Which of Europe’s top clubs have done the best business in the transfer window so far? Let’s put that question to the test by rating and slating every deal struck and forming a top 10.
10. MANCHESTER UNITED
Notable ins: Fred (£53 million), Diogo Dalot (£20 million), Lee Grant (£1.5 million)
Notable outs: Daley Blind (£15 million), Sam Johnstone (£6 million)
Manchester United still have plenty to do in this market, but what they’ve managed so far is positive.
Fred is a very good player, and while he doesn’t play in a position of burning need, he, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba represent an exceptional trio in the centre. Diogo Dalot is a Jose Mourinho-style full-back and has the attributes to be a success in the Premier League.
Daley Blind and Sam Johnstone—two players nowhere near the first team—have netted around £21 million on the market. There’s still much yet to take shape, but the work done already isn’t bad.
Notable outs: Santi Cazorla (free), Per Mertesacker (retired), Jack Wilshere (free)
The bar to enter this list is actually pretty low. Arsenal’s business has been OK—not outstanding—but they’ve improved their side and that’s something quite a lot of Europe’s top teams haven’t done.
Lucas Torreira is the sort of terrier-like midfielder they have needed for a while. Bernd Leno is an attempt at resolving the regrettable goalkeeping situation left by Arsene Wenger.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos will stop Laurent Koscielny’s torn Achilles from sinking the defensive line. If Stephan Lichtsteiner can coach Hector Bellerin a little, he’ll get a lot better.
As it stands, the haul probably isn’t enough to push Arsenal back into the top four, but it is a step in the right direction.
8. BAYERN MUNICH
Notable ins: Leon Goretzka (free), Alphonso Davies (£9 million)
Notable outs: Douglas Costa (£36 million)
It’s been a pretty quiet summer for Bayern Munich—a far cry from 2017, when they loaded up on players in an attempt to refresh their squad.
Nabbing Leon Goretzka for free is excellent work, evidence of chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s desire to house the very best German players at the Allianz Arena. Alphonso Davies has flashed incredible talent in Vancouver and is well worth a punt at an initial £9 million.
Getting £36 million for a player you don’t really want (Douglas Costa) is never a bad thing.
7. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Notable ins: Gianluigi Buffon (free)
Notable outs: Javier Pastore (£22 million), Yuri Berchiche (£21 million), Odsonne Edouard (£10 million), Jonathan Ikone (£4.5 million), Grzegorz Krychowiak (loan), Hatem Ben Arfa (free)
Paris Saint-Germain’s transfer window hasn’t been the most exciting, but it has been quite smart.
Gianluigi Buffon is the sort of character the team needs, and he’s better than any of their pre-existing options between the sticks too. He’s no long-term solution, so perhaps club product Alphonse Areola can learn a thing or two under his tutelage.
The only other actions have been outgoing, largely because PSG are up against it in terms of financial fair play. Grabbing north of £50 million for a string of players they don’t want is good going in that regard.
No matter what Barcelona do this summer, they won’t be able to replace the presence of Andres Iniesta. He’s already started his new chapter in Japan, but his former club are still piecing things together ahead of a first campaign without him since 2002.
Arthur’s a solid start in this regard, a multi-functional midfielder who they hope can become the new heartbeat of the side. Malcom adds a dose of excitement, goal threat and free-kick majesty to the attack, lessening the burden on everyone else.
Clement Lenglet is expensive for a back-up at £32 million, but if Barcelona go on to get a similar sum in return for Yerry Mina, they will have done well.
Notable outs: Bernd Leno (£22.5 million), Stefan Kiessling (retired)
Very quietly, Bayer Leverkusen have worked their way to the best transfer window among Germany’s top clubs so far. Their smart and subtle moves should not go unnoticed.
They have managed one hell of a swap between the sticks, selling Bernd Leno for £22.5 million to Arsenal and bringing in the superior Lukas Hradecky to replace him—for free.
Leverkusen have also signed Mitchell Weiser—a flying right-sider with just the right amount of devil in him—and Paulinho, a hugely talented forward who shone in Brazil’s brilliant under-17 side last year.
Notable ins: Cristiano Ronaldo (£105 million), Joao Cancelo (£36 million), Mattia Perin (£11 million), Emre Can (free)
Juventus have pulled off the blockbuster transfer of the summer, snatching Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for around £105 million.
It’s a lot of money for a 33-year-old, but there are few players on this planet like Ronaldo, and his longevity seems almost certain.
He is one of four potential first-team additions, with Joao Cancelo scooped for big money, then Mattia Perin and Emre Can recruited either fairly cheaply or on a free.
Three significant players have departed for free too, the most notable of whom is the legendary Gianluigi Buffon. He’s taking in a twilight season with Paris Saint-Germain.
It’s a measure of how good three other clubs’ windows have been that Juve only rank fourth. Perhaps the acquisition of Leonardo Bonucci (and the exit of Gonzalo Higuain), something seemingly in the offing according to the Guardian, could push them up further if completed
3. ATLETICO MADRID
Notable ins: Thomas Lemar (£63 million), Gelson Martins (free), Rodri (£18 million), Jonny (£6 million), Antonio Adan (£1 million), Santiago Arias (£10 million)
Notable outs: Gabi (released), Fernando Torres (released), Sime Vrsaljko (loan)
Atletico Madrid are using this transfer window as an opportunity to freshen up, scale the age of their squad back a bit and reload in attack.
Gelson Martins and Thomas Lemar form quite the wing pair, offering a nice combination of intelligent movement and blazing speed. Rodri is the new signal-controller in midfield, replacing Gabi, and while Jonny has been loaned to Wolverhampton Wanderers, he’s a cheap, sensible pickup.
The move they’ve made at right-back is questionable, though, and signing Santiago Arias and moving on Sime Vrsaljko is a solid downgrade. It keeps them from top spot in these rankings.
Notable outs: Danny Ward (£12.5 million), Emre Can (free)
Liverpool’s net spend is pretty high, but if you’re going to splash the cash, make sure you do so on the right players. Manager Jurgen Klopp appears to have done that.
For £40 million, Fabinho is a bargain, while Naby Keita’s eventual £54 million fee could end up looking on the cheap side. Alisson was expensive—a record for a goalkeeper, in fact—but he’s very good and suits the system in place. Xherdan Shaqiri is about as good a back-up as you could wish for.
The Reds have even managed to extract £12.5 million from Leicester City for Danny Ward—a 25-year-old goalkeeper with a lot of potential but just two Premier League appearances to his name.
Losing Emre Can to Juventus on a free is regrettable, but this is still a top-tier window for the Reds.
1. INTER MILAN
Notable ins: Stefan de Vrij (free), Kwadwo Asamoah (free), Radja Nainggolan (£33 million), Lautaro Martinez (£14 million), Sime Vrsaljko (loan)
Inter Milan have made five brilliant signings. Two of those (Stefan de Vrij and Kwadwo Asamoah) came in for free, two (Radja Nainggolan and Lautaro Martinez) cost just shy of £50 million between them, and one (Sime Vrsaljko) has joined on loan.
They have supplemented this outlay with a series of sales, shedding squad players and unwanted options. The fact they got £8.5 million for Davide Santon is pretty remarkable.
There is some risk attached to this summer’s work, namely in the case of Nainggolan. Inter have given a 30-year-old box-to-box midfielder who relies on explosiveness and athleticism a four-year deal that won’t be cheap. Is that prudent, long-term business?