The summer transfer window has been robust with player moves across leagues, countries and even continents.
Throughout all of Europe's major leagues, there's been a stack of summer deals with massive implications for the season ahead, as well as the world football order in general.
Some are obvious (like Neymar joining Barcelona) but there's others that weren't as flashy, but just as important.
Read on to see which completed deals this summer will have the biggest implications in the world of football in the weeks and seasons to come.
From: Athletic Bilbao
For: Free transfer
We kick off our list of important transfers with one that was technically made earlier in the season. A frustrated Fernando Llorente refused to renew his contract at Athletic Bilbao, opening the door for other teams to sign him at season's end.
Juventus swooped in, and nabbed one of the best free transfers in recent history.
Llorente is a dynamic goal-scorer who will thrive at the top of any attack, but especially one with a world-class midfield like Juventus' possesses.
Juve boast the likes of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal in central midfield, and now with Llorente and Carlos Tevez at the top of their attack, the reigning Italian champions are a team to watch out for in the Champions League this year.
The arrival of Llorente could vault Juventus from being an extremely good club to a potential world heavyweight, and one capable of taking down the likes of reigning European champs Bayern Munich. Speaking of which...
From: Borussia Dortmund
To: Bayern Munich
For: £31.6 million
Bayern Munich already completed the rare accomplishment of becoming treble-winning champions this past summer. They have an immense squad with a plethora of talent, but with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola arriving this summer, it seems that they felt another star or two was needed.
Borussia Dortmund were left helpless as star playmaker Mario Goetze (one of the best young players in the world), switched German clubs following activation of his release clause.
Goetze's arrival at Bayern likely to have plenty of ramifications, and it will be fascinating to observe how Guardiola lines up his team. The youngster could feature in a false-nine role, as a wide playmaker or even as a central midfielder depending on the team and what other players are around him, but his position won't really matter in terms of potential impact.
Goetze is a world-class playmaker, and one that could very well keep Bayern at the top of world football for many, many years to come.
From: Atletico Madrid
To: AS Monaco
For: £50 million
Radamel Falcao has extraordinarily high expectations to live up to at AS Monaco.
The French club—looking to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for national dominance—has spent an incredible amount of money this summer on several world-class players including James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho, but the biggest catch of them all is Falcao, arguably the best striker in the world.
The Colombian is a goal-scoring machine and a player who can flip the balance of power in France quickly over to Monaco. PSG still boasts a strong club, especially with the addition of Edinson Cavani, but Monaco have the potential to challenge for the Ligue 1 title solely because of the addition of Falcao.
From: Shakhtar Donetsk
To: Manchester City
For: £35 million
Manchester City might have overpaid for Fernandinho, but there's no doubting that the player himself has the potential to make a huge impact at the Etihad Stadium next season.
Fernandinho is a tremendous central midfielder and can do it all in attack and defense. He loves having the ball ahead of him—allowing him to push forward and release an attacker ahead of him—but he's also very capable tracking back and winning possession at the same time.
The arrival of Fernandinho will be most important, however, in the way that it helps Yaya Toure. The City playmaker was forced to play a lot deeper last season than he would have liked, but with Fernandinho now taking up that holding midfielder role, Toure can push forward to where he is more comfortable and contribute to the Citizens' attack most effectively—as a central attacking playmaker.
And what an impact that could have, indeed.
From: Celta Vigo
For: £7 million
Iago Aspas' deal to Liverpool might not have seemed like the biggest deal of the summer, and it isn't. But with Luis Suarez's transfer situation seemingly becoming more and more confusing by the day, Aspas' transfer could turn out to be a huge blessing for the Reds this summer.
Last transfer window—for whatever reason—Liverpool were left without a striker to partner Suarez, largely because they didn't make the moves they needed to make. And while there's no guarantee that Suarez will leave this summer (although Real Madrid and Arsenal are both chasing, per The Sun), should the Uruguayan leave at the last minute, Liverpool won't be as ill-prepared as they were in 2012.
Aspas is a highly underrated striker who is brilliant with the ball at his feet. He is a natural finisher and a great potential replacement for Suarez, should it come to that for Liverpool.
Liverpool's slow start last season cost them a chance to play European football in 2012; having Aspas there will stop them from having the same problems (and potentially same slow start) in 2013.
To: FC Barcelona
For: £48.6 million
It might have been talked about for years, but Neymar's transfer to Barcelona finally happened this summer—and now it seems the fun can begin for La Blaugrana.
