Football Features

Transfer deals you might have missed this week, from latest to cross Dortmund-Munich divide to Europe’s premier ball winner

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:30, 25 June 2023

The summer transfer window is in full swing and we are close to seeing a number of high-profile deals being made official.

Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic are heavily reported to leave Chelsea and switch to Arsenal and Manchester City, respectively. Mason Mount is another seemingly heading towards the Stamford Bridge exit door while AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali is Newcastle-bound. The emergence of Saudi Arabia as a potential destination has already seen N’golo Kante and compatriot Karim Benzema become teammates at Al-Ittihad Club.

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

Justin Kluivert

From: Roma

To: Bournemouth

In a recent from-the-heart interview Justin Kluivert reflected on his career to date. The son of Patrick is 24 and has become somewhat of a journeyman. A graduate of Ajax’s esteemed youth set-up, the younger Kluivert dreamt of ending up at Real Madrid one day, but that wish is now remote. His frustrating spell at Roma comes to an end with him becoming Andoni Iraola’s first signing as Bournemouth manager. By making this switch Kluivert becomes only the fourth player to have plied his trade in each of Europe’s big five leagues. He follows in the footsteps of Florin Raducioiu, Christian Poulsen and Stevan Jovetic.

Rúben Neves

From: Wolves

To: Al-Hilal

Until now the feeling was Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — which now owns 75 per cent of Saudi Professional League clubs Al Ittihad, Al Nassr, Al Hilal and Al Ahli — would seek to acquire established names who are starting to wind down their careers. Even better if they’ve entered free agency. Those assumptions have been thrown out the window following Ruben Neves’ relocation this week. The 26-year-old, who has long been linked with Barcelona, swapped Wolves for Al Hilal where he teams up with Kalidou Koulibaly, the ex-Napoli defender bringing an end to a bizarre one-season with Chelsea, who more than anyone is benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s push to become a global football power.

Dara O’Shea

From: West Brom

To: Burnley

Vincent Kompany welcomes former club — and defending Premier League champions — Manchester City to start their first season back in the big time. His immediate focus, though, is strengthening his squad as The Clarets seek to maintain top-flight status. So far they’ve brought in centre-forward Michael Obafemi from Swansea City while spending big on German defender Jordan Beyer. Kompany, a defender par excellence in his day, now welcomes another centre-back in the guise of Dara O’Shea, the ex-West Brom man has prior Premier League experience having made 28 appearances during the 2020/21 campaign.

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Stijn Spierings

From: Toulouse

To: Lens

The future of Declan Rice is yet to be decided with Arsenal and Man City reportedly fighting over his signature. Their interest is well-founded as the West Ham skipper won possession more than any Premier League player across the 2022/23 season. However, when expanding to include those playing in Europe’s big five leagues, he’s pipped to the number spot by Stijn Spierings, the Dutchman — while representing Ligue 1 overachievers Toulouse — won possession 336 times which, to be fair, is only two more than Rice managed. A move back home to PSV Eindhoven seemed to be on the cards but he chose to remain in France’s top division by joining runners-up Lens who are preparing to embark on a Champions League journey.

Bram Nuytinck

From: Sampdoria


When entertaining the twilight of a career it often makes sense to return home. Bram Nuytinck began his football journey at NEC and the likelihood is it’s where it will end after the 33-year-old signed a two-year contract. Nuytinck brings a wealth of experience from his time playing for Belgian giants Anderlecht — prior to which he’d been linked with Napoli, Juventus, Ajax and Everton — as well as Serie A outfits Udinese and Sampdoria where made 14 league appearances in a six-month stay.

Vaclav Cerny

From: Twente

To: Wolfsburg

A string of frustrating injuries threatened to curtail Vaclav Cerny’s career. The former Ajax winger came into this summer on the back of enjoying his most productive season. Cerny, now a mainstay for the Czech national team, made 32 league appearances for Twente subsequently registering 13 goals while creating a further 11. His exemplary performances helped the Enschede-based club earn European football in the forthcoming campaign. However, the 25-year-old will not be experiencing Thursday nights at De Grolsch Veste, instead, he’ll be turning out for Wolfsburg, the Bundesliga outfit are in rebuilding mode after finishing eighth.

Raphaël Guerreiro

From: Borussia Dortmund

To: Bayern Munich

High-profile crossings in quick succession during the 2010s made it seem Dortmund were always losing players to Bayern Munich but it couldn’t be any more wrong. Raphael Guerreiro is only the sixth player to leave North Rhine-Westphalia for Bavaria but crucially the second to go without a transfer fee after Robert Lewandowski which makes this switch feel painful. Guerreiro also bounces into the new season on the back of some impressive numbers. The defender-cum-midfielder posted six goals and 14 assists for Dortmund in all competitions (36 matches). He also reunites with Bayern head coach Thomas Tuchel who utilised Guerreiro on 35 occasions before with the Portuguese international returning seven goals and nine assists.

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Odin Thiago Holm

From: Vålerenga

To: Celtic

Ange Postecoglou’s departure was very much a setback for Celtic, the Australian tactician who arrived in Glasgow with eyebrows raised, changed the culture somewhat during his brief spell. Postecoglou earned praise for eyeing talent, notably scouring the Japanese market which he became familiar with during a stint coaching Yokohama F. Marinos. Several names were pitched to become his successor in the end Brendan Rodgers returned for a second go-around. Rodgers’ arrival coincided with the acquisition of promising Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm, who relocates from boyhood club Vålerenga, where he managed six goals and four assists in 76 appearances.

Edin Dzeko

From: Inter

To: Fenerbahce

Inter’s disappointing Champions League final loss proved to be Edin Dzeko’s final game for the club. Dzeko started against his former side Manchester City but would leave the field before an hour was played. He also says goodbye to Serie A during which the Bosnian marksman featured 268 times — for Roma and the Nerazzurri — consequently bagging 107 goals and creating 50 more. The next chapter of his career will now take place at Fenerbache; a champion in two countries, Dzeko will be among those looking to end the club’s 10-year championship drought.

Filip Djuricic

From: Sampdoria

To: Panathinaikos

Greece becomes Filip Djuricic’s latest home. Having played in his native Serbia, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, England, Belgium and Italy the 31-year-old hopes to win a second championship. Djuricic’s only success to date came in his first season with Benfica during which he only turned out 11 times without registering a single goal.