Top 5 South American Stars Who Moved in the Summer Transfer Window
In every transfer window, top talents from South America are almost certain to play an integral part. Be they from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil or beyond, the continent is a breeding ground for some of the players which command top dollar in the months of frantic buying and selling.
Summer 2013 was no exception. Among the many transfers that took place across Europe, many of the most eye-catching moves involved players from South America. Some of the stars are already well-established on the Continent, while others will be taking their first European steps in 2013/14 after impressing in their home nations.
But which transfers made the most noise in the Southern Hemisphere? Here are some of the biggest moves involving South American players during the summer transfer window.
5. Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid to Napoli)
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Argentine sharpshooter Gonzalo Higuain had only worn the white of Madrid since embarking on his European adventure back in 2006. Since that move from River Plate, aged just 19, the prolific striker scored at a rate of just under one goal a game for the Merengue.
Crucially though, Higuain never quite managed to convince successive coaches that he could shoulder the attack on his own. The departure of Jose Mourinho made an exit for the 25 year old look ever more likely.
Fuelled by the income from Edinson Cavani's sale, it was Napoli who stole a march on the likes of Arsenal to bring Higuain to Southern Italy. The £34.5m striker, according to the BBC, scored in his first start for the club, but his introduction was somewhat interrupted by a freak accident in which Pipita cut his face jumping off a boat, reported by Yahoo!.
4. Paulinho (Corinthians to Tottenham)
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While the drawn-out sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid dominated the headlines, Tottenham conducted their purchases in a far more efficient, effective manner. Among the various new names that make up the Spurs team sheet for 2013/14, this industrious yet creative midfielder could prove to be one of the most astute signings.
At 25, the Brazil international moved at the peak of his powers from Brazil, where with Corinthians he was crowned South American and world champion in 2012. An integral part of Felipao's plans for the upcoming World Cup and massively underrated for his ball-carrying and scoring talents, Paulinho could pay back many times over the bargain £17.5m Tottenham handed over for his services.
3. Neymar (Santos to Barcelona)
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Ever since Neymar burst onto the scene with Santos and Brazil back in 2010, speculation over when (and where) he would move to Europe has been incessant. This summer, and despite stating just a month previously he would be staying put until 2014 to Radio Bandeirantes (via Goal.com), we finally received the answer.
Days after the resumption of transfer business, Neymar had been announced as a teammate of Argentina rival Lionel Messi, instantly forming one of the most tantalising attacking partnerships in world football. The Brazilian is slowly coming to terms with the Spanish game, but as Barca have begun the league with three straight victories his skill and self-sacrifice have already been more than apparent.
2. Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid to Monaco)
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The deadly Colombian striker was just one half of a fantastic Cafetero double swoop for Monaco, as the Cote d'Azur side look to reestablish themselves back in the top flight and hunt for glory. Falcao will line up this year alongside compatriot James Rodriguez; and if their form together in the national team and prevously for Porto is any indication, it will be a very fruitful partnership.
El Tigre cost Monaco, according to the Guardian, a mammoth £50m, making him one of the most expensive signings of the window. But with three goals in his opening four appearances, it is already looking money very well spent.
Another French club, however, trumped the signing of Falcao with an even bigger fee...
1. Edinson Cavani (Napoli to Paris Saint-Germain)
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Just like Falcao, Uruguayan hit man Edinson Cavani appeared to be coveted by all of Europe's top footballing institutions. And just like the Colombian, he chose to try his luck in Ligue 1 and complete what was another transfer coup for the Nouveau Riche powers of Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG, as reported by BBC, shattered the French spending record to bring Cavani to Parc des Princes, shelling out around £55m for the privilege. The fact that the fee was a fraction higher than what Monaco paid for Falcao, ensuring the record would be broken, is surely just a coincidence.
With 38 and 34 goals respectively in the last season, Cavani and Falcao bring their free-scoring ways to France and promise to begin a fascinating competition; one which could rival that of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's eternal battle for the Pichichi trophy.
One thing is for sure: French football and fans, no matter who comes out on top in the scoring stakes, will be the winners.