In the absence of world record transfer fees, this summer’s transfer window has been underwhelming for many fans. Real Madrid’s pursuit of goalkeeper David de Gea may be evidence that, for once, clubs are using common sense to target players to improve their squads rather than just gilding the lily. Here are five of the most astute purchases made so far:
Free transfers rarely capture the attention of the casual fan. Nevertheless, Brendan Rodgers will be delighted to have signed a player capable of replacing the ageing Steven Gerrard. The former Manchester City utility man moved clubs to secure a place in central midfield. Milner’s tireless running will ensure Liverpool’s opponents have little time on the ball if he and Jordan Henderson are protecting the defence.
It’s true that signing a second choice goalkeeper probably won’t dramatically alter Chelsea’s chances of retaining the Premier League title. The Bosnian moved to the club for the relatively low sum of £8m. At 28 years old, he is five years younger and £2m cheaper than Petr Cech, who Arsenal signed to great fanfare from their London rivals. Begovic is the player Arsenal should have signed.
AC Milan finished 10th in last season’s Serie A and as the second most successful club in the league’s history, the board recognised the club needed to strengthen its playing squad. In an effort to do so they activated the Seville striker’s £21m buyout clause. Last season the 28-year-old scored 20 goals in La Liga and the Rossoneri will be hoping the striker can propel the team back towards Champions League qualification.
Following the departure of club hero Arda Turan to Barcelona and striker Mario Mandzukic to Juventus, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone needed to reassure fans that the club sought to challenge for La Liga again. The £25m signing of Jackson Martinez from Porto has placated supporters, who can be confident the club have signed a proven goalscorer. The Colombian has finished all three of his seasons at Porto as the highest scorer in the league, amassing 67 goals in 89 league appearances.
After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Newcastle signed the attacking midfielder from PSV Eindhoven for £14.5m. The Dutchman was named the best player in the Eredivisie last season, ahead of his team-mate Memphis Depay who has joined Manchester United for £31m. Wijnaldum has scored two goals in friendlies for his new club already and may soon be regarded as a bargain.