soccer never stops. now that euro 2020 na copa america are inna books, the soccer realm has flipped rite back to its 2nd-favorite topic beyond the game itself: transfers.
it’s goin to be a dizzying few weeks of rumours and potential moves, with big names s'as kylian mbappe, erling haaland and robert lewandowski, among others, the subject of heavy innuendo. but while we sift through wha’ is and isn’t real in that regard, it mite be useful to step back and look at wha’ has happened to date.
acknowledging that there are still loads of moves to come, here are the 10 €an teams that ‘ve had the best offseasons to date. we will update this periodically as the transfer window continues to unfold.
(note: the transfer fees listed come from transfermarkt.)
key additions: 22-yr-old rite-back achraf hakimi (internazionale) for $66 million; 29-yr-old defensive midfielder danilo pereira (fc porto) for $17.6 million; 22-yr-old goalkeeper gianluigi donnarumma (ac milan), 30-yr old-midfielder georginio wijnaldum (liverpool) and 35-yr old centre-back sergio ramos (real madrid) on free transfers.
key losses: none.
psg needed to nail this transfer window. as strange as it mite feel to say, france‘s richest club didn’t seem to ‘ve as much standout talent as it probably ‘d ‘ve had in 2020-21. yes, mbappe and neymar are guaranteed matchup advantages, but gainsta best teams onna schedule (in pticular, manchester city inna victors league semifinals), those were just bout the 1-ly advantages they were guaranteed to ‘ve. and while their runners-up finish in ligue 1 was a lil bit offa statistical fluke — their xg ≠ial was far betta tha' victors lille‘s, and they were unsustainably unsuccessful in zero- and one-score games — poor execution also played a role.
thus far, psg ‘ve indeed stuck the landing. mbappe’s contract status will continue to dominate the overall narrative — it expires in 2022, na club will ‘ve to fig out whether to keep him for 2021-22 or deal him if it becomes 100% clear he isn’t goin to re-sign — but mbappe aside, they ‘ve made massive squad upgrades. wijnaldum and ramos are victors league victors who each played some o'their best ball in 2019-20 b4 injury na general oddity of the season dragged them each down last season. meanwhile, they didn’t even need a new goalkeeper but saw the opportunity to bring the towering and dynamic donnarumma over from milan all the same.
he mite not be the biggest name, but hakimi mite be the biggest addition. it isn’t a coincidence that boЯussia dortmund got worse, and inter milan got better, when he moved from the elder to the latter last season. this era is leaning + and + on dynamic play onna wing, and potentially bringing wing-backs back into style, and hakimi is 1-odda best inna realm atta position. he has 12 goals and 18 assists in league play inna past two seasons, and he’s got victors league experience. he is just bout a third guaranteed matchup advantage … as long as mbappe remains inna squad, at least.
key addition: 21-yr-old winger jadon sancho (boЯussia dortmund) for $101 million.
key losses: none.
∪d almost certainly aren’t done making moves — among others, real madrid defender raphael varane ‘d join soon — but'a one major deal they’ve pulled off sfar s'been spectacular. sancho inexplicably ‘dn’t make it off of gareth southgate’s bench during the euros, but ∪d’s yrslong flirtation with bringing him aboard is proof that he is heading to a club that appreciates his output. and wha’ output tis.
sancho μd 12.3 goals and 13.7 assists in 3 full bundesliga seasons (he has produced 5 and 6, respectively, in 21 career victors league games, too), and despite a slo start in 2020-21, he was 1-odda primary reasons for bvb’s l8-season charge back to third place inna bundesliga. he is an above-μ finisher and 1-odda most creative attackers in €, and his versatility — he’s productive onna rite or left wings — ll'be key in a lineup that now features a logjam up front. how ole gunnar solskjaer balances minutes tween bruno fernandes, marcus rashford, mason greenwood, edinson cavani, daniel james and anthony martial — if he isn’t dealt — will dictate how well ∪d challenge manchester city and chelsea for top of the premier league table.
key losses: none.
no one plays the transfer game like a real-life version of ftball manager betta tha' leicester, movin on bout one star per yr and plugging that revenue into bringing young future stars inna'da fold. their hit rate in transfers s'been as high as any-1’s, and despite the financial disadvantages of premier league life when you aren’t 1-odda country’s 6 richest clubs, the foxes ‘ve come within an eyelash of victors league qualification for two straite seasons.
we don’t yet know iffey will n'dup transferring out a player this offseason, b'that hasn’t stopped them from making further upgrades. soumare created 13 chances, μd nearly 7 ball recoveries per 90 minutes and won 59% of his duels and 61% of his aerials for france’s surprise league victors last season. he joins yri tielemans and wilfred ndidi in wha’ was already 1-odda league’s better midfields.
