20 Transfers Who Are Great Fits Tactically with Their New Clubs
The transfer window has only just opened, but clubs have been sealing deals and nailing business across Europe for months now. Over 100 transactions have already been ratified and confirmed this summer.
Here, B/R delves into the list of done deals and fishes out 20 of the most tactically astute and sensible pieces of business. Sometimes money is blown for the sake of it; sometimes marquee signings are made despite red flags. However, some moves are calculated, well thought through and wise.
Let's take a look at those players who are great tactical fits for their new clubs.
20. Alphonse Areola, Paris Saint-Germain to Villarreal (loan)
This transfer isn't much of a pure tactical match, but it is more a rare win-win situation for both clubs; it's not often things come together so perfectly.
With brilliant Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo out for most, if not all, of the 2015-16 season because of a torn ACL, the Yellow Submarine needed a one-year solution in the same way Southampton did after Fraser Forster suffered a long-term knee injury.
Step forward, Alphonse Areola. The young Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper, in need of first-team football at a good level, has joined Villarreal on loan for the forthcoming season. He's the perfect stopgap at the Madrigal while Asenjo recovers, PSG can satisfy his need for first-team football and the player is happy to play football.
19. Max Kruse, Borussia Monchengladbach to Wolfsburg
Despite qualifying for the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Monchengladbach, Max Kruse has switched allegiances to Wolfsburg.
That will be welcome news to Kevin De Bruyne and his fellow playmakers, who played the entire previous campaign without a genuinely reliable, intelligent striker ahead of them. Bas Dost scored in fits and starts and Nicklas Bendtner has just one goal to his name in the colours of Die Wolfe.
Kruse, who has begun making an impact with the Germany national team after earning coach Joachim Low's trust, should provide a consistent goalscoring presence and could take Wolfsburg up another notch.
18. Dimitri Payet, Marseille to West Ham
Dimitri Payet is West Ham United's marquee signing of the summer, secured from Marseille for eight figures and a hefty wage to boot.
Slaven Bilic worked well with Besiktas' attacking midfielders in his previous job, getting the best out of the likes of Olcay Sahan, and Payet represents a serious step up in terms of quality.
Hammers fans will be hoping Bilic gives Payet the keys and allows him to dictate games, raking passes across the pitch and ducking challenges en route to goal.
17. Micah Richards, Manchester City to Aston Villa
Micah Richards is a great fit for Aston Villa for the same reason Aly Cissokho is not: He attacks powerfully and concisely when moving out of defence, giving his team an extra physical edge when pushing forward.
Tim Sherwood has made it clear he wants his team to attack and that defensively cautious full-backs won't be tolerated. Even if Richards slides inside to centre-back, as Sky Sports hinted, he could bring some stability to a revolving door of a position for Villa.
Sherwood bemoaned the losing mentality of his team in his FA Cup final post-match press conference, so recruiting Richards—a Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup winner—is a strong step toward changing that.
16. Andrea Pirlo, Juventus to New York City FC
We've seen this type of transfer before in David Beckham, and we know it can work. Andrea Pirlo should fit New York City FC's style quite nicely, largely because he'll go a long way toward defining it.
Pirlo takes the pressure off Mix Diskerud to be the team's creator and brings a world-class element to the passing that could release David Villa over the top. It could be less hustle and bustle and more refined footballing art at Yankee Stadium now the Italian is in the mix.
15. Idrissa Gueye, Lille to Aston Villa
Aston Villa fans will hope Idrissa Gueye's elastic dribbling skills will complement, not replace, Fabian Delph's, but whatever the outcome of the latter's summer, the former is an ideal fit for the club.
Gueye's deal with Villa is subject to a work permit, but with 24 caps for Senegal over the last four years, it's believed the hearing will be a formality. When he does sign, Tim Sherwood will have secured himself an aggressive, ball-winning midfielder who can dribble forward and spark attacks too.
He's tenacious, physical and loves a duel; he'll love it in a Premier League midfield.
