European Transfer News: Top 15 Impact Signings of the Summer

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IAugust 18, 2011

European Transfer News: Top 15 Impact Signings of the Summer

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    The summer transfer window is one in which a number of clubs make important signings in order to strengthen the quality of the team while every team looks to hold on to their best players and possibly make additions to the team as well. All the major European teams have the capability to spend money on transfers, while there are some others like PSG and Malaga who have also spent plenty of money in the transfer market.

    A number of protracted transfer sagas such as the one with Cesc Fabregas have come to an end, while there could be many more official signings before the transfer deadline, before which all clubs will look to complete their deals. New signings are very important for clubs because they could offer something different to the team and also, could rejuvenate a team bereft of confidence going into the season.

    There have been a number of interesting signings in this transfer window so far, and here are 15 impact signings who could make the difference in the league and also in European competitions in the future.

1. Gervinho

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    Arsenal have endured a difficult summer, and Arsene Wenger faces one of his toughest phases in his long tenure with the North London based club. The Gunners have lost Cesc Fabregas, who finally completed his move to Barcelona, and with Samir Nasri's situation uncertain as of now, it is imperative that Wenger brings in quality players to the team. The Gunners' manager has brought in talented youngsters Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it is Gervinho, who was signed from Lille, who could have the biggest impact for the Gunners.

    The Ivory Coast international is a very talented player and was one of the best performers for Lille in the last season, helping them win the French league. Though the tricky winger was sent off on his league debut against Newcastle, it is clear that he could be a key performer for the Gunners this season because he always presents a threat. 

    Gervinho still has some way to go before becoming a successful player in the Premiership. The versatile winger has to work on his final ball because he utilizes his pace to great effect, and if the final pass is better, he could create much more goal opportunities. However, he has the opportunity to work with one of the best managers in the game and is certain to further improve on his talent at Arsenal.

2. Sergio Aguero

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    Sergio Aguero had one of the best Premier League debuts, scoring two excellent goals and demonstrating what he is capable of in the future. Manchester City possess one of the strongest squads in the Premiership, but last season, they did lack ideas in the final third on some occasions and were reliant on Carlos Tevez to provide the breakthrough. However, the addition of Aguero is a big impact signing for City, as they now have a player who is capable of unlocking stubborn defences with moments of brilliance.

    In his short cameo against Swansea City, it was evident that he has the potential to be a huge success in the Premiership, and if he can strike a good partnership with the impressive David Silva, it could mean that City have the ammunition to bulldoze their way to victory over several quality oppositions and could present a strong challenge for the Premiership. Aguero is one of the most talented players in the world, and though he did cost big money for City, it could be worth it if the Argentine striker can produce his best in England.

    The situation of Carlos Tevez is still unclear, and though many supporters were of the opinion that Aguero was brought in to replace the former Manchester United striker, there exists the possibility of both strikers playing together for Manchester City. The duo have played together previously for Argentina, and if they can strike a good partnership, it could mean that City arguably have the best forward line in the Premiership.

3. Alexis Sanchez

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    Barcelona won the La Liga and the Champions League in the previous season, and though they are arguably the best team in the world at present, it has not prevented them from being active in the transfer market. The Blaugrana have been active in the summer and have made important signings so that they do have good depth in their resources for this season. Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez was one of the players targeted by the Spanish giants, and they successfully signed him before the start of the season.

    Sanchez is regarded as one of the best young talents and has the quality to be a world class player in the future. The former Udinese winger is also quite versatile and can play on either wing as well as behind the striker, though it is unlikely that he will be utilized in that role at Barcelona. Sanchez might take time to adjust to Barcelona's style of play, but with his quality, it is certain that he has the talent to make the difference for the team.

    Though the Chile international might not get too many opportunities in the first team if the trio of Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa are fit, but he is a player for the long term, and with Villa already 29 years old, Sanchez could be the man to replace him in the future.

4. Javier Pastore

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    Paris St. Germain broke the French transfer record, previously held for the record transfer of Nicolas Anelka, to sign Javier Pastore from Palermo, The Argentina international is regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in the world and has the attracted interest from a number of clubs in the world, including the likes of some English teams. The midfielder was reportedly signed by PSG for around €43 million, which is a record deal for the club.

    The French club are looking to establish a team capable of matching the world's best teams, and players like Pastore and Kevin Gameiro provide the team with a lot of quality. It is a bold step from Pastore's point of view to join PSG, considering that not many players move to France after being successful in Italy, but for the player, it will be a place to develop his talents and become a world class player.

    Palermo were reluctant to let the midfielder depart the club, but with the player interested in a new challenge and the club earning a lot from the sales, it was a move that benefited both clubs. Pastore can develop into a fine player, and though the price tag will add some pressure on the individual, it is important that he can help the team win titles in the future.

5. Fabio Coentrao

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    Real Madrid made several interesting signings in the summer, including the likes of Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop, but it was the big money signing of Fabio Coentrao which drew raised eyebrows from a number of supporters, who questioned the wisdom of paying big money for a wing back when their players, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos, performed quite well in the last season. Marcelo had been criticized previously for his defensive play, but under Jose Mourinho, he performed quite well, which meant he was a regular under the Portuguese tactician.

