As we approach August, the end of this summer’s transfer window looms large. As ever, clubs have parted with billions in order to improve their squads for the coming season. However, it may well be that some of the biggest deals are yet to come: will Pogba get his move away from Man United? Can Barcelona and PSG finally come to an agreement for the return of Neymar to Catalonia? And, in Madrid, who will come out on top in the transfer grudge match between Zinadine Zidane and Gareth Bale?
While the answers to these particular questions remain to be seen, around the world thousands of transfers have already been completed. Here, Soccer Hub takes a look at some of the biggest completed moves so far and assesses their merits…
1) Matthias De Ligt (Ajax to Juventus)
At €75m, Matthijs De Ligt is one of the most expensive defenders of all time, a fact made all the more incredible when you consider the fact he is only 19 years old. But, in today’s market, it’s hard not to see the young Dutchman’s transfer fee as a bargain. De Ligt came to international attention for his incredible performances for an extraordinary Ajax side in last season’s Champions League and since then every top club in Europe has been vying for his signature. With Chiellini and Bonucci now 34 and 32 respectively, De Ligt will revitalise Juve’s defence already magnificent back-line.
2) Frenkie De Jong (Ajax to Barcelona)
Another of one of the Ajax’s starlets last season. Barcelona was the natural move for Frenkie De Jonh; he has a huge amount of respect and reverence for the legacy of the late Johan Cruyff and making the move from Amsterdam to Catalonia reflects this. The deal was announced in January – the excitement has been building in Barcelona over the arrival of the young holding-midfielder for over six months now. Commanding a fee of €75m, De Jong is a superb long-term replacement for Busquets.
3) Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid)
This deal has been one that has looked likely to happen for what seems like an eternity now. The Belgian maestro finally swapped Stanford Bridge for the Bernabeu for €100m and becomes the latest ‘galactico’ at Real Madrid. His arrival marked the start of a €450+ spending spree for Los Blancos. Despite this, they have looked poor in pre-season – there seems to be many insidious problems at the club which won’t be solved simply by throwing money at them. Hazard is now 28, he has a limited number of years in which to make a real impact at the club – hopefully, from his point of view at least, the issues at the club will be resolved in this brief window.
4) Antoine Griezmann (Athletico Madrid to Barcelona)
This is another one which has been on the cards for a number of years now. The Frenchman finally got his dream move to Barcelona and he will team up with Messi and company in the coming season. Whether he will be joined by Neymar still remains a mystery, but Barcelona will have a remarkably strong front three or four either way. €120m is actually a relatively small fee for a player of Griezman’s calibre. The forward was influential for France in their World Cup triumph and now with Barcelona he has the chance to achieve a similar level of glory at club level.
5) Joao Felix (Benfica to Athletico Madrid)
In Joao Felix, Athletico have a readymade replacement for the outgoing Griezman. He is one of a number of shrewd acquisitions for Diego Simeone’s team and has enjoyed a stunning pre-season with them so far. Felix, like De Jong and De Ligt, was targeted by near-enough every elite team in Europe and Benfica were never realistically going to keep hold of the player. He has shown his maturity in joining a club like Athletico rather than Barcelona, Man City or Real Madrid – in his new role the baby-face striker is guaranteed minutes on the pitch and could become an icon with the team.
6) Lucas Hernandez (Athletico Madrid to Bayern Munich)
Another transfer involving Athletico Madrid – Hernandez has played for Athletico for his entire career up until this point. At 23, Hernandez will surely be the future of Bayern Munich’s defence for the foreseeable future. Some have said the €80m they paid to secure the young Frenchman’s services was too much, but he is an excellent defender and, with experience at the very highest level, he will only improve. As a player who can fulfil roles at either left-back or centre-back, Bayern have landed themselves a versatile talent.