Neymar is a world-class player who needs no further introducing than that. So to partner him with arguably the world's best forward in Lionel Messi and arguably the world's best playmaker in Andres Iniesta is simply incredible, and one that will have huge ramifications for world football.
Barcelona already won La Liga and made the semifinals of the Champions League without Neymar last year, so imagine what they can do now that he's arrived at the club.
It's a big transfer with big expectations, but Neymar is a big-game player.
He'll prove that to be the case in the years to come.
To: Real Madrid
For: £23 million
With Barcelona purchasing Neymar, Real Madrid seemingly needed to respond in order to keep up with their Spanish rivals—and they did in a big way. And while the transfer fee was less than half of what Barcelona paid for Neymar, I'd say that the arrival of Isco to Madrid is just as important—if not more important—than the arrival of the Brazilian international to Camp Nou.
In a Malaga team bereft at times of attacking options, Isco was incredible in both La Liga and the Champions League—scoring goals and setting them up alike.
He's a great fit into the heart of Madrid's midfield and will receive a huge boost by having the likes of Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso behind him, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil alongside him and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of him—ready to capitalize on any opportunity created.
Isco is familiar with the style of La Liga, so he won't take as long to adjust in his new team. And if he can carry over the form that he showed last season with Malaga, he could very well make Real Madrid the team to beat in both Spanish (and perhaps European) football once more.
Bold, but true.
To: Atletico Madrid
For: Season-long loan
Having already spent a season on loan with Spanish club Atletico Madrid, Thibaut Courtois' decision to re-sign with the club for another year might not have seemed like such a big deal. However, for both Madrid and Spanish football alike, it could not be further from the truth.
Atletico will feature in the Champions League competition this year, and if they're at all going to progress in the competition, Courtois must shine again for the club. He was tremendous at times for Atletico last season, and if he can display that form again this year he will be in a great position come 2014—which is where the biggest ramifications of Courtois' transfer come into play.
Belgium are—in the eyes of many—a potential darkhorse at the 2014 World Cup, and if they're going to challenge the likes of Brazil and Spain, they will need Courtois to be playing at his best. To do that, the shot-stopper is going to need plenty of minutes on the field, which he will get now that he's starting for Atletico rather than warming the bench behind Chelsea No. 1 Petr Cech.
The potential ramifications are a long way down the track, but Courtois' transfer (and subsequent playing time) could be a huge thing for the Belgium international team.
From: Saint Etienne
To: Borussia Dortmund
For: £11 million
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an absolute steal at £11 million.
Saint Etienne were never going to be able to keep hold of the Gabon international, but for him to go at just a fifth of what Edinson Cavani is likely to be bought for? Well, that's just incredible, and a wonderful bit of business again by the deceptively shrewd Juergen Klopp.
Aubameyang is a dynamic finisher and forward who can feature anywhere across an attacking line. With Dortmund already having Robert Lewandowski at the top of their attack and Marco Reus to play the No. 10 role, Aubameyang is likely to play on either the left or right flanks—though he could also feature at the top of the attack alongside Lewandowski from time to time, depending on the situation.
Throw in the natural development that all strikers/forwards seem to undergo with Klopp—who just knows how to get the best out of them—and this is a potentially huge transfer indeed. The thought of losing Gotze might have appeared to knock Dortmund back a few pegs, but this signing (as well as one more we'll get to shortly) should keep the German giants as one of the best teams in world football for a lot longer still.
Back-to-back Champions League finals is still a real possibility.
From: Vitesse Arnhem
For: £8 million
The ramifications of Marco van Ginkel's transfer to Chelsea won't be seen this season.
That's not to say that the central midfielder won't get a decent amount of playing time given the myriad of competitions that Chelsea have to play in, but it does mean that he won't have his biggest impact in 2013. No, that will come in 2014—after Frank Lampard has left the West London club.
Lampard is on a one-year deal with the Blues, and with talk of his retirement or move to MLS almost winning out this summer, it's hard to see him going another year with Chelsea. Especially not after they went out and bought Van Ginkel, who is the Englishman's natural replacement in central midfield.
With a year to learn from Lampard, Van Ginkel could very well develop into an exceptional central midfielder. He is already blessed with great positioning, timing and passing ability, and if he can continue his vision and durability, could become one of the Blues' best in midfield.
After all, goal-scoring box-to-box midfielders are usually pretty good at Chelsea.
To: Tottenham Hotspur
For: £17 million
Tottenham Hotspur are seemingly one striker away from being a very, very good football team. They're already on the precipice of Champions League qualification and, with Gareth Bale remaining at the club this summer, are seemingly poised to launch a real challenge at the European competition.
