Who Won the Transfer Window? Ranking Top 20 Clubs After Premier League Deadline
Craziest. Transfer. Window. Ever.
Billions of pounds and euros exchanged this summer as the world's football clubs wheeled and dealed, with the new Premier League broadcasting deal fuelling an eye-poppingly expensive summer.
England's top clubs splashed the cash and in doing so armed Europe's other top teams with enough money to overhaul their squads too. You know it's been a weird window when the only major power who didn't spend that much was Real Madrid.
Here, we provide the final instalment of our transfer rankings for the summer. We've been updating them for months, but with the proceedings drawing to a close, this is our last edition. It gauges transfer activity (both in and out) for every club in Europe's top five leagues and forms a top 20, honouring the finest.
In: Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo, Paulinho, Ousmane Dembele.
Out: Cristian Tello, Jeremy Mathieu, Neymar.
Propping up the rankings in 20th place are Barcelona. They've had a very disappointing summer, no doubt, but if you clear away the failed attempts to lure in certain players, and it's not a complete failure.
Dembele could well become one of the best players in the world, while Semedo is an excellent right-back who solves a problem position at the club. Losing Neymar, the third-best player in the world, puts a glass ceiling on how good your window can possibly be, though.
In: Rick Karsdorp, Cengiz Under, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Juan Jesus, Hector Moreno, Maxime Gonalons, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gregoire Defrel (loan), Patrik Schick (loan).
Out: Antonio Rudiger, Leandro Paredes, Mohamed Salah, Riccardo Marchizza.
The late signing of Patrik Schick saves this window for Roma. For months it looked as though they'd fail to adequately replace those sold—particularly Salah, given their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez fell flat—but Monchi pulled it out of the bag.
That said, it's difficult to view the Giallorossi as title contenders this season; they've lost ground on Juventus and their Serie A rivals.
18. Swansea City
In: Roque Mesa, Tammy Abraham (loan), Sam Clucas, Renato Sanches (loan), Wilfried Bony.
Out: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente, Jack Cork, Borja Baston (loan), Modou Barrow.
Swansea might well have won transfer deadline day; what they pulled off was impressive. Sanches on loan is brilliant, even if he's only there for one season, and swapping wantaway Llorente (32) for former hero Bony (28) for about the same price is great.
In: Ruben Semedo, Enes Unal, Andres Fernandez, Carlos Bacca (loan), Pablo Fornals.
Out: Mateo Musacchio, Roberto Soldado, Jonathan dos Santos, Alfred N'Diaye (loan).
Don't be deceived by Villarreal's poor start to the season: They had a good window with a reasonable amount of turnover, and they'll come good.
Fornals is an intriguing playmaker, while Unal's one to track given his goalscoring exploits in the Eredivisie last season. There's a reason Manchester City have retained a buy-back clause on him.
In: Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Henry Onyekuru, Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney, Cuco Martina, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nikola Vlasic.
Out: Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, Tom Cleverley, Aiden McGeady, Henry Onyekuru (loan), Gareth Barry.
Everton have steadily dropped in our transfer rankings throughout the summer. They've signed a lot of players, and it's easy to be duped by aggressive, early business, but the pertinent question is: Are they any better for all their spending?
The answer might be no. It's tough to believe they're moving up from their seventh-placed league finish last season with this squad.
15. West Bromwich Albion
In: Jay Rodriguez, Ahmed Hegazi (loan), Yuning Zhang, Gareth Barry, Oliver Burke, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Kieran Gibbs
Out: Craig Gardner, Darren Fletcher
Fair play to WBA boss Tony Pulis, he got it done this summer.
Krychowiak is a serious coup, while Burke is a big, physical winger that suits the playing style very well. Barry can replace the veteran influence lost by Fletcher, and Gibbs can get his career back on track and play some football.
In: Steve Mandanda, Luiz Gustavo, Valere Germain, Adil Rami, Jordan Amavi (loan), Aymen Abdennour (loan), Kostas Mitroglou
Out: Karim Rekik
With the focus on Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, Marseille's strong window has flown under the radar a little.
