The transfer window has been flung open by Monaco and this summer could be spectacular for player movement, given the number of high profile clubs that have changed managers or who are coming off perceived down seasons. Over this summer, I will be explaining and analysing the major moves around and giving each one of them a grade.
Ricardo Carvalho – Real Madrid to Monaco (Free)
What’s the deal? Nine years ago, Carvalho left Porto to join a Chelsea side flush with cash and intent on barging their way on to the top table of European football, and now he is looking to repeat the trick at Monaco who are going about the task with more vigour than even Chelsea in their most opulent early days. He is the fourth one-time Porto player to join up.
Why sign him? He’s not what he was, but he is still an effective performer. Even more so than that, he is a proven leader and winner and will battle for the cause. He has thrown off the mercenary tag with the guts and heart he showed at Chelsea and Monaco need him to infuse that into their team.
Why sell him? The emergence of Rafael Varane in partnership with Sergio Ramos made him expendable allied with his age.
Will it work? He’s not exactly there for the long haul but if, in his limited time, he can get the club believing in themselves as winners and spread his relentless work ethic, it will be worthwhile and then some. On the pitch, if he can be a solid performer they will be happy.
Grade: B - Decent enough on the field for the level of competition but his off-field contribution will be most important.
Felipe Santana – Borussia Dortmund to Schalke (£1m)
What’s the deal? To lose one starter to an errant release clause is careless but to now lose another, for such a pittance, is verging on negligent. Santana is the first player to bridge the Ruhr in a generation, so can expect a hostile reception.
Why sign him? For one thing, because it weakens your main rival, at a discount price. More importantly though, Schalke could be about to lose one or both of their first choice central defenders. Although Santana is limited, he’s a decent option in the Bundesliga.
Why sell him? They didn’t have a choice, another release clause activated.
Will it work? He’s not as good as Papadopoulos or Howedes but he’s an adequate and cheap replacement. Won’t help them challenge for the title but should help them hang around the top four.
Grade: B - Hard to criticise at the price.
Kolo Toure – Man City to Liverpool (Free)
What’s the deal? Liverpool needed to replace the departing Jamie Carragher and Brendan Rodgers will be on a tighter budget than in recent years. Toure is an okay Premier League player who can hold the fort if needed.
Why sign him? I guess only because he’s a free agent. He’s not a good compliment to Daniel Agger and isn’t an especially gifted footballer which Rodgers normally prefers. But, he can get some games whilst they spend whatever money they have on other positions.
Why sell him? Not exactly bothering the first team lately and was on a huge wage.
Will it work? Not to any standard, only for minute eating. The last two free agents Liverpool signed were Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic who made a combined £140,000 a week for no performance. Clubs that aspire to win the league don’t sign other clubs’ cast-offs.
Grade: D - The only thing saving this from being an F is that he is at least decent but if he’s on a big wage, it should be an F. He and Agger won’t mesh well and he has problems with injuries. Not to mention the fact that picking out of the bin says nothing about your ambition.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Werder Bremen to Borussia Dortmund (£8m)
What’s the deal? Papastathopolous is highly versatile, able to play at right back or centre back, or even deep midfield if needed. It makes him an ideal candidate as Borussia Dortmund prepare for the vultures to swoop all over their prised assets. He’s been a good player in the Bundesliga and at just 22, has plenty of improvement to be done.
Why sign him? Santana is gone, at least one of Hummels or Subotic could join him and Piszczek is out until November with a hip injury. They need cover. Also, he has excellent football intelligence for such a young player. They must see him as a centre back long term as he isn’t the athlete they need at right back.
Why sell him? Bremen aren’t what they were a few years ago and it’s hard to turn down the recent back to back champions.
Will it work? Yes. Dortmund have an extraordinarily good record in the market over the last few years and he should be the next in the line of successful moves.
Grade: B+ - Good solid work as ever from Dortmund.
Fernando Amorebieta – Athletic Bilbao to Fulham (free)
What’s the deal? Amorebieta is something of a coup for Fulham, having attracted glances from bigger clubs for several years. He was a key cog in the Bilbao side which wowed Europe a couple of seasons ago and is a tall and elegant player, comfortable on the ball or in a physical battle which should leave him well suited for England.
Why sign him? The Fulham defence was awful last year, lacking in application and fight. Amorebieta is immediately their best defender. As a free agent, the risk is minimal.
Why sell him? Bilbao can’t offer the type of wages he can get in England and tend to rely on their youth set up producing players for them rather than overpaying to keep players around.
Will it work? The recent plethora of Spaniards who have come to England and succeeded have dispelled many of the impressions that they weren’t cut out for it. Particularly the success of Chico Flores at Swansea who has a similar game. Mind you, he’s not joining a club with good defenders like his compatriot, so it will be a big test.
Grade: A - He’s a quality player, free and fills the club’s biggest need. Excellent stuff.Published 29 May 2013, 17:12 IST