And when they do, watch for Paulinho to be the catalyst.
Paulinho was superb at the Confederations Cup for Brazil, and his combination with Sandro will be potentially dynamic in central midfield. Throw in the fact they have an underrated Mousa Dembele floating around in there as well—plus Bale—and Spurs' midfield is suddenly very, very good.
Oh yeah, and Lewis Holtby out wide.
Paulinho offers Spurs a dynamic presence going forward as well as going back, and allows them to dominate the middle like they threatened to do at times last year. Tottenham will win Champions League qualification this year, and it will be the transfer of Paulinho (to play alongside Sandro that does it).
Talk about a big ramification.
From: Shakhtar Donetsk
To: Borussia Dortmund
For: £23.5 million
Back to Borussia Dortmund, and the money that they got from Mario Goetze's transfer has certainly been put to good use with the purchase of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mkhitaryan was ultra-impressive in the Champions League and is a very savvy midfielder indeed—one that will thrive given the depth of attacking talent around him at Dortmund. He is a natural playmaker and one that can certainly record some big numbers in the assist column next season as a result.
His finishing is also not to be underrated, and if defenders lay off him to pick up the likes of Lewandowski, Reus and Aubameyang, he's more than capable of netting some big goals. That should cause plenty of pressure for opposing defenses, and open up more space for the players mentioned above, which could lead Dortmund to again be one of the best attacking teams in European football.
A down year after their near-miss in the Champions League last year? Hardly. With Mkhitaryan in the team, look for Dortmund to again be a major player in both Germany and Europe in the 2013-14 season.
From: Bayern Munich
For: £17 million
Gomez appears to suffer in part because he seems such an unmodern footballer... It's very hard to isolate one aspect of his game and say he excels at it... He is, rather, just an old-fashioned centre-forward, somebody who has a knack of scoring goals.
It is almost as though across Europe a phalanx of teams on the verge of Champions League qualification have decided that if he is not quite good enough for Bayern then he is not good enough for them. It may be, though, that by recognising they are not quite of the elite, Fiorentina have picked up a very serviceable centre-forward.
Alberto Aquilani, Borja Valero, Juan Cuadrado, Joaquin, Adem Ljajic, Guiseppe Rossi and now, Mario Gomez. Even if Steven Jovetic leaves this summer, Fiorentina have a mightily impressive squad and could very well make a mark in both Italian and European competitions this season.
And with the midfield he has behind him, Gomez could well be the catalyst.
For: £4.3 million
We touched on him for a brief moment in the slide before, but it's worth noting Juan Cuadrado's move to Fiorentina separate from that of Gomez. For while the striker will attract all the headlines this summer, it's the move of Cuadrado (for less than £5 million) that could also be equally significant.
Cuadrado was a prolific dribbler when he was with Lecce—leading the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi in dribbles per game. And while those numbers dropped somewhat last year, the 25-year-old wing-back still finished with a very impressive stat-sheet for the 2012-13 season, as compiled by WhoScored.
- Higher average match rating than Marek Hamsik
- More assists than Eric Lamela or Hernanes
- Second in league for dribbles per game
- Equal tackles per game as Kwadwo Asamoah and Paul Pogba
- More man-of-match awards than Arturo Vidal or Francesco Totti
With European experience beckoning, Fiorentina have the potential to be the real breakthrough team in world football this year, and if that happens, it'll be players like Cuadrado who make that work.
From: Vitesse Arnhem
To: Swansea City
For: £12 million
Swansea City stunned everyone last year with the signing of Michu, who was arguably the Premier League's best player for the first half of the season. Now, with another summer transfer window in progress, the Swans are looking to make serious headway once more, and with signings like Wilfried Bony, there's no doubt that they are certainly on their way.
Bony is a physical player who will thrive at the top of the Swans' attack. He has great movement and an inane ability to find space, which should in turn help free the likes of Michu to have an impact as well.
The past season, Bony scored 38 goals in 39 matches for club and country, and while he won't reach the same sort of numbers at the Liberty Stadium, he will still see plenty of goals come his way—which could very well make Swansea City again the team to watch in the Premier League.
Swansea won the Capital One Cup last season and are playing European football this year as a result. Having Bony gives them "something extra," and with the 24-year-old in their team, the Swans will definitely be a danger side to watch for in the year ahead.
For: £12.5 million
Victor Wanyama was originally being touted as a potential signing for Manchester United. Then Manchester City had reportedly joined the chase according to The Daily Mail. However, out of all the teams to land the Celtic star this summer, it was Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton.
