It was quite simply the most bonkers transfer window in recent memory. Jason Pettigrove looks at who the winners and losers were this Summer.
What an incredible summer transfer window it’s been. So much so that we’re unlikely to see anything like it again.
There were winners and losers in the market as always, and some teams had a foot in both camps.
Let’s take a look at who had the best or worst transfer window amongst the big teams.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 31, 2021
Finally, the Old Trafford faithful can’t have any complaints that the powers that be weren’t dipping into their pockets.
A year later than planned, Jadon Sancho was secured from Borussia Dortmund, before being followed by the capture of Real Madrid’s elegant centre-back Raphael Varane.
The Frenchman’s unveiling at the Theatre of Dreams was the pre-cursor to the demolition of Leeds United, but his signing wasn’t the best of the window.
That honour belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Late in the day, the biggest and best of homecomings came straight out of left field, but is a short-term capture that gives the Red Devils a real chance of silverware in 2021/22.
With just a handful of youngsters, including Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams, being loaned out, and Dan James the only sale for a whopping £29.1m, it’s been a remarkably successful summer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
When you manage to acquire Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Gini Wijnaldum in the same window and not have to spend a penny in transfer fees… that is some next level witchcraft.
Achraf Hakimi was still a bargain at €60m from Inter, whilst Danilo Pereira was an inspired buy for just €16m from Porto as was Nuno Mendes at €7m from Sporting.
Mitchel Bakker to Bayer Leverkusen at €7m was PSG’s only real departure of note.
Can things really have gone any better for the French giants?! They’ll dominate domestically, and European rivals will bow down at their altar.
A new 💎 in Paris!
PSGxMESSI ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/scrp1su9a6
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 10, 2021
When you smash the British transfer record for Jack Grealish, you have to be happy, but the failure to land Tottenham’s Harry Kane despite pushing hard all summer, must go down as the biggest of disappointments.
It will also be the decision that, ultimately, will likely see them pipped at the post in Europe again, and in the Premier League.
Rumours that City were in for Cristiano Ronaldo were never substantiated and was probably the agent’s ploy to smoke out United.
The only other incoming business for Pep Guardiola came in the form of Kayky and Scott Carson. Hardly signings to get excited about, with respect.
Losing Angeliño, Jack Harrison, Sergio Agüero, Eric García and Lukas Nmecha isn’t likely to affect the Citizens one way or the other, with the loss of García to Barcelona perhaps being the only one that will cause consternation in the boardroom.
Southgate: I don't think we can play Grealish and Foden together.
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) August 4, 2021
The signing of Romelu Lukaku was seen as the ‘final piece in the jigsaw’ at Chelsea.
The Belgian is in the form of his life, and with Thomas Tuchel already having the rest of the squad in the palm of his hand, the Blues are going to be so hard to beat in 2021/22.
That didn’t stop them ending the window in style with a deadline day capture of Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez on loan. A player to beef up their midfield, and one who scores goals, his is another stunning coup for the west Londoners.
Tammy Abraham was always going to have to move on to pastures new once Lukaku was captured.
Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Tiemoué Bakayoko didn’t have a future at the club under the German and, as such, were expendable assets that didn’t impact on the team in the slightest.
As reigning European Champions and realistically the only Premier League side that can challenge Man City’s domestic dominance, this could be a hugely profitable campaign on the pitch for Chelsea.
Romelu Lukaku Premier League Stats :
12/13- 35 Games 17 Goals
13/14- 33 Games 15 Goals
14/15- 36 Games 10 Goals
15/16- 37 Games 18 Goals
16/17- 37 Games 25 Goals
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) August 8, 2021
When you lose your best ever player it’s only ever going to be bad news from then on, right?
Yes and no.
The money Barca will save from moving Messi on, however unpopular the decision may be, might just help the club get back on its feet quicker than it otherwise would have.
Ditto the deadline day sale of Antoine Griezmann.
The Argentinian and the Frenchman scored the bulk of Barça’s goals last season, but in their current financial situation, the wages are unsustainable.
The signings of Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, and Memphis Depay on free transfers were excellent business from new president, Joan Laporta, as was the capture of Emerson Royal on a buyback option from Real Betis.
That was until they decided to sell him to Tottenham.
Will the Catalans go close this season? Unlikely, given how much of a transitional campaign it’s already becoming.
The green shoots of recovery are there, however, and that has to be good enough for the club at this point, given their predicament.
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) August 31, 2021
Los Blancos are an ageing beast and that may come back to haunt them later in the season.
As will the losses of their first-choice centre-back pairing of the last few years, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
Martin Odegaard’s switch to Arsenal isn’t likely to cause too many ripples at the Santiago Bernabeu, though the team could well end up needing a player with the Norwegian’s energy and skills.
Losing out on Kylian Mbappe when Florentino Perez had gone all out for another galactico signing will hurt the club institutionally as well as on the pitch.
David Alaba from Bayern Munich was their only decent capture until a surprise move for Rennes’ highly-rated midfielder, Eduardo Camavinga. His hire almost certainly means that their pursuit of Paul Pogba is at an end.
If Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale stay fit, Real might just have the strength to get over the line in La Liga, but they’ll not go deep into the Champions League on this occasion.
Given the sheer scale of their incoming transfers, you can’t really look further than Paris Saint-Germain for domestic and European glory.
Frankly, if Mauricio Pochettino is unable to guide his team to the Champions League this season, they’ll never win it.