They've brought back Mandanda, and the Germain and Gustavo deals look great. Amavi and Abdennour are slight risks but could pay off big time. Mitroglou scored a bucket-load in Portugal and should provide a satisfying end to their season-long chase for a striker.
In: Youri Tielemans, Diego Benaglio, Terence Kongolo, Soualiho Meite, Jordi Mboula, Adama Diakhaby, Rachid Ghezzal, Stevan Jovetic, Keita Balde.
Out: Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy, Nabil Dirar, Valere Germain, Abdou Diallo, Allan Saint-Maximin, Kylian Mbappe (loan).
That Monaco have managed to stay astride and win their first four Ligue 1 games is impressive given the sheer amount of turnover in their squad.
They've lost four stars but have worked the market well to continue the influx of youngsters replacing those sold. Tielemans, Balde Keita and Jovetic are all superb acquisitions.
Oh, and they made so much money.
12. RB Leipzig
In: Yvon Mvogo, Bruma, Jean-Kevin Augustin, Konrad Laimer, Kevin Kampl.
Out: Davie Selke, Oliver Burke, Naby Keita (for 2018).
Had RB Leipzig not lost Keita, even in advance of next summer, this might well have been a perfect window for them.
Their first XI is already brilliant, so they just needed a few pieces for depth. The deadline-day capture of Kampl is smart, as he's reunited with the Red Bull organisation he originally caught the eye in and can flit between three or four roles.
In: Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke, Andrew Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita (for 2018).
Out: Andre Wisdom, Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart, Divock Origi (loan), Mamadou Sakho.
Liverpool failed to secure one of their primary targets in Virgil van Dijk, but they at least landed Salah and Keita—even if the latter isn't arriving until next summer. It's a bit odd that the Reds sold Sakho given he'd upgrade their starting XI, but if he's never going to play for the club again, they might as well cash in and make a profit.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's an exciting player who needs moulding and coaching. He's chosen the right place for it.
10. Tottenham Hotspur
In: Davinson Sanchez, Paulo Gazzaniga, Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth, Fernando Llorente.
Out: Kyle Walker, Kevin Wimmer, Cameron Carter-Vickers (loan), Josh Onomah (loan).
At no point throughout the summer did Tottenham Hotspur feature in our transfer rankings. They refused to make a signing for about seven weeks and lost star right-back Kyle Walker to Manchester City, then dallied over a number of deals and threatened to do nothing.
But right at the last, they've pulled through with a series of impressive moves. Aurier's chequered past throws his £24 million move into question, but if he stays out of trouble, he's a near like-for-like replacement for Walker for half the price.
Sanchez is a fantastic centre-back who has Mauricio Pochettino traits, and the same can be said for Foyth—though the latter needs far more work in the gym and on the training ground with better players before he can impact.
Lastly, they secured a genuine, trustworthy back-up to Harry Kane in Fernando Llorente. They've been after that for two years!
In: Medhi Benatia, Juan Cuadrado, Rodrigo Bentancur, Douglas Costa, Wojciech Szczesny, Mattia De Sciglio, Federico Bernardeschi, Blaise Matuidi, Benedikt Howedes, Matheus Pereira.
Out: Leonardo Bonucci, Dani Alves, Kingsley Coman, Simone Zaza, Neto, Mario Lemina, Tomas Rincon (loan).
At no stage was Juventus' window dull. Week by week something happened, be it incoming or outgoing, and in the final stages, they pounced for Schalke's Howedes.
A FIFA World Cup winner, he arrives with obvious pedigree and the versatility to play at full-back if required. It's still a downgrade on what they had before—the majestic Leonardo Bonucci—but they needed to do something there, as Benatia struggles with injury, Andrea Barzagli is 36 and Daniele Rugani is still a little inexperienced.
The most intriguing part of Juve's business was the securing of Bernardeschi and Costa. It commits them to proper wing play and the 4-2-3-1 formation by sheer weight of numbers.
