Major European Clubs' Transfers Round-Up

Had enough of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Wesley Sneijder and Luka Modric stories? Here is a rundown of how the main clubs in Europe are conducting business in the transfer market.


While England have been stuck in a seemingly perpetual cycle of Fabregas, Nasri, Sneijder and Modric rumours, bids, rejections and denials, the rest of Europe's top clubs are quietly getting on with their transfer business. In Spain, Jose Mourinho's masterplan for ending Barcelona's dominance is gathering pace; in Italy, Juventus have invested heavily in an attempt to challenge Milan and Internazionale at the top of Serie A; and in Germany Bayern Munich have reacted to their third-place finish last season by investing more than €40m (£35m) in new players while last season's title winner's, Borussia Dortmund, have lost their key playmaker, Nuri Sahin, to Real Madrid.

Let's not forget about the other movers and shakers this summer.

REAL MADRID: This summer has been all about how Mourinho can find an answer to Barcelona's all-conquering brand of tiki-taka. The Portuguese has once again put his faith in players from the Bundesliga, following up the signings of Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira last summer with the captures of the midfielders Sahin (Borussia Dortmund) and Hamit Altintop (Bayern Munich). Altintop is a strange one - he struggled to get into Bayern's starting XI last season - but Sahin was crucial to Dortmund's outstanding title-winning side. Mourinho also paid an eye-watering €30m for the 23-year-old full-back Fabio Coentrao from Benfica and while it is fair to wonder if any left-back can possibly be worth that much, it should be added that he can also play as a left-winger, right-winger and in central midfield. Angel di María, for one, should be nervous about keeping his place in the team. The 18-year-old central defender Raphael Varane, who Manchester United desperately wanted to sign, could prove a snip at €10m. Jose Callejon, who can play as a winger or a forward, has rejoined the club where he started in a €5.5m deal from Espanyol.

BARCELONA: How do you improve on perfection? That is the task facing Pep Guardiola this summer and, apart from the Fabregas saga, the manager has tinkered with his forward line, selling Bojan Krkic (for two years at least - Barça then have a buy-back clause) to Roma and bringing in Alexis Sanchez from Udinese. And there is no doubt that the Chilean will add something different to Bojan. Sanchez, the Chile international, who reportedly cost more than €30m with an array of add-ons, can play on the right, on the left or in the centre of a three-man attack and is a hard worker. No wonder the rest of Europe were also keen to sign him.

MALAGA: The club did not have the best of seasons in 2010-11 under their new owner, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar al-Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, and finished 11th, but have been aggressive in the transfer market this summer. Santi Cazorla (for a fee believed to be €21m) from Villarreal is the biggest of 10 (and counting) signings so far and a place in the Champions League must surely be a minimum requirement for Manuel Pellegrini's side. The French midfielder Jeremy Toulalan should be an excellent signing from Lyon for a fee of €11m while Ruud van Nistelrooy is likely to score goals until he is in his forties. He is back in Spain after leaving Hamburg on a free and his team-mate at the German club, the Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen, has rocked up in Malaga. The Argentinian midfielder Diego Buonanotte is an intriguing prospect (from River Plate for €4.5m) while it remains to be seen whether Pellegrini can work his magic with Joaquín Sanchez, the former wonder kid who has joined from Valencia for a mere €4.2m.

MILAN: The most expensive business for the champions was to complete the purchase from Barcelona of Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the fee landing somewhere in the region of €24m. The 18-year-old Stephan El Shaarawy is an exciting addition from Genoa for €8m-€10m. The playmaker, who has an Egyptian father and Italian mother and has already been called up for the Italian Under-21 team, scored seven goals in 25 Serie B appearances for Padova last season. Kevin-Prince Boateng, formerly of Tottenham and Portsmouth, has made his move from Genoa (for whom he never played) permanent in a €7m deal while Philippe Mexes could be a useful addition to a sometimes creaking defence. The French central defender has arrived from Roma on a free. The Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo, who has left Marseille on a free transfer, could well start the season as Milan's left-back.

INTERNAZIONALE: A worryingly quiet summer at the 2010 treble winners so far. Last season was a mess with the managers Rafael Benítez and Leonardo coming and going and it was a surprise to see the club finish second in the league despite all the upheavals. The Milan club have, admittedly, signed the winger Ricky Alvarez from Velez Sarsfield for nearly €12m under the noses of Arsenal but names such as Jonathan (Santos, €5m), Emiliano Viviano (Bologna, €4.1m), Yuto Nagatomo (permanent from Cesena, €4.7m) and Luc Castaignos (Feyenoord, €3m) will not strike fear into the rest of Europe, nor the rest of Serie A for that matter.

JUVENTUS: Exciting times at the Juventus Arena (the club's new stadium, to be opened in September) after a couple of lean years, poor managerial appointments and even poorer signings (Diego for €24.5m anyone?). The powerful striker Mirko Vucinic has joined from Roma in a deal worth €15m. The Chile international Arturo Vidal was wanted by several otherclubs but chose Turin in a €10.5m deal and will be joined in a revamped midfield by Andrea Pirlo, the Milan legend who has left San Siro after 10 seasons and more than 300 league games for the Rossoneri. And he is actually only 32 years old. The Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner was expensive at roughly €10m from Lazio but could work well at right-back while Spurs fans may shudder at the thought of Reto Ziegler at left-back but the Swiss has had a few good seasons at Sampdoria (who were, er, relegated last season). Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Marco Motta and Simone Pepe have all made their deals permanent.

