With all the hundreds of millions of pounds spent this past summer, Europe was engaged in arguably its most exciting transfer window to date.
However, for every massive money deal that courts the attentive gaze of the public eye, there are moves that slip slightly further under the radar.
While the likes of Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil and Neymar are hard to miss when involved in the speculation, there are a multitude of talents that received far less attention that their talent actually deserves in recent months.
In the right circles, the following 10 players would undoubtedly have attracted their share of interest but should have been much more present in the general spectrum, as opposed to just the niche followings around the clubs or divisions involved.
The amount of media coverage given to a player can often speak volumes of that star’s ability, and those mentioned herein certainly deserved a lot more buzz if there’s any truth to that thesis.
All statistics come courtesy of Squawka.
From: Atletico Nacional
Highly tipped as one of South America’s finest young exports, Juan Quintero has seen his public profile come on leaps and bounds over the last 12 months.
The 20-year-old proved over the course of the 2012-13 Serie A campaign just how valuable an asset he can be in attacking midfield and managed 17 league appearances on loan with Pescara.
That was before the Colombian starred for his nation’s under-20 side at this summer’s World Cup, where he took the responsibility of being one of the team’s biggest stars firmly in this stride. It was then that Quintero really showed off his extraordinary turn of pace and acute eye for goal, scoring three goals and one assist in four outings.
Although he had been linked with numerous Serie A sides over the summer, Sky Sports announced in early July that the youngster had chosen to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Jackson Martinez, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez by joining Porto.
Purchased for a fee of just €5 million, there’s not a single doubt that the Portuguese giants will come to make a huge profit on the prospect in a few years’ time, evidenced by the fact that he now has a €40 million release clause.
Another Colombian Juan to have made the list is Fiorentina’s Cuadrado, who spent last season on loan in Florence but was quickly snapped up as a permanent transfer this summer.
According to Transfermarkt, La Viola have managed to lure the fiery South American to the shores for a fee as little as £4.4 million, which, in the context, is a pittance.
Last term, Cuadrado scored five goals and managed to pitch in with seven assists also, establishing himself as one of Serie A’s most consistent wide threats.
For whatever reason, the 25-year-old’s time in Udinese colours wasn’t as eventful as what it perhaps should have been, but the player’s progress in Fiorentina violet points to an altogether more powerful force.
The lack of coverage around Cuadrado’s most recent switch is especially surprising when one considers he already showed his potential in great numbers last term, but those outside Italy appear to have ignored his talent to an extent.
With so many big transfers going on in recent months, it’s easy to become distracted exclusively by the exciting, offensive moves taking place.
As a result, the more inconspicuous players, such as Tottenham’s Etienne Capoue, can fall into the backdrop somewhat.
With all the great business going on at White Hart Lane this summer, the former Toulouse star came to North London as one of the lesser-known stars but by no means less effective.
Last season, Capoue was one of Ligue 1’s standout stars and matched any of Europe’s top midfield anchors, averaging eight defensive actions per game and winning a marvellous 69 percent of all duels.
While definitely not one of the more flashy arrivals, the talk of who might and should join Andre Villas-Boas’ side this summer clouded the arrival of one of this summer’s savviest deals at just £9 million.
From: AC Milan
To: Schalke 04
On the day of Kaka’s return to AC Milan, it was the Brazilian who stole the majority of the headlines, coming back to a club where he won the 2007 Ballon d’Or and was a worldly force.
However, more attention should have been paid to the man he was ultimately replacing, Kevin-Prince Boateng, who the Telegraph say has become a Miner for a fee of €12 million.
Although not at this best in the last season or so, the Ghanaian’s move to the Veltins Arena should prove to be quite the coup for Schalke, who have brought in a very accomplished attacking midfielder.
Pardoning all puns, Boateng’s Bundesliga switch appeared somewhat out of the blue and wasn’t perhaps greeted with the intense admiration it surely warrants.
Boateng remains a superbly talented playmaker who should link up well with the likes of Julian Draxler, Jefferson Farfan and Max Meyer.
One of numerous Eredivisie exports who chose to leave their Dutch surroundings this summer, Filip Djuricic will now aim to continue his development at the Estadio Da Luz.
Early on in the transfer window, Sky Sports reported that the Eagles had stumped up a fee of €6 million for the 21-year-old, who scored seven goals and made seven assists in 32 league outings last season.
