Football News

Transfer deals you might have missed this week, from the ‘new Rivaldo’ to a former Man City academy graduate

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 12:30, 14 June 2024

Despite the football world’s focus being on Germany and the United States, where two major continental tournaments (Euro 2024 and 2024 Copa América) are taking place, it doesn’t mean that clubs across Europe haven’t started focusing on the new season.

The summer transfer window for Premier League and English Football League clubs opens on 14 June, the same day the European Championship begins with the hosts Germany entertaining Scotland, with the date coming well before the windows in Europe’s other top five leagues open. Over in Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga, 1 July is the day that moves go through.

So far, we’ve seen notable moves (such as Tosin Adarabioyo making the small journey from Craven Cottage to Stamford Bridge), temporary stays becoming permanent, and contract renewals. But for every big story, some moves go under the radar. Here are ten examples from this week alone.

Chadi Riad

From: Real Betis

To: Crystal Palace

Having temporarily represented Barcelona at the youth level, Chadi Riad only made one senior appearance for the Catalan giants before leaving for Crystal Palace following a loan spell at Real Betis. During that time, he won the first of three international caps with Morocco, including being part of Walid Regragui’s squad at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Riad incidentally becomes Oliver Glasner’s first acquisition as Palace boss after the Austrian tactician succeded Roy Hodgson in February. The 20-year-old signed a five-year contract and has spoken effusively of his new surroundings.

“I was interested in coming here because of the history of the club, and the league in which it plays,” he told the club’s official website. “They have been telling me how they played this year and I think it complements perfectly the way I play.

“The club has high-level players who are young and I have come here to follow their same trajectory, to grow as they have grown.”

Aleix García

From: Girona

To: Bayer Leverkusen

Unquestionably, a collective effort catapulted Girona from making up the numbers in La Liga to a historic Champions League qualification after finishing third in Spain’s top division. However, some were more equal than others, notably influential skipper Aleix García, who departs for Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen, meaning he will not be tasting the fruits of their labour.

García, who made eight appearances for Manchester City earlier in his career, becomes the German champions’ second summer acquisition. García arrives at the BayArena having signed a five-year contract and cannot wait to play under compatriot Xabi Alonso as Bayer seeks to strengthen on the back of their remarkable campaign.

“Like many football fans across Europe, I watched Leverkusen in amazement last season,” he said. “The fact a club like this did so much to bring me here impressed me. Now I want to fulfil expectations and do my part so this team and club can continue to enjoy success.”

Hiroki Ito

From: VfB Stuttgart

To: Bayern Munich

Following their worst Bundesliga result in 13 years, the fear is that the empire will strike back. As modern times have shown, Bayern Munich, whether on top or wounded, is not unashamed from strengthening by weakening their rivals. Thomas Tuchel, following an unexpected last-day championship success, could only guide the Bavarian powerhouse to a third-place finish with Stuttgart ending between them and undefeated champions Bayer Leverkusen, with the former seeing Japanese international defender Hiroki Ito crossing over to sign a four-year deal.

“It’s a great honour for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The Bayern name has a good reputation in Japan. I always gave my all at Stuttgart and am grateful to the club. Now I’m looking forward to the challenge in Munich and want to make my contribution to Bayern winning many titles. It was time to take a new step, and Bayern is the perfect club for me,” he said.

The 25-year-old – who moved to VfB from Júbilo Iwata in the summer of 2021 – makes the switch with 85 Bundesliga appearances under his belt and 19 senior caps for Japan. Ito became Bayern’s first signing since Vincent Kompany succeded Tuchel as head coach. He is set to become only the third Japanese player to represent the record German champions, after Takashi Usami (five appearances in 2011/12) and Taichi Fukui (one game in the 2023/24 DFB Cup).

Lloyd Kelly

From: Bournemouth

To: Newcastle

It’s common to see managers signing a player multiple times, whether at the same club or different teams. Lloyd Kelly initially linked up with Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and now reunites with his former Cherries boss at Newcastle United after free agency. The 25-year-old defender enjoyed five years on the south coast and undoubtedly strengthens one area where the Magpies suffered during the 2023/24 season.

During the previous campaign, Newcastle were hit with numerous defensive injuries, with Sven Botman, Jamaal Lascelles and Kieran Trippier being sidelined for extensive periods. Only two defenders managed over 30 matches: Fabian Schar and Dan Burn.

Even though Kelly, then a teenager, only made seven Premier League starts before Howe left Bournemouth, a connection was made. “With Lloyd, I truly believe he’s got everything he needs to be a top, top player,” Howe said of Kelly in July 2020. “His career is out in front of him. If he can stay free from injury then he can achieve so many great things.”

Kelly, whose transfer becomes official on July 1st, is pleased with his move and is working under Howe again. “It’s amazing to be coming here. I know how big the club is and how much it means to all the fans, and I just want to hit the ground running and get to work,” he told the club’s website.

“It’s a big move for myself and the family – of course being down south is a bit different – but I think the city of Newcastle is amazing, with the contrast between city life and the countryside.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for me to come here. Working with the gaffer previously, I know what he wants from his players and how he wants his players to play, and I think with what I can bring it just makes sense. I just can’t wait to get started.”

