by KS Leong
Now that the summer transfer window has closed for Europe's top leagues, it's time to take stock, put things into perspective and relive the highlights of the frenetic world of football trading.
There were no mammoth records smashed, but like any other summer, there were plenty of high profile transfers. Cesc Fabregas finally completed his return to Barcelona, Sergio Aguero left Atletico Madrid, Javier Pastore made a shock move to PSG, as did Samuel Eto'o to Anzhi.
There were several mega deals that failed to materialise: Carlo Tevez didn't quite find a way out of Manchester City; Wesley Sneijder stayed put at Inter; Luka Modric remained at Tottenham; Kaka at Real Madrid; and one of the biggest protagonists in this summer's soap opera, Neymar, stuck to Santos.
So how did the traditional giants of the game fare compared to the new world order of football?
In total, over €1.6 billion was spent across Europe's big five leagues: Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A. And not surprisingly, it was the global marketing machine that is the English Premier League that topped the table when it came to expenditure.
Manchester City spent well over €120m last summer, and for the second year in a row, they were the biggest spenders, albeit only a comparitively modest €92.2m this time around. Almost half of that expenditure was dedicated to one player: Sergio Aguero. City also snapped up Samir Nasri, Stefan Savic and Gael Glichy, while Owen Hargreaves arrived on a free transfer on deadline day.
|FIVE BIGGEST SPENDERS - LEAGUES
|1. Premier League
|2. Serie A
|3. La Liga
|4. Ligue 1
Defending champions Manchester United needed a replacement for Edwin van der Sar, and they splashed out €20m to sign David de Gea. Ashley Young and Phil Jones were their other key acquisitions.
Liverpool's American owner John Hendry got his first taste of football's summer transfer window and didn't shy away from spending as the Merseysiders dispensed with €65.2m to bring in Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Sebastian Coates and Jose Enrique.
And then of course there's Arsenal. They suffered the shock loss of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and things just went from bad to worse on the pitch. But last-minute deals saw them sign Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young, and Yossi Benayoun on loan to join Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho, their other new arrivals.
Elsewhere, Newcastle United brought in Yohan Cabaye and Davide Santon, Sunderland strengthened with Connor Wickham, John O'Shea and Wes Brown, Fulham pulled off a coup to sign Bryan Ruiz and John Arne Riise, while Tottenham only had Brad Friedel, Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker to show for their summer efforts.
Serie A clubs have been flying under the radar in the transfer window in recent seasons, but they returned with a bang this year. Juventus were the big spenders, dishing out €85.7m in total as they completed full acquisitions on a number of players including Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella, who will be joined by fresh faces Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vucinic, Eljero Elia, Stephan Lichtsteiner and potentially their best deal, Andrea Pirlo, who arrived from Milan on a free transfer.
|FIVE BIGGEST SPENDERS - CLUBS (GROSS)
|1. Man City||€92.25m|
Roma's new owner Thomas DiBenedetto didn't take long to open his cheque book as the club spent €78.3m to sign Bojan Krkic, Erik Lamela, Miralem Pjanic, Simon Kjaer, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, Maarten Stekelenburg, as well as Gabriel Heinze on a free and Fernando Gago on loan.
Inter looked as though they were going to have another quiet summer, but despite losing Samuel Eto'o to Anzhi, Massimo Moratti dipped into his wallet to bring in Diego Forlan, Mauro Zarate. Ricky Alvarez, Emiliano Viviano and Jonathan also joined the club in the summer. Crucially, however, they managed to hold on to Wesley Sneijder.
Champions AC Milan are the team that everyone in Serie A are trying to catch, and after their shrewd acquisitions last summer, they were more conservative this year. They had to spend large amounts to seal permanent moves for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng, but new arrivals include Philippe Mexes, Taye Taiwo, Alberto Aquilani (all for free) and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Napoli had to reinforce their squad for Champions League football, and they did so by parting with €61.4m. Edinson Cavani made his move permanent from Palermo, while Gokhan Inler joined from Udinese. Miguel Britos, Blerim Dzemaili, Federico Fernandez and Antonio Rosati, among others, make up the rest of the new recruits.