Djuricic, along with fellow Benfica newcomer Lazar Markovic, are looked upon as some of Serbia’s most promising starlets for the future, both having already featured heavily for the national team.
While the likes of Wilfried Bony, Jozy Altidore and Christian Eriksen are examples of players to have commanded much bigger fees after succeeding in the Dutch top flight last season, Djuricic is more of a bargain signing in that respect.
The attacking midfield maestro helped his side to a reasonable mid-table finish in the 2012-13 campaign, but can now expect to shine as part of a much bigger organisation.
From: Deportes Quindio
One of three Colombians on this list, Jherson Vergara speaks more for the fine defensive ranks that the nation is beginning to produce as opposed to the deep attacking reserves they’ve become renowned for of late.
Just 19 years of age, the centre-back is already making a name for himself as one of South America’s toughest customers in defence.
Considering the back line has been Milan’s more worrying aspect in recent seasons, Vergara couldn’t have timed his San Siro arrival much better, either.
Although still in the early stages of his development, the Rossoneri are sure to grow a player worth far more than the fee paid for his services, which Sky Sports' Summer Scout alleges could rise to £40 million.
To: Borussia Monchengladbach
Considering just how much money the likes of Mario Goetze, Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil have racked up in transfer fees over the last 18 months, it’s remarkable that Max Kruse moved for so little this summer.
In the end, Freiburg ended up selling the attacking asset to Bundesliga rivals Borussia Moenchengladbach for his release clause price of just €2.5 million, per ESPN.
While the fee isn’t surprising given that it was a standard buyout, what is surprising is that some bigger clubs weren’t eager to muscle in on the move.
While Germany’s midfield contains some of the biggest playmakers in the world, Kruse is a player now looking to move in on those ranks and develop a similar reputation, with all the tools necessary to do so.
In 33 Bundesliga starts last season, the 25-year-old scored 11 goals and made eight assists.
Following his move to The Foals, the forward has opened his league account with a further two goals and two assists in just four outings.
From: Guangzhou Evergrande
To: Spartak Moscow
The Robert Lewandowski before there was a Robert Lewandowski, Lucas Barrios fell into obscurity upon moving to the Chinese Super League in 2012.
The former Borussia Dortmund asset was prolific in his penultimate season at Signal Iduna Park and, although lacking the same finesse during his time with Guangzhou Evergrande, could revive his European career in Russia.
In the 2011-12 season, Barrios scored 16 goals and made six assists in 29 Bundesliga outings, eventually being phased out of the side by the emerging Lewandowski.
Spartak Moscow recently invested in the Paraguayan’s services for a fee which Goal.com believe to be in the region of €7 million.
The price could yet go on to pay great dividends for a squad vying for Russian Premier League honours this season, as long as they can provide "The Panther" with in-the-area prey to feed on.
To: Real Sociedad
Already stamping his mark on La Liga, Haris Seferovic is showing Fiorentina that they perhaps should have placed more faith in his talent.
Now at Real Sociedad, the 21-year-old is quickly becoming a fan favourite at the Rosaleda, netting a number of classy goals for his Spanish side, specifically in the Champions League.
Seferovic was barely given his chance to shine with La Viola, but he did have an impressive spell on loan with Novara for the latter half of the 2012-13 season.
In that term, the striker scored nine goals and recorded six assists in just 16 Serie B starts, including a hat-trick display at Livorno.
With that development in sight, one might have thought that the young forward would have attracted more of a spotlight, but relatively little attention followed the move.
In 2009, Seferovic was also a major part of the Swiss Under-17 side that won that year’s World Cup and would appear to be living up to expectations.
To: AS Monaco
In amongst all the major money splurging of Monaco’s summer, it’s actually a relatively small signature who could yet go on to be the club’s best purchase this summer.
According to Sky Sports, the only reason Anthony Martial was sold to the Ligue 1 big spenders in the first place was because of Bafetimbi Gomis’ unwillingness to move, even though Lyon needed to shift some players off the wage bill in order to balance their books.
As a result, Monaco landed one of France’s finest attacking starlets for a fee of just €5 million, a miniscule price in their eyes.
At just 17 years of age, Martial has already made several appearances for Les Bleus’ under-21 side and is likely to feature for the senior side at some point in the coming years.
Given the circumstance of his move, Martial’s move may not have made the headlines it should have, but the teenager certainly deserves to be held in as high an esteem as many his age tend to be these days.