The soccer leagues in Europe have kicked off and are on the third or fourth match days. Though some matches have been interesting, the true hype that surrounds the start of the soccer season is the summer transfer window. Every day new rumors make their way into the sport headlines and only some turn into a reality. Clubs spend millions of Euros to acquire the best players on the market with the hopes of claiming the league in May. As the first days of September pass by, the transfer windows of the major leagues have come to an end and teams have finalized their rosters. In another summer full of splashing cash and seeing the best players in the world change teams, here are the ten transfers that stick out:
1. Gareth Bale (From Tottenham to Real Madrid; Price: 100 Million Euros)
The 24 year old left winger completed the move from Tottenham to Real Madrid on Sept. 1, 2013 for a record fee reported to be 100 million Euros. His move to Real Madrid was the subject of many rumors that only became a reality near the last days of the window. Bale established himself as a superstar player this past season with Tottenham. He played in 33 league matches, scoring 21 times and assisting on 9 occasions. He also contributed to Tottenham’s Europa League run last season with 3 goals and 3 assists on 8 appearances. His career stats so far are as follows: 289 appearances, 72 goals, 77 assists, 331 minutes/goal. These are some great numbers for a winger, but spending 100 million Euros is a questionable move. With fans already angry at the club for releasing Kaka and selling Mesut Ozil, the fee paid for Bale will be under scrutiny and Bale will have to perform like he never has before to win the hearts of the fans.
2. Neymar Jr. (From Santos to Barcelona; Price: 57 million Euros)
Another important summer signing saw the Brazilian superstar winger and striker moving from Santos to Barcelona for 57 million Euros. Ever since last year, it has been speculated that Neymar would move to Europe, but everyone had their own thoughts on what would be Neymar’s destination. This year, relatively early on in the window, he completed his move to Barcelona. A quick glance at his stats so far in his career yields these numbers: 183 matches, 97 goals, 60 assists and 149 minutes/goal. His statistics are great and his recent performances in the Confederations Cup with Brazil and his appearances with Barcelona show that Neymar will continue to give the teams he play for the stuff that got him a 57 million Euro price tag. 57 million Euros is still a large sum of money, but Neymar appears to be living up to expectations.
3. Mesut Ozil (From Real Madrid to Arsenal; Price: 42.5 million Euros)
Perhaps the greatest transfer of the 2013-2014 summer transfer window, Arsenal acquired Mesut Ozil on Sept. 2, 2013 from Real Madrid for 42.5 million Euros. Mesut Ozil is perhaps one of the top 5 players in the world and his run at Madrid was phenomenal. Madrid fans were devastated with the news while Arsenal fans rejoiced. However, it was not only the Madrid fans that were devastated, certain Real Madrid players expressed their disappointment in the club for selling Mesut. Most notably, Cristiano Ronaldo is believed to have said that Mesut was the player who knew him the best and gave him the best passes. In 159 matches for Real Madrid, the central attacking midfielder scored 27 times and assisted on 81 occasions. His talent with the ball and vision is a must have for any team. Arsenal will get their money’s worth in Mesut.
4. Radamel Falcao (From Atletico Madrid to AS Monaco; Price: 60 million Euros)
One of the earliest moves of the transfer window, the goal-scoring machine of Colombian nationality moved from Atletico Madrid to newly promoted French Ligue 1 club, AS Monaco. Some say that Falcao chose money over success, but his 3 goals in 4 matches for Monaco and Monaco’s current standing in the league table (first place) show that Falcao may get money and success at the same time. Radamel Falcao has scored 194 times and assisted another 33 times on 310 career appearances, which means that he scores every 127 minutes. Every team aiming for success needs a good striker and Falcao is one of the best, so Monaco was smart to sign him. However, it waits to be seen if Falcao will reach success or be forgotten and lost along with the money.
