Football is the most followed and played sport in the world, with more than 200 countries taking keen interest in it. After an exciting Euro Cup 2016, the footballing world has its eyes set on the new club season of Europe, which is regarded as the most followed footballing zone. We take a look at the 10 most important transfers in this summer transfer window.
1. Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United): Inarguably the most talked about transfer this summer, the prodigal son returns to Old Trafford. United broke the bank to make Pogba the costliest transfer in the football transfer history, estimated to be worth 105 million Euros. The 23-year old French midfielder has had a terrific last season with both club and country, winning the Scudetto with Juventus and reached the Euro finals with Les Blues. Pogba brings dynamism and creativity back to the United midfield, which has been lacking since the departure of Roy Keane and retirement of Paul Scholes. Pogba is a complete footballer, who will contribute to United’s will to return to the top of English football. Adept at playing in a defensive or attacking role, the burly midfielder already knows the strains associated to the Premier League and looks to be the perfect fit into Jose Mourinho’s new look squad.
2. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli to Juventus): Inter-league transfers are always talked about, and when it becomes the costliest in the history for two major clubs, few can ignore it. Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain lit up the Serie A last season, notching 36 goals in 35 appearances. The star striker moved from Napoli to Juventus for 90 million Euros, making it one of the most talked about transfers in the history of Italian football. Higuain has a natural goal-scoring instinct and has become a more composed finisher in Italy than his days at Real Madrid. Juventus made him their costliest incoming transfer this season. Higuain has been subjected to a lot of criticism from Napoli’s fans. Reports suggest that the forward was always given a lot of threats.
3. Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich): This transfer was decided even before the last season ended and has been the trend of Germany. Bayern Munich is regarded as the best club in Germany and thus, attracts the best players of the Bundesliga with ease. Bayern paid Borussia 35 million Euros for a defender who left their youth academy to join Dortmund in 2008. Regarded as one of the finest centre-backs in World football right now, Mats joins in national centre-back pair Jerome Boateng at the Allianz Arena. The player is expected to make Bayern stronger, who compete in four different competitions. With a new coach in Carlo Ancelotti, the club is expected to win the Champions League, a feat they achieved in 2013.
4. Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund): Taking a reverse route to Mats Hummels, the creative attacker joined his former club Borussia Dortmund in the summer transfer window for 26 million Euros. Mario Goetze, regarded as one of the prime young talents, scored the winning goal for Germany against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final. Goetze has had three frustrating years under Pep Guardiola, Bayern’s former manager. The German attacker joins old friend and teammate Marco Rues and Aubemeyang in a bid to strengthen Dortmund’s push for the title. Fans of the BVB would be expecting to see the days of glory again when these two linked with Robert Lewandowski and terrorized defences worldwide, reaching the final of the Champions League.
5. Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City): The German fleet-footed midfielder can prove to be world’s best on his day, and new City coach Pep Guardiola saw just that. Ilkay is regarded to be in the mould of Andrea Pirlo, dictating the game from the back of the midfield. The classy centre-half, who has been injury-prone over the last two seasons, joined City for 27 million Euros and was the first signing made in the Pep Guardiola era. Guardiola is known to be a fan of fleet footed midfielders, namely Xavi Hernandez at Barcelona or Xabi Alonso at Bayern Munich, and fans could expect Ilkay to play a similar role at the Etihad. It will be interesting to see how Ilkay copes up with the pressure and physicality of the Premier League, which has been one of the major questions since his transfer.
6. Michy Batshuayi (Marseille to Chelsea): Michy Batshuayi does both – brings and solves problems for the Chelsea faithful. The Belgian striker comes at the back of strong performances for both club and country, and incoming coach Antonio Conte would expect his striker to do most of the work in front of the goal. It will be exciting to see how fans react to Chelsea’s treatment of Diego Costa, reports suggesting the Brazil-born Spanish striker willing to leave. Thus, Michy comes to a club with no senior forward and is sure to get a lot of playing time. With a lot of creativity from the flanks from Willian and compatriot Eden Hazard, Michy would be expected to hit the ground running and score a lot of goals. Conte, who prefers to play a strategic game-play with usually one out-and-out striker, will expect a lot from his new summer signing, who cost the Blues 39 million Euros. The striker would be expected to take the Stamford Bridge by storm, taking them back to victory days. Chelsea finished their last Premier League season at the 10th position, very low by their standards.
7. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United): The Armenian international moved from Germany to England, being part of the quartet Mourinho wished for at United. The deal was signed at 42 million Euros, but it still is a steal as the winger, who can play as an attacking midfielder, broke assist records last season. Mkhitaryan had a wonderful last season for Dortmund, scoring and creating at will. His link-up play, speed and non-tiring attributes make him coach’s favourite. Mkhitaryan is already the highest scorer for his national team, and fans of the Red Devils would be expecting him to continue his exploits at the Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan was voted Bundesliga’s Player’s Player of the season and he completed 15 assists, also scoring 11 goals.
8. Leroy Sane (Schalke 04 to Manchester City): Manchester City is another team which is being re-built under Pep Guardiola. The Catalan is known to be a fan of creative players at his disposal and has added one of the finest German talents in world football – Leroy Sane – to his squad. Sane is an attack-minded winger, who can be deployed in any role behind the striker. Guardiola is known to put a lot of responsibility on his inverted or straight wingers, be it Lionel Messi at Barcelona or Frank Ribery and Douglas Costa at Bayern Munich. Leroy has the better opportunity to ensure he makes it big, playing for one of the finest coaches in world football. They look like they’re made for each other, but is the Premier League made for them? Pep would need time to realize that this is the hardest challenge he’s had as a coach, till date.
9. John Stones (From Everton to Manchester City): Probably the most important player City has signed, John becomes the costliest English defender after Manchester United paid 29.2 million Euros to secure the services of Rio Ferdinand in 2002, signing for the Etihad club for 47.5 million. John slips into the City defence like fish to water, with Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany expected to start with him. The 22-year old has been at the centre-stage of various transfer sagas in the past, with both Chelsea and United vying for him. Stones is known as a calm, ball-playing centre-half, much to the liking of Catalan coach Pep Guardiola. The new manager has his task cut-out to take city to the Premier League trophy and a powerful performance in the Champions League, and for that, he’s signed the player of Stones’ quality. John has a lot of promise and comes with Premier League experience, which is invaluable as no other City signing has that.
10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint Germain to Manchester United): Often termed abhorrent by the oppositions but loved by home fans, full of attitude and usually foul-mouthed Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the Special One at Manchester United has been one of the most interesting sagas this summer. The Swede has publicly criticized his former coach at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, Mourinho’s rival at Manchester City, making the transfer even more mouth-watering. Zlatan brings swag and goal-scoring abilities to Old Trafford, something they hugely lacked last season under LVG. Zlatan has already made headlines for scoring the winning goal in the Community Shield against Leicester, giving football fans a glimpse of his abilities. Aged 35, Zlatan’s fitness puts youngsters to shame and the striker would like to score a lot in the only big league he hasn’t played in before. Zlatan doesn’t comes to the Premier League, will the Premier League go to Zlatan? We will wait and see.
These transfers make the next season mouth-watering and exciting, but will these transfers be effective? Will these players be able to cope up with the rigours of the new League they’re shifting to? We’ll see.