10 most interesting transfer moves in Europe this summer
This window has been a mad one in terms of major and surprising transfers, particularly from clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan. Barcelona have made two signings despite having a transfer ban while Real Madrid haven’t made many big moves and are looking at youth now.
With a lot of such transfers done and a lot of money spent, it will be interesting to see which moves actually come off. Let’s look at which have been the most interesting moves made so far?
Arturo Vidal (Juventus to Bayern Munich)
One of the world’s finest footballers and purest box-to-box midfielders, Arturo Vidal’s signature has cost Bayern Munich around €40 million. Bayern manager Pep Guardiola is into his third season at the club and is desperate to win the Champions League, having failed in his last two attempts. The acquisition of Vidal is a statement of intent.
Whilst Vidal will suit the former Barcelona boss’ high pressing, high energy style, the player’s unique brand of aggression and unpredictability should give Bayern more flexibility. However, he also joins a team boasting an embarrassment of riches in central midfield and there are questions about how the Chile international will be deployed.
There is also the matter of Vidal’s form, with suggestions that his last season in Turin – where he helped Juventus into the Champions League final – was not his best. Are Bayern signing a player slightly on the decline, or at the peak of his football powers?
Geoffrey Kondogbia (Monaco to Inter Milan)
In the wake of his match-winning performance against Arsenal in the Champions League last season, Kondogbia was hot property and many expected the Monaco midfielder to join the Gunners during the transfer window.
The 22-year-old then seemed set for AC Milan, before performing a stunning about-turn and signing for their fierce rivals Inter. “Yes, the truth is that I spoke to Milan, but never in my life have I said yes to [AC] Milan CEO Adriano Galliani,” Kondogbia said of the move.
Kondogbia has also explained that Roberto Mancini was key in convincing him to move to Inter, who have snatched one of Europe’s most exciting talents from under the nose of some big clubs as they look to return to the summit of Italian football.
Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim to Liverpool)
The Brazil international is arguably Brendan Rodgers’ biggest signing of the close season, moving from Hoffenheim for £29 million. Given the wealth of midfield and attacking options now available at Liverpool, a place needs to be found that best suits Firmino’s unique talents.
The Brazilian isn’t an out-and-out striker, preferring instead to play behind the forwards and assume the role of creator rather than finisher. Firmino isn’t a prolific goal-scorer but at his best is a handful for defenders with his movement and running: a stylistic trait he shares with former Liverpool star Luis Suarez.
It would be unfair to expect the former Figueirense player to have the same immediate impact that Suarez did, but Rodgers is under pressure at Anfield this season and will be desperate for his new signings to fire.
Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid to Juventus)
Croatia international Mandzukic is joining a third club in three years, having spent two years at Bayern Munich and last season at Atletico Madrid. His goal-scoring record is exemplary at club level and the 29-year-old moves to Turin on a three-year deal, replacing the departed Carlos Tevez.
Can Mandzukic replicate the form that brought him two league and cup doubles and a Champions League winners’ medal at Bayern Munich? He was certainly less effective at Atletico Madrid and expectations will be high at Juventus, who will want to mount another European challenge.
What makes this a curious move is Juventus’ markedly different playing style: Mandzukic was a success at Bayern with mobile forwards running off him, a luxury he might not be afforded so readily in Italy.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid to Porto)
Iker Casillas’ acrimonious departure from Real Madrid gives this move a particularly interesting edge. Despite winning three Champions League titles in his 25 years in Madrid, his relationship with the club deteriorated in recent seasons as the goalkeeper’s form dipped and he fell out with former manager Jose Mourinho and Real President Florentino Perez.
His new employers, Porto, could well be drawn alongside Real in the UEFA Champions League this season. If so, it would set the stage for an emotional and highly charged meeting.
Can Casillas get the last laugh and enjoy a revival in Portugal following a disastrous World Cup with Spain?