Football Features

The biggest transfers you might have forgotten about this summer so far

By Ben Green

Published: 11:27, 19 July 2021

Several high-profile transfers took place during Euro 2020 and Copa America, notably Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain, Sergio Ramos to Paris Saint-Germain, and Gianluigi Donnarumma to *checks notes* Paris Saint-Germain.

But there have been many other important moves that may have slipped your mind (or your notice, entirely). Read on for a refresher on the summer deals you might have forgotten so far.

David Alaba

  • From: Bayern Munich
  • To: Real Madrid
  • Fee: Free transfer

How do you replace a world-class, ball-playing, Champions League-winning centre-back? You buy another world-class, ball-playing, Champions League-winning centre-back, of course. Ramos is now a Parisian poster boy, but Los Blancos have arguably pulled off the transfer deal of the summer by signing Alaba on a free.

The Austrian factotum, 29, rejected three offers from Bayern Munich to extend his stay in Bavaria, also snubbing interest from Liverpool and, you guessed it, PSG. He will now don the colours of Real Madrid after 11 trophy-laden years at the Allianz Arena. With Raphael Varane also likely to leave this summer for Manchester United, Carlo Ancelotti’s left eyebrow can rest easy knowing Alaba is already in the bag.

Sergio Aguero

  • From: Man City
  • To: Barcelona
  • Fee: Free transfer

“What really bothered me was when they told me that I was old,” Luis Suarez recalled when the club dumped him at 33 last summer. The irony, therefore, will certainly not be lost on Atletico Madrid’s title-winning top scorer as Barca have just recruited another high-profile 33-year-old, presumably on a bumper wage package.

Aguero will spend next season back in La Liga having initially burst onto the European scene with Atleti before City pillaged the Vicente Calderon. The veteran marksman will link up with compatriot Lionel Messi and moves across from the Etihad on a free alongside Spain international Eric Garcia.

Hakan Calhanoglu

  • From: Inter
  • To: Milan
  • Fee: Free transfer

How To Burn Bridges in One Transfer 101: Move to an Eternal Nemesis. Of all the clubs Calhanoglu could have opted for this summer, he chose to leave Milan for age-old adversaries Inter, a move straight from the Andrea Pirlo playbook, only the other way around. In truth, it’s a transfer masterclass from the Nerazzurri, who have weakened a rival while recruiting the player who created the most chances in Europe’s top five leagues last season (98, albeit mostly from set pieces). And all without paying a fee.

Ibrahima Konate

  • From: RB Leipzig
  • To: Liverpool
  • Fee: £36m

The figure of £36m is a hefty one, especially for a player who has started just 14 Bundesliga games across the past two seasons owing to injury issues. And considering Liverpool’s extensive casualty list over the course of last season, it would seem a gamble from Jurgen Klopp, albeit one offset by the fact Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk are all back in training ahead of the 2021/22 season.

At just 22, there is plenty of room for growth from Konate. Not that the 6ft 4in Parisian needs bulking up but in terms of talent and potential, the sky’s the limit. His frame certainly belies his ability on the ball, with the France U21 international composed in possession and slick with his distribution.

Ralf Rangnick, Leipzig’s sporting director at the time of his signing from Sochaux in 2017, coaches a playing style close to Klopp’s press-and-possess doctrine, so Liverpool are acquiring a player already in tune with the high-voltage philosophy of Anfield’s German tactician.


Premier League 2021/22 outright title favourites from William Hill:

  • Manchester City (8/11)
  • Liverpool (5/1)
  • Chelsea (5/1)
  • Man Utd (8/1)
  • Leicester City (33/1)

(Odds in this article are correct at the time of writing. 18+ only, BeGambleAware.org)


Gerson

  • From: Flamengo
  • To: Marseille
  • Fee: £17.3m

Here’s a signing that has gone under the radar but may genuinely be one of the pulls of the summer. Gerson was the midfield fulcrum in Jorge Jesus’ 2019 Copa Libertadores winners, with the Scarlet-Black also winning the Brazilian top flight that season. They repeated that domestic feat the following campaign, culminating in Gerson sealing a second successive spot in the Brasileiro Serie A Team of the Year.

The 24-year-old returns to Europe having previously turned out for Roma and Fiorentina on loan, and he will no doubt be itching to make a splash on the continent this time around in what could be a very interesting midfield partnership with Arsenal loanee Matteo Guendouzi at the Stade Velodrome.