8. Inter Milan
In: Borja Valero, Matias Vecino, Facundo Colidio, Milan Skriniar, Dalbert, Joao Cancelo (loan), Alessandro Bastoni, Yann Karamoh (loan).
Out: Ever Banega, Gianluca Caprari, Federico Dimarco, Juan Jesus, Saphir Taider, Gary Medel, Geoffrey Kondogbia (loan), Jeison Murillo (loan), Stevan Jovetic, Caner Erkin, Cristian Ansaldo (loan), Gabriel Barbosa (loan).
New manager Luciano Spalletti did some serious remoulding of the squad this summer. Plenty of ins and even more outs suggests he wanted a complete shake-up. He got one.
Valero, Vecino, Skriniar, Dalbert and Cancelo are all eventual starters, meaning the Nerazzurri secured five new first-team players in one window. Given they've started with two wins from two and six goals scored, it doesn't appear to have disrupted them short term, which is great.
They've let some big talents go, but said talents (like Jovetic and Kondogbia) were never going to flourish at the San Siro, so it's the right call. How Gabriel Barbosa gets on at Benfica will be interesting.
7. Borussia Dortmund
In: Maximilian Philipp, Omer Toprak, Mahmoud Dahoud, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Jadon Sancho, Jeremy Toljan.
Out: Adrian Ramos, Matthias Ginter, Sven Bender, Mikel Merino (loan), Ousmane Dembele, Emre Mor, Pascal Stenzel, Felix Passlack (loan).
Borussia Dortmund endured a crazy end to this summer's transfer window, with two in and two out in the final week alone.
While BVB are weaker for losing Dembele to Barcelona, they extracted one hell of a price for him (€105 million plus bonuses) and quickly signed Yarmolenko for a quarter of that initial fee. They've also got Pulisic developing fast who can step into the void.
They nabbed English youngster Sancho—a player who lit up the UEFA European Under-17 Championship this summer and who has remarkable potential. He takes up Mor's bit-part role in the squad; the German was sold to Celta Vigo for a 10-figure fee.
Signing Toljan from Hoffenheim only to send Passlack on loan there (they both play full-back) is slightly odd, but the former only had one year left on his deal and the latter needs games, so it makes sense on some levels.
6. Manchester United
In: Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Out: Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Timothy Fosu-Mensah (loan).
Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho wanted four positions addressed this summer: striker, holding midfield, centre-back and left-back. He addressed three of those, with only left-back untouched.
The bonus signing of Ibrahimovic brings a feel-good factor to an already successful haul, which included Premier League demon Lukaku, Mourinho soldier Matic and long-term target Lindelof. Zlatan won't be ready for a while, but he'll help behind the scenes and prove a welcome addition come the second half of the season.
This was an excellent window from Manchester United, as their blistering start to the season suggests.
5. Real Madrid
In: Theo Hernandez, Dani Ceballos.
Out: Mariano Diaz, Diego Llorente, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao (loan), James Rodriguez (loan), Alvaro Morata, Danilo.
The phrase "less is more" springs to mind when assessing Real Madrid's business. They didn't recruit a glut of world-class stars or splash the cash around in silly fashion; they kept it simple, acquiring two top young Spaniards and sold off back-ups for big sums.
Given they've won consecutive Champions Leagues and have a squad packed with world-class talent, this was all they needed to do. Don't upset the balance with a Galactico signing, just pad things out a little and secure the next crop of stunning homegrown players.
It was the most un-Real Madrid window of all time.
4. Manchester City
In: Bernardo Silva, Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, Douglas Luiz.
Out: Enes Unal, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Jesus Navas, Aaron Mooy, Ruben Sobrino, Nolito, Joe Hart (loan), Kelechi Iheanacho, Pablo Maffeo (loan), Douglas Luiz (loan), Marlos Moreno (loan), Fernando, Olivier Ntcham, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Jason Denayer (loan), Patrick Roberts (loan), Jadon Sancho.
