athletic Bilbao, signing a four year deal with the club.
Milan have been linked with numerous players throughout the summer, but apart from the permanent signing of defender Cristian Zapata, are still yet to make a big time transfer. Italian starlet Stephen El-Shaarawy has been rumoured to be moving away from the San Siro with Manchester City interested suitors. Despite the speculation, Milan will be hoping that the 20-year-old’s future lies with them, as a formidable partnership with Mario Balotelli and Mbaye Niang looks set to grow next season.
The signing of Dries Mertens is a signal of intent from Nappoli who realise the midfielder arriving with quite a large price tag has something to prove. The former PSV man impressed clubs over Europe during his time in Holland, and will look to continue his development with the help of current Napoli stars Marek Hamsik and Gokhan Inler.
Last season’s big spenders PSG are yet to make a move in the market, despite being heavily linked with Napoli’s Edison Cavani, amongst others. If the big Uruguay forward decides to move to the French capital, the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be in the balance. Reports of a swap plus cash deal have been reported but nothing official as of yet.
Monaco have been this summers PSG, spending a combined €130m on James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Radamel Falcao. Despite obviously favouring a more attacking approach, Ricardo Carvalho has joined from Real Madrid to add a wealth of experience to the back line.
Lyon’s wonderkid Anthony Martial has also made a switch to Monaco in a €5m deal for the 17-year-old striker and is widely tipped a future star in the making.
By Chris Kynoch