Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Transfer Window Round-Up: Summer 2010

It's hard to think that once deadline day has passed that transfers actually took place over the whole summer. The question does remain as to why managers wait until the last possible minute to make these deals. Do they not realise their squad's needs until 4pm on the 31st August.

Well a lot of transfers went through on deadline day but some did actually take place before then and even before the World Cup.

Manchester United did most of their business prior to South Africa 2010 and they will be pretty happy they did. Despite the signing of defender Chris Smalling from Fulham, they will be very pleased with the signing of Mexican international Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez who had a very impressive World Cup. Signing the player post-World Cup would have easily taken the price up at least £5 million on his undisclosed transfer fee.

It is Sunderland who fell into this trap and shelled the money out anyway. Asamoah Gyan from Rennes was the subject of a £13 million move to the Stadium of Light yesterday and it was Gyan's impressive performances in South Africa that drove up what was thought to have been a £3.5 million fee pre-World Cup.

Birmingham City were busy during the transfer window. The signing of Ben Foster from Manchester United for £6 million eased the pain of Joe Hart's return to Manchester City. Aliaksandr Hleb's arrival from Barcelona on loan will also have placed many a Birmingham fan. The Belarus international was unlucky to arrive at Barcá at the same time the likes of Messi and Andres Iniesta were peaking and he never did get much of a look in. A loan move to former club Stuttgart has revitalised his career but it remains to be seen whether he can hit the form he was in when he left Arsenal in July 2008.

Chelsea were relatively quiet with Brazilian midfielder Ramires arriving from Benfica. Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Deco and Juliano Belletti were shown the exit door at Stamford Bridge. Cole elected to join Liverpool as did Christian Poulsen from Juventus, Raul Meireles from Porto and Milan Jovanovic from Standard Liége.

To nobody's surprise Manchester City were the top spenders during the transfer window. They did most of their business post-World Cup but to them money is not an issue. World Cup winner David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner, Alexsandr Kolarov, Mario Balotelli and Jérome Boateng all arrived this summer at the City of Manchester Stadium, the majority commanding a fee of £20 million or higher. Also the return of the impressive Hart and - strangely - Brazilian striker Jo could well see City as serious title contenders this season.

As expected Real Madrid were busy again during the window. With José Mourinho at the helm now, he will want to shape his team as quickly as possible into a style that has seen success at both Chelsea and Inter Milan. The arrivals of Angel di Maria from Benfica, Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen and Ricardo Carvalho are seen as Mourinho's major signings and it these players combined with the current 'Galacticos' that will be key to Madrid's success.

Madrid's rivals Barcelona signed arguably the current best striker in world football in David Villa from Valencia. The departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan was never going to be mourned by the Barcá faithful now that they boast a front-line of Lionel Messi, Pedro and Villa. Add to that the much prolonged transfer of Javier Mascherano from Liverpool and it is hard to see anyone stopping Barcelona on all fronts this season.

Serial mover Klaas-Jan Huntelaar completed a £10.5 million move to Schalke from AC Milan where he was deemed surplus to requirements. Since leaving Ajax for Real Madrid in January 2009 he is yet to find his feet at a club willing to take a chance on a man who scored 105 goals in 136 appearances for the Dutch side. Schalke appear to be that team. Accompanied by the evergreen Raul, who was deemed surplus to requirements at Real, Schalke could see themselves improve on their second place finish in last season's Bundesliga.

Other moves of note, Stoke City's signing of Eidur Gudjohnsen from Monaco on loan can be seen as a coup as the Potters look like one of the sides facing a relegation battle this season.

David Trezeguet's 10 year stay at Juventus came to an end as he joined newly promoted Primera League side Hércules. Mauro Camoranesi and Brazilian Diego also left Juvé, joining Stuttgart and Wolfsburg respectively.

Robinho finally left Manchester City on a permanent basis, joining fellow Brazilians Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato at AC Milan.

Yohann Gourcuff left Bordeaux for pastures new at Lyon and highly rated Sporting Lisbon pair Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho are now plying their trade at Genoa and Porto respectively.

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