5. Mario Gotze (From Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich; Price: 37 Million Euros)
On the eve of the Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Bayern Munich activated Gotze’s 37 million Euro release clause, starting a debate as some claimed Gotze to be a Judas for moving to Dortmund’s rivals. Gotze defended himself by saying that he wanted to learn and experience new things and that Bayern Munich’s new manager, Pep Guardiola would improve his game even more. Gotze had 19 goals and 22 assists last season for Dortmund as his season was cut short by an injury. His technique and talent will be key in Bayern’s upcoming season as Guardiola has experience managing players of similar talent and style in Barcelona.
6. Kaka (From Real Madrid to AC Milan; Price: Free)
Kaka moved back to AC Milan for free after an unsuccessful run with Real Madrid. The Brazilian attacking midfielder reached the peak of his playing career with AC Milan and then moved to Real Madrid, but his numbers with Milan were much better than his statistics at Real Madrid. At Milan, he appeared 262 times in which he scored 95 goals and contributed 47 assists. At Real Madrid, he appeared 120 times and scored 29 goals while assisting 38 times. The key aspect of this transfer is the price: Kaka returned home for free while Real Madrid paid 65 million Euros to transfer him from Milan in 2009, so this is a great transfer for Milan in multiple ways.
7. David Villa (From Barcelona to Atletico Madrid; Price: 5.1 million Euros)
When Atletico Madrid sold Falcao the question rose of whether they could perform without their star forward. However, the club acquired David Villa from Barcelona for an extremely reasonable fee. It didn’t take too long to prove how important of a transfer David Villa would be for the team as he scored the only goal for Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Supercopa against Barcelona, which ended 1-1. In 3 league matches so far, he has scored once and assisted once. David Villa has managed to start off the right way with Atletico Madrid and with the help of his fellow teammates, the Atletico Madrid fans will forget all about Radamel Falcao.
8. Edinson Cavani (From Napoli to Paris Saint-Germain; Price: 64 Million Euros)
Edinson Cavani established himself as one of soccer’s most lethal strikers during his time at Napoli. In 138 appearances with Napoli, he scored 104 goals and contributed 26 assists. His price tag seems to be justified with these numbers. What’s more, he made the perfect start with Paris Saint-Germain, scoring PSG’s late equalizer against Ajaccio in the second match day as his first goal for the club. In four matches, he has managed to score twice so far for the Paris-based club. PSG already had a lethal offensive pool with players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura, Jeremy Menez and Ezequiel Lavezzi. Edinson Cavani’s edition only solidifies PSG’s presence as a dominant offensive force.
9. Carlos Tevez (From Manchester City to Juventus; Price: 11.8 Million Euros)
Carlos Tevez has always been a big threat as a striker, but his career is full of on and off performances, especially with Manchester City. Juventus did not only acquire Carlos Tevez but gave him the number 10 jersey. Before Tevez, that number belonged to Italian and Juventus-legend Alessandro Del Piero. This just shows what Juventus are expecting Tevez to live up to. He has already started his scoring run for the club with 3 goals in 3 matches. Tevez will look to prove that he has still got the talent to play at a top level club and Juventus will be glad to have acquired him over the summer.
10. Isco (From Malaga to Real Madrid; Price: 27 Million Euros)
Isco was the star of Malaga last year. He was the key component in their run in the Champions League. With Malaga, he made 51 appearances and scored 13 goals with 10 assists. He was also the star of the U-21 Spanish team for the U-21 Euro 2013 championship in which he scored 3 goals in 5 matches. He has already made a remarkable start for Real Madrid with 3 goals and 1 assist in 3 matches. As a young player he will definitely improve his game in years to come and will be there to help Real Madrid along the way. It seems that with Mesut out of the picture, Isco will also have to fulfill the role of central attacking midfielder, but he should come through.
The transfer window saw some of the highest fees ever paid and while some may seem worth the money, other deals seem unreasonable. Nevertheless, the transfer window was full of excitement as many top players ended up switching leagues.