Football Features

From Guus Til to Axel Witsel: Seven done deals you might have missed this week

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 10:02, 8 July 2022

Business is really picking up across Europe with transfer deals being concluded thick and fast.

This past week has seen some clubs moving players around, with Sebastian Haller most notably leaving Ajax for Borussia Dortmund, while Barcelona finally acquired the services of Franck Kessié and Andreas Christensen, and Gabriel Jesus has made Arsenal his new home.

But for every high-profile acquisition there are some that go under the radar, here are seven from this week alone that you might have missed.

1. Cyle Larin

From: Besiktas

To: Club Brugge

History was made when Canada reached this year’s World Cup finals as they ended a 36-year absence from the quadrennial tournament. Playing a pivotal role in Les Rouges’ successful path to Qatar was marksman Cyle Larin who just so happens to be his nation’s all-time leading goalscorer. Until this summer, Larin had been playing his club football at Besiktas after moving from Orlando to Europe in 2017 but from next season it’ll be at Club Brugge. The 27-year-old is no stranger to Belgian football having previously enjoyed a brief loan spell at Zulte Waregem where he bagged seven goals across 29 league outings during the 2019/20 season.

2. Guus Til

From: Spartak Moscow

To: PSV Eindhoven

It’s fair to say Feyenoord did some good recruitment last summer. They brought Guus Til back to Dutch football and the former AZ academy graduate repaid their faith by netting 21 goals across 49 matches in all competitions. Only Luis Sinisterra (21) scored more times for the Rotterdammers as they reached the inaugural Conference League final. Til, though, was on loan from Spartak Moscow and Feyenoord couldn’t work out a permanent deal which led to PSV swooping in. Newly-installed De Boeren head coach Ruud van Nistelrooy will be hoping for a similar return in this forthcoming season.

3. Ritsu Doan

From: PSV Eindhoven

To: SC Freiburg

A place in Van Nistelrooy’s attack opened up for Til to slot in with Ritsu Doan relocating to SC Freiburg, a Bundesliga return for the Japanese international. During the 2020/21 season Doan spent time on loan at Arminia Bielefeld where he netted five times across 34 league appearances. After impressing in the Eredivisie with Groningen, Doan made a big move to PSV but he’s never truly cemented a regular starting berth. Doan, who turned 24 in June, will be hoping things are different at his new permanent club.

4. Maya Yoshida

From: Sampdoria

To: Schalke

Historically the Bundesliga has been a place where Asian footballers have flourished and Doan’s compatriot Maya Yoshida will be looking to write another successful chapter. The former Southampton defender has previously enjoyed spells in the Netherlands (VVV-Venlo) and Italy (Sampdoria), with newly-promoted Bundesliga outfit Schalke becoming his fifth different club in a 15-year playing career.

5. Axel Witsel

From: Borussia Dortmund

To: Atlético Madrid

A few summers ago much-travelled Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel was close to signing for Juventus but it broke down in the 11th hour. In the end he left Zenit for the now defunct Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian, but that stay was brief as Witsel soon moved on to Borussia Dortmund where he’d bag 10 goals across 105 league appearances. It quickly became apparent there would be no room for him in Edin Terzić’s new-look BVB but their loss is Atlético Madrid’s gain.

6. Steve Mandanda

From: Marseille

To: Stade Rennais

There’s no question when it’s all said and done that Steve Mandanda will take his rightful place in Marseille’s hall of fame. Across three spells, including an initial stint on loan from Le Havre, the French goalkeeper made over 450 league appearances for the Ligue 1 giants. Mandanda briefly spent time at Crystal Palace but that move never worked out and he returned. Now approaching 40 he’s on the move again, but this time Mandanda is remaining in France with Rennes.

7. Sergio Asenjo

From: Villarreal

To: Real Valladolid

Sergio Asenjo became synonymous with Villarreal over his nine-year spell with the Yellow Submarine, after joining from Atletico Madrid permanently in 2014 (also having a season on loan prior to the move). The goalkeeper played 257 games for Villarreal across the nine seasons and won the 2020/21 Europa League, though he only played one match in that run as Unai Emery rotated. But last season he lost his place as the club’s No.1 and has now left, rejoining boyhood club Real Valladolid, having come through their academy before joining Atletico Madrid in 2009.