The surprise summer transfer window winners

This could be an exciting season of football
This could be an exciting season of football
Girish Srinivasan

The summer transfer window has closed and teams have strengthened in areas where they feel it is necessary. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and Chelsea were the big winners being able to bring in Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Romelu Lukaku respectively.

Aside from the regular big spenders, several other teams had a successful transfer season. Not necessarily by splashing the cash, but by making smart moves and clever loan buys.

Below are five such teams that operated cleverly to boost their squad for the upcoming football season:

West Ham United

The Hammers have been shrewd operators in the transfer market ever since David Moyes returned to West Ham in 2019. Moyes has operated on a tight budget and doesn't necessarily have the funds or the pulling power to bring in the big names.

But the lack of funds hasn't deterred Moyes from bringing in some decent players. West Ham brought in Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen and Vladimir Coufal into the Hammers squad and kept punching above their weight.

Last season, the Hammers finished a respectable 6th, the virtue of which they qualified for following season's Europa League.

With European football on offer, Moyes had transfer funds at his disposal.

He bought in center back Kurt Zouma (£29,800,000) from Chelsea and attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic (£33,500,000) from CSKA Moscow. Additionally, on deadline day, the Hammers were able to transfer in midfielder Alex Kral from Spartak Moscow, bolstering the squad considerably.

The additions look good and the Hammers are all set for another solid league season. A Top 6 finish beckons, with at least a journey into round 16 of the Europa League competition.


Under Simeone Inzaghi, Lazio were an absolute delight to watch, with a limited squad and a handful of world-class talent.

In 2019-20, they went toe-to-toe with Juventus for the Scudetto. Only the Covid-19 pandemic break halted their momentum, but Inzaghi's men managed to keep hold of a Champions League place by finishing 4th.

Biancocelesti finished sixth after another decent 2020-21 campaign under Inzaghi. They are set for another season of European football, albeit in the Europa League.

Sarri will be looking to make an impact in Serie A.
Sarri will be looking to make an impact in Serie A.

With Maurizio Sarri replacing Inzaghi after the latter moved to manage rivals Inter, Biancocelesti have made some intelligent signings this transfer window.

  • West Ham's Felipe Anderson for €3,000,000,
  • midfielder Toma Basic from Bordeaux for €6,860,000,
  • loan signing Verona's Mattia Zaccagni and,
  • Pedro Rodriguez from arch-rivals Roma on a free transfer.

The Spaniard was released by the Giallorossi (Roma). Pedro, who is 34 years old and a serial winner previously with Barcelona and Chelsea, adds experience and winning mentality to the squad.

Sarri aims for a Top-4 finish and an unlikely title challenge if possible, although the Europa League and Coppa Italia are genuine silverware-winning opportunities.


Giallorossi were very active in the transfer market and recruited some skilled players, yet their biggest coup was former Inter manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho's last two managerial outings (Man Utd and Spurs) weren't successful.

Jose Mourinho is back to top level management
Jose Mourinho is back to top level management

In Italy, however, he still has admirers, and Roma might be the team he requires to get his mojo back.

Roma had a difficult 2020-21 season and finished a disappointing 8th. Ambitions aren't high at the Stadio Olimpico for the 2021-22 season.

The Giallorossi acted swiftly to transfer in the Portuguese shot-stopper, Rui Patricio, from Wolves for €11.5M early in the window. They spent a lot towards the end to land former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham for €40M and the former Genoa forward Eldor Shomurodov for €17.5M.

Mourinho's presence, coupled with this transfer window, presents a promising picture for Giallorossi this season. A Top-4 finish is highly likely in Serie A. The Romans do start favorites to win the brand new UEFA Conference League.

Atletico Madrid

The Spanish Champions have always been shrewd when it comes to the transfer market. Their usual strategy of carefully scouting and observing players before buying them has served them well.

<a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Rodrigo De Paul</a> brings something special to Atletico.
Rodrigo De Paul brings something special to Atletico.

This time also Atleti's proven method worked.They added Rodrigo De Paul from Udinese for €35M. This transfer could be considered a bargain due to his exploits in Copa America with Argentina. Matheus Cunha was added from Hertha Berlin for €30M, further strengthening their strikeforce.

The best was yet to come as Atelti completely smashed the transfer deadline day when they re-signed Antoine Griezmann. He joined them on loan from Barcelona with an obligation to buy for €40M; for almost 1/3rd of the cost at which he was sold to Barcelona 2 years ago.

Griezmann is back at Atletico Madrid
Griezmann is back at Atletico Madrid

Griezmann 's signing has tilted the La Liga title race heavily in Atelti 's favor to retain their crown. His versatility means Diego Simeone has all the tools at his disposal to try and win the Champions League.

If Simeone can get Griezmann back to his best, then there is no stopping the Colchoneros from winning multiple silverware this season.

Aston Villa

The Midland Club had perhaps the most interesting transfer window. They gained the most and lost the most at the same time. Manchester City smashed the British transfer record when they shelled out £100,000,000 for Jack Grealish.

Villa tried everything in their power to keep hold of their talismanic captain, but in the end City's pull was way too much to keep Grealish away from them.

It was clear from the beginning that Villa would lose their star man to City this season. So they acted swiftly in the transfer market to bring in Emiliano Buendia from Norwich for £33,000,000.

Once Grealish moved out, manager Dean Smith brought in Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen and Danny Ings from Southampton for a combined £55,000,000.

Danny Ings will be leading Villa 's Strikeforce this season.
Danny Ings will be leading Villa 's Strikeforce this season.

Villa have smartly brought in players to mitigate the loss of their star man; and this is what makes them a dangerous opposition. Manager Dean Smith has a wide variety of options to choose from. Villa have a decent chance of finishing in a Europa League place or Europa Conference League place in the league.

Edited by Aditya Singh


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