Palermo lost their big star Javier Pastore for €43m, but spent less than half of that amount as they reinvested modestly with Matias Silvester and Andrea Mantovani being their two key purchases. Lazio also boosted their squad significantly with Djibril Cisse, Lorik Cana, Federico Marchetti and Miroslav Klose.
For the first time in quite a while, neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona placed amongst the five biggest spenders of the summer.
Madrid shelled out just €55m, and a large chunk of that was reserved for €30m-man Fabio Coentrao. Nuri Sahin, Jose Callejon and Raphael Varane arrived for modest fees, while Hamit Altintop was acquired on a free.
|FIVE BIGGEST SPENDERS - CLUBS (NET)
|3. Man City||€67.2m|
The rest of La Liga are trying to play catch-up to the two behemoths, and topping Spain's shopping bill was Atletico Madrid. They lost three of their biggest stars, Aguero, Forlan and De Gea, but they used their earnings wisely to sign Radamel Falcao for €40m. Arda Turan, Silvio, Ruben Micael totalled €25m, while Diego joined from Wolfsburg on a loan deal.
Valencia lost the final piece of their holy trinity as Juan Mata followed David Villa and David Silva out of Mestalla. But they made smart recruitments in the form of Pablo Piatti, Diego Alves, Dani Parejo, Adil Rami, Victor Ruiz and Sergio Canales on loan.
Malaga are another club attempting to break the duopoly, and their Qatari owners invested €55m to make some impressive coups. Jeremy Toulalan, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Joris Mathijsen, Joaquin and Nacho Monreal were all convinced to move to La Rosaleda, as was their biggest acquisition, Santi Cazorla. The Spanish international's former club Villarreal also lost Joan Capdevila, but managed to rope in Cristian Zapata, Javier Camunas, and then Jonathan de Guzman on deadline day.
Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao snapped up promising Andre Herrera from Zaragoza, Dani Guiza finally returned to Spain as he signed for Getafe, Real Betis nabbed Roque Santa Cruz on a free from Manchester City, while Sevilla's highest profile capture was Manu del Moral.
Move over Manchester City, Paris St-Germain were the biggest net spenders this summer. From the moment the Qatar Investment Authority moved in to the Parc des Princes, PSG began hogging the spotlight with their sensational coups. Javier Pastore was their marquee signing, but they also recruited Jeremy Menez, Kevin Gameiro, Diego Lugano, Mohamed Sissoko and Blaise Matuidi.
Lille were their closet challengers in the transfer market, spending €15m to sign the likes of Dimitri Payet, David Rozehnal, Benoit Pedretti and Ronny Rodelin.
Marseille were close by as they handed out €11m in total for Alou Diarra, Nicolas Nkoulou and Jeremy Morel, while Lyon only reinforced their squad with Bakary Kone, Mouhamadou Dabo and Gueida Fofana.
|MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFERS OF SUMMER
|1. Sergio Aguero
|2. Javier Pastore
|4. Fabio Coentrao
|5. Cesc Fabregas
Trailing behind Bayern were Wolfsburg, who snapped up Christian Trasch, Marco Russ, Rasmus Jonsson, Patrick Ochs and Aleksandr Hleb. Bayer Leverkusen spent a considerable amount to acquire highly-rated Andre Schurrle from Mainz, while champions Borussia Dortmund only strengthened their squad with Ilkay Gundogan, Chris Lowe and Ivan Perisic after losing Nuri Sahin.
One of the busier clubs last season, Schalke, had to scale down this year, adding just Christian Fuchs, Ciprian Marica, Teemu Pukki and Ralf Fahrmann as Neuer's replacement.
Hamburg were especially active this summer as they raided Chelsea. Jeffrey Bruma, Michael Mancienne and Slobodan Rajkovic all joined from the Blues, while their most expensive signing was Ivo Ilicevic from Kaiserslautern.
|REST OF EUROPE|
PSV were without doubt the most active Eredivisie side this summer, signing nine players throughout the transfer window. They used the funds they received from the sale of Dzsudzsak to rebuild their squad and spent about €28 million in total.
