Before jumping into things, yes, it’s football, but we’re in Canada so we’ll call it soccer for the sake of it. Last year there were unexpected transfers of big name players and iconic returns to old clubs. While underwhelming, this year, Europe saw some big price transfers as the market inflation continues to rise.
The 2022/2023 transfer window closed Sept. 1 and there were some last-minute deals worth highlighting, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joining Chelsea from Barcelona, Arthur Melo joining Liverpool from Juventus, and Manuel Obafemi Akanji joining Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund.
Looking back at the transfer window, Barcelona puzzled everyone as they had one of the best incoming players while being severely in debt and known to be owing their own players large sums of money. Barcelona had to sell future media rights and other assets in order to buy and register their new players, this was never seen before, especially from a big name club. The Financial Fair Play Agreement came to everyone’s mind, but Barcelona was surprisingly not fined.
Last year’s appointment of legendary player Xavi Hernandez as their new manager seemed to give the club a breath of fresh air. Leading their signings this year is Robert Lewandowsky, the 33-year-old world-class striker from Bayern Munich. Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso, both coming from Chelsea, join the backline alongside the young French defender Jules Koundé. Brazilian winger Raphina transferred from Leeds, and finally, the Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessié joined from AC Milan.
Their rivals, Real Madrid, failed once again to sign Kylian M’mappe who renewed his contract at Paris Saint Germain. However, they did get some young and experienced talent in other positions. Antonio Rüdiger reinforces the defensive line while Aurélien Tchouameni, a huge young prospect replaces Casemiro in the defensive midfield position. Gareth Bale leaves on a free transfer to Los Angeles FC, and Marcelo joins the Greek league side Olympiacos on a free transfer as well.
Moving on to the English Premier League, Manchester United failed to qualify to the champions league but still managed to attract some big names. Erik Ten Hag, their new manager, seems to be the start of a new era at Manchester. Their long summer saga pursuing Frankie De Jong fell through but Ten Hag, coming from Ajax, raided the Eredivisie (Dutch League) and got Lisandro Martinez, and Antony from his old club for a whopping sum of over 150 million Euros combined with add-ons. A needed left back Tyrell Malacia joins from Feyenoord, and an even more needed Centre Defensive Midfielder, and highly decorated Brazilian player, Casemiro, who joins from Real Madrid to reunite with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane.
Both Manchester City and Liverpool received the two young strikers who everyone has their eye on. Expectations are high, and these incoming transfers hopefully make for a thrilling race to the golden boot. 22-year-old Erling Haaland who already has 164 career goals in 206 matches joins Manchester City. While the 23-year-old Darwin Núñez who has 70 career goals in 142 matches joins Liverpool. Manchester City also saw Kalvin Philips, and Julián Álvarez among others join their ranks but had the departure of known players such as Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, and Oleksandr Zinchenko who all joined other clubs in England.
Chelsea was the English club that spent the most money, with a total of over 300 million Euros. Apart from the previously mentioned Sterling and Aubameyang, other big names to look out for are Kaliduo Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, and Wesley Fofona who join the back line.
One surprise came with newly promoted Nottingham Forest, who broke the record for the most transfers in one window, bringing in 21 new signings for a total of over 173 million Euros. Among them, Morgan Gibbs-White, Dean Henderson, and Willy Boly.
The English Premier League were the big spenders this window, breaking the record with a total of 2.2 billion Euros. In comparison, Europe’s other four major leagues – the Spanish, German, Italian and French leagues – spent about the same, with a total of close to 2.3 billion Euros combined.
Half or more of these transfers were already rumoured for a long time, therefore, most came with no surprise. While it was a highly spent window, it was mostly a restructuring and rebuilding process for a lot of clubs which is what led to a low-key transfer window — with a huge sum of money. However, it’s the building base that will bring a new era of football. With young talent and experienced players in new places, it will still make for an entertaining season.