Football Features

10 done deals you might have missed this week

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 13:30, 11 June 2023

It will not be long before the summer transfer market opens.

Until then clubs across Europe and beyond are conducting business knowing full well most international deals and free transfers will not go through until July 1.

So far we’ve seen big moves, notably Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid, as well as temporary stays becoming permanent and contract renewals. Two such moments this week include Ben Foster re-signing with Wrexham and Loic Bade — following his post-Europa League final plea — committing his long-term future to Sevilla.

But for every big story, there are some moves that go under the radar. Here are ten examples from this week alone.

1. Orkun Kökçü

From: Feyenoord

To: Benfica

Feyenoord ended a six-year championship drought this past season. A significant reason behind their success was skipper Orkun Kökcü — the influential Turkish central midfielder contributed with eight goals while creating three more — his all-around displays naturally caught the eye with some even predicting a Premier League move. Instead the 22-year-old opted for Portugal’s top division where the level isn’t too dissimilar to what he’s already known.

2. Naby Keita

From: Liverpool

To: Werder Bremen

This one came right out of the blue. Keita may have fallen down the pecking order at Anfield but no one saw a complete departure. He return to Bundesliga football with Werder Bremen who some observers are tipping to struggle in the forthcoming season.

3. Konrad Laimer

From: RB Leipzig

To: Bayern Munich

Bayern have made a habit of signing from rival clubs and this is yet another example. Laimer follows in the footsteps of Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer as players who have joined Germany’s undisputed champions from RB Leipzig in recent years. The 26-time capped Austrian international midfielder, though, joins on a free transfer.

4. Houssem Aouar

From: Lyon

To: Roma

“Houssem Aouar is a very good player. He is incredible. We talk a lot about (Tanguy) Ndombele, but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality,” came Pep Guardiola’s verdict following Man City’s draw with Lyon in 2018. Back then Aouar had the world at his feet. Man Utd, Liverpool and City themselves would be linked with him but he remained at Lyon where he unfortunately regressed. He’s since left and in the process joins Roma for nothing.

5. Youri Tielemans

From: Leicester City

To: Aston Villa

As soon as Youri Tielemans failed to commit his long-term future at Leicester subsequently allowing his contract to run out all eyes were on his landing spot. Not long ago the Belgian midfielder was touted for a club playing in the Champions League and challenging for honours. However, this season just completed saw him part of a relegated Foxes team and his own form had been shaky at best. Tielemans, though, has the chance to prove that form is temporary. He joins an ambitious Ason Villa side looking forward to playing European football in more than a decade.

6. Joshua Wynder

From: Louisville City

To: Benfica

Kökçü’s switch might be Benfica’s most significant piece of business so far this summer but the Portuguese giants have been actively bolstering their playing options for the future. Strengthening their B team is teenage American centre-back Joshua Wynder who relocates from boyhood club Louisville City who play their football in the USL Championship. His acquisition for a reported $1.2m plus add-ons makes him the most expensive USL player in history.

7. Joel Campbell

From: León

To: LD Alajuelense

There was a point in time Joel Campbell was heralded for great things. The one-time Arsenal forward has become somewhat of a journeyman in recent years. During his seven-year association with the Gunners he would be loaned out on seven occasions before joining Frosinone on a permanent basis. Campbell subsequently joined Liga MX outfit León but has now returned home with Costa Rican side LD Alajuelense.

8. Ibrahim Cissoko

From: NEC

To: Toulouse

In recent years Toulouse has made a habit of picking up Dutch talents. Zakaria Aboukhlal, Stijn Spierings, Branco van den Boomen and Thijs Dallinga are just to name but a few. Ibrahim Cissoko becomes the latest to move from the Netherlands; the left-winger joins from NEC on the back of having netted three goals across 32 matches in all competitions.

9. Youri Regeer

From: Ajax

To: Twente

Erik ten Hag was never hesitant to make full use of Ajax’s up-and-coming youngsters. Under him midfielder Youri Regeer made five appearances before featuring on a further three occasions at the backend of last season. Regeer’s future, though, will not be in Amsterdam with Twente picking him up ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

10. Ramy Bensebaini

From: Borussia Mönchengladbach

To: Borussia Dortmund

This felt like a preemptive transfer. With rumblings of Raphael Guerreiro leaving, and since it’s been confirmed he’s Bayern Munich bound, the Bundesliga runners-up snapped up Ramy Bensebaini from Borussia Mönchengladbach. He’s certainly got some big shoes to fill after Guerreiro ended the 2022/23 season registering four league goals while creating a further 12.