On August 31, 2021, the off-the-field sporting drama known as the European summer transfer window was officially closed for business.
Most pundits and fans have labeled this window the best in history when you consider the magnitude of the players that changed clubs and the amount of money that was spent to bring them to the clubs.
Last year, the effect of Covid placed constraints on spending leading to smaller fees and less movement of big-name players. However, according to CNN sports, the clubs from the English Premier League alone in this transfer window spent over 1 billion pounds or 1.37 billion U.S. dollars.
Below is a look at the 2 biggest near misses and the top 5 players that moved in the transfer window.
Two Big near misses:
- Harry Kane — the first near-miss was a move from Manchester City to bring in the 28-year-old English forward. It appeared Kane had enough of Tottenham because he has no trophies at the club and the team failed to secure a place in either Champions League or even the lesser Europa League. Instead, the 7th place in the league led them to the dropped into the European Conference League.
Manchester City pounced by reportedly submitting a bid of 100 million pounds in June that was rejected by Tottenham who held out for upwards of 120 million pounds. In the end, Tottenham refused to negotiate with City and scrapped any potential deal.
- Kylian Mbappe — the next big near miss was Real Madrid’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe. According to ESPN FC news, the team was so desperate for the star 22 French forward that they submitted a bid of 200 million euros to buy the player.
The bid was outrageous because Mbappe can sign a pre-contract with them or any other team in January 2022. Yet, PSG rejected the bid because they didn’t need the money and it might derail their chances of winning their 1st Champions League title.
Number 5 Antoinne Griezmann— the French forward shocked the football world on deadline day when he moved from Barcelona back to Atletico Madrid. The agreement between the teams is for a season-long loan and then a 34-million-pound obligation to buy him permanently.
The statistics provided by transfermarket.com indicate that Griezmann sadly regressed at Barcelona. In his stint with Barca, Antoine scored only 35 goals, provided 17 assists in 102 appearances with a goal contribution of 0.51. He will look to return to his glory days in Madrid, where he scored 133 goals, provided 50 assists in 257 appearances, and a stellar goal contribution of 0.71.
Number 4 Jack Grealish — Grealish sealed his dream move from Aston Villa to Manchester City during the window. It came at a hefty price because City had to pay his release clause and a British transfer record of 100 million pounds.
The English midfielder adds another dimension to Manchester City’s team with his dribbling, technical ability, and creativity.
At 25 years old, Grealish is set to bring more trophies home for the men in sky blue.
Number 3 Romelu Lukaku — the powerful Belgian forward took his game to another level in the past two years in Italy with Inter Milan.
In 95 appearances for the club, he scored a whopping 64 goals, provided 16 assists for a goal contribution of 0.84. Under the tutelage of Antonio Conte, Lukaku helped Inter to win the Serie A title after 9 straight years of Juventus dominance.
With Inter Milan’s financial issues, Conte left the club, and Chelsea pounced on the opportunity to grab Lukaku to be their center-forward. The two teams eventually agreed on a 97.5-million-pound transfer deal by mid-August.
After signing with Chelsea as a teenager, the team will hope that a return to London will move Lukaku to settle his unfinished business and push for more footballing glory.
Number 2 Cristiano Ronaldo — Ronaldo’s return to the Premier League was fraught with drama. Based on speculation, it appeared he would be heading to Manchester City initially to replace Sergio Aguero as the center forward.
However, the plot twisted overnight with Manchester United entering the fray to convince their club legend to spurn the enemy and return to Old Trafford.
Juventus and Manchester quickly agreed on an initial fee of 15 million euros plus up to 8 million in bonus fee. At age 36, Ronaldo is not the player he used to be but he still can score plenty of goals.
Last season for Juventus, he still managed to score 36 goals in all competitions
Number 1 Lionel Messi — Messi’s departure from Barcelona can be described using the other spelling of his last name “messy”.
The entire football world felt that the club would retain its captain and greatest player ever when the season ended.
Messi went to the Copa America tournament and triumphed over their rivals Brazil to finally win his first international title. Then, he returned to Spain to complete the formalities of his contract signing.
Then came the news that broke the internet when reports emerged that Barcelona could not sign Messi due to financial constraints.
The signing of Leo would breach La Liga’s financial fair play rules. Then, there was the tearful press conference and later scenes of jubilation in the streets of Paris.
It was hard to imagine that arguably the world’s best player would be heading to PSG on a free transfer. At age 34, Messi is still an extraordinary player scoring 38 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions for Barcelona last season.
PSG will hope that Messi will help them to win their first Champions League title with a frightening front three of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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