The football transfer merry-go-round
- The summer transfer window in European football has been generally quiet so far
- Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard and Matthijs de Ligt have been some of the main transfers this summer
Twice a year, once in the middle of summer and then in the middle of winter, come the fun and games of the football transfer window. Of these, the summer transfer window is the main star. Across Europe’s biggest leagues, footballers are bought and sold amidst a protracted drama of transfer rumours, super agents, defiant clubs, coy players and desperate managers.
Over the months of June and July, and spilling a bit into August, all the talk is of “strengthening the squad". This usually means a line of players waiting to be transferred, going on loan deals, sometimes throwing a strop for a lucrative move, and at other times being forced out by managers. This year has been no different, though, compared to the past few windows, it has been a bit of a slow burner. And the reason for that is Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar. The Brazilian superstar reportedly made it clear at the end of the 2018-19 season that he would like to leave and preferably return to Barcelona, from where he had joined PSG in 2017 for the world record fee of €222 million (around ₹1,687 crore now).
That season, the transfer had set off a domino effect, with cash-flush Barcelona first buying Ousmane Dembélé from Borussia Dortmund for €105 million and then Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool for €145 million. Liverpool used that money to buy Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. This year, Neymar hasn’t moved anywhere yet, and there hasn’t been any transfer merry-go-round at the top of the pile. Nor has Coutinho been offloaded by Barcelona, and Gareth Bale seems to be destined to gather dust in a Real Madrid cupboard. The situation, though, might change over the next week.
Despite these bottlenecks restricting the free flow of cash and top players around Europe, there have been some eye-catching transfers. Most of the action has been in Spain, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid making the biggest moves. In England, champions Manchester City and Champions League runners-up Tottenham Hotspurs have broken their club transfer records for Rodri (€70 million) and Tanguy Ndombélé (€60 million), respectively. Here are Europe’s biggest summer transfers so far.