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With each passing transfer window, increases in both business and price are exponential with no signs of decline in sight.
Even the restrictions that financial fair play and other governed regulations attempt to prevent are easily bypassed by clubs. The lack of strict penalties in place to punish those who break the rules are a contributing factor to this.
But with that being said, it’s impossible for football fans to ignore or deny a fascination with the market whichever way they perceive its transition over the years.
This summer’s window has been the most significant of all time, featuring the two largest transfers in the history of the game.
With many fans thinking the sales of football kits contribute to recuperating transfer fee, surely no one thinks that Neymar’s switch from Barcelona to PSG for £199.80m smashed the record fee set most recently by Manchester United for their signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus for £93.2m this time last year will be repaid with shirt sales.
An ever bigger talking point was 20-year old Ousmane Dembele’s £94.50m move from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona which earned him the title of second highest transfer fee ever.
These numbers are staggering and a lot of light has been taken away from some smarter, lesser business in the window from across the globe. Here are some you may have missed:
James Rodriguez – Real Madrid to Bayern Munich – £11.70m (Two-Year Loan)
This one is a strange transfer for several reasons. Rodriguez has understandably fallen down the pecking order at Madrid, with no less than Marco Asensio’s introduction into Zidane’s first-team plans proving to be the final nail in his proverbial coffin.
But it seems that the Spanish outfit aren’t willing to part ways permanently just yet.
The playmaker has moved to German giants Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal worth approximately £11.70m.
You’d be right to question Madrid’s motivations behind the deal but certainly not the German outfit’s thinking. The 26-year old is approaching the peak of his career which would typically be seen as being between the ages of 27-29 for an attacking midfielder like him.
All things considered, £11.70m could prove to be a steal of a price as Rodriguez looks to garner as much first-team football as he can on the biggest stages possible.
The details of the deal are scarce so there is no known indication of an option to buy at the end of the second year for Munich. But despite this unknown detail looming, his sheer ability to play anywhere across a three behind the striker, it’s undoubtedly further astute business from one of the world’s elite given their current system.
Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus to AC Milan – £37.80m
Bonucci has assumed responsibilities including club captaincy after making his switch from Italian champions Juventus to sixth-placed AC Milan.
While the historical Italian giants aren’t the club they once were, the Serie A side have started their campaign as strongly as the defender’s former club with two wins in as many games.
As someone who has never relied on pace as an important attribute to his success, the purchase is a grand acquisition for the club, particularly with their revitalised ambitions and the defender’s most impressive years of his career being of late.
Bonucci has a number of years remaining at the top level of football and his decision to move to Milan seems to be motivated by aspirations to help return the club to its former glory.
His technical ability and reading of the game is second to none and so despite his age, the 30-year old will contribute significantly to any challenge on the Serie A’s top four that they may mount.
Vitolo – Sevilla to Atletico Madrid – £32.40m
After a four-year stay at Sevilla, the Spanish left winger has moved to rivals Atletico Madrid in a deal worth £32.40m.
While on the surface this could be deemed steep for a 27-year old’s services, don’t be deceived. Vitolo has been integral for both club and country having made eleven appearances for the national side in addition to the one-hundred and seventy-seven club appearances for Sevilla alone.
His return speaks for itself with twenty-eight goals and forty-five assists for the La Liga outfit during this time. He’s been a pivotal component of Sevilla’s rise to prominence over recent years, particularly their Europa League finals dominance.
Sevilla have managed to profit almost £30 million from the initial £2.88m deal to bring him to the club originally but it’s a transfer that will leave both parties involved as happy as the other.
Vitolo will return to Madrid after his short loan with former club UD Las Palmas ends in December and this puts the La Liga side in a strong position to make an audacious surge for the title in the second half of the season with Vitolo’s addition.
Andrey Yarmolenko – Dynamo Kyiv to Borussia Dortmund – £22.50m
It comes with great surprise that Andrey Yarmolenko is as old as he is.
His performances on the international stage over recent years are what have successfully put him on the map in the eyes of fans all over the world. So it’s completely acceptable judging by this and his child-like looks to determine that he must be a rising star which is in fact, not the case.
The 27-year old has taken the plunge to finally move from his home country of Ukraine and try his hand at the big leagues. After much speculation surrounding his future for a number of years, Borussia Dortmund have beaten all to the punch and signed him for a figure of £22.50m.
This position has typically been one that the German side have managed well with players such as Marco Reus and Mario Götze having held responsibilities here. But with Barcelona’s recent acquisition of the young Dembele, Dortmund found themselves short out wide.
Yarmolenko’s quick, direct style will offer them a similar outlet that previous players have contributed but with a little more experience that could be key to his success in the Bundesliga and prove a smart, budgeted replacement for their recent departure.
Nabil Bentaleb – Spurs to Schalke 04 – £17.10m
While a lot of older players have taken the limelight for their switches this summer, one that has seemingly been unreported in comparison is Nabil Bentaleb’s permanent switch to German side, Schalke 04.
The 22-year old could prove to be a fantastic buy, and a steal at such a low price in an inflated market. It’s surprising that someone of a higher calibre didn’t swoop in after his previous campaign last season where he overcame the criticisms that Spurs fans had directed his way during that stage of his career.
Mainly, his contribution from midfield is described as leaving a lot to be desired but there is a demand for the type of midfielder that Bentaleb embodies.
Schalke have successfully identified this and as such, could see themselves being the real winners in the long run. His style of play suits the Bundesliga very well and despite flurries during his rise at Tottenham, he showed a lot of promise that would mould itself over the coming years.
He has featured in both of Schalke’s opening games and provided a goal in one, potentially showcasing an undeveloped side of his game that Spurs’ fans were screaming out for seasons ago.
Samir Nasri – Man City to Antalyaspor – £3.15m
Included in Sevilla’s growing list of departures was Samir Nasri, who returned to his parent club after a season-long loan ended over the summer.
Since then, Guardiola made it clear to the French midfielder that he was surplus to requirements and in came Antalyaspor to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
The 30-year old made the switch to Turkey in a deal worth £3.15m which could well be deemed the most value for money this summer. Nasri’s contribution to Sevilla’s campaign was limited last season which makes their decision to pass on acquiring his services long-term understandable.
The Turkish side will pose a new challenge for Nasri with the substantial salary being one of the more obvious pulls for his decision. But for someone that consistently delivered in the Premier League for years on end, it’s a wise decision on Antalyaspor’s behalf to take the chance on him recreating that form in their less competitive league.
Steve Mandanda – Crystal Palace to Marseille – £2.70m
French international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has had a rough few years.
What seems like a long time ago now, he was the number one choice for both club and country before others forced their way through and pushed him from his perch.
Mandanda decided to make the switch to the Premier League at the beginning of last season, much to the surprise of many fans; no more so than Palace fans themselves who signed the stopper on a free transfer from Marseille.
But after struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League, Palace offloaded the keeper to his former club for slightly more than the French side originally paid AC Le Havre for him (£2.25m). There are a lot of telling signs that this will be a good bit of business for Marseille despite his shaky season in England and his not-so impressive start to his first season back.
Palace will certainly be pleased with their profit from the deal and Marseille should be hopeful that the once great goalkeeper can rediscover the form that made him one of the most sought-after goalies during his previous spell at the club.
Written by Jonathan Roberts
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @missingstuds
Check out his awesome football blog, Missing Studs Football
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