The COVID-hit market is reflective of the terrible financial situation across Europe, but signings are still being made by the clubs to reinforce their squads and make progress.
Here are the top 10 best transfers that have happened in the 2021 summer transfer window till now.
Gianluigi Donnarumma to PSG [Free]
The Azzurri hero of Euro 2020 has joined Paris Saint-Germain in France having become a free agent after his contract expired with AC Milan last season. Donnarumma has signed a five-year contract with PSG, ending months of speculations regarding his future.
Donnarumma will fight for his place alongside 34-year-old Keylor Navas who has been superb for Les Parisiens since day one. For Navas, the situation seems to be similar to what he faced in the latter stages of his Real Madrid career, when Los Blancos bought Thibaut Courtois in 2018.
Getting a goalkeeper of Donnarumma’s calibre – especially at his age (22) – for free might already prove to be the signing of the season.
Jadon Sancho to Manchester United [€85M]
Manchester United have finally signed Jadon Sancho after chasing him for more than 18 months. They’ve got themselves a right-winger, something they had been lacking for years. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is a huge admirer of Sancho and would be very pleased to have him in his squad.
The inclusion of Jadon Sancho will give Manchester United another dimension in their attack and might solve their difficulties in scoring against defensive low-blocks. Sancho is one of the best wingers on the ball with his tricks and skills and provides his teammates with assists on a consistent basis.
Sergio Ramos to PSG [Free]
PSG have signed the former Los Blancos captain as a free agent after he left Real Madrid at the end of last season. Signing a defender of Ramos’ quality is always going to be a perfect deal, even if he is 35 years old.
Sergio Ramos will improve PSG and might even give them the spark they have been missing to win the Champions League. He is regarded as one of the best leaders in football history, having lifted four Champions League trophies with Real Madrid. His inclusion will provide PSG with some much-needed stability in defence and extra options to play with different formations.
“I am very proud to be a part of this ambitious project, to be a part of this squad with so many great players. Paris Saint-Germain is a club that has already proven itself at the highest level. I want to continue to grow and improve at Paris and help the team to win as many trophies as possible.” said the former World Cup winner upon his unveiling.
Achraf Hakimi to PSG [€70M]
PSG have signed Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan as their new right-back. Signing a player for €40M and selling him after winning the Scudetto for €70M is good business, but this transfer has come as a significant blow to Inter. With Hakimi considered to be one of the best full-backs currently in the game, it was Inter’s financial problems that made the transfer a necessity.
PSG, on the other hand, have themselves a quality fullback who can play in various positions, and on top of that he scores goals quite often.
Hakimi played as a right-back in a back four at Borussia Dortmund, and sometimes even as a winger. At Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan, he played as a right wing-back and gave some very impressive performances. PSG will consider his versatility an absolute bonus to their squad.
David Alaba to Real Madrid [Free]
Real Madrid have signed Austrian ace David Alaba as a free agent. Bayern Munich must be furious that they could not persuade their great defender to sign a new contract, but clearly Alaba had a new challenge in his mind.
“This is a dream come true, as I’m at the best club in the world and it fills me with pride to be here,” the defender said. “I’m so keen to put on the shirt. I have played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on multiple occasions and loved the atmosphere. I’m excited to play there again with this shirt.
“I was looking for a new challenge and I think I’ve found it here.”
With the departure of club captain Sergio Ramos, Alaba is the perfect one to fit in the role as a new defender. But in all honesty, there are very, very few who can replace Sergio Ramos.
“I haven’t come here to compare myself with others. I’m David Alaba and I’ll keep being David Alaba. I’ll be myself.” said the new Los Blancos No 4.
David Alaba is considered one of the most versatile players in the world. He is a left-back by trade, but has also played as a centre-back over the last two seasons at Allianz Arena, while he plays more often as a left-mid for Austria and occasionally in the midfield as well. His capacity to give world-class performances at various positions is an absolutely fantastic package to get hold of. Real Madrid will be blessed to use him for numerous roles, preferably as a centre-back.
