The latest transfer window in history has finally closed, and as you’d expect, some clubs and players have done better than others.
Some teams did their business early, while others left it to the last minute after scrambling around for deadline-day bargains — although time will tell whether they are canny transfers or expensive mistakes. Big moves that were supposed happen failed to materialise, while some unexpected deals came to fruition.
So as the dust settles on deadline day, who have been the winners and losers of the 2020 summer transfer window?
Football held its breath at the end of August when it became clear that Lionel Messi was ready to force a move away from Barcelona. He even sent a burofax to the club to prove his intentions.
As the days ticked by, it looked as though the unthinkable really was about to happen, with Manchester City waiting to strike a deal to reunite Messi with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. But when it came to the crunch, the prospect of a lengthy legal battle over his €700 million release clause prompted Messi to back down and abandon his plan to leave the Camp Nou. However, after seeing close friend Luis Suarez forced out of the club and transferred to La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid, the tension between Messi and Barca remains.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The Manchester United manager went into the window wanting Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and a commanding centre-back but, despite saying that wealthy United could take advantage of football’s financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, he ended up with neither.
Solskjaer wanted quality and quantity this window. Donny van de Beek for £40m from Ajax represents good value, but the deadline-day signings of Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles were last-minute patch-up deals and teenagers Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo are unlikely to make a serious contribution anytime soon. (In Diallo’s case, he won’t join United until January.)
Solskjaer has been let down by those in charge of United’s recruitment, just as his predecessors were before him, and the end result is a squad once again ill-equipped to challenge for top honours.
Mark Ogden reflects on the current predicament in the centre-half position at Man United.
The Lyon forward has rebuilt his career in France since struggling to succeed at Manchester United following a big-money move in 2015, to the extent that new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman wanted to sign his fellow Dutchman.
Negotiations with Depay and Lyon progressed enough for Barca to believe that a deal could be done on deadline day. But Barca’s failure to find a buyer for Ousmane Dembele meant they could not sign Depay, so the Netherlands international must now focus on another campaign in Ligue 1.
Remember him? The Arsenal midfielder has not kicked a ball for the club, or even been selected for a matchday squad, since March and manager Mikel Arteta has made it clear that he has no future at the Emirates. But with a year still to run on his £350,000-a-week contract, Ozil has proved impossible for Arsenal to offload during the window as nobody will pay even half those wages for a talented, but unpredictable, 31-year-old.
With Arteta building for the future, Ozil is highly unlikely to play again for the club. He may strike a deal to move in January, but by then he will have missed 10 months of football when he could have been playing elsewhere.
Stewart Robson says Thomas Partey’s arrival at Arsenal makes the Gunners serious top-four contenders.
And to make matters worse, his wife, Eliana, took to social media on deadline day to criticise United for their failure to find a club for her husband.
Norwich City defender Max Aarons has a big future in the game and you will certainly be hearing plenty about him in years to come, but this was a window that saw the 20-year-old targeted by Barcelona and Bayern Munich and miss out on a move to both.
The full-back remains a Norwich player, with a season in the EFL Championship ahead of him, rather than the prospect of playing in the Champions League with, and against, the world’s top clubs. His time will come, but when you are linked with Barca and Bayern and fail to get the move, it must be a tough one to swallow.
Until this transfer window, Everton had been of those clubs that made terrible decisions in the market by spending way too much on players whose previous club had only been too happy to bid farewell to them — Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean being recent examples.
But under manager Carlo Ancelotti, Everton have been transformed as a club that makes smart signings for good value. James Rodriguez from Real Madrid has been Everton’s headline signing this summer, but Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey are quality additions, with goalkeeper Robin Olsen arriving on deadline day to compete with Jordan Pickford. Everton have had a great window.
Transfer windows and Jose Mourinho usually mean only one thing: trouble!
In his last two jobs, at Manchester United and Chelsea, Mourinho’s frustration over summer transfer dealings triggered fall-outs with his bosses at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge that eventually saw him lose his job. But at Spurs, despite the prospect of clashes with the notoriously parsimonious chairman Daniel Levy, Mourinho has enjoyed a summer that has seen him land a series of top targets, as well as Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale on loan. Mourinho has been a happy manager this summer and Spurs can only benefit from that.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting probably felt as though he hit the jackpot when he sealed a move to Paris Saint-Germain after a pretty unspectacular season in the Premier League with Stoke City in 2018.
At 31, the German-born forward could not have picked a better transfer than a return home to play for the Champions League winners.
Archie Rhind-Tutt says Douglas Costa’s return to Bayern is about getting more depth in the squad.
The growing contingent of USMNT players in Europe’s big leagues has continued this year, but big moves secured by Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie points to an increasing value placed on American talent. Dest’s move from Ajax to Barcelona, which followed McKennie’s switch from Schalke to Juventus, means that the U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter now has players at some of the biggest clubs in the world, with Christian Pulisic having already made his big move to Chelsea in 2019.
German giants Dortmund probably won the January transfer window by beating Manchester United to the signing of Erling Haaland from FC Salzburg and they had a pretty good summer window at the expense of United too. Not only did Dortmund deny United in the race to sign teenager Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City, they also made it clear that they would not be railroaded into selling Sancho.
Dortmund set a deadline of Aug. 10 and stuck to it. United complained of Dortmund wanting too much for the England winger, but the winners are the team that ended up with Sancho. And it wasn’t United.
It is too early to say whether Chelsea’s £240m summer spending spree is a blessing or a curse for manager Frank Lampard, because he will certainly have to deliver a dividend after such a big outlay on new players.
But with the attacking talents of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech arriving at Stamford Bridge along with Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy coming in to strengthen defensively, Lampard has been given the backing most managers can only dream of.
Every area of weakness in Chelsea’s squad has been addressed, so the pressure is now on the manager to make it all come together and ensure silverware is won this season.