14. Yevhen Konoplyanka, Dnipro to Sevilla
Sevilla had an opening on the right flank coming into this summer, as Barcelona poached one of their finer performers from the 2014-15 season Aleix Vidal. Unai Emery looked to the free-transfer market once again to pull off a masterstroke.
Yevhen Konoplyanka—Ukraine's worst-kept footballing secret—played against Sevilla in the Europa League final this year, passing the final test and prompting Emery to pull the trigger.
The electric winger will be perfect for Emery's counter-attacking, reactive style, starting deep to find room to dribble and searing forward to fire off potshots.
13. Danny Ings, Burnley to Liverpool
Whether Danny Ings represents the requisite quality Liverpool need up front is another question entirely, but he is a great tactical fit for what Brendan Rodgers likes in his strikers.
Ings has shown the capability to play as a link forward yet also run in behind; he performed a pressing role for Sean Dyche at Burnley and proved his stamina and durability is right up there despite a knee injury earlier in his career.
A technically capable striker, Ings will be able to do everything asked of him at Liverpool. Can his finishing reach the next level to justify his place in the team?
12. Cedric Soares, Sporting CP to Southampton
Much has been made of Southampton's famous Black Box approach to transfers—their ability to identify like-for-like players and upgrades on departing stars is second to none in world football.
With Cedric Soares, the feeling is they've struck gold again. Sporting needed to sell because the player had reached the final 12 months of his contract. As such, the Saints bagged a bargain, paying just £5 million for a very good right-back who boasts many of the same qualities as Nathaniel Clyne.
In Cedric, Ronald Koeman has recruited a pacey, nifty player who boasts good feet, excellent poise and an attacking mantra. Clyne will be missed, but if Cedric proves to be just as good, they've made a profit in this position.
11. Sami Khedira, Real Madrid to Juventus
Sami Khedira, a World Cup winner and world champion at club level in 2014, has been criminally misused by Real Madrid over the past two seasons. Knee issues or not, his minutes have not tallied up.
Juventus won't make the same mistake, and they'll welcome Khedira into the fold with open arms. Andrea Pirlo's exit leaves a big hole, and the German's box-to-box ability, tactical nous and all-round experience will serve Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri well.
Whether he's unleashed or played in an anchor position, he'll work out rather nicely for the Bianconeri.
10. Toby Alderweireld, Atletico Madrid to Tottenham Hotspur
Despite Southampton pounding their fists on the table, Toby Alderweireld has joined Tottenham Hotspur from Atletico Madrid. All things considered, it's a great fit for player and club alike.
Alderweireld thrives in a higher line, which Mauricio Pochettino will play, and he's a ball-playing defender with the ability to start attacks and combine superbly with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen.
He's more thickset and physical than Vertonghen; concerns that they are too similar are perhaps fair but shouldn't weigh on the conscience too much.
9. Douglas Costa, Shakhtar Donetsk to Bayern Munich
Douglas Costa may not be the elite player Bayern Munich fans expected Pep Guardiola to purchase, but few can argue that, stylistically at least, he's not exactly what the club require.
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are key attacking players for Bayern, and their absences were felt sorely during another UEFA Champions League semi-final exit last season. Both aged over 30 and injury prone, it was time for Pep to source another dribbling threat.
Xherdan Shaqiri didn't work out, so now Costa is the man to whom Bayern have turned. He's a weaving, rapid, mobile dribbler who plays in the hole or out wide. As long as he curbs his shoot-on-sight instincts, there's a chance he'll prove to be worth the €30 million outlay.
8. Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton to Liverpool
Not only is Nathaniel Clyne a marked step up in terms of quality compared to Glen Johnson, he's also an excellent fit for what Brendan Rodgers has tended to ask of his full-backs at Liverpool.
The former Southampton man is demonic going forward and capable of holding the width to stretch the pitch for those inside him. He's got the recovery pace to mop up defensively too.
He projects to play well in any formation, be it 4-3-3, a diamond, 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3.
7. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Monaco to Internazionale
The price (€35 million) is somewhat eye-watering here, but the tactical fit is undeniable.
