Football Features

From Mario Gotze to Burak Yilmaz: 16 done deals you might have missed this past week

By Ben Green

Published: 15:40, 22 June 2022

The start of 2022/23 is approaching faster than you may believe, owing largely to an earlier start date due to the winter World Cup, meaning managers are frantically scrambling to get business done as quickly as possible.

Usually at this stage of the footballing calendar, time seems to stand still as managers, players and staff take a well-earned break, leading to a bit of a lull. However, next month the Community Shield between Man City and Liverpool gets underway — and the Championship starts up again.

A week later the Premier League kicks off. That’s right, we are that close. Managers have clearly realised this point as well, with transfers happening at a lightning quick level. Just as one player joins, another seems to leave, a scenario tantamount to setting up a revolving door at London Waterloo.

Naturally, it’s hard to keep up. So, we’ve identified some of the key transfers you may have missed this past week beyond the Sadio Manes and Yves Bissoumas.

Pablo Torre

To: Barcelona

From: Racing Santander

Fee: £4.3m

La Masia is often hailed as the academy gold standard in football, but that doesn’t mean Barcelona haven’t recruited their fair share of young stars from outside of Catalonia over the years. Pedri is the prime example in more recent times after the talented midfield tyro joined from Las Palmas in 2020. Xavi will be hoping 19-year-old Pablo Torre can have a similar impact at the Camp Nou. The ambipedal playmaker has already racked up just shy of 60 appearances for Racing Santander, scoring 14 goals and registering 16 assists. Given his age, those are the sort of numbers that will really set pulses racing in Catalonia.

Mohamed-Ali Cho

To: Real Sociedad

From: Angers

Fee: £12m

French-born former England U16 international Mohamed-Ali Cho has completed a £12m move to San Sebastian after a real breakthrough season at Angers in which the 18-year-old featured 33 times across all competitions. Once in the academies of Everton and West Ham, the now France U21 international will be testing his skill and flair in a league that seems tailored to his twinkle-toed qualities. 

Romain Saiss

To: Besiktas

From: Wolves

Fee: Free transfer

Romain Saiss will be a huge miss at the Molineux following his departure this summer, where he has relocated to Istanbul to link up with Besiktas. The Moroccan formed an invaluable part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s famed back-three in the West Midlands, and featured 32 times under new boss Bruno Lage last term. However, his six-year existence in orange and black has now come to an end.

Julio Enciso

To: Brighton

From: Libertad

Fee: £9.5m

Described by Brighton boss Graham Potter as an “exciting young talent” who will feature prominently in the first team, 18-year-old Paraguayan Julio Enciso moves to the South Coast with a burgeoning reputation across the pond. Despite his tender years, the diminutive forward has already been capped six times by Paraguay and made nearly 70 appearances for boyhood club Libertad. An exciting, unheralded prospect who could prove a real hidden gem. 

Gavin Bazunu

To: Southampton

From: Man City

Fee: £12m

Highly-regarded Dubliner Gavin Bazunu has joined Southampton with the hope of getting more consistent minutes, which ultimately proved hard to come by at the Etihad with Ederson ahead of him in the pecking order. The 20-year-old shot-stopper spent last season on loan at Portsmouth, but if he can keep the sheets clean at the St Mary’s, then fans certainly won’t mind one bit about his past associations to their arch-rivals.

Marc Roca

To: Leeds

From: Bayern Munich

Fee: £10m

Another shrewd acquisition from Jesse Marsch, who has now strengthened his side with three new signings. Marc Roca joins Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen through the doors at Elland Road this summer, both of whom relocated from Red Bull Salzburg for £24.7m and £10m respectively. Roca is a technically-gifted holding midfielder who was highly appreciated at Bayern but just couldn’t break into the club’s star-studded starting XI. He should fare well at Leeds.

Agustin Alvarez

To: Sassuolo

From: Penarol

Fee: £10.3m

Another young Uruguayan forward has secured a move this month, with 21-year-old Agustin Alvarez heading to Europe following a stellar campaign for Penarol in Montevideo. Alvarez, who scored on his international debut for Uruguay, will be hoping to replicate his success across the Atlantic in Serie A next term and form part of the next ‘Golden Generation’ for his nation alongside Darwin Nunez.

