Barcelona, Man City win transfer window; Ronaldo, Leicester the biggest losers

The summer transfer window has been incredible as top clubs across Europe have spent millions trying to strengthen their squads.

According to Transfermarkt, clubs across the English Premier League spent a whopping €2.24bn during the window – an all-time high – and there were some big moves including Antony (€95m to Manchester United), Wesley Fofana (€80m euros to Chelsea). ), Darwin Nunez (€75m to Liverpool), Casemiro (€70m to Man United) and Erling Haaland (€60m to Manchester City).

There wasn’t quite as much activity in Europe’s other top leagues, but Aurelien Tchouameni (€80m to Real Madrid), Matthijs de Ligt (€77m to Bayern Munich) and Raphinha (€60m to Barcelona) were in the lead the list. Clubs across Europe, in Italy’s Serie A (€749m), France’s Ligue 1 (€557m), Spain’s LaLiga (€505m) and Germany’s Bundesliga (€484m), gave in total €2.67 billion.

But who did it well? And who did badly?

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winner

Barcelona

Given that the club was under astronomical debts (peaking at €1.35bn (€45m), Jules Kounde (€55m) and Raphinha (€60m). After restructuring their debts, most to pay off short-term debt, signed some free transfers (Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and soon Marcos Alonso) and let 16 first-team players go to make room in the salary cap, they have finally registered all their players and can sign up concentrate again on what is happening on the pitch.

Their financial savvy has meant that significant percentages of their economic assets and future earnings (e.g. from TV and merchandising rights) have been sold for cash today, while their long-term debt remains enormous. The ethics of this modus operandi – basically kicking the financial can in the street – can be debated, but the squad looks as competitive as it has in years. Having more or less staked the club’s future on success, they now need to start delivering.

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Manchester City

The Premier League champions likely ended the transfer window with just one undeniable upgrade… but what an upgrade he was. With all due respect to Gabriel Jesus – who started his Arsenal career impressively with three goals in five games – or any fake No9 coach Pep Guardiola may have used up front, Haaland is a different matter altogether. Signing the best rising centre-forward in the world from Borussia Dortmund for just €60m looked like a smash hit in May and has gotten even better as the weeks have gone on with his nine goals in five Premier League games to date. The transfers of established first-team players to Chelsea (Raheem Sterling) and Arsenal (Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko), as well as the transfer of a number of Under-21 players for relatively large fees (including Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia to Southampton) mean that City has got involved earned around €200m from transfer activity this summer and spent just €160m.

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North London

For clubs that have often found themselves in a never-ending state of transition, nailing last-minute deals, both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have run the transfer market with wit, creativity and a little guile this summer. Led by sporting directors Edu and Fabio Paratici, north London clubs have slowly built well-balanced squads where deficiencies or inadequacies have been continuously addressed. Both now appear to have clear ideas of their ideal path forward and their prudent and timely action into the transfer window shows they are on the right track – as evidenced by their Premier League standings (Arsenal, 1st: P5 W5 ; Spurs, 3rd: P5 W3, D2.)

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Bayern Munich

While there are some long-term doubts over Lewandowski’s departure, there are early signs that the €32m arrival of Sadio Mane – despite the players’ disparate technical attributes – will offset the loss of Bayern Munich’s relentless top scorer. While the arrival of de Ligt (€77m from Juventus) should bolster their defensive stability for the foreseeable future, the signing of 17-year-old Mathys Tel from Stade Rennais – with his unpredictability, versatility and creativity in the last third – is likely to be in maintain their attack fluidity for years to come. Ryan Gravenberch, 20, a highly rated midfield prodigy (€18.5m from Ajax) also has a bright future ahead of him. From both an immediate and long-term perspective, the German giants have recruited sensibly and strategically – with net spends of just €34m – and with no other significant departures other than Lewandowski, their dominance in Germany does not appear to be waning any time soon.

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1:47

James Olley wonders if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fits Thomas Tuchel’s style of pressing the ball from the front.

Neutral

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Chelsea

With central defenders Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger replaced by Kalidou Koulibaly (€40m) and Fofana (€40m), Chelsea should be no worse defensively than last season.

The arrival of Sterling (€56.2m) and Aston Villa’s 18-year-old central midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka (€18m) could also prove a masterstroke. After Romelu Lukaku (loan to Inter Milan) and Timo Werner (€20m to RB Leipzig) had to leave despite the club having significant financial resources thanks to new ownership, one would have expected Chelsea to strengthen the attacking center with more than one last- Minute signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a €12m deal that looks more like a knee-jerk reaction to the poor start to the season.

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Nottingham Forest

The newly promoted club have signed 21 new faces – an English record – to ensure their return to the Premier League is not short-lived. Over €150m – a spending spree almost unprecedented for a team coming out of the Championship – Forest have brought in a mix of respectable players from European clubs, with Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi (loan) arguably the most prominent signing, as well as some established Premier League profiles in the form of Dean Henderson, Jesse Lingard and Morgan Gibbs-White. In the short term, this could leave manager Steve Cooper with a selection problem rather than a clear vision of how he will handle the club’s survival this season. But it was fun to watch.

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Janusz Michallik debates Cristiano Ronaldo’s future after the striker was used as a substitute against Southampton.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

After appearing annoyed for most of pre-season and wanting to join a club that plays Champions League football, the 37-year-old superstar has an interesting few months ahead at Old Trafford. While coach Erik ten Hag is far from finding the right tactical balance or even his best starting XI, few believe Ronaldo is the key to both. As this summer has shown, Ronaldo could find it difficult to find the right sporting opportunity in an increasingly values-driven, age-obsessed European transfer market, regardless of his past performances, personality or reputation, once it reopens in January.

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leicester

Known for their analytical and creative approach to recruitment, Leicester are usually up front when the transfer window opens, although their ability to act has recently been hampered by financial fair play restrictions. This was particularly important this summer, partly to mitigate the loss of Fofana – although the deal came late, it looked likely for weeks – and also to begin rebuilding a team ripe for a rejuvenation, with key players featuring expiring contracts. But with just one major signing (Wout Faes replacing Fofana), their window failed to last and was “the most troubling of his career,” according to manager Brendan Rodgers. With just one point from a possible 15, Leicester are already in a relegation battle that looked unlikely at the end of last season.

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Frenkie deJong

“Make sure your players are happy” – especially the ones you depend on – is one of the most fundamental rules of football management and one that needs no further explanation. While the elegant Dutch midfielder may have felt his desire to remain in LaLiga, this summer’s events – whether it be exclusion or alleged broken promises (all played out in the media) – would usually result in a toxic mix of relationships based on torn, not built. Curiously, despite the club’s persistent efforts to sack De Jong this summer, the club have featured in the club’s first three league games.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4734337/barcelonaman-city-win-transfer-window-ronaldoleicester-the-biggest-losers Barcelona, Man City win transfer window; Ronaldo, Leicester the biggest losers

Emma Bowman

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