The transfer window has slammed shut until January but which teams got it right and which ones got it wrong over the summer months?
Dortmund has become the No. 1 destination for Europe’s emerging talent as the signings of Emre Mor – the Turkish Messi – and Ousmane Dembele – the French Neymar – have proven.
Thomas Tuchel has also signed established Champions League, European Championship and World Cup winning talent in Marc Bartra, Raphael Guerreiro and Andre Schurrle.
Sebastian Rode will prove to be a useful acquisition from Bayern too but the jewel in this summer’s transfer crown was the recapture of Mario Gotze.
The one-time golden boy of German football lost his way at Bayern but with his best years ahead of him could be about to show what Bayern are missing out on.
The Bundesliga runners-up have become accustomed to losing their best players summer after summer and so it has proven again with Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and captain Mats Hummels departing. Nonetheless, there is a sense of renewal at the Westfalenstadion this summer thanks to the quality of the young talent signed as well as the retention of superstar striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It’s not every team that could suffer the loss of Alvaro Morata and Paul Pogba and still stake a claim on being winners of a transfer window but that is just the case for Juventus this summer.
Morata was taken home by Real Madrid and Juventus banked an estimated €10m profit for a player who impressed in the Champions League but never looked totally at ease in Serie A.
The signing of Pogba, meanwhile, was irresistible to all concerned coming as it did with a world record €100m transfer fee attached. Even more so considering Juve paid only around €1m in fees to secure his signature four years ago.
In his place Juventus brought in Miralem Pjanic from Roma while Gonzalo Higuain represents a massive upgrade on Morata. He started to pay back his sizeable transfer fee with the winning goal on matchday one against Fiorentina. Juventus also managed to stave off interest in their centre-back Leonardo Bonucci who now looks set to stay in Turin for the rest of his career.
An exciting Croatian talent in Marko Pjaca was signed at great expense from Dinamo Zagreb and he should give Juventus options out wide in attack.
Also added – for free – was Dani Alves from Barcelona. The Brazilian may well be 33 but even last season was one of the Blaugrana’s most consistent performers.
Furthermore, Medhi Benatia comes back to a league he knows well after a difficult spell at Bayern Munich and should ease Andrea Barzagli out of the team in the coming seasons.
Jose Mourinho might well be known for his close association with Jorge Mendes but it is another super agent who has helped assemble his Manchester United side for a Premier League challenge this season.
Mino Raiola’s stable includes some of the best players in the world and he has brought three of the elite to Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba is the signing which makes United fans believe they are the biggest team in the world again having been signed back for €100m. He will provide an immediate and much-needed upgrade to United’s midfield.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was named as the best player in the Bundesliga last season having scored 21 times for Borussia Dortmund in all competitions. The allure of United proved strong for one of the most dangerous playmakers in the game and he will give creativity across the front line.
And finally from the Raiola camp comes Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This might well prove to be the transfer coup of the summer given the strong start Zlatan has made to his United career. He will bring goals, leadership and winning mentality to a team that has been down in the dumps for so long.
Eric Bailly – a consistent performer for Villarreal in La Liga last season has improved United’s defence since day one and looks to be a shrewd acquisition for the club.
Where are the Galacticos?
Real Madrid refused to go head-to-head with Manchester United for Paul Pogba and their summer transfer business looks a little incomplete. Alvaro Morata is the only new name in the line-up and even he was bought back from Juventus after leaving Real in the first place. Nonetheless, he has started well by contributing goals in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. Marco Asensio has made a strong start but a 20-year-old cannot reasonably be expected to fill in for Ronaldo and Gareth Bale all season long.
Madrid have also failed to deal with the James Rodriguez issue; Zinedine Zidane clearly doesn’t fancy the Colombian but has not been permitted by president Florentino Perez to move him on. Madrid have excellent players right across the squad but there could well be issues with squad depth as the season goes on.
Perez and Zidane could regret their summer of little activity.
An agreement is now in place between AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi and a Chinese consortium to hand over ownership of the club after protracted takeover negotiations. However, there has been little to no splash made in the transfer market as yet by the new owners.
The squad was good enough to finish only seventh in Serie A last season and the only new faces are Serie B marksman Gianluca Lapadula, centre-back Gustavo Gomez and Argentines Jose Sosa and Leonel Vangioni. Those are not exactly signings to get the heart racing and the fear among fans is that Milan are not going to get back to where they belong unless some decent cash is spent.
A 4-2 weekend defeat to Napoli showed how far off the standard this current Milan set-up is.
The biggest team in France and one of the richest in the world are intent this season on making it further than the Champions League quarter final. However, the signings they have brought in are not sufficient to ensure that progress.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic departing on a free, PSG neglected to sign a striker, instead preferring to start with Edinson Cavani up front. That already looks a mis-step. The flagship attacking signing this summer was Nice playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa who was brought in on a free. Real Madrid reserve Jese was signed at considerable expense and is already injured.
Grzegorz Krychowiak is a fine player but a landmark summer signing for a club like PSG should not be a defensive midfielder.
Giovani Lo Celso will play in Argentina on loan until he is ready while Thomas Meunier looks a solid if uninspired choice at right back.