Memphis Depay to FC Barcelona [Free]
Memphis Depay has had a topsy-turvy career. He failed at Manchester United in his time there but restored his career at Lyon and has gone on to become a world-class forward who will now play for Barcelona.
“It’s an honour to be here,” Memphis said in a press conference at his unveiling. “It’s a dream come true since I was a little boy. It’s been a long negotiation but the will has always been to play here. Thanks to the president and the entire board for making it possible.”
If Lionel Messi renews his contract (which is almost certain), it will be very exciting to watch them play together.
The qualities Depay has in the attacking third of the pitch are undoubtedly world-class; he dribbles like a proper winger, has an eye for passes, can operate as a false 9 or even as a number 10. Barça can give him that “Neymar” role in the attack, for which they have been eagerly looking for the right player. Memphis looks like the perfect fit for the Blaugrana.
Dayot Upamecano to Bayern Munich [€42.5M]
RB Leipzig had a very achievable release clause in the Frenchman’s contract which was triggered by Bayern Munich earlier this year in February. With the departures of David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng, it was certain that Bayern would prioritise the signing of a new defender.
Upamecano is understood to be the perfect fit for Bayern Munich as he will suit their style of playing from the back and pressing high. He has the experience of performing in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, and his extra pace will help the team with the “Alaba” role of covering against counter attacks when pressing high.
Upamecano’s development will be easier with his ex-coach Julian Nagelsmann who is the new head coach of Bayern Munich.
Rodrigo de Paul to Atlético Madrid [€35M]
Atletico Madrid have secured the signature of the latest Copa América winner Rodrigo de Paul. The Argentinian midfielder is set to continue his career at Wanda Metropolitano after spending five years with Udinese in Serie A.
Rodrigo de Paul is a very dynamic midfielder who usually plays as a number 8. His long passing is outstanding, which will work well for Atlético Madrid given the style of football Diego Simeone makes them play. The 27-year-old can start counterattacks from the deep and find the overlapping wingers with his long diagonals, just the kind of midfielder who’ll perfectly fit into Los Colchoneros‘ number 8 role.
The speculated departure of Saúl Ñíguez means de Paul will be the go-to man in the midfield alongside Koke as Diego Siimeone’s team look to push on from last season’s title triumph in La Liga.
An Argentine legend himself, Simeone will be delighted to bring de Paul on board, who was an integral part of the Albiceleste side that won the Copa América.
Fikayo Tomori to AC Milan [€30M]
Tomori was signed on loan by AC Milan with an option to buy in January from Chelsea. Tomori, who broke through at Chelsea’s academy, made 22 appearances in all competitions and played a key role in Stefano Pioli’s side as they qualified for the Champions League.
Tomori went on to bench club captain Alessio Romagnoli with his extraordinary performances. He is now regarded as one of the best young centre-backs on the scene. A fast, strong and agile and positionally adept defender who is high on confidence will give a certain boost to AC Milan in their quest for returning to the glory days. Tomori impressed the great Paolo Maldini to such an extent that he was persuaded to sign the 23-year-old on a permanent basis.
“As for Fikayo, he has unique assets of speed, intensity, for us he was a possible reinforcement for the rest of the season.” said Maldini.
André Silva to RB Leipzig [€23M]
RB Leipzig secured the signing of Portuguese striker André Silva earlier in July. Silva scored 28 goals last season for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga which impressed many clubs in Europe. After the departure of the in-form Timo Werner, Leipzig lacked a goal scoring forward in their squad throughout last season.
Silva is the goalscorer Leipzig need, his finishing has been consistent and his off-the-ball movement in the box is what helped him score a lot of goals last season.
RB Leipzig had the best defence in Bundesliga 20/21 but only the sixth best offence. This signing is what we can call a statement of intent, an intent of pursuing titles.