BAYERN MUNICH: ast season's third place has sparked a small revolution. Jupp Heynckes is back for his third - and probably last - spell as manager and the marquee signing is Manuel Neuer, the Schalke goalkeeper who has joined for €22m despite the protests of Bayern fans, incensed by his criticism of the club in previous years. The signing of the former Schalke right-back Rafinha from Genoa for €5.5m is somewhat baffling whereas paying €13.5m for Manchester City's Jerome Boateng makes more sense, the defender having played for Hertha Berlin and Hamburg in the Bundesliga from 2007 to 2010. Dale Jennings, of course, has joined from Tranmere but is unlikely to see much first-team action this season.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND: The German champions may struggle in the Champions League unless they strengthen their squad. The 44-year-old manager, Jurgen Klopp, did a superb job with his players last season and won the league by seven points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen but has lost Sahin to Real Madrid and his youngsters may struggle with the added expectation that comes with being champions. The Croat Ivan Perisic (22) has been brought in to replace Sahin but is a gamble at €5.5m from Club Brugge (where he scored 22 league goals to win the Belgian Golden Boot last season). The talented Germany Under-21 midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who had been monitored by Manchester United, has also joined, from Nurnberg. It is an admirable belief in youth and the Dortmund project will be interesting to follow.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: Qatar Sports Investments now owns 70% of the club and PSG are finally hoping to end their 17-year wait for the league title. "We will work over the coming years to make PSG a great team and a strong brand on the international scene, one that will make all the fans proud," the QSI president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, said after completing the purchase. And the coach, Antoine Kombouare, suddenly has an extraordinary depth of talent at his disposal, with a €40m deal for Palermo's Javier Pastore expected to be announced this week. Already signed are the French international striker Kevin Gameiro (from Lorient for €11m), the midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Saint-Etienne (also a French international) for €10m and the former Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko from Juventus. Jeremy Menez (Roma) and Milan Bisevac (Valenciennes) have also been added, as has the Italy international goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. They are the Man City of France and few teams will fancy coming up against the brute force and energy of a Matuidi-Sissoko partnership in central midfield.

LYON: Remarkably, the club who won the French league for seven consecutive seasons up until 2008, have not signed anyone and may not do so either. There has been interest in Delvin N'Dinga from Auxerre but the president, Jean-Michel Aulas, has said that fans should not expect too much this summer: "When we sign expensive players, they say that we take a lot of risks and they might not pay off. Here we have decided to play the youth card. We have six young players who will play in the Under-20 World Cup and three good players who are injured at the moment," he said. The coach, Remi Garde, once of Arsenal, clearly has to build for the future.

FAMILIAR FACES

Some of the joy of a transfer window, however, is finding out where your club's former left-back has ended up or what happened to that hapless midfielder you always knew was a bad buy. Well, two former Tottenham players have been on the move this summer with all 6ft 3in of Noe Pamarot joining Granada, newcomers in La Liga, from Hercules and Didier Zokora fetching a fee believed to be €5m when moving from Sevilla to Trabzonspor.

Former Chelsea players have also changed clubs with Tiago Mendes making his loan move from Juventus to Atletico Madrid permanent while Adrian Mutu has, remarkably, convinced Cesena to take a punt on him. The Israeli forward Ben Sahar has gone on loan to Auxerre from Espanyol. The former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze has moved to Roma from Marseille on a free transfer (he's not that old actually: just 33), while Bebe is out on loan at Besiktas.

There are a lot of former Manchester City players out there. Felipe Caicedo first joined Levante for €1m, only to then to be given permission to travel to Russia and agree a deal with Lokomotiv Moscow, with the Spanish club making a tidy profit of €6m (which could rise to €9m with add-ons). Meanwhile Sporting have signed Valeri Bojinov on a five-year deal from Parma for a fee of €2.7m rising to a potential €3.7m.

Sporting have also signed Oguchi Onyewu (once of Newcastle) on a free transfer from Milan. Another former Magpies defender, David Rozehnal, has made his move from Hamburg to French champions Lille permanent.

The great hope of the Gerard Houllier era at Anfield, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, has moved to St Etienne on loan from Sporting (his sidekick Anthony Le Tallec is with Auxerre since 2010). Jeremie Aliadiere, who never made it at Arsenal but had a decent career at Middlesbrough, has joined Lorient as a free agent. Other former Boro players on the move: Kris Boyd (to Eskisehirspor in Turkey) and Didier Digard (to Nice for €800,000).

The former Wigan defender Andreas Granqvist has cost as much as €4.5m when joining Genoa from Groningen while Daniel de Ridder has moved to Grasshoppers in Switzerland on a free.

The ex-Bolton striker Johan Elmander has joined Galatasaray to team up with Milan Baros while Jozy Altidore (who netted once in 28 league games for Hull while on loan in 2009-10) will play for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch league next season.

This season we will also find out whether Abdoulaye Meïte will cut the mustard at Dijon (sorry), promoted to Ligue 1 for the first time ever. Manuel Fernandes, the young midfielder who showed promise but never kicked on at Everton or Portsmouth, has made his move from Valencia to Besiktas permanent for a fee of €2m.

And finally, Miroslav Klose has joined Lazio on a free. Torsten Frings turned down a move to Elland Road to join Toronto FC, where he will, we are sure, be delighted to team up with Richard Eckersley, formerly of Manchester United and now on loan in Canada from Burnley. Sidney Govou has moved to Evian from Panathinaikos on a free transfer while Gerald Sibon is back in the Netherlands with Heerenveen after leaving Melbourne Heart.

One player not on the move is Eric Djemba-Djemba, who is expected to stay with OB in Denmark.

Exclusively by Marcus Christenson

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

What is FOOTBALLMONKEY?

FOOTBALLMONKEY is an independent site, that was founded out of passion for football. Our goal is to bring you the best in football news without any prejudice or bias. We are going bananas over football, all the time! Thank you for your visit and support!