Transfer News & Odds

Done deals you might have missed this week, from Van Bommel’s wonderkid son to the ‘new Rodri’

By Ben Green

Published: 16:44, 4 June 2023

The 2023 summer transfer window is more or less here, despite not officially being open for another couple of weeks, with deals happening every which way.

The 2022/23 season isn’t yet over, with next week bringing the Champions League and Europa Conference League finals to our screens, but that doesn’t mean clubs haven’t been doing business. You’d be a fool to think otherwise.

This week alone several transfers have gone through, and below we’ve rounded up some of the more notable ones from across the continent. This is just a prelude, so get ready for another summer of rumours, speculation and sagas…

Mark Flekken

To: Brentford

From: Freiburg

Fee: £11m

Perhaps anticipating the departure of David Raya this summer, Thomas Frank has sought to draft in a successor in double-quick time. Ball-playing shot-stopper Mark Flekken should fit Frank’s system like a hand to a glove and will be relishing the chance to test himself in the Premier League. Capped four times by the Netherlands, the 6ft 5in gloveman represents a very tidy signing by a club that tend to make shrewd investments.

Alex Kral

To: Union Berlin

From: Spartak Moscow

Fee: Loan

The mop-haired midfielder spent a season on loan at West Ham from Spartak last season but failed to impress David Moyes to make his move permanent. He had far more success this term on loan at Schalke in terms of playing time — not so much in terms of end result for his club as they were relegated to the German second tier. But despite that, the press-resistant midfield engine has rejoined another Bundesliga club, this time in the form of Union Berlin from Spartak.

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Ruben van Bommel

To: AZ

From: MVV Maastricht

Fee: Undisclosed

Ruben van Bommel comes from a football family, if you couldn’t tell. The 18-year-old is, of course, the son of the legendary Mark van Bommel, who enjoyed spells at Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Milan during his playing days. His teenage offspring appears to have all the right minerals to make it at the top end of the game, and he has chosen a shrewd career move in AZ, who are renowned for their policy of developing youngsters.

Van Bommel Jr excelled in the Dutch second tier with MVV this term, bagging 15 league goals — and he has now taken his exploits to Alkmaar. Under the Europa Conference League semi-finalists, he should have the right platform to continue growing. Manager Pascal Jansen has been praised for blooding in the likes of 19-year-old duo Myron van Brederode and Milos Kerkez, so Van Bommel is in good care.

Hugo Larsson

To: Eintracht Frankfurt

From: Malmo

Fee: Undisclosed

Eintracht Frankfurt have already prepared for life post-Oliver Glasner, snapping up 18-year-old Hugo Larsson from record Swedish champions Malmo. The teenage sensation is in Sweden’s latest squad for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers and is already capped by the nation.

Described as having a similar playing style to Man City star Rodri, Larsson has made 53 interceptions in the Swedish top flight since the start of last season, the sixth-most of any midfielder, which is certainly no mean feat for a player who was only 17 last campaign.

And he could have been playing for “favourite club” Chelsea had things worked out when he went on trial in Cobham. The teenager has spoken about his time training in west London, and how he felt his development would be better suited at Malmo rather than The Blues.

“It’s clear that it was a great experience to go and play with Chelsea,” he recently said.

“I trained with the team and also got to go to a tournament in Belgium. I also scored a goal. [The move] was a little too early. I did not think it would happen so fast.

“For me, it was better to continue my development at home, at Malmo. I want to break through at Malmo first before I go abroad.”

Dujon Sterling

To: Rangers

From: Chelsea

Fee: Free transfer

After four separate loan spells away from Chelsea, Dujon Sterling has now completed a permanent move that ends his 16 years at Cobham. The 23-year-old right-back has moved to Rangers on a free transfer following a fruitful 2022/23 temporarily at Stoke City. He will offer solid competition for captain James Tavernier, who turns 32 next season.

Diogo Leite

To: Union Berlin

From: Porto

Fee: £6.4m

Following an exceptionally succesful loan move to Union Berlin last summer from Porto, the German club have now captured Diogo Leite permanently for £6.4m. The 24-year-old was hugely influential for Urs Fischer’s men as they finished fourth in the Bundesliga and reached the Europa League last 16. Such was his form, that Roberto Martinez included him in his first Portugal squad back in March, and he will now be playing in the Champions League for Union after securing a place in the competition for the club for the first time in their history last month.

Jack Stacey

To: Norwich City

From: Bournemouth

Fee: Free transfer

Jack Stacey has been a solid enough servant of Bournemouth since moving from Luton Town in 2019, but the 27-year-old scarcely featured in 2022/23 and has now completed a move to Norwich on a free transfer. Despite hardly featuring (just 10 Premier League appearances), he did clock the fourth-fastest top speed of any defender in 2022/23, registering 35.64km/h in one match — only Kyle Walker (37.31km/h), Kieran Tierney (35.99km/h) and Diogo Dalot (35.76km/h) managed higher totals.

Niels Nkounkou

To: Saint-Etienne

From: Everton

Fee: Undisclosed fee

When Everton prised teenage full-back Niels Nkounkou away from Marseille in 2020, it looked like they pulled off a really astute piece of business. The talented tyro rejected terms with Marseille and opted for Everton because of Carlo Ancelotti’s influence, but he failed to cement a consistent starting berth at Goodison Park during his three years on Merseyside, most of which was spent away on loan.

Serhou Guirassy

To: Stuttgart

From: Rennes

Fee: £7.7m

Ahead of their relegation play-off against Hamburg earlier this week — winning the first leg 3-0 — Stuttgart announced the £7.7m signing of loan forward Serhou Guirassy, who bagged 11 Bundesliga goals in 2022/23. He went on to nab another in their crunch match against Hamburg, and will be serenaded should the club confirm their safety in the Bundesliga.