Luis Guilherme

From: Palmeiras

To: West Ham

David Moyes could take pride in his work during a second period at West Ham, but it’s fair to say he couldn’t do any more with everyone going their separate ways, which is best for all parties. The hope now is that Julen Lopetegui is building on the foundation left behind, and things have gotten off to an interesting start after promising Brazilian forward Luis Guilherme to become their first signing of the summer.

Having come through at Palmeiras, the 18-year-old signs a five-year contract. There’ll be excitement to see how the Aracaju native fares in England’s top division, especially after he acknowledged comparisons with Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner Rivaldo.

“Messi and Rivaldo are the two players that I mirror the most, that I follow the most,” he said. “When I moved up to the professional level at Palmeiras, they compared me a lot to Rivaldo. In the beginning, I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. But then I watched videos, followed Rivaldo more and realised that I do have a similar style.”

Rodrigo Gomes

From: Braga

To: Wolves

Stop me if you’ve heard this: a Portuguese talent is joining Wolves. Rodrigo Gomes becomes the latest to swap the Iberian Peninsula for the West Midlands of England, and there’s currently no shortage of compatriots to make him feel welcome.

Gomes — who scored nine goals and provided eight assists across 36 appearances on loan at Portuguese top-flight side Estoril from Braga last season — joins a dressing room featuring José Sá, Pedro Neto, Nélson Semedo and Toti Gomes. At the same time, Fabio Silva, Daniel Podence, Chiquinho and Goncalo Guedes are set to return to the club this summer following loan moves.

“I’d call him a wide player who can play on either side. I’ve seen him play on either wing and centrally. His combination play is good, so he can play No 10, but he’s primarily a wide man,” sporting director Matt Hobbs said.

“It’s good if they can play a number of positions. Versatility just for the sake of it doesn’t work, but when they’ve shown quality, players like that really help, meaning we can have fewer players in one position. Primarily his job is to complement the attacking side of our game with his pace and delivery. Versatility is important because he can fill in a number of positions.”

The 20-year-old forward, who grew up just 25 miles from new teammate and fellow Braga academy graduate Neto, joins on a five-year contract, with the option of a further year, and is Wolves’ second signing of the summer transfer window.

Luis Alberto

From: Lazio

To: Al-Duhail SC

It’s expected to be another summer of intense business conducted by Saudi Pro League clubs, especially the ones heavily invested by its government, but the Kingdom isn’t necessarily the destination for players heading for a Middle East adventure. Luis Alberto, a one-time Liverpool player before fulfilling his potential at Lazio (having registered 52 goals and 79 assists through 307 appearances), will now represent Qatari champions Al-Duhail, where he reunites with former Reds teammate Philippe Coutinho, who is there currently on loan from Aston Villa.

Assan Ouédraogo

From: FC Schalke 04

To: RB Leipzig

Assan Ouédraogo made headlines on the opening day of the 2023/24 Bundesliga 2 season when he got on the scoresheet in Schalke’s 5-3 loss to Hamburg, subsequently beating Julian Draxler’s record as the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer on the same day he became the youngest player in their history. Before the campaign, Ouédraogo started four of Germany’s six matches as they clinched the U17 European Championships. He was also part of their successful U17 World Cup side.

Having been linked with numerous Premier League clubs — Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle –, the German prodigy continues his senior career at RB Leipzig. A club which has slowly become renowned for developing the next generation of footballers. Ouédraogo pens a five-year contract and has been described as an “exceptional talent” by RB Leipzig sporting director Rouven Schröder.

He was out due to injury from November to March for several months. Nevertheless, Assan played 17 games (nine starts) in the second division in his debut season, scoring three goals and providing two assists.

“I am very happy to be part of RB Leipzig starting in July. It is of course a big step for me, but I am ready for this new challenge and look forward to everything that awaits me in Leipzig,” he said.

“I’m joining a club that is one of the best in the Bundesliga, plays in the Champions League and has outstanding conditions and a clear philosophy. Many talented players have been able to mature into top players here in recent years and develop at the highest level. That is also my goal.

“It was ten great years at FC Schalke 04. Everything I have learned in football so far, I learned at Schalke and I am very grateful for this time.

“Now I trust myself to take on the next exciting challenge – and the people in charge at RB Leipzig have shown me the best perspective in many good discussions. We have big plans together in the coming years. Now the most important thing for me is to arrive and show my performance on the pitch.”

Omari Forson

From: Man Utd

To: Monza

One major reason Manchester United initially acquired Erik ten Hag was his willingness to utilise his club’s academy system. He brought through many at Ajax, whose youth set-up is equally lauded as the Red Devils’ very own. We already see Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho becoming integral fixtures in United’s starting lineup. Someone the Dutchman handed a senior professional debut (before ultimately making seven appearances) to but will no longer be turning out at Old Trafford is Omari Forson, who leaves for Alessandro Nesta as their new manager.

Kaio Jorge

From: Juventus

To: Cruzeiro

Dream moves don’t always work out. There are many examples to list, with Kaio Jorge being the most recent. He departed Juventus this week, which will end a three-year relationship. Having joined from Santos in 2021, the Brazilian striker would ultimately make 11 appearances, registering one goal. However, limited appearances were due to a destabilising knee injury; after returning, he joined Frosinone on a season-long loan, including his first strikes in the Italian top-flight. Jorge, 22, will look to continue developing at Cruzeiro, which is currently sitting in seventh place after its opening seven matches of the 2024 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.

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