Now the dust has settled on a mad summer's transfer window, we asked our network of European offices to give us the low-down on what happened in each country.
We asked for the summer's best, worst and most expensive transfers from Europe's major leagues...
- - -
Bale was the most expensive transfer this summer - according to English media 101m euros, but Spanish 91m euros. We are very hopeful about this transfer and are eagerly awaiting to see if he lives up to the price tag.
Best signing: Neymar (Barcelona) - 57m
Further to Bale’s signing, we think Neymar is the best transfer in this summer market transfer. He has started to link up with Lionel Messi and they have the potential to be the best pair ever.
Worst signing: Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid) - 40m
We think Asier Illarramendi was the worst transfer this summer. Real Madrid paid 40m euros but they have several players in this position (Khedira, Xabi, Casemiro, Modric…). It’s strange that Real Madrid have not transferred a player like Khedira or Casemiro. It’s a very expensive operation for a very young and inexperienced player.
- - -
Most expensive: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang/Henrik Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund) - 39m
Everybody laughed about Juergen Klopp when Dortmund presented their replacements for Mario Goetze. Who can pronounce these names correctly? Which other club would have spent 26m euros on an Armenian player who nobody in Germany has ever heard of? But both started with a sensational bang: Aubameyang scored a hat-trick in his first appearance in the Bundesliga, while Mkhitaryan has convinced the critics with his superb ball-handling, a perfect sense for the situation and a fine nose in front of goal. This duo will surely make Dortmund stronger and will let the people forget Goetze very soon.
Schalke desperately needed a charismatic player, a player who always is at 100 per cent physically and mentally - with Boateng they found that kind of star. He is a leader on the pitch, someone who takes over responsibility for the whole team. The positive impact of the transfer was already visible last weekend when Schalke beat Leverkusen and Boateng started right away, having only trained twice. While he is glamour boy, he is also an international star with lots of experience in different championships, which is good both for Schalke and the Bundesliga.
Worst signing: Mario Goetze (FC Bayern) - 37m
Bayern won three titles last season with a balanced team that was well equipped in each position. So tell me: Who should be replaced by Goetze? European Player of the Year Franck Ribery? Thomas Mueller, who was one of the pillars of last year’s success as he scored and assisted plenty and was always committed? Or Arjen Robben, who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final against Dortmund? You could extend this list as long as you want, there is no place for him in this team. And more: He arrived injured and now is injured again. His integration into the team (on the pitch at least) hasn’t started yet - and as you could see against Nuremberg and Freiburg - as a contrast to Boateng at Schalke - there was no harmony at once between Goetze and his new team-mates. It will take a lot of time to integrate him, if it succeeds at all.
- - -
Most expensive: Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli) - 37 m
Napoli lost Cavani for 64m euros and invested in Higuain, Albiol, Callejon, Reina, Mertens and Zapata. It was a fantastic summer for all Azzurri fans who have already forgotten the new PSG star and are dreaming about a perfect season with Rafa Benitez. Higuain was the most expensive deal of our summer, even if it’s been surprising to see how many deals have been accomplished. From Tevez to Kaka and with Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich to Fiorentina for 15.5m euros, Serie A is back.
Best signing: Carlos Tevez (Juventus) - 9m
Juventus were searching for a “top player”. They wanted Aguero, but he signed for Manchester City. They were close to Van Persie but he chose Manchester United. But they finally found what they need. Tevez signed for just 9m (plus bonuses) and he has already made a big impact scoring three goals in the first three official matches - which shows he is very appropriate for Antonio Conte's tactics. Much more than Fernando Llorente, to be honest.
Worst signing: Ishak Belfodil (Inter) - 10m (plus Cassano)
Llorente is very disappointing at the moment, but you must consider he was a free agent. Inter paid 10m plus Antonio Cassano for half of Belfodil, which is totally crazy. Especially if you consider that new manager Walter Mazzarri is not considering the former Parma striker as a real option and he suffered all summer because of Ramadan (he almost couldn’t train).
- - -
FRANCE - Vincent Brevegin
Most expensive: Edinson Cavani (PSG) - 64.5m
PSG had to pay the release clause for Edinson Cavani, who became the sixth most expensive transfer in history, equal with Kaka. Aside from the fact PSG wanted another star to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front, this was also a way to answer the message sent by Monaco earlier in the window with the 60m euros transfe of Radamel Falcao and the 70m euro price for Porto pair Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez. No one is too expensive for the new financial powerhouses of Ligue 1.
Best signing: Joao Moutinho (Monaco) – 25m euros
Moutinho actually cost only 25m in the 70m euro package with James Rodriguez, which is basically a good price considering the quality of the player, his experience at international level and his age (he will turn 27 this month). But most of all, he's a rare talent in Ligue 1, a league where we lack good passers. He brings another technical dimension to Monaco and at the weekend that became even more evident in the win at Marseille, the first time Moutinho played with his new team.
Worst signings: Marquinhos (PSG) - 35m euros / Florian Thauvin (OM) – 13m euros
Two different cases. For Marquinhos, PSG basically paid for potential. He's just too expensive for a 19-year-old defender who only has one season of top-level European football behind him, even if it was a very good season with Roma. If he really becomes the 'new Thiago Silva' like some people say, his value will hardly go higher than the price paid by PSG. It's not a good signing, but PSG basically don't care about money - they just want to win titles by any means.
Thauvin was the big story of the last day, getting a transfer to Marseille after he had gone on strike with Lille, a club who only signed him last winter and where he has never played. OM offered him 300 per cent of the wages he earned at Lille, and the attitude of the 20-year-old player was largely criticised in France, but he finally got what he wanted. Overall, Lille made a good business, getting 11m euros (plus 2m in bonuses) for a player they signed for 3m euros six months ago. This story gave a really bad impression of clubs and players, and modern football overall.
- - -
Most expensive: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) - £42.5m
The transfer no one saw coming. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis boasted about an “escalation of financial firepower” at the start of the summer but after deals for Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez failed to materialise, Arsenal looked set for bitter disappointment. Remarkably, though, Wenger signalled the end of his age of austerity in dramatic fashion with the third biggest transfer in the history of the Premier League (after Tevez and Torres). Signing Ozil is a game-changer for Arsenal: he is at a level matched by few players in world football and this is a giant coup for the club.
Ozil might be the best signing but in terms of value, Everton managing to recruit Romelu Lukaku on loan takes some beating. It was assumed the Belgian would play a key role at Chelsea this season after scoring 17 goals for West Brom last year but the signing of Samuel Eto’o meant Jose Mourinho viewed him as dispensable. Everton were crying out for a new striker and now they have one of the best in the division: Lukaku’s blend of brute strength, nice technique and unerring finishing makes him a special talent indeed. This was a brilliant deal by Roberto Martinez.
Worst signing: Victor Anichebe (West Brom) - £6m
Anichebe is a honest, hard-working player but he simply lacks the ability to be a good Premier League player. Injuries have ravaged his career but even so, a record of 18 league goals in eight years at Everton speaks to his limitations as a striker. West Brom paid well over the odds when parting with £6m for him.
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Gareth Bale
- Carlos Tevez
- Borussia Dortmund
- Gonzalo Higuain
- Mario Goetze