Ajax did not waste any time to add to their ranks either, but spent much less than their title rivals. The capture of Theo Janssen, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Derk Boerrigter, Thulani Serero and Jasper Cillessen cost them an estimated total sum of €10m as Stekelenburg and Demy de Zeeuw made for the exit door.
Vitesse also flexed their financial muscle as they introduced players such as Anthony Annan, Ulises Davila and Gio Chanturia to their ranks, while Twente splashed the cash on Feyenoord's Leroy Fer, but made a healthy profit this summer because of the departure of Bryan Ruiz.
Finally, clubs such as AZ and Utrecht both lost a number of key players this summer and their bank accounts will look rather healthy at the moment. They also added several new names to their roster to make up the numbers, but spent significantly less than what came in. Stefan Coerts
Porto managed to keep together most of their squad and even reinforced some areas, but were unable to prevent Radamel Falcao from leaving to Atletico Madrid.
Benfica witnessed the departure of Fabio Coentrao to Real Madrid, but seem to be a more consistent team now, following the signings of Nolito and Axel Witsel.
Sporting Lisbon brought in 16 new players, including Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Stijn Schaars, Valeri Bojinov, Jeffren Suarez and Diego Capel, but are struggling to mould that into a competitive side. Luis Mira
RUSSIAN PREMIER LEAGUE
Anzhi made all the headlines over the transfer window in Russia, completing a stunning move for Samuel Eto'o, and adding well-established stars in Yuri Zhirkov and Balazs Dzsudzsak. Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez also joined the Dagestanian project from Standard Liege.
Zenit St Petersburg prepared for Champions League football by capturing their long-time target, Italian left-back Domenico Criscito.
Spartak Moscow signed Dutch playmaker Demi De Zeeuw from Ajax to replace Alex, who moved to his homeland with Corinthians, while also adding Emmanuel Emineke from Fenerbahce.
Rubin Kazan strengthened their attack with Paraguayan forward Nelson Haedo Valdez and also added a solid midfielder in Roman Eremenko from Dynamo Kyiv.
Dinamo Moscow found a good option for the left side of their midfield in promising Belarus international Pavel Nekhaychik.
CSKA Moscow did not intend to enter the transfer market at all but the serious injury to star goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev forced them to loan Vladimir Gabulov, who arrived from Anzhi just minutes after signing from Dinamo. Michael Yokhin
TURKISH SUPER LIG
It has been a busy summer in Turkish football with a number of high-profile ins and outs. Fenerbahce firstly appear to have suffered from their participation in the ongoing match-fixing scandal, as Diego Lugano, Andre Santos and Daniel Guiza have all moved on, to Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Getafe respectively. Even more worryingly, they have struggled to tap into the international market like previous years, as their three signings have all come from the Super Lig, although Reto Ziegler is still possible as the transfer window in Turkey does not shut until September 5.
However, in contrast, Galatasaray have enjoyed a fruitful summer after Unal Aysal was appointed as the club’s new president. A raft of new arrivals have entered the club, including Emmanuel Eboue from Arsenal, Johan Elmander from Bolton, Tomas Ujfalusi from Atletico Madrid and Fernando Muslera from Lazio amongst others. However, the departure of Arda Turan to Atleti may be sorely felt, as they now lack a cutting edge on the wings, not to mention their leader.
Besiktas have also been busy in the transfer market, snapping up Julio Alves and Edu from Atletico Madrid and Schalke towards the end of the window, whilst securing Benfica defender Sidnei on loan earlier in the summer. Bobo could be a big loss to Carlos Carvalhal, after being a main source of goals in his five-year stint at the Inonu, but Edu should prove to be a more-than-capable replacement.
Champions League newboys Trabzonspor have managed to seal a deal for West Brom’s Marek Cech, aswell as his Slovakian compatriots Marek Sapara and Robert Vittek from Ankaragucu to bolster their forward line. Meanwhile, Didier Zokora arrives with vital European experience from Sevilla, and Halil Altintop will look to kickstart his career in his native Turkey under Senol Gunes.
Finally, Bursaspor, having lost Kenny Miller to Cardiff earlier in the window, have signed the likes of Scott Carson from West Brom and Prince Tagoe from Hoffenheim. Livio Caferoglu