5 teams that have struggled after losing their star players 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala
Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala

While the summer transfer window is a great avenue for teams to strengthen their ranks, they could also lose some of their stars. This summer's transfer window was one of the most exciting and entertaining ones we have seen in recent years.

In the wake of the financial problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, several teams were forced to part with some of their best players. As a result, we saw some of the biggest stars in football switch clubs. We even saw Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi join new clubs this summer.

It is always difficult for teams to cope with departures. It's even worse when a team loses one or more of their star players. It's not just the dynamic of the team that gets affected in such a situation. The manager will need to go back to the drawing board if he doesn't have a like-for-like replacement for the departing player.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five teams that have struggled after losing their star players.

#5 Olympique Lyon - Memphis Depay

Olympique Lyonnais v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Semi Final
Olympique Lyonnais v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

In the 2020-21 season, Olympique Lyon finished fourth in the Ligue 1 table with 76 points, just seven fewer than winners Lille. They had a lead of 16 points over fifth-placed Marseille and missed out on a Champions League berth by just two points.

Memphis Depay has been a standout performer for Lyon over the past several years. The Dutchman was on fire during the 2020-21 season, scoring 22 goals and providing 12 assists in 40 appearances.

However, Depay had already come close to joining Barcelona in the summer of 2020. So Lyon were aware that the 27-year-old was going to run down his contract to force a move to Barcelona and he did.

After losing Depay, Lyon have got off to a poor start to the new season. They have won two, lost two and draw two of their six Ligue 1 games so far. They have scored nine goals but shipped in 10 and look a bit lost on either side of the pitch following the departure of the Dutch forward.

#4 Norwich City - Emiliano Buendia

Barnsley v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championshi
Barnsley v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championshi

The summer that marked their return to the English top-flight was perhaps not the time for Norwich City to part with their best player. Aston Villa were wary of the external interest in Jack Grealish and wanted to cover their bases by signing an exciting playmaker.

They secured the services of Argentine midfielder Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City for €38.4 million. The 24-year-old's departure seems to have made the Canaries a much weaker side than the one that won promotion from the EFL Championship last term.

In 39 matches in the Championship last season, Buendia scored 15 goals and provided 17 assists. Without him, their drive for promotion wouldn't have worked out the way it did. Norwich City have looked out of their depth in the 2021-22 Premier League season.

They have lost all five of their matches and have scored just two goals while conceding 14.

#3 RB Leipzig - Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Marcel Sabitzer

Liverpool FC v RB Leipzig - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Liverpool FC v RB Leipzig - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two

RB Leipzig were able to procure the signings of some really good players this summer. Andre Silva, Josko Gvardiol, Ilaix Moriba, Mohamed Simakan and Benjamin Henrichs, to name a few, are worthy additions.

But so far, they've not been able to match the levels of the RB Leipzig starters who departed the club this past summer. It's been a cruel summer for the Bundesliga outfit. They've seen the backs of Marcel Sabitzer, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate this season.

While Konate and Upamecano were the first-choice centre-backs for a while last term. Sabitzer was a strong creative presence on the other side of the pitch. Leipzig finished second in the Bundesliga table in the 2020-21 season and had the best defensive record in the league.

However, they have got off to a poor start in the 2021-22 season. They've won just one out of their five Bundesliga matches so far, scoring just three goals and shipping in six. They were also comprehensively beaten in their first Champions League match of the season. Leipzig lost 6-3 to Manchester City on the 15th of September.

#2 Barcelona - Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Barcelona's finances have been so poorly managed in recent seasons that they had no choice but to let go of Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time. Messi wanted to stay at Barcelona.

But they couldn't afford to keep him as even if he had taken a 50% wage cut, the Catalans' wage bill would be way above the La Liga salary cap. Messi was Barcelona's best player of the 2020-21 season by a country mile.

It was Messi who got them back into the title race although it fizzled out in the closing stages of the season. He scored 38 goals and provided 14 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans last term.

Providing him ample support in the frontline last season was Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman was shockingly offloaded on loan to Atletico Madrid by Barcelona on deadline day. Griezmann scored 20 goals and provided 13 assists in 51 appearances across all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

Barcelona have looked a bit out of sorts in the duo's absence in the new season. They have seven points from three La Liga matches so far, which is not bad. However, they suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou in their Champions League season opener.

Memphis Depay's form has been a silver lining. However, if he hits a rough patch or gets injured, Koeman will have his work cut out trying to figure out where the goals are going to come from.

Also Check Out: Barcelona Transfer News

#1 Juventus - Cristiano Ronaldo

Udinese Calcio v Juventus - Serie A
Udinese Calcio v Juventus - Serie A

There was a narrative running through the summer which held Cristiano Ronaldo accountable for Juventus' struggles in the 2020-21 season. It was being said that accommodating Ronaldo had caused Juventus to lose their identity and compromise on their style of play.

It seemed ridiculous given the fact that the Portuguese international was the top scorer in the 2020-21 Serie A season, scoring 29 goals in 33 matches. Ronaldo worked hard despite being 35-years-old at the time and was a leader in the dressing room as well.

He joined Manchester United in the summer and has got off to a great start to his second stint at his former club, scoring four goals in his first three games. Juventus, on the other hand, were expected to get better now that they didn't need to accommodate Ronaldo.

However, the Bianconeri are yet to win a single game in the new Serie A season. They've drawn two and lost two and Massimiliano Allegri has quite a task on his hand as he tries to get their season back on track.

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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