How it happened is a story for another day. Why it happened is the real focus, with Wanyama's arrival almost instantly making the Saints a very good team indeed.
Combined with Morgan Schneiderlin, Wanyama has the potential to become one of England's best central midfielders. He is a strong and natural tackler who will dominate the center of the field with ease—using his athletic ability going forward to ensure the Saints aren't bogged down in the middle.
Wanyama is a raw, but defensively better, version of Yaya Toure.
What ramifications his transfer will have still remain to be seen, but this deal cannot be underrated. Southampton (with Wanyama) are definitely capable of making the top 10 in the Premier League now and a potential darkhorse to watch for in the Capital One Cup, or even FA Cup, next year.
From: FC Barcelona
For: Season-long loan
Everton fans are gleefully excited about the thought of next season now that they have Gerard Deulofeu on loan for the year—and so they should be.
The Barcelona youngster is one of the brightest young prospects in world football and will thrive under the constant starting appearances he's likely to receive at Goodison Park. Deulofeu is a very well-rounded player who is still raw, but has the potential to one of the Premier League's best playmakers.
Deulofeu can do it all—passing, shooting, dribbling—and with a number of great midfielders around him, will have Everton primed for another strong season. The Toffees were close to a top-four berth last season, and if they can hang on to the likes of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini this summer, have the potential to make some serious noise in the Premier League next year.
And with Deulofeu pulling the strings, that's certainly worth watching out for.
For: £11.2 million
Upon first glance at the transfer fee, it seems like Juventus have perhaps paid a little too much for a player who didn't have the greatest of seasons and might not even get a start in the Old Lady's first team.
Yet while both of those statements might be correct, there's no doubting that the signing of Ogbonna is still a very smart one for Juve. The defender is a strong tackler who possesses a brilliant passing game, and in years to come, may very well nab one of the starting CB spots in Juventus' system.
Ogbonna will learn quick smart under Antonio Conte and will thrive alongside the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. The Italian champions will play in a number of domestic and European games this year, so Ogbonna is still likely to receive plenty of playing time, and will quickly show the people of Turin as to why he was such a crucial summer transfer.
The signing of Ogbonna is solely based around the future of the Old Lady, and one that can keep Juventus' defense as the best in Italy for many seasons to come.
From: FC Barcelona
To: Bayern Munich
For: £21.6 million
Did Bayern Munich need Thiago Alcantara? Not in the slightest.
So why on earth would Pep Guardiola fork out so much money for the Barcelona youngster? Was it just to prove that he has mass pulling appeal? Was it in order to strengthen Bayern Munich's incredible midfield for the year ahead? Was it just because he knows firsthand how good Thiago could be?
Whatever reason it was, Guardiola's move is one that has huge ramifications—some which might not have instantly been connected with the player or club in some sense.
Barcelona are now without arguably their best young talent and are more likely to keep the likes of Gerard Deulofeu once he finishes his lone spell. Without Thiago, they're now more unlikely to sell Cesc Fabregas as well, who has drawn the interest of Manchester United according to BBC Sport. United—as well—are only tracking Fabregas because they missed out on Thiago in the first place.
As for Bayern, don't be surprised to see the arrival of Thiago potentially see an exit or two in return. Everyone wants to play for a champion, but there comes a time when playing time matters more, and for many Bayern players, that simply isn't going to be the case this year.
Could further world-class players be up on offer next year or the year after, all because they're not getting enough playing time at Bayern? It's a real possibility, that's for sure.
Long term, Thiago's transfer could have some huge ramifications.
To: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
For: £8.8 million
Last but certainly not least is Asian superstar Heung-Min Son, who signed for Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the summer transfer window. Leverkusen were one of the real surprises last season and will play European football this year as a result—which is exactly where star striker Son belongs.
Son is an ambidextrous forward who can feature in whatever role is required. With Andre Schuerrle off to Chelsea, the South Korean phenom will likely play in the quasi No. 9 role that Schurrle featured in—a role that he should thrive in. According to Bleacher Report's Allan Jiang, the last time he was played in that role, he ended up scoring more goals than Neymar (at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup).
The striker snubbed interest from Borussia Dortmund to join Leverkusen according to Goal, and he'll likely be the focal point in their attempt to prove their European existence next season. Which, with the likes of Robbie Kruse joining the club and Stefan Kießling staying on, seems very plausible indeed.
Thought Bayer Leverkusen's big year was the 2012-13 season?
The signing of Heung-Min Son may very well prove differently.
Which transfers do you think will have the biggest ramifications?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre