With the transfer window set to shut in three weeks time, we take a look at who has had the best off-season so far. There have been world record-signings, shock moves to rival clubs and bloated transfer fees GALORE.
The rankings are based on who is winning the transfer market so far, which is based on a few criteria. Will the signings help increase the number of trophies? Have they transformed the club back into relevance? Have they consolidated already dominant positions?
Three out of a desired four signings for Jose Mourinho and boy has Ed Woodward done a stellar job. Firstly, young centre-back Victor Lindelof was snapped up from Benfica and then United pulled off a stunning coup by hijacking Chelsea‘s move for Everton forward Romelu Lukaku.
The dust settled slightly before the Red Devils made probably their most important acquisition of the summer when they signed Nemanja Matic from Chelsea for £40m. Paul Pogba will now have the chance to flourish, with his defensive responsibilities reduced thanks to the disciplined Serbian who will now play behind him. Mourinho’s transformation is nearly complete.
The Portuguese made 4 big signings last year, and if he equals that tally this year, say with the signing of Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, or dare I say it, Gareth Bale, then United may leapfrog their cross-town rivals as title favourites.
Pep Guardiola has fully exhibited City’s spending power this summer. It has become increasingly hard for teams to get their business done early in the transfer window, but City didn’t fuss about the subtleties of transfer fee’s, they digged into their bottomless coffers straight away and signed Bernardo Silva from Monaco for £43m when most people had barely realised the season had finished.
Ditto for Ederson, who arrived from Benfica shortly after for £34.7m. People thought Guardiola was mad when he axed practically all of his fullbacks. But then the Spaniard went out and spent more than £125m on three new ones in Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo.
A centre-back would not go astray, with Virgil van Dijk the perfect candidate for Guardiola’s possession-based style and it would help solidify City as Premier League title favourites.
As expected, they dipped into the talent pools of their rival German clubs, this time from Hoffenheim, where they signed Sebastian Ruby and Niklas Sule. 21-year old Sule is highly-talented and could very well partner Mats Hummels this season. Rudy has been brought in to replace Xabi Alonso after blossoming with Germany at the Conderations Cup.
The Bavarian giants spent 41.5m euros on 22-year old French midfielder Corentin Tollisso, while also bringing in James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal. The Colombian failed to solidify his place at the Bernabeu, but he’ll now get the opportunity to thrive in a new environment with a familiar coach in Carlo Ancelotti.
There is no room for Bayern to improve in terms of the Bundesliga, this season will undoubtedly result in another title. But they’ve improved enough to now seriously be considered as contenders for the Champions League, which is their ultimate goal for the season.
2. AC Milan
If this was last week, the Rossoneri would have sat firmly in first place in the rankings. It’s been quite an unbelievable few months for AC Milan, backed by their new Chinese owners, who have set out the restore the club to their former glory.
The 7-time Champions League winners have had a miserable few years. They have not won the title since 2010/11 and they have failed to finish above sixth since 2012/13. Juventus have been untouchable for the past six seasons. However, a significant departure from Turin to the San Siro is symbolic of a change in the tide.
Leonardo Bonucci, who has been an integral component of the past six Juventus championships, joins Milan after a reported fall-out with Massimiliano Allegri. The 30-year is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world and was targeted by Manchester City and Chelsea before deciding to stay in his homeland.
The significance of Bonucci’s arrival is closely outweighed by the sheer volume of players arriving at the club. 21-year old Andre Silva has been signed from Porto for 34.2m euros. Franck Kessie and Lucas Biglia have been brought from Atalanta and Lazio to help shore up the midfield.
Andrea Conti from Atalanta and Wolfsburg‘s Ricardo Rodriguez will inject some talent in the full-back ranks, while Mateo Mussachio will pair up Leonardo Bonucci after signing from Villarreal. Free-kick maestro Hakan Calhanoglu also arrives after three-seasons with Bayer Leverkusen.
Overall, the raft of transfers may not immediately catapult Milan into title favouritism, but they will be close, which is a vast improvement on their previous four campaigns.
The Parisians would not have even been an honourable mention last week, but that’s football.
Besides the sheer magnitude of what it represents for all future transfers in football, the impact that Neymar has on the pitch will also be significant.
The Brazilian was a pivotal factor in the Blaugrana’s incredible comeback from a 4-0 aggregate deficit against PSG in last season’s Champions League round of 16. His career at Barcelona is synonymous with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, MSN as their affectionately known, but will be known no longer.
Neymar now has his chance to shine without Messi and Suarez. For PSG and their Qatari owners, they now have the missing piece that can help propel them to the top of European football.
One signing, one world-record transfer fee, but a completely different team now that Neymar dons the Paris Saint Germain jersey.
And for that, they are currently winning this summer’s transfer market.