Transfer Window Review: Evaluating the 10 Most Significant Summer Deals
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
This article will evaluate the 10 most significant summer transfer deals.
There are several key elements in determining what a significant summer transfer deal is: the club he signs for, if the player will be an important member of the team and whether or not his signing improves the club’s chances of winning.
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10. Robin Van Persie, Centre Forward, Age: 29
From Arsenal to Manchester United for £24 million (€30.3 million)
With Wayne Rooney out for the foreseeable future, hindsight says the Robin van Persie signing makes sense, but it’s not a smart signing.
£24 million for an injury-prone 29-year-old forward who could have been signed for free next season is foolhardy.
Anderson, Owen Hargreaves, Rio Ferdinand and Tom Cleverley have all been held back by injuries. Prior to last season, van Persie’s injury record included a fractured metatarsal, a knee ligament tear and ruptured ankle ligaments.
In 11 seasons, he has only played 40 games or more in a season three times.
How can van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa play in the same lineup? They can’t. One of the three will fail to live up to expectations.
A 4-4-2 forces an out-and-out attacker in Kagawa to play in centre midfield. A 4-2-3-1 means either Van Persie or Rooney will start on the bench. However, a concession can be made with one of the two starting in a wide-attacking position.
£24 million to play van Persie out wide—really? If Rooney operates as an inside-out left attacking midfielder, will he be fine with that role? No. He did his time playing second-fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo.
To fit Rooney, van Persie and Shinji Kagawa into a starting XI, you’d have to use a football manager formation like a 4-3-2-1 or a 4-3-1-2.
There’s a reason why the majority of European clubs use the 4-2-3-1—it’s balanced across the field.
By the way, Chicharito is one of the most efficient forwards in the world right now. Signing van Persie basically means adios, Javier.
League Only (11-12) ||Goals||Shots Per Goal|
9. Lukas Podolski, Deep-Lying Forward, Age: 27
David Rogers/Getty Images
From Köln to Arsenal: £10.9 million (€13.9 million)
£10.9 million for someone of Lukas Podolski’s pedigree, his experience and his ability to competently play all the attacking positions is another example of Arsène Wenger negotiating a highly advantageous deal for Arsenal.
Podolski’s best position is behind the centre forward, but Santi Cazorla is producing magnificent performances as the No. 10.
The Spaniard’s best position is as a false winger, which is the role Podolski played against Stoke City. It’s a thankless task because the tracking back and the additional functions that the job entails often goes unnoticed.
In the 0-0 draw against Sunderland, Podolski struggled up front, but don’t forget that he carried Köln last season as the No. 9 after father time caught up with Milivoje Novaković.
Should Olivier Giroud go down with a long-term injury, Arsène Wenger can slot Podolski up front.
The primary concern with Podolski is whether or not he can be productive out wide.
8. Javi Martínez, Defensive Midfielder, Age: 23
From Athletic Bilbao to Bayern Munich for €40 million (£31.7 million)
The €40 million transfer fee does stand out but understand this, in Javi Martínez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich now have the best defensive midfield partnership in the world.
Obviously, if Jupp Heynckes plays Martínez at centre-back like Marcelo Bielsa, then Bayern have wasted €40 million.
7. Olivier Giroud, Centre Forward, Age: 25
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
From Montpellier to Arsenal: £12 million (€15.3 million)
Ryan Shawcross needed every bit of help from his partner, Robert Huth, to contain Olivier Giroud.
When it was man to man, Shawcross was weaker and slower than Giroud, which the Frenchman took advantage of.
Giroud shanked a shot against Sunderland and almost scored in spectacular fashion against Stoke City. He’s getting closer and he just needs that one goal to open the flood gates.
He’s physically dominant, technically skilled, scores from long range, poaches goals and leads the line—no wonder Louis Nicollin originally demanded £42-50 million.
Arsène Wenger being Arsène Wenger managed to negotiate the transfer fee down to £12 million, which, in the process, short-changed Montpellier.
6. Shinji Kagawa, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 23
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
From Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United for £12 million (€15.2 million)
Shinji Kagawa's decision to sign for Manchester United seemed wrong because there was no way that Sir Alex Ferguson would throw away the 4-4-2 for Kagawa.
After all, Ferguson didn’t build the team around Juan Sebastián Verón, so why would Kagawa be any different?
Well, Ferguson finally shelved the outdated 4-4-2, which enables Kagawa to play as a centre attacking midfielder. In this position, he will be one of the best players in the league.
Ferguson has to stick by the Japanese international and resist the temptation of reverting back to the 4-4-2; a change that would see Kagawa start out wide or in centre midfield.
Kagawa isn’t a centre midfielder; he’s 100 percent attack-minded with no defensive qualities, so playing him there makes no sense.
When he plays for Japan, he looks dejected out wide because he desperately wants to play in Keisuke Honda’s position.
5. Marco Reus, Deep-Lying Forward, Age: 23
From Borussia Mönchengladbach to Borussia Dortmund for €17.5 million (£13.9 million)
With Shinji Kagawa’s departure, Marco Reus will slot straight in as the centre attacking midfielder.
The German is a better dribbler, a more incisive passer and just a better player than Kagawa.
League Only (11-12) ||Reus||Kagawa|
|Shots Per Goal||5.2||4.8|
|Shots Created Per Game||2.3||1.8|
|Dribbles Per Game||2.9||2|
4. Santi Cazorla, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 27
David Rogers/Getty Images
From Málaga to Arsenal for £16 million (€20.2 million)
You may know him as Santi Cazorla—I call him Mr. Consistent because he rarely ever has a bad game. From 2006-2012, he was one of La Liga’s best midfielders.
What makes him a standout is his completeness: he can tackle, he can orchestrate play, he can create and dribble.
He’s made the false 11 his own position and Lukas Podolski is an elite deep-lying forward, so Arsène Wenger has a conundrum on his hands.
Though, for years, you always wondered, what if Cazorla just started as the No. 10? For Arsenal, he’s showing the world that he’s a genius.
3. Eden Hazard, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 21
Michael Regan/Getty Images
From Lille to Chelsea for £32 million (€40.4 million)
Eden Hazard has scored once, provided four assists and won two penalties in three league games—what a superstar.
The amount of assists he’s accumulated, one of which was him being in front of goal and setting up Branislav Ivanović for an easy tap-in, contradicts the perception of Hazard being an egotist.
2. Thiago Silva, Centre-Back, Age: 27
From AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain for €42 million (£33.2 million)
Last season, Mamadou Sakho was subpar. Diego Lugano’s defending was atrocious. Zoumana Camara, Alex and Milan BiŠevac were not good enough to be starters—especially for a club with such grandiose plans.
If not for Salvatore Sirigu’s heroics, Paris Saint-Germain would have conceded so many more goals.
Thiago Silva’s professionalism and endeavour to be the best will spur Sakho to be great.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimović, Centre Forward, Age: 30
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
From AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain for €23 million (£18.2 million)
Having sold Thiago Silva for €42 million, why did AC Milan undersell Zlatan Ibrahimović for €23 million?
Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t rate Kévin Gameiro, who is a Jermain Defoe-type forward.
Ibrahimović changes the way opposing teams defend because they have to figure out a way to restrain his ability to score, create and lead the line.
Barring injury, Gameiro will on the benches watching Ibrahimović saunter past defenders and scoring goals with ease.
Ibrahimović is a world-class forward who will turn PSG into one of the most dangerous teams in Europe.