Manchester City failed to land a player on transfer deadline day, though that was not through a lack of effort: They reportedly agreed a fee in principle to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, but it was dependent on the Gunners signing Thomas Lemar. Arsenal didn't sign the Frenchman, so it all fell through, per Spanish football expert Guillem Balague (h/t B/R Football).
So Pep Guardiola is left with just the sum total of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero as his striking options—boohoo!It felt like Alexis would have been overkill given the stacked nature of their squad, so while it's a blow not to land a brilliant player, it won't change their seasonal fortunes too much.
It felt like Alexis would have been overkill given the stacked nature of their squad, so while it's a blow not to land a brilliant player, it won't change their seasonal fortunes too much.
The Etihad's exit door ended up being busier by far on Thursday. Denayer and Roberts left on loan, as there's no room for them, Sancho opted to move to Borussia Dortmund, and Wilfried Bony brought in around £12 million by returning to Swansea City.
3. Bayern Munich
In: Corentin Tolisso, Niklas Sule, Sebastian Rudy, Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, James Rodriguez (loan).
Out: Medhi Benatia, Serge Gnabry (loan), Douglas Costa (loan), Renato Sanches (loan).
Bayern Munich have been sat in the corner with a full stack of chips for some time. They got six players through the door early, including the blockbuster loan of James Rodriguez, and they have allowed manager Carlo Ancelotti maximal time to sort through what he's got.
In particular, the Niklas Sule signing looks impactful. He scored in the Bundesliga opener against Bayer Leverkusen, so that helps his early stock, but the availability of a quality, healthy centre-back to back up the oft-injured trio of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez is big.
They loaned Renato Sanches to Swansea City on deadline day, and this feels like they've played a blinder, too. He can receive stellar coaching from manager Paul Clement and assistant manager Claude Makelele, a confidence boost from playing regularly, and if he nails it, Bayern will be choosing between sky-high bids for his services next summer.
In: Andre Silva, Franck Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Calhanoglu, Fabio Borini (loan), Andrea Conti, Antonio Donnarumma, Lucas Biglia, Leonardo Bonucci, Nikola Kalinic (loan).
Out: Keisuke Honda, Diego Lopez, Andrea Poli, Gianluca Lapadula (loan), Juraj Kucka, Mattia De Sciglio, Leonel Vangioni, Rodrigo Ely, Carlos Bacca (loan), M'Baye Niang (loan).
We've been running these transfer rankings every week throughout the summer, and Milan were sat atop most editions. They've been pipped at the very, very end.
Still, let's look back on an incredible summer for the Rossoneri. It started with Silva joining from FC Porto; he was followed quickly by Kessie, Rodriguez and Musacchio; then Conti and Calhanoglu came next.
Then things got rather ridiculous: Biglia and Bonucci signed, two players who arguably make Milan title contenders, and Nikola Kalinic was loaned in late to cover the striker's spot. Somewhere in among all of that, Fabio Borini arrived as a bit-part-role player and Gianluigi Donnarumma's brother Antonio was acquired to keep him happy.
1. Paris Saint-Germain
In: Yuri Berchiche, Dani Alves, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe (loan).
Out: Jean-Kevin Augustin, Youssouf Sabaly, Salvatore Sirigu, Blaise Matuidi, Serge Aurier.
So they didn't manage to pry Fabinho from Monaco, but chances are PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi won't be worrying about that. He'll be keeping himself warm with the knowledge he secured Mbappe on deadline day and procured Neymar several weeks earlier.
Mbappe's move is a loan with what is being described as an option to buy, but in reality, it's an obligation (except those aren't really allowed in France, just like release clauses). It backdates the payment of £166 million that will take the teenager to the capital permanently and shrugs off financial fair play pressure.
Adding Mbappe, a special talent, to the haul of Neymar (probably the third-best player in the world) and Alves (the second-best right-back in the world?) is the way to take you to the top of the transfer rankings.
All statistics via Transfermarkt.co.uk