    However, Mourinho is a manager who likes to have quality depth in every position, and Coentrao's versatility could provide Madrid with a number of options this season. He can play as a winger or as a full back and can also play as a central midfielder, where he has been utilized occasionally. Also, the Portugal international has good stamina and technique, which means he could be a success in the La Liga.

    Coentrao possesses a direct style of play on the wings, which means he can provide good width to the team, which can stretch defenses, and the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo can exploit spaces left by the opposition. It does seem like Mourinho has confidence in both Marcelo and Coentrao, and both could see a lot of playing time this season.

6. Cesc Fabregas

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    Cesc Fabregas finally completed his dream move to FC Barcelona in the last week and even made a substitute appearance in the second leg of the Supercopa de Espana against Real Madrid, helping the Blaugrana win the title. Barcelona have been linked with the former Arsenal captain for a number of months, and the protracted transfer saga finally came to an end when the Gunners reluctantly let go of their captain, having agreed a price with Barcelona.

    Though Fabregas has developed at Arsenal to become one of the world; he did not win many trophies at Arsenal, and the six-year trophy drought only added to the Gunners' woes. The 24-year-old midfielder had many memories to cherish in his time with the club, but unfortunately left the club without lifting a single trophy as the captain of Arsenal FC.

    Fabregas would have to face severe competition for a place in the team with Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, all virtual regulars for the Blaugrana. Also, Thiago Alacantara is also emerging as one of the club's brightest prospects, and it could be difficult for Fabregas to be a regular for Barcelona this season unless one of Iniesta or Xavi is injured for a long time.

7. Santi Carzola

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    Malaga have one of the richest owners in the world of football and have splashed the money in the summer in order to accomplish their immediate aim of playing Champions League football as soon as possible. The club have made several important signings, like Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Jeremy Toulalan, and Santi Cazorla could be their most important signing to date, as it also signals a statement of intent from the club.

    Cazorla has been one of the best players in the Spanish League for Villareal, and though the club were reluctant to let go of the Spanish international, they eventually agreed a deal with Malaga considering the value of the offer, and Malaga made an excellent signing in Cazorla. The midfielder can play as a winger or as a attacking midfielder, which means he provides the club with more options.

    The former Villareal midfielder has also represented Spain in major tournaments, and his experience is vital in Malaga finishing within the Champions League places in the next season. Cazorla, along with the likes of Joaquin and Nistelrooy, mean that the Spanish club certainly has the quality to beat many top teams, but the question remains on whether they have the consistency to finish in the Champions League places.

8. Erik Lamela

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    Roma have also been very active in this summer transfer window sealing the signings of several young exciting players such as Bojan Krkic from Barcelona and Erik Lamela from River Plate. Lamela could prove to be one of their best signings in the transfer window considering that the Argentine is regarded as one of the most talented players to have emerged in Argentina's leagues along with Ricky Alvarez, who was signed by Inter Milan.

    Lamela has attracted the interest of several European clubs and Roma moved in to seal the signing of the highly talented 18-year-old for a fee of around €12 million. Former Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique has been appointed as the manager of Roma, and he is known to favor a good attacking style of play, which means Lamela could have a big role to play for the club when he settles in with his new club.

    Due to the sad relegation of River Plate, they had to sell some of their best players, and it was rather inevitable that Lamela would leave the club in the summer, though River Plate did not lose the midfielder on a bargain price. Though it could be said that Roma have taken a gamble on an unproven attacking midfielder, he certainly has the talent to be a huge player in the future. 

9. Arturo Vidal

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    Juventus encountered a rather disappointing 2010-11 season and failed to finish within the Champions League places, which meant that the club would have to rebuilt in order to bring in quality players to the club. Though Alberto Aquilani, on loan from Liverpool, and Felipe Melo did not perform too poorly, they have both been moved on with the Italian club bringing in Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal to the club.

    In a statement from the official Juventus website, they confirmed the signing of Vidal from Bayer Leverkusen.

    Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fußball GmbH for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the Chilean player Arturo Vidal has been finalized. The contract envisages the payment by Juventus of € 10.5 million in three instalments: € 5 million at the international transfer release, € 3 million on 30 June 2012 and € 2.5 million on 31 December 2012.

    With Vidal in the team, Juventus have a combative midfield which could be integral in their performances in this season. The Chile international has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen and attracted the interest of many clubs. However, he was interested in joining Juventus, and it is a great signing for the Italian club, as he is a player who is bound to improve the quality of the current squad.

10. Ashley Young

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    Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has made several important signings in the summer transfer window, and the club continues to be linked with some of the biggest names in the transfer window. Ferguson is one of the most astute managers in the world, and the signing of Ashley Young from Aston Villa shows why he is regarded as one of the best when it comes to transfers and management of a football club in general.

