Football Features

Forgotten ex-Man City ‘keeper joins Villarreal and six other deals you may have missed this week

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:12, 6 September 2020

As football starts to be played competitively again, business in the market is picking up with Manchester United and Chelsea making high-profile acquisitions this week.

The Red Devils parted with £35m to bring Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, their first major signing this summer, while Chelsea added German playmaker Kai Havertz (£71m) to Frank Lampard’s burgeoning squad.

He’s the sixth big name to join London’s only Champions League winners, but for every headline-grabbing transfer, plenty go under the radar. Here are seven from this week alone.

1. Pione Sisto

From: Celta de Vigo

To: FC Midtjylland

They say never go back but Danish winger Pione Sisto returns to Midtjylland this autumn after spending four seasons at La Liga outfit Celta Vigo, where he produced 18 goals and 14 assists in 135 matches.

Sisto’s initial performances at his boyhood club (31 goals and 11 assists in 113 matches) — where he lifted a league title — earned him rave reviews as well as being linked with a host of sides across Europe, most notably Ajax, though ultimately opting for life in Galicia.

Can he do it again back in his homeland?

2. Ritsu Doan

From: PSV Eindhoven

To: Arminia Bielefeld

There was much fanfare when PSV beat off competition for Ritsu Doan’s signature last summer. The 22-year-old Japanese forward had electrified the Eredivisie with stellar wing play, subsequently leading to a host of clubs reportedly keeping tabs on him, but in the end, Doan opted to remain in the Netherlands, but his Eindhoven adventure never really took off.

After mustering just two goals across 19 league outings, it was decided the 18-time international should continue his development outside the city. Bundesliga outfit Arminia Bielefeld is where Doan will play this forthcoming season, he’s also linking up with former Swansea City centre-back Mike van der Hoorn, who joined after seeing out his contract in south Wales.

3. Gerónimo Rulli

From: Real Sociedad

To: Villarreal

For the second consecutive summer, Argentine goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli is on the move. The former Manchester City man, albeit never making a single Premier League appearance, has swapped Real Sociedad — where he kept 42 clean sheets across 149 league outings — for La Liga rivals Villarreal and joins compatriot Ramiro Funes Mori, as well as being expected to provide competition for number one Sergio Asenjo.

4. Ben Gibson

From: Burnley

To: Norwich City

Having failed to make a single Premier League appearance for Burnley last term, being injured throughout, it made sense for Ben Gibson to seek pastures new. The former Middlesbrough academy graduate — whose most recent league outing came on Boxing Day 2018 — could be facing his old side as he’s joined Norwich on a season-long loan.

5. Adil Rami

From: Sochi

To: Boavista

The only headlines Adil Rami was making in recent years involved his facial hair and who he was dating, lost underneath was collecting a World Cup winners’ medal as part of France’s squad at the 2018 finals. Since then, the centre-back — after leaving Marseille — plied his trade at Fenerbahçe and Sochi before signing for Portuguese outfit Boavista this week.

6. Kevin Volland

From: Bayer Leverkusen

To: Monaco

Monaco have enjoyed their fair share of lethal forwards down the years. Thierry Henry, George Weah, Jürgen Klinsmann and Radamel Falcao all represented the club with great distinction. Hoping to follow in their footsteps is 10-time Germany international Kevin Volland, who leaves Bayer Leverkusen after registering 44 goals across 115 league outings.

7. Gianluca Lapadula

From: Genoa

To: Benevento

The much-travelled Gianluca Lapadula ended a two-year association with Genoa by joining Benevento, who’ll subsequently become the 16th different club he will represent. Affectionately dubbed Lapagol, due to his scoring prowess, the former AC Milan striker ended last season on 11 goals — the most he’s ever produced in a single Serie A campaign.