Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The 10 Best European Soccer Transfers of the Summer

Ángel Di María's transfer from Manchester United to PSG was among Europe's biggest moves this summer.
By Justin Sherman (@JShermOfficial)

There's nothing quite like the European transfer window. Rumor mills spiral out of control on the daily, with stories that tug at a supporters' heart strings, constantly putting allegiances under attack.

This summer certainly didn’t lack in the drama department, and we saw club icons depart, while other players forced moves to rivals. Before looking at the best transfers of the window, I have added a short guide from (with a few edits of my own) on how soccer transfers work in relation to North American sports and free agency.

Here are the general guidelines.

1. The two clubs must agree on a transfer fee. This is money the team acquiring the player must pay to the team letting him go. The sums can be staggering. Real Madrid, for instance, agreed to pay Manchester United $131.6 million for Cristiano Ronaldo, and that's before even agreeing to personal contract details with the forward.

2. Though rare, when a player's contract has expired, he is then free to sign with any team he can agree to terms with. This is called a free transfer because the team receiving the player does not have to pay a transfer fee to his old club.

3. Players are also sometimes loaned to other teams. This is especially common for younger players who can't crack into the starting lineups on strong squads. The hope is that the player will get playing time on the borrowing club when he couldn't at the lending club… A team might loan a player to another team in it's own league, in a lower division, or even to a team in a different country.

Now that you hopefully have some sort of an understanding of how this whole convoluted mess works, let's get to the list.

Ed. Note- Though all these transfer fees were obviously negotiated in Euros, Justin has provided their values in dollars for you uncultured American pigs.

10. Danilo (Porto to Real Madrid for $35.5m)

The Brazilian right-back comes over from Porto after back-to-back Top-3 Primeira Liga finishes with the Portuguese giant. Like many Brazilian players, Danilo brings a flair and attacking mindset that Madrid fans crave. Ever the defensive coach, it remains to be seen just how much freedom Rafa Benitez will allow for his masquerading runs down the flank. So far so good, with two clean sheets delivered through two games.


9. Arturo Vidal (Juventus to Bayern Munich for $41.2m)

Coming off four straight league titles in Italy, the Chilean is your prototypical box-to-box midfielder, capable of assisting his teammates in both defense and attack. Blessed with terrific skill and pace, Vidal also brings a nastiness and tenacity that was sometimes lacking for the Bavarians' last term. Indirectly replacing departed club icon Bastian Schweinsteiger, Vidal will be facing mounds of pressure to live up to his hefty price tag.


8. Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona to Chelsea for $29.6m)

After spending an incredibly successful decade under Barcelona’s ranks, it was a bit of a surprise to see that Pedro was seeking a move away from Catalonia. Even more surprising was where he ended up moving. After weeks of speculation linking him with Manchester United, Chelsea came out of nowhere and signed the winger. Pedro took no time adjusting to his new surroundings, scoring and assisting in his first EPL appearance.


7. Memphis Depay (PSV to Manchester United for $37.9m)

Unknown to the casual soccer fan, Depay set the Eredivisie on fire with a league-best 22 goals last season in guiding PSV to the league title. With his dazzling talent on display, United beat out PSG and others for the Dutchman's services. After arriving in Manchester, Depay requested the iconic number 7 shirt, previously worn by club legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Criticized by some for a petulant attitude and selfish playing style (remind you of someone, United fans?), Depay must continue in his personal development to tap his superstar potential. 


6. Petr Čech (Chelsea to Arsenal for $15m)   

After losing his spot as first choice keeper last season to Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea legend had a decision to make. Play nice and fill in when needed, or depart the club where he became a star for a chance at first team football. Choosing the latter, Čech moved to Premier League rival Arsenal, who have been desperate for a top shelf keeper since the days of Jens Lehmann. With a plethora of EPL and Champions league experience, Petr could be the missing link to Arsenal's run at a title.


5. Arda Turan (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona for $45.7m) 

One of the main players behind Atletico’s recent renaissance, Turan moves to Barcelona in spite of a transfer ban that forces him to sit out the first half of the season. In the end, playing with the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez was too much to pass up. Playing first team football since he was 17, Turan possesses a wealth of experience to match his ball control and vision. These traits should fit in seamlessly into Barcelona’s quick pass and move system.


4. Jackson Martinez (Porto to Atletico Madrid for $39m) 

The Colombian hitman finally makes his long awaited move to one of Europe's top leagues. Blessed with a wicked shot from either foot and an imposing physique, Jackson becomes the latest in Atletico’s long list of quality strikers.


3. Kevin De Bruyne (VFL Wolfsburg to Manchester City for $83.5m) 

The reigning German footballer of the year makes his long awaited return back to the Premier League. After struggling mightily with injuries and poor form at Chelsea, De Bruyne moved to Wolfsburg and really came into his own. Last season he scored 16 goals and dished out an astonishing 27 assists in all competitions, guiding Wolfsburg to a 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga. After spending a club record for a transfer fee, City will be hoping they get the German version of Kevin and not the English one.


2. Nicolás Otamendi (Valencia to Manchester City for $43.2m)

You could make the argument that no defender was better in Europe last season, and admittance to a mental hospital wouldn’t be the first thing that came to people's minds. The Argentine had a stunning campaign for Valencia, including a 2–1 home win over Real Madrid, ending their club record 22-match winning streak. He was named to the La Liga team of the year and secured Champions League football for Los Che for the first time in four years. With City, he will be looking to shore up a defense that faltered in big moments last year.


1. Ángel Di María (Manchester United to PSG for $66.8m) 

The Reggie Miller of footballers with his slight frame and characteristic babyface, Di María moves on to Ligue 1 after just one year with Manchester United. After starting off his tenure on fire, Angel’s form dipped along with his playing time. In France, he joins a league that is much more open, allowing him to display his excellent dribbling skills, pace, and passing ability. Joining a talented side with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimović, Di María should find no problem finding targets for his trademark crosses.



Anonymous said...

Just a note, Danilo is not coming off back-to-back Portuguese League titles with Porto. Benfica has won the last two years.

Joe Parello said...

Right you are. I'll make that edit now. Thanks!

Justin Sherman said...

Embarrassing mistake, i apologize. Read the wrong info :/