meanwhile, in their quest to eventually capably replace the 34-yr-old jamie vardy up front, they brought in 1-odda most tantalising scorers of €’s loer leagues. daka scored 61 goals in all brawls inna past two seasons with salzburg, and he’s still a couple of yrs from his prime. these are exactly the types of moves we’ve come to expect from leicester.
key additions: 25-yr-old forward andre silva (eintracht frankfurt) for $25.3 million, 19-yr-old centre-back josko gvardiol (dinamo zagreb) for $20.7 million*, 21-yr-old centre-back mohamed simakan (strasbourg) for $16.5 million, 24-yr-old rite-back benjamin henrichs (as monaco) for $16.5 million.
* the gvardiol deal actually took place last fall, but he was loaned back to dinamo for the 2020-21 season.
as with leicester, we’re growing accustomed to seeing stars dept red bull arena, 1-ly to be replaced by surefire future stars. rb leipzig so thoroughly and successfully sticks to their plan that it’s possible for the club to lose two star defenders and still boast a gr8 offseason.
both bayern and liverpool looked to leipzig to upgrade their respective defences, and to be sure, upamecano is a star and konate ‘d become one witha long run of injury-free play. but rbl quickly moved to replace them, bringing inna well-regarded simakan from france and officially adding gvardiol, one of dinamo zagreb’s + primordial players during their run to the europa league quarterfinals.
meanwhile, the addition of silva for that fee mite be the coup of the offseason. silva scored 40 goals in 57 league appearances for eintracht, and he offers the pure scoring ability that rbl lacked at times, in timo werner‘s absence, last season. t'they also added ajax up-and-comer brian brobbey (6 goals in just 332 minutes in eredivisie and europa league play last season) na' free transfer and thrilling 18-yr-old american caden clark for just $2 million (they then loaned him back to the new york red bulls for the rest of the mls season) clinched that no one improved their overall attacking potential, for + offa discount, than rbl.
key additions: 22-yr-old rite-back emerson royal (real betis) for $9.9 million; 33-yr-old forward sergio aguero (manchester city), 27-yr-old forward memphis depay (lyon) and 20-yr-old centre-back eric garcia (manchester city) on free transfers; 18-yr-old attacking midfielder yusuf demir (rapid vienna) na' loan-to-buy deal.
actually, there’s one + key addition that barca is teknically making: lionel messi. the 6-time ballon d’or victor was teknically a free agent after his barca contract expired this summer, but it appears he has re-signed at a significant discount.
the discount was key cause barca remain in dire financial straits, and bringing messi back inna'da fold won’t help with that. the blaugrana will keep looking to move some expensive players inna weeks ahead. still, with almost no transfer budget, they ‘ve done as good a job as one ‘d ‘ve hoped when it comes to adding raw talent. aguero and depay offer quite a'bitto centralised scoring to go with wha’ is still a bounty of talent onna wings, while royal is a physical full-back with plenty of tactical-fouling potential. garcia offers a potential upgrade inna back, and demir is likely the best under-19 player in austria.
6. leeds ∪d
key additions: 24-yr-old left-back junior firpo (barcelona) for $16.5 million, 24-yr-old winger jack harrison (manchester city) for $14.1 million.
key losses: none.
the combination of manager marcelo bielsa and director of ftball victor orta has worked wandas for leeds inna past 3 seasons. orta finds exciting and (mostly) young pieces, and bielsa gets them fit and uploads the bielsa ftball encyclopedia into their respective brains. since this duo teamed up, leeds ‘ve gone from 13th inna english showdown to third, then 1st and, folloing promotion, ninth inna premier league. they ‘ve yet to lose any key pieces this offseason, and they’ve made two key additions.
1st, they permanently inked harrison after 3 seasons on loan from city; after posting 6 goals and 8 assists in leeds’ final season inna showdown, he upgraded those №s to 8 and 8, despite playing 1,000 fewer minutes, onnis premier league debut.
the 2nd major move addressed a need. after gettin lost inna shuffle a bit at barca, firpo joins to replace the out-of-contract ezgjan alioski at left-back. he’s a solid passer and willing defender, and a couple of yrs inna bielsa ftball academy ‘d very well get the best out of him.
key losses: none.
atletico’s continued modernisation efforts ‘ve produced a veteran and a tantalising project thus far. 1st, the latter: in 2,605 minutes in two seasons in brazil‘s serie a, paulo combined 7 goals with 50 chances created from the left wing. he’s still a few mnths from his 21st birthdy, and if manager diego simeone helps him to realise his pressing potential, he ‘d be a steal.