Geoffrey Kondogbia is about as close as you can get to a raw Yaya Toure, with the combination of his somatotype, aggression and ability to drift forward a rare commodity in world football.
Pairing that with Roberto Mancini, who encouraged great football from Toure at Manchester City, and placing him alongside a committed destroyer in Gary Medel to cover the gaps is a great plan for success.
Some statement signings, such as Robinho to Man City, are horrible fits. But Kondogbia to Inter makes sense.
6. Paulo Dybala, Palermo to Juventus
Paulo Dybala's exceptional season had most of Europe's elite chasing his signature, but Juventus, predictably, secured it nice and promptly, stepping up their preparation for the 2015-16 season in style.
The Argentinian is a flashy forward, capable of dipping in and out of the line to create and score, boasts good instincts and has been compared to Lionel Messi by Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini, relayed by JOE.co.uk.
With Carlos Tevez—arguably Serie A's best player in 2014-15—back in Argentina, Dybala comes in as the "next Tevez" and looks equipped to fill the role.
5. Miranda, Atletico Madrid to Internazionale
Very few transfers in football are win-win, but Miranda's move from Atletico Madrid to Internazionale feels like one of those.
Atleti have Jose Maria Gimenez progressing so rapidly they're struggling to keep him out of the XI. His connection with compatriot Diego Godin is undeniable, so Miranda, despite his excellence, became expendable.
Given his age (30), Diego Simeone is probably right to cash in on him while he can. Needy Internazionale were happy to take the player off Atleti's hands, and the Brazilian—a proper thumper of a centre-back, physically strong yet tactically intuitive—is a wonderful fit for a Roberto Mancini defence.
4. Roberto Firmino, Hoffenheim to Liverpool
As with Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino is a classic Brendan Rodgers forward and, on paper, stands to benefit immensely from a system that will suit him down to the ground.
But where Ings is likely a squad player—he's taken the No. 28 shirt and pledged to "keep my head down and work hard," per Liverpool's official website—Firmino is a £29 million star player. He needs to start fast, score goals and combine with Philippe Coutinho in the way many Reds fans are expecting.
Whether he's a false nine or one of two in a diamond, the squad is built to service him, and he should thrive on Merseyside.
3. Memphis Depay, PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United
In Memphis Depay, Manchester United have the raw ingredients to make another Cristiano Ronaldo. Quick, powerful, direct and willing to shoot, the Dutch winger could be the next Old Trafford hero if his development is overseen correctly.
He's joined up with Louis van Gaal—a man he trusts explicitly, one who had the foresight to utilise him as an effective super-sub at the 2014 FIFA World Cup—placing his faith in him as a coach, hoping he's the man to extract that extra 10 per cent.
If Depay is cared for, he's a world-class forward in the making. Old Trafford is the perfect place for him to continue his development.
2. Andre Ramalho, Red Bull Salzburg to Bayer Leverkusen
The weird and wonderful world in which managers such as Roger Schmidt live creates very specific needs and circumstances, limiting them in the transfer market.
Schmidt has taken his wacky blueprint from Red Bull Salzburg to Bayer Leverkusen, and after a reasonably successful maiden campaign in charge, he has sought reinforcements who understand his style.
Andre Ramalho, a man who played under Schmidt at RB Salzburg in both central-defensive and defensive-midfield roles, is most certainly a good fit. He was free too.
1. Aleix Vidal, Sevilla to Barcelona
Aleix Vidal to Barcelona couldn't be a better fit; it ticks all the boxes required to top this list.
He started the season as a direct right winger, utilising pace and positivity to make room down the flank. But Unai Emery began moving him to right-back partway through games Sevilla were chasing, bringing on Jose Antonio Reyes ahead of him and asking Vidal to continue to rampage forward from defence.
It was very, very Dani Alves-esque, and although Barcelona extended the Brazilian's deal in June, Vidal comes in as a like-for-like rotational option to a man who is getting on in years (32). Better yet, he's Catalan! It fits on every level.