The European summer transfer window closed on Friday afternoon, bookending a tumultuous silly season that was slow in warming up but roiled feverishly in its final weeks.
For your arguing pleasure, we break down its biggest winners and losers:
As new manager Andre Villas-Boas sets about making amends for his failure at Chelsea, his tenure at Spurs has gotten off a strong start with a highly successful transfer window. Though the club ultimately lost its long-running battle to hold onto Luka Modric when he left for Real Madrid in a $52 million move, it invested the money deftly. AVB spun the Modric money and that made off the sales of Vedran Corluka, Niko Krancjar, Steven Pienaar and Rafael van der Vaart, all of whom commanded good fees, into the acquisition of playmakers Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembélé, defender Jan Vertonghen and striker Emmanuel Adebayor, whose loan was made permanent. And with time ticking down on the transfer window, Spurs snapped up underrated France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Fulham’s U.S. forward Clint Dempsey. On balance, Spurs is a much strengthened side while somehow achieving a small surplus in their transfer balance for this window.
In spite of much empirical evidence to the contrary, Paul Scholes can’t play forever. In buying Shinji Kagawa off Borussia Dortmund, United has finally addressed his succession as its playmaking midfielder, since it’s obvious by this point that Anderson isn’t the answer and Tom Cleverley has maturing to do. At a $27 million transfer fee, the Red Devils got good value for money. And for that one move alone, United is a transfer winner. But it managed to snag one Robin van Persie from Arsenal too, instantly turning a strong crop of forwards into a legendary one. Even better news? United unloaded Dimitar Berbatov – the man who can only score in fives – on Fulham.
Roberto Di Matteo is hell-bent on abandoning the defense-first tactics that won him last year’s Champions League and play the more imaginative style he prefers. To that effect, Eden Hazard and Oscar were brought in for a reported $50 million and $40 million, respectively, to help Juan Mata distribute the ball and ignite the offense. But what makes Chelsea’s transfer window a real success is the pickups of wingers Marko Marin and Victor Moses and right back Cesar Azpilicueta for a combined $36 million.
Queens Park Rangers
In a string of savvy pickups, QPR nabbed Junior Hoilett, Ryan Nelsen, Andy Johnson, Robert Green, Jose Bosingwa and Julio Cesar on free transfers. It loaned Fabio from United and signed Samba Diakite, Ji-Sung Park and Stephane M’Bia – all three of whom are candidates for Steal of the Year. And it lost nobody more noteworthy than Paddy Kenny, who was obsolete following the arrival of Green and Cesar.
Under pressure to cut costs, Inter managed to dump some of its biggest earners in Lucio, Diego Forlan and Cesar on free transfers. Then it flipped Giampaolo Pazzini to AC Milan in a trade that bagged Antonio Cassano and, somehow, an extra $9 million. It got good fees for Luc Castaignos and Goran Pandev and managed to pick up Rodrigo Palacio, Walter Gargano, Alvaro Pereira, Freddy Guarin, Samir Handanovic and Gaby Mudingayi, all well-above average Serie A players. Now, with long-overdue renewal out of the way, Andrea Stramaccioni has something to work with.
Continuing its oil-infused spending spree, PSG happily splashed a jaw-dropping $187.5 million on Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marco Verratti and Lucas Moura. Need much more be said? Word is the Parisians will sign Ajax right back Gregory van der Wiel before the French transfer window shuts early next week, too.
When Liverpool and Manchester City came lusting after Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair, two of last season’s sensations on a sensational Swansea’s sensation debut season, new manager Michael Laudrup wisely sold high and used the money to reinvest it in Pablo Hernandez, Sung-Yong Ki, Michu, Chico and Jonathan de Guzman, buttressing his side while turning a profit in the process.
The Gunners’ transfer window, for once, started off swimmingly, quickly picking up forwards Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and midfielder Santi Cazorla for very reasonable total of $54 million in fees. And then van Persie left for Arsenal and Alex Song was sold to Barcelona, meaning that, once again, Arsenal will start the season off significantly weaker than it ended the last one.
Midfielder Hugo Rodallega, striker Mladen Petric and midfielder Sascha Riether were all very nice free transfer pickups. But that about evened out with the end-of-contract departures of Andy Johnson, Danny Murphy and Pavel Pogrebnyak. But the subsequent sale of Dembélé and Dempsey robs Fulham of the two most decisive players in an offense that made them fun to watch last season. Berbatov, Fulham’s deadline pickup, is only a small consolation.
In a similar predicament as Inter, cross-town rival Milan had to downsize and rejuvenate its squad. Sulley Muntari, Riccardo Montolivo and Bojan Krkic are nice pickups – the former two free and the latter on loan. Pazzini is a nice signing, although not worth giving up Cassano and a surcharge. But all this is undone by the loss of Silva and Ibrahimovic. What’s more, with the retirement or departure of iconic veterans such as Alessandro Nesta, Pippo Inzaghi, Mark van Bommel, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta and Gennaro Gattuso, Milan might face an identity crisis as it rebuilds.
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