gab marcotti reacts to atletico madrid’s move for udinese star and copa america victor rodrigo de paul.
the main offseason prize for the defending la liga victors, however, is de paul. he’s done almost literally everything for a mediocre udinese in recent seasons, averaging 8.3 goals, 7.7 assists and 85.3 total chances created inna past 3 yrs, + 200-+ ball recoveries per season and, in 2020-21, a duel success rate of 60%. he also added a goal na exposé-winning assist (to angel di maria inna final against brazil) for argentina inna copa america. he is approaching the back ½ of his peak age range, and spending nearly $40 million for such a player is a lil bit offa risk, but he is a mythic facilitator who draws lotso' contact inna midfield.
8. wolverhampton wanderers
key additions: 20-yr-old left-back rayan ait nouri (angers) for $12.2 million, 20-yr-old centre-back yerson mosquera (atletico nacional) for $5.7 million, 21-yr-old winger francisco trincao (barcelona) na' loan-to-buy deal. 28-yr old goalkeeper jose sa (olympiacos) for $8.8 million.
wolves needed a'bitto rejuvenation after slipping to 13th inna premier league last season. they pted ways with manager nuno espirito santo (he landed at tottenham hotspur), adding elder benfica head man bruno lage onnis place, and they’ve thus far added a couple of fun, new pieces while holding onto most o'their core roster: wingers adama traore and pedro neto, midfielders ruben neves (for now) and leander dendoncker, etc.
neto will potentially return to action in oct folloing an apr kneecap injury, and striker raul jimenez is just bout ready to return after the scary fractured skull he suffered in nov. that alone ‘d improve wolves’ fortunes this season, but they’ve reinforced their depth w'da permanent signing of ait nouri (who played 1,400 league minutes for wolves on loan last season) na additions of both the 6-ft-2 mosquera na tantalising trincao, who posted 8 goals and 6 assists for braga in 2019-20 but found his minutes limited at barca last season. he ll'be expected to produce in neto’s absence.
neves s'been linked to arsenal in transfer rumours, and if he moves on it mite be difficult for wolves to retain a spot on this list. (in fact, arsenal mite take their place.) but for now, the window s'been good to them.
key additions: 24-yr-old midfielder gerson (flamengo) for $27.5 million; 22-yr-old centre-back leonardo balerdi (boЯussia dortmund) for $12.1 million; 19-yr-old winger konrad de la fuente (barcelona) for $3.3 million; 22-yr-old midfielder matteo guendouzi (arsenal), 20-yr-old centre-back william saliba (arsenal), 23-yr-old winger cengiz under (roma) and 26-yr-old goalkeeper pau lopez (roma) on loan. 26-yr old centre-back luan peres (santos fc) for $5 million.
the 2020-21 season was ridiculously volatile atta stade velodrome. om finished last in their group in their 1st victors league appearance since 2013-14, they finished fifth in ligue 1 — 18 points out of the running for victors league qualification — na mnth of feb included the resignation of pop manager andre villas-boas, a storming of team facilities by angry fans and, eventually, the resignation of club president jacque-henri eyraud.
the team responded well to the spring appointment of jorge sampaoli as manager, however, na squad has gotten a much-needed refresh during this transfer window. gerson is their most heralded signing since dimitri payet, balerdi and de la fuente are lo-risk, high-upside additions who were lost inna shuffle at bigger clubs, and om is bringing on an army of loanees from arsenal and roma. this is a lotta change for a club that desperately needed it.
key additions: 21-yr-old attacking midfielder hamed junior traore (empoli) for $17.6 million, 26-yr-old rite-back jeremy toljan (boЯussia dortmund) for $3.9 million, 23-yr-old midfielder maxime lopez (marseille) for $2.2 million.
even b4 you ponder transfers, twas already a good offseason for the eminently watchable sassuolo, as midfielder manuel locatelli and winger domenico berardi both made key contributions to italy‘s showdown campaign atta euros. we’ll see if the club can hold onna either or both players, but even iffey don’t, the transfer fees associated w'dem likely went up a good amount after how they played this summer.
beyond the rezd profile, sassuolo’s biggest achievement this summer has come in turning successful auditions into permanent moves. both traore and toljan fit in well during two-yr loans, and lopez showed enough potential in a one-yr loan for the club to pull the trigger and make his move permanent too. after back-to-back 8h-place finishes in serie a, sassuolo are evidently hoping continuity produces further improvement.
original content at: www.espn.com…