From contract buyouts to loans to promises to pay – this transfer window saw everything, including the transfer deal that changed the world of football
1) Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain
It has to be the main transfer of the summer, if not in the history of football. First of all because it more than doubled the previous transfer record. Secondly, because for one of the top three players in the world to change clubs, it is always a big event, especially because he picked a side with much less tradition and just a lot more cash. A sign of the times to come?
2) Leonardo Bonucci: Juventus to AC Milan
In the same fashion as Neymar: absolutely out of the blue. The best defender in the world leaving Juventus after six straight Scudetto titles. You would have though he would go to the Premier League, but no: a new challenge, but still in Serie A. It shows that, for now, AC Milan – one of the biggest clubs in the world – are back.
3) Kyllian Mbappe: Monaco to Paris Saint Germain
The most interesting prospect in European football. But almost 200 million dollars for an 18-year-old still seems like a crazy idea. As always, the pitch will be the answer, as PSG have brought in another fantastic striker and will now have to really go for the Champions League title. It would have nonetheless been more interesting to see Mbappé in a better league.
4) Nemanja Matic: Chelsea to Manchester United
This went under the main media radar, but the Serb could prove to be crucial in the balance of power of the Premier League. Chelsea will have to deal without him, José Mourinho has finally found the man who can free up Paul Pogba. And the Red Devils can really win the Premier League title now.
5) James Rodriguez: Real Madrid to Bayern Munich
Only three-years-ago the Colombian seemed to be the new Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. At Real Madrid he won a lot, but never as a core part of the team. Under Carlo Ancelotti, the midfielder can return to being the decisive young Colombian we all knew, and could carry the Bavarians to the summit of Europe.
6) Alvaro Morata: Real Madrid to Chelsea
Unexpected, because the striker is a Real Madrid fan and had returned to his boyhood club. But clearly the game-time the forward had last season wasn’t enough. Now, after impressing in Serie A and in La Liga, Morata can show his worth also in the Premier League. Interesting to see what he can do as first choice striker, after always being a second pick in the previous seasons.
7) Romelu Lukaku: Everton to Manchester United
The Belgian rejoins Mourinho after some trouble in the past in his Chelsea days, and is the number nine United needed to complete the starting line-up. Possessing the physicality and technique that Mourinho loves to have up front, Lukaku will have to prove he is ready for a top club. For the cost, he cannot fail.
8) Renato Sanches: Bayern Munich to Swansea
One of the most interesting youngsters on the market, it seems incredible he would pick Swansea over a bigger club, like for example Milan. But this loan move from Bayern Munich shows just how far the Premier League has gone: less prestige, but more money, more spectacular games, more visibility. And the chance to be a starter.
9) Ousmane Dembele: Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona
The craziest deal of the summer, as the Blaugrana splashed out roughly $120 million for the youngster from Borussia Dortmund, after an interesting but absolutely normal season. Losing Neymar has made this summer hell for Barcelona, and they’ll be hoping Dembele delivers straight away.
10) Dani Ceballos: Real Betis to Real Madrid
Hugely under the radar, but the best Spaniard at the Under-21 European Championship has joined the best team on the planet. Real Madrid has spent very little this summer, but has given the midfield a pair of fresh young legs, with a footballer who is extremely technical. The kind of player that would have picked Barcelona until 18-months-ago. What a team Zinedine Zidane and Florentino Perez have built.