    Young had only one year left, and though United have two good wingers in Antonio Valencia and Luis Nani, along with Ryan Giggs and Park Ji Sung as back-up for the positions, Fergsuon did make a firm approach for the midfielder, which was accepted by Aston Villa. Young has already shown that he can improve the quality of the current Manchester United team and produced a dazzling display especially against West Bromwich Albion, where he was instrumental in the winner.

    Young has immense pace and has developed a good partnership with the impressive Wayne Rooney, which means that if the England winger has the space, he could be very threatening considering he has a good end-product. The former Aston Villa winger can also score a number of useful goals and could be a valuable asset for Manchester United. 

11. Stewart Downing

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    Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has made it clear that he intends to help the club reach the Champions League and win trophies in the near future. The new owners have pledged their commitment to the club and have invested the money required to bring quality players to the club. The Reds have signed many important players like Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing in the summer, and Downing can prove to be crucial to the Reds' hopes of attaining a Champions League place in the next season.

    The versatile midfielder is comfortable on either wings, and if required, he can also play as a central midfielder though with Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and many others in that area. It is likely that Downing will be utilized primarily as a winger for Liverpool. Downing is a player who puts in good crosses regularly, and with the height and strength of Andy Carroll, it could bring the best from the England striker as well.

    Also, Downing provides natural width to the team, and the 26-year-old still has a bright future ahead of him. The England international can provide a number of assists and has also proven to be a decent goal-scorers and could be a vital player for the Reds this season.

12. Manuel Neuer

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    Bayern Munich made signing of a goalkeeper as one of their primary targets in the season, and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was targeted by the club to be the No.1 keeper for the club. Schalke were reluctant to sell one of their best players, but with Neuer interested in staying in Germany and also looking for a new challenge, Schalke reluctantly agreed a big money fee with Bayern Munich for the sale of Neuer, who is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

    Neuer also attracted the interest of a number of other clubs, but he wanted to stay in Germany, which meant that Bayern was his likely destination after making it clear that he wanted to move out of Schalke. 

    Commenting on the deal, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We at FC Bayern are delighted at signing Manuel Neuer on a long-term contract. He is not only the first-choice goalkeeper for Germany, he is one of the best keepers in the world.”

    The signing of Neuer has not gone down well with some Bayern fans because of his connection with Schalke, but the keeper is certain to add a lot of quality to the team and could have a vital role to play this season.

13. David De Gea

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    Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made the signing of a new goalkeeper as his primary target in the summer after the impressive Edwin Van Der Sar announced his retirement following the end of the Champions League final against Barcelona. The long serving Red Devils manager signed young Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea from Atletico Madrid for a big money fee, which is bound to add pressure on the 20-year-old goalkeeper.

    Though De Gea is one of the most talented young keepers in the game, he has had a rather rough start to his Manchester United career, with the Spaniard at fault for conceding in his first two competitive games against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion. With many tough games coming up for United in the next few weeks, Ferguson will have to make a tough call regarding De Gea, especially because Anders Lindegaard has proven to be a solid goalkeeper as well.

    De Gea's lack of physicality is one of the reasons why he could take time to adjust to the Premiership, but the Spanish U-21 international certainly has the quality to make an impact for United in the near future, and when he does find his confidence, he will be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

14. Romelu Lukaku

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    Chelsea have completed the signing of highly rated teenage striker Romelu Lukaku, who has been pursued by the Blues for quite a long time. The Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas managed to convince the Belgian international to sign for Chelsea, and though he will face severe competition at the club, it will present a tough challenge for the striker, for whom moving to Stamford Bridge has been a childhood dream.

    Lukaku's performances have attracted the interest of a number of clubs all over the world but Chelsea have beaten the competition to sign the striker after the club agreed a fee with Anderlecht regarding the potential transfer of the striker. Though he is only 18 years old, Lukaku is blessed with an impressive physique and standing at around 6' 3", it is no surprise that he has been compared to Chelsea's Didier Drogba.

    Lukaku would have to face competition from Drogba, Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge, but the confident Belgian international has the quality to break into the first team if he does get opportunities for Chelsea. Also, he has all the attributes required for a successful striker and could be one of the most feared strikers if he does continue his development with Chelsea.

15. Nuri Sahin

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    Real Madrid made one of the best transfers of the season by signing Nuri Sahin from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of €10 million, which can be considered to be a steal in the current transfer market. Sahin was one of the best players in the Bundesliga in the previous season and helped the club win the Bundesliga title and established a fantastic partnership with Shinji Kagawa and Mario Goetze in midfield as well.

    Madrid moved in quickly and sealed the signing of Sahin, who will certainly add to the depth of the team, and considering that he is one of the best midfielders in the world, he could force his way into the starting 11 at Real Madrid in the future. The 22-year-old has agreed to a six-year deal with Madrid, which is an excellent deal for the Spanish giants considering that he is a player who could be world class in the near future.

    Since making his move to Real Madrid, he has suffered from some injuries, but when he does fully recover from his injuries, he will certainly make his best efforts to impress Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese tactician has plans for the long term future of the club, which can be observed from the signings of Mesut Ozil and many others, and Sahin could be a player who could be integral for Madrid in the future.