There has never been a summer like it. With the World Cup only a year away, the transfer window saw a flurry of players switch clubs in order to gain more first team action and teams spent left, right and center to acquire players of their choice and complete the so called perfect team. Some benefitted and some lost as the transfer window came to a close yesterday. Here is a look at the winners and losers of the transfer window.
French Ligue 1:
Winners: AS Monaco, PSG
Losers: Everyone else.
This transfer summer definitely put the French League back on the footballing map as PSG and Monaco went head to head and splurged some big money to acquire the services of some of the best footballers on the planet. The newly promoted Monaco started the buying battle after securing Falcao from Atletico Madrid and then went to acquire James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho from FC Porto. They completed their new look squad with the addition of Eric Abidal to provide the experience. In reply to Monaco’s acquisition of Falcao, PSG responded by spending 63 million on Edinson Cavani. The additions of Marquinhos and Lucas Digne in defence were lavish spendings and it will be intriguing to see if PSG can replicate, if not better, their impressive run in Europe last season.
The rivalry between PSG and Monaco will provide great advertisement for the French Ligue, which was dominated by Olympique Lyon and Marseille till a couple of years ago. Throw Lille into the mix and we have a healthy battle within the top 5 teams as they try to assert their supremacy over France.
Italian Serie A:
Winners: Napoli, Juventus, AS Roma
Losers: AC Milan
Despite the sale of Edinson Cavani, Napoli seems to be the team that has benefitted the most from the transfer window. Firstly, the club from Naples signed Rafael Benitez to manage the team, who signed Jose Pepe Reina on loan from Liverpool. Napoli then beat the likes of Arsenal to secure the services of Gonzalo Higuain and, Benitez then wrapped up the window by making some smart moves in signing the duo of Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol from Real Madrid.
With Napoli making so many reinforcements to their squad, Juventus needed to go out and spend some money in the transfer market too. The addition of Carlos Tevez from Manchester City and Fernando Llorente from Atheltic Bilbao should strengthen the attacking options of the Old Lady, an area they had a few shortcomings last season. AS Roma too made some good additions to their squad as they invested in the attacking options of Kevin Strootman and Gervinho while Fiorentina signed a goal poacher in the form of Mario Gomez.
The Milanese may be over the moon after the signing of their prodigal son, Kaka. The 31 year old may still have something to offer to the San Siro, but surely he must be a shadow of the legend he left behind in 2009. Last season, Milan finished last season 15 points behind the eventual champions and were knocked out in the Champions League by Barcelona, whom they will meet again this year in the group stages. With no marquee players signed during the summer and with Kevin Prince Boateng moving to Schalke, Milan will have a tough time trying to make the top 4 this season.
Winners: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund
The biggest addition to the Bundesliga this summer was Bayern’s signing of Pep Guardiola, the man who led Barcelona to 3 league titles and 2 Champions League trophies in four years. Bayern were next to invincible last season and with the signing of Mario Gotze from rivals Dortmund just adds to their strength. Bayern further strengthened their midfield as they also signed Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona.
Dortmund may have lost Gotze to Bayern but their biggest gain this summer is to retain the services of their star striker Robert Lewandowski. The Pole was instrumental in Dortmund’s run to the Champions League final, including 4 goals in the semifinals against Real Madrid, and it was essential that he stayed if Dortmund wanted to challenge Bayern’s supremacy in Germany. Dortmund added Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the midfield to replace Gotze and the Armenian midfielder started his Dortmund career by scoring a brace on debut. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Pierre Aubameyang were the other additions to Dortmund’s squad this summer.