03 Sep Top transfers from the 2014 summer transfer window
Over the past two months, the European heavyweights of soccer have been busy making the additions to their squads that could make the difference between a league title and a near-miss, between Champions League glory and cup final heartache. We take a look at 10 of the biggest transfers across Europe.
Luis Suarez – Barcelona
From today, we’re all following @luis16suarez. Welcome to @fcbarcelona #SuarezFCB http://t.co/tOzYobZiVN pic.twitter.com/HRwptQgTaJ
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 11, 2014
Barcelona completed the biggest transfer of the summer, and third biggest of all time, when they signed Luis Suarez from Liverpool, for a reported fee of $128 million. There is no doubting the talents of Suarez, who was top scorer in the 2013-14 Premier League season as Liverpool finished in second place, but the player has long courted controversy. During the World Cup, the Uruguayan appeared to bite the Italian defender Georgio Chillieni, earning himself a four-month ban from FIFA. This didn’t deter Barcelona, and as fate would have it the first game that Suarez is eligible to play in is the Clasico against Real Madrid on October 26. Barcelona will have to quickly find a way to integrate Suarez, Messi and Neymar into a cohesive attack unit if they are to claim silverware this season.
James Rodriguez – Real Madrid
Bienvenido al Real Madrid, @jamesdrodriguez #BienvenidoJames #halamadrid pic.twitter.com/9g53ltzWUX
— Real Madrid C. F. (@realmadrid) July 22, 2014
James was the breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. His six goals made him top scorer as Colombia reached their first ever quarter-final, and his volley against Uruguay won the goal of the tournament award. Following his impressive displays, Real Madrid wasted no time in paying a reported $108 million to bring the midfielder in from Monaco. It’s been a meteoric rise for James, who will now face the intense pressure of playing for Los Blancos, as they look to claim the La Liga title from fierce rivals Atletico Madrid, and make history by attempting to defend their Champions League crown.
Radamel Falcao – Man United
In a deadline day move that caught everyone by surprise, Manchester United completed a loan move for Colombian striker Falcao. Linked with a move away from Monaco for much of the summer, Real Madrid had been expected to sign the striker until United stepped in at the last minute. The Red Devils will pay a loan fee of $10 million, and will cover most of his $500,000 weekly wage, as well as having an option to buy Falcao at the end of the season. The prospect of a front three of Falcao, Rooney and van Persie is one that’s sure to excite all United fans.
Angel Di Maria – Man United
BREAKING: Angel Di Maria has completed his move to #mufc for a British record fee of £59.7m. #WelcomeDiMaria pic.twitter.com/ySiDmJM0gD
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 26, 2014
After his man-of-the-match performance for Real Madrid in their Champions League final victory back in May, few would have predicted the Argentine midfielder would be allowed to leave the club. However, the signing of James pushed Di Maria down the pecking order and Manchester United were the beneficiaries, paying a British record of $98 million for his services. Louis van Gaal has endured a difficult start as manager of United, and he’ll be hoping that Di Maria and Falcao can fire the club back into the top four and Champions League qualification
Mario Balotelli – Liverpool
Confirmed: #LFC have today completed the signing of Italy international Mario Balotelli from AC Milan #MarioLFC pic.twitter.com/iSrVb0P3Mw
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 25, 2014
Super Mario has made a surprise return to the Premier League, joining Liverpool for a reported $26 million. While the Reds can certainly be happy with the price, they will hope that Balotelli behaves himself on Merseyside; during his time at Manchester City, he was always in the headlines for the wrong reasons. If he does keep his conduct in check, there is no doubt that he has the potential to form a potent attack force alongside players such as Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
Diego Costa – Chelsea
Diego Costa has today completed his transfer from Atletico Madrid: http://t.co/x4bt6V0BD9 #WelcomeDiego #CFC pic.twitter.com/ZgBSSUJTnI
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) July 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho publicly admitted that he was not happy with his striker options, and he wasted little time in rectifying that with the capture of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid by triggering the $57 million release clause. Costa was a key figure in helping Atletico win La Liga last season, and has settled right in at Chelsea with four goals in his first three games. With a natural goalscorer now leading the line, Chelsea is expected to challenge titles on the domestic and European scene.
Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea
Welcome to Chelsea, @cesc4official! https://t.co/ND4PhbmnzQ #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) June 12, 2014
After being deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona, many expected Fabregas to return to former club Arsenal. However, after deciding against making a move for the midfielder, Chelsea stepped in to sign him for around $49 million. The Spaniard will form a partnership in the heart of the Chelsea team with Nemanja Matic, where he’ll look to control the tempo and dictate the play.
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
It’s official! Alexis Sanchez has agreed to join @Arsenal! http://t.co/EL64o0m3j7 pic.twitter.com/gbDWNgdo2y
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 10, 2014
Chile forward Alexis Sanchez was the man to make way for Luis Suarez at Barcelona, with Arsenal snapping him up for a reported $57 million. It’s a statement of intent from the Gunners, who make a second marquee signing in as many years following the summer 2013 signing of Mesut Ozil. Alexis will add to an already very pacey Arsenal frontline that includes Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern
Official: #FCBayern have signed Robert Lewandowski (25)! The striker has signed a 5-year contract until 2019. More soon on FCB.de
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 4, 2014
For the second successive season, Bayern Munich has signed a key player from their main rivals in the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund. To add insult to injury, they signed Polish striker Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer. The striker has regularly been one of the top scorers in Germany in recent seasons, and Bayern will hope he adds a cutting edge to their attack that they sometimes lacked last year.
David Luiz – PSG
Bem-Vindo @DavidLuiz_4 ! #BemVindoDavidLuiz pic.twitter.com/nh90Qscmj7
— PSG Officiel (@PSG_inside) June 13, 2014
Paris Saint-Germain made David Luiz the most expensive defender in soccer history when they paid Chelsea $82 million for his services this summer. The Parisians will pair him with Brazilian international teammate Thiago Silva in the center of defence as they look to secure another Ligue 1 title, and improve on their quarter-final effort in last season’s Champions League. Questions remain over his discipline to play as a defender, which is something he’ll be looking to dispel at his new club.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez – Real Madrid
#BienvenidoChicharito #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/MxAldVK3o2
— Real Madrid C. F. (@realmadrid) September 1, 2014
Having been linked with an exit from Manchester United for much of the summer, Chicharito finally made the move from Old Trafford on deadline day. He’ll be plying his trade at the Bernabeu during 2014/15, after signing for Real Madrid on a year-long loan deal. Whether he’ll get much more playing time in Spain than he did in England is debatable, but his natural goalscoring instincts could provide a very useful alternative to the forward options Los Blancos already have.