The 5 biggest panic buys of this summer transfer window

Luuk De Jong completed his loan move to Barcelona from Sevilla
Luuk de Jong completed his loan move to Barcelona from Sevilla

This summer's transfer window saw almost every big footballer linked to a move away from their respective clubs. It will largely be remembered for the unthinkable transfers of Lionel Messi to PSG and Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United.

With so many players moving to new homes this summer, their former clubs were left to scurry for replacements. With some of the deals occurring very close to the transfer window deadline, it was important for clubs to plug the holes as quickly as possible. When a club wants to add a player to their squad after losing one of their regulars to a transfer or an injury, it is called a panic buy.

Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to the Red Devils could also be considered a panic buy but in a completely different sense: United snapped up the Portuguese international when they heard rumors of him moving to their cross-city rivals Manchester City.

With that in mind, here's a look at five of the biggest panic buys of this summer's transfer window:

#5. Jannik Vestergaard to Leiecester City

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - Premier League
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - Premier League

With Jonny Evans, James Justin and Timothy Castagne — three of Leicester's four most used defenders — sidelined with injuries, the Foxes were already thin on the ground. Wesley Fofana joined that list after a horrific pre-season challenge against Villareal. Manager Brendan Rodgers realized that Cagler Soyuncu was his only fit senior centre-back and brought in Jannik Vestergaard to bolster his resources.

However, a knee injury picked up by the Denmark international during training meant Rodgers was forced to field Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey as his starting centre-backs. And in their first three games, the pair have conceded five goals.

At 29, Vestergaard is not a long-term option. Once Justin and Evans are fully fit, he won't be a first-choice either. His arrival will certainly have eased the immediate panic at the King Power Stadium. But from a critical point of view, the €17 million spent on his transfer could've gone towards a younger option instead.

#4. Joe Hart to Celtic

Celtic FC v Dundee FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Celtic FC v Dundee FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership

Joe Hart was arguably very lucky to secure a move to Celtic this summer transfer window. Having made a total of zero Premier League appearances over the last two seasons, there was a definite air of panic upon his arrival at Celtic Park.

The Bhoys' season has gotten off to a dreadful start. After getting knocked out of Champions League qualification by Midtjylland, they were beaten in the opening league game by Hearts.

The only two keepers in the Celtic squad were Scott Bain and the hapless Vasilis Barkas, who were central to their Champions League exit. New manager Ange Postecoglou is certain he will need a new number one if Celtic are to improve on their disappointing 2021 campaign.

In terms of what Joe Hart brings to the table, he is incredibly experienced, having kept 127 clean sheets to his name. His record is 11th on the all-time list. He has won two titles with Manchester City and has 75 national caps.

But his skills between the posts seem to be deteriorating. Hart's last two seasons of top-flight football, with West Ham in 17-18 and Burnley the following year, saw him concede 6.3 goals more than expected. The pressure is firmly on the Englishman to prove to those who doubt his transfer to Celtic Park.

#3. Edin Dzeko to Inter Milan

FC Internazionale v Futbol'nyj Klub Dynamo Kyïv - Pre-Season Friendly
FC Internazionale v Futbol'nyj Klub Dynamo Kyïv - Pre-Season Friendly

On August 12, Romelu Lukaku's return to Chelsea was confirmed and the majority of Inter Milan fans felt gutted about the transfer. Months after the Belgian had fired them to the Scudetto with an incredible 35 goal contributions, the lure of a return to his childhood club proved too much to resist.

Luckily for them, Simone Inzaghi acted decisively to replace the club's outgoing stars during the transfer window. He bought Hakan Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko for free transfers and Joaquin Correa for just a €5.2 million loan fee.

There was a definite sense of panic around Dzeko's arrival in particular, given that he played in a friendly against Dynamo Kyiv before being announced. But the Bosnian started his time at the San Siro exceptionally well with a goal and an assist in his first two games.

But at 35 years old and having scored 28 goals fewer than xG predicted over the last five seasons, he's clearly not at the peak of his powers. Nevertheless, for a two-year deal, it's not the worst panic buy of the summer transfer window.

#2. Aaron Ramsdale to Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Second Round
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Second Round

Arsenal's €29 million capture of Aaron Ramsdale seems to be a panic buy done a year in advance. The fee is just €1 million less than what Real Madrid paid for Eduardo Camavinga during the transfer window.

The Gunners' logic was that with 29-year old Bernd Leno in the final year of his contract and yet to extend, they should snap up a promising young goalkeeper.

Ramsdale has indeed been relegated back-to-back years but 2021 saw him save 1.9 more goals than xG predicted, ahead of the likes of Jordan Pickford, Kasper Schmeichel, David de Gea, and Rui Patricio.

The real issue is that during a transfer window in which Arsenal needed to strengthen pretty much every area of their squad, they chose to spend €29 million on a keeper who won't necessarily start.

#1. Luuk de Jong to Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander
FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander

This summer transfer window saw Barcelona's greatest ever player forced out of the club and their leadership group take pay cuts to register their new signings. With that in mind, most Blaugrana fans expected a quiet deadline day.

Instead, the circus continued. Reports said they'd made a €75 million bid for RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo before deciding to loan out Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid. Barcelona replaced the Frenchman with Luuk de Jong.

The new striker has recently turned 31 and has been capped 40 times by his country. De Jong's transfer offers head coach Ronald Koeman an experienced alternative at No. 9. But in terms of goal-scoring, he is pretty underwhelming. The Dutchman has never managed to score more than six league goals in a single season outside of the Eredivise. Last season, he managed only four goals in 34 La Liga appearances for Sevilla.

With Martin Braithwaite, De Jong, and Sergio Aguero, Koeman now has three options, with a combined age of 94, and with 10 league goals between them in 75 appearances last term. It looks like it really is up to Memphis to carry the attack this season.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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