Any trickle-down effects from the Premier League’s astonishing revenue streams will be felt in good time both in Spain and across Europe, but for now La Liga is humming along with decent enough deals.
Barcelona are very much back in business after their hands were – to an extent – tied last summer and the early running, certainly where Spain’s big two are concerned, has been theirs. Samuel Umtiti’s £21m move from Lyon looks particularly good value after his assured performances at centre-back for France during Euro 2016 and joining him will be the left-back Lucas Digne, another Frenchman, who arrives in a £13.9m move from Paris Saint-Germain after a good season on loan with Roma.
How will Real Madrid react? Perhaps by signing Paul Pogba at the end of a saga that may last all summer, but in the meantime the gruel has been a bit thinner. Álvaro Morata was bought back from Juventus for £23m – originally, it seemed, with the plan to offload him straightaway for a profit – and it seems that, for now, the Spain striker has a place in the fold.
Atlético Madrid may have been vanquished in the Champions League final but their summer has begun in sprightly fashion. Nico Gaitán’s arrival from Benfica, for around £19.7m, is their headline act and should add to their creative spark. Sime Vrsaljko, a Croatian right-back, looks a good addition from Sassuolo while the 19-year-old attacking midfielder Diogo Jota has arrived from Portuguese club Paços de Ferreira.
The next-biggest money has been spent by Sevilla, who lost Grzegorz Krychowiak to Paris Saint-Germain but paid Sampdoria around £11m for the Argentinian midfielder Joaquín Correa. They have also signed the Hannover playmaker Hiroshi Kiyotake, a Japan international, for £5.25m while another midfielder, Pablo Sarabia, has arrived from Getafe and the defender Matías Kranevitter has come from Atlético on loan.
All this aside, Portuguese former Manchester United wingers are the real must-have accessory. Nani will link up with Valencia after signing from Fenerbahce during that stellar Euro 2016 campaign, and Bebé – remember him? – is still going strong too. He has joined Eibar on a four-year contract from Benfica after impressing on a season-long loan with relegated Rayo Vallecano.
In line with current market trends, dealings in Serie A have been relatively austere although Juventus have naturally led the way. Their £25.4m signing of Miralam Pjanic from Roma has the effect of landing them an outstanding playmaker and weakening a rival team who finished 11 points behind them last season. Dani Alves, on a free transfer after leaving Barcelona, is the pre-season’s highest-profile newcomer to the division for now, although the Bianconeri are likely to be in the market for a striker to replace Morata.
Roma have been quick to spend some of the proceeds from that Pjanic sale, purchasing the gifted Fluminense attacking midfielder Gerson for around £14m. Gerson is 19 but will be expected to make an impact alongside Stephan El Shaarawy, who has made his move from Milan permanent. Of the others hoping to run Juventus as close as possible next season, Napoli’s only significant buy is the Empoli defender Lorenzo Tonelli – although they are closing in on the enigma that is Emanuele Giaccherini – while Internazionale have made permanent the signing of the former loanee Marcelo Brozovic, who impressed for Croatia at Euro 2016, and made an impressive free addition in the out-of-contract Sevilla schemer Éver Banega. Milan have paid £7.65m for the striker Gianluca Lapadula, a sensation at newly promoted Pescara last season who earned an “Italian Jamie Vardy” tag, while among Fiorentina’s arrivals is a famous surname. Ianis Hagi, son of Gheorghe, is 17 but big things are expected of the right winger after his move from the Romanian side Viitorul – owned and managed by his father.
Crotone, who will play the first Serie A season in their history, have been picked off in a similar manner to Pescara, with Sampdoria signing the prolific striker Ante Budimir. On the whole, though, Serie A watches, waits and hopes to make use of the money that it receives from elsewhere.
Bundesliga clubs have, relative to their colleagues in Spain and Italy, cut loose and Bayern Munich have naturally drawn their line in the sand early on. Mats Hummels officially returned at the start of July after seven years as a Borussia Dortmund player, bringing no small degree of ill will from BvB fans with him. Yet more exciting is the arrival of Renato Sanches, who confirmed his potential with Portugal at Euro 2016, from Benfica for an initial £27.5m. That seems a bargain at this stage – but Sanches is not the only European wonderkid to be developing his education in the Bundesliga.
There is succour for Dortmund in the arrival of Ousmane Dembélé, the much-vaunted 19-year-old forward from Rennes, and they are also pleased to have signed young Turkish winger Emre Mor from Nordsjaelland. Raphaël Guerreiro, the excellent Portugal left-back, has arrived from Lorient while Sebastian Rode has bucked the recent trend and joined from Bayern Munich. Marc Bartra, the Barcelona defender, is another high-profile arrival and these signings look deliberately targeted to offset the departures of Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündogan – the latter pair to Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.
Schalke, meanwhile, have a bright young thing of their own. Breel Embolo, the Cameroon-born Switzerland forward, has pitched up for a reported £20m. The towering defender Naldo’s arrival on a free transfer from Wolfsburg looks canny business in its own way. There has also been heavy spending activity at Bayer Leverkusen, who have persuaded the forward Kevin Volland to join from Hoffenheim for around £17m, while the Austrian international midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger has made the switch from Mainz. Leaving Leverkusen for a hefty fee of his own is another midfielder, Christoph Kramer, who returns to his former loan club Borussia Mönchengladbach as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Granit Xhaka. Jannik Vestergaard, the former Werder Bremen centre-back, has joined Kramer there for a fee in the region of £10m.
Other notable business includes Yannick Gerhardt’s move from Cologne to Wolfsburg, who have also signed the former Chelsea defender Jeffrey Bruma from PSV Eindhoven.
Paris Saint-Germain may have lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic but they made a significant statement in signing the outstanding Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak from Sevilla for a fee thought to be not far shy of £30m. Thomas Meunier, the Belgium right-back, is another Euro 2016 success story to be setting down permanent roots in France – transferring from Club Brugge in his case – and then there is Hatem Ben Arfa, whose switch from Nice could go very, very well or quite the opposite.
Monaco’s addition of their own Pole, the centre-back Kamil Glik from across the Italian border at Torino, looks sage and much is expected too of the left-back Djibril Sidibé, whom they attracted from Lille despite the gimlet eye of Arsenal watching on. Young, talented left-backs seem to be the thing there – for Monaco have also shelled out for Marseille’s Benjamin Mendy. For those who like to roll back the years, Radamel Falcao is back from his better-left-unmentioned two years on loan in the Premier League.
Among a number of other big-name departures from Ligue 1 are the Marseille pair Michy Batshuayi and Steve Mandanda – to Chelsea and Crystal Palace respectively – along with Nice’s Nampalys Mendy, who has joined Leicester.
In Turkey, Fenerbahce have freshly snapped up Martin Skrtel from Liverpool, adding to the arrivals of Gregory van der Wiel and Schalke’s Roman Neustädter. The Turkish league has finally lost Alex Telles, though – he has signed for Porto from Galatasaray, having played on loan at Inter last year. Porto have also made permanent the signing of Miguel Layún from Watford and signed the lively João Teixeira from Liverpool.
Russia is not the popular pay-packet destination it once was, but CSKA Moscow have replaced the new Leicester signing Ahmed Musa with Lacina Traoré, on loan from Monaco. Rubin Kazan’s signing of the Belgium winger Maxime Lestienne from the Qatari club Al-Arabi raised an eyebrow or two, but big moves have generally been thin on the ground and the departure of Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg to Shanghai SIPG for £45.7m was a blow to the league.
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