Rodrigo De Paul

  • From: Udinese
  • To: Atletico Madrid
  • Fee: £30m

Diego Simeone has bolstered his squad with the acquisition of compatriot De Paul for £30m, which looks an absolute snip when you peruse his output from last season. The 27-year-old not only notched nine goals and registered as many assists in Serie A across 2020/21, but he also swept the board for big chances created (20), passes into the penalty box (390), completed take-ons (122) and duels won (294) by any player. He ranked second for chances created (82), through balls attempted (11) and first for open-play expected assists (7.17), too. As we mentioned, an absolute snip.

Mike Maignan

  • From: Lille
  • To: Milan
  • Fee: £11.2m

Mike Maignan kept more clean sheets (21) than any other goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020/21, and conceded just 23 goals as Lille dethroned PSG to win the Ligue 1 title. Euro 2020’s Player of the Tournament may no longer be at the San Siro. But Stefano Pioli has acquired a more-than-competent replacement for the once Milanese crown prince for just over £10m.

Rui Patricio

  • From: Wolves
  • To: Roma
  • Fee: £10m

The Premier League’s Portuguese-national-team-in-disguise have lost one of the division’s most competent goalkeepers in Patricio, while Roma have gained a sure-handed shot-stopper between the sticks.

It could be an astute first signing from Jose Mourinho back in Serie A with Roma, whose ‘keepers last season were 38-year-old Antonio Mirante (now a free agent) and Pau Lopez, who has joined Marseille on loan.

Boubakary Soumare

  • From: Lille
  • To: Leicester
  • Fee: £17m

With the Foxes preparing for another season in Europe and looking to defend their FA Cup crown, Brendan Rodgers has been quick to shore up every key area in his squad so far. The signing of Patson Daka from Red Bull Salzburg will give Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho competition and cover, while Ryan Bertrand firms up the back. Boubakary Soumare meanwhile comes in to give the midfield an adrenaline shot. The 22-year-old was the midfield catalyst in Lille’s Ligue 1 win and relocates to the East Midlands for just £17m. Will this be another Leicester transfer masterclass?

Andre Silva

  • From: Eintracht Frankfurt
  • To: RB Leipzig
  • Fee: £19.8m

Robert Lewandowski channelled his inner Gerd Muller to smash 41 Bundesliga goals last season, and second behind him in the scoring charts was Andre Silva, who notched a whopping 28. Not quite Lewandowski territory but a respectable tally, and new Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch will be hoping the club have found their new Timo Werner.

Enock Mwepu

  • From: Red Bull Salzburg
  • To: Brighton
  • Fee: £18m

Cast your mind back to that seven-goal thriller between Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League in October 2019. The Reds won 4-3 on the day, but football fans across the globe got to see just how talented that Red Bull Salzburg side were at the time. Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino scored on the night, while Dominik Szoboszlai was pulling the creative strings alongside, yep, Enock Mwepu. The Mali international has now joined that trident in leaving the Red Bull Arena (though technically not Szoboszlai, who joined Leipzig in January) and has signed for Brighton for £18m to beef up Graham Potter’s midfield.

Gianluigi Buffon

  • From: Juventus
  • To: Parma
  • Fee: Free

Very much in the dotage years of his playing career, Buffon refuses to hang up his illustrious gloves, recently returning to boyhood club Parma, who were relegated to Serie B at the end of last season. At 43, Buffon is not yet ready to call it quits, and for the football romantics this is a transfer story to truly get behind. Exactly two decades on, Buffon returns to where it all started for him before Juve struck a then-record transfer fee for a goalkeeper (£33m) in July 2001.

Nicolas Gonzalez

  • From: Stuttgart
  • To: Fiorentina
  • Fee: £23.1m

The 23-year-old featured extensively in Argentina’s Copa America win and joins Fiorentina for a mega fee, with the Tuscany-based club no doubt looking to replenish their frontline after wily winger-cum-striker Franck Ribery left this summer after the expiration of his contract.

“He reminds me of Mario Kempes,” said Gonzalez’s former coach at Argentinos Juniors Alfredo Berti, referring to Mario Kempes, a World Cup Golden Boot winner who scored twice to help his nation win the 1978 World Cup.

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