Giovanni Simeone

To: Verona

From: Cagliari

Fee: £10.3m

Son of the ever-animated Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, Giovanni has completed a permanent switch to Verona following a scintillating scoring season at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi last term, in which he bagged 17 Serie A goals on loan from Cagliari. The Gialloblu activated a clause to make his deal a permanent one, and they could fetch a fee over double the £10.3m they spent if Arsenal or Newcastle follow up on their reported interest in the Argentina international.

Calvin Ramsay

To: Liverpool

From: Aberdeen

Fee: £4m

Darwin Nunez is the big marquee signing that Liverpool fans were coveting this summer but Calvin Ramsey comes in as a potential game-changing acquisition. When Jurgen Klopp brought Mohamed Salah to the club from Roma in 2017/18, Andy Robertson’s move from Hull paled in comparison, largely going under the radar, and look how well that worked out. Full-back compatriot Ramsey will now be hoping to follow in the Scotsman’s fabled footsteps at Anfield.

Nayef Aguerd

To: West Ham

From: Rennes

Fee: £29.8m

Sound the crisis klaxons, West Ham have made an early signing, and a defender no less. Nayef Aguerd comes in as a left-footed centre-back with David Moyes no doubt hoping to replicate the Kurt Zouma-Angelo Ogbonna partnership that looked so watertight last term before the latter ruptured his ACL. A slick distributor and an aerial beast, Aguerd has all the tools to flourish under West Ham’s sagacious Glaswegian.

Marcos Antonio

To: Lazio

From: Shakhtar Donetsk

Fee: £6.9m

Football Manager fans are probably familiar with Marcos Antonio, a neat and nimble deep-lying playmaker who has an elite ball-playing range. He relocates to the Eternal City with a burgeoning reputation and for a modest £6.9m fee, with the expectation that he’ll succeed Lucas Leiva, who recently rejoined boyhood club Gremio, 15 years after he left for Liverpool.

Cathal Heffernan

To: Milan

From: Cork City

Fee: Undisclosed fee

Following a successful trial with Milan’s youth set-up, 17-year-old centre-back Cathal Heffernan has joined the Italian giants from Cork City. He made one appearance for the Rebel Army in a 3-0 win over Galway United and will be hoping to force his way into the current Scudetto-holder’s first-team in the coming years.

Burak Yilmaz

To: Fortuna Sittard

From: Lille

Fee: Free transfer

The veteran marksman enjoyed a history-making debut season for Lille in 2020/21 as Christophe Galtier’s men won the Ligue 1 title, in which he was named the club’s ‘Player of the Season’ and secured the Ligue 1 Goal of the Year. Last term, though, Yilmaz notched just four Ligue 1 goals as Lille conceded their title with a whimper, and now he will take his final-third exploits to the Eredivisie with Fortuna Sittard.

Walter Benitez

To: PSV Eindhoven

From: Nice

Fee: Free transfer

Walter Benitez kept more clean sheets (14) and prevented more goals (eight) than any other goalkeeper during the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season. At just 29, PSV have pulled off a real coup by picking up the esteemed Argentine gloveman.

Mario Gotze

To: Eintracht Frankfurt

From: PSV Eindhoven

Fee: £3.4m

The 2014 World Cup match-winner has returned to the Bundesliga and will compete in the Champions League next term. Following two years at the Philips Stadion, Gotze has joined Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt and will be hoping to replicate his early career form in Germany after he burst onto the scene with Borussia Dortmund all those years ago.

Armel Bella-Kotchap

To: Southampton

From: Bochum

Fee: £8.6m

Southampton’s new Parisian Germany U21 international has joined with plenty of potential to grow but also with bucketloads of top-flight experience, having featured 22 times in the Bundesliga last term for Bochum. At just £8.6m, Bella-Kotchap could prove a real snip if he fulfils his potential.