- Gerard Deulofeu to Everton
After a successful loan spell at Everton a couple seasons ago, the Barcelona player appeared destined to return to Spain for the remainder of his career. One season later, Everton managed to work out a deal for Deulofeu for the modest fee of €6 million ($6.6 million). Of course, Barcelona plugged in a series of buyback options considering the Spaniard is still only 21. Still, considering Radamel Falcao is going out on season long loans for a higher price, Deulofeu is a good bit of business for the Merseyside club to boast about.
9. Roberto Firmino to Liverpool
Seemingly, a Brazilian attacker doesn’t mean what it used to. Firmino finished the Copa America as Brazil’s main target man, but he only scored one goal in three starts and got the early hook in the quarterfinal loss to Paraguay. At Hoffenheim, though, Firmino led his team in assists in each of the last two Bundesliga campaigns. In 2013-14, the starlet scored 16 league goals. However, the 23-year-old scored only seven goals in his final Bundesliga season before boarding a ship to Britain. Costing Liverpool over €30 million ($33 million), Firmino feels like an expensive bet that could go bust quickly considering the physical style of the Premier League and the attacker’s fragile frame.
- Sami Khedira to Juventus
After a spotty season at Real Madrid, Khedira joined Juventus on a free transfer. The pending exit of Andrea Pirlo to the MLS should free up a bit of playing time deep in the midfield, and Khedira is a perfect fit to play the part. Add in a likely sale of either Paul Pogba or Arturo Vidal, and Khedira could be a regular starter for the Italian league and cup title holders. Despite a slew of injuries that have limited the decorated German midfielder for both club and country, the former Stuttgart and Real Madrid man is still only 28 years old. The Old Lady added a veteran that has won the Bundesliga, La Liga, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup on a free transfer, and he has a great deal to prove in the upcoming campaign. This is a good gamble.
- Mario Mandzukic to Juventus
With Carlos Tevez and his 20 Serie A goals heading home to Boca Juniors, Juventus did a fair bit of business early in the summer. Mario Mandzukic arrived in Turin by way of Atletico Madrid, where he knocked in 12 goals in 28 La Liga appearances. The 29-year-old Croatian striker is not exactly a spry youngster, but Mandzukic has recorded double-digit goal tallies in each of his past four domestic league campaigns. At €19 million ($21 million), Mandzukic did not come cheap, but he should be the consistent veteran scorer that Juventus needs to stay atop of Italy and continue to compete in Europe.
- James Milner to Liverpool
After winning trophies and cashing big checks at Manchester City, James Milner joined Liverpool on a free transfer. At 29 years, Milner arrives at Anfield as more of a winger than the central midfielder that left Villa Park for the Etihad in 2010. Workmanlike in his approach, Milner is a Premier League seasoned veteran that should immediately help the Reds. His service on the ball and intelligent runs off the ball promise to make him a regular for Brendan Rodgers. Age may be a factor in the near future, but the lack of a transfer fee makes this one of the best buys of the summer so far.
- Geoffrey Kondogbia to Inter Milan
Defensive midfielders do not always get the due praise they deserve, but 22-year-old Geoffrey Kondogbia’s arrival at the Giuseppe Meazza raised eyebrows. Inter Milan has been off its historically high standards in recent years, but Kondogbia’s arrival signals a change in that recent trend. Arsenal supporters will recall Kondogbia’s long distance strike when AS Monaco won 3-1 at the Emirates in the Champions League round of 16. The promising midfielder has drawn comparisons to Paul Pogba from the likes of former France coach Raymond Domenech, and one would have a difficult time arguing that fact considering his ability and skill at such a young age. Kondogbia is one month older than Pogba, but his €30 million ($33 million) transfer fee should pale in comparison to the fee Pogba attracts if and when he leaves Juventus.
- Paulo Dybala to Juventus
By now, it is abundantly clear that Juventus has done its work early in the summer transfer window. Dybala cost the Old Lady €32 million ($35 million), but the 21-year-old appears to be the real deal. At Palermo, he knocked in 13 goals and assisted on 10 others in the most recent Serie A campaign. The Argentine appears to be the latest in the never-ending golden generation of attackers arriving from the South American country. His creativity on the ball and eye for goal make him a sensational steal for the Italian champions. Dybala may not yet be a household name, but the Serie A understands his quality and had suitors lining up for his signature. Juventus is counting on Dybala to rise through the ranks as one of the top Argentines over the course of his five-year contract with the club.
- Memphis Depay to Manchester United
With Louis van Gaal at the helm, Manchester United signing Dutch winger Memphis Depay hardly came as a shock. The 21-year-old put the world on notice in 2014, when Van Gaal utilized the youngster’s speed to spark the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup. A year later, Van Gaal came back and secured the signature of the PSV Eindhoven starlet. Known as a speedster with a bag of tricks, Depay finished as the top scorer in Dutch Eredivisie last term. PSV also won the league, with Depay obviously playing a massive role in the club’s success. Paying a €27.5 million ($30.5 million) transfer fee, Manchester United fought off interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. How Depay and Angel Di Maria fit into the gaffer’s plans remains to be seen, but this kid sparkles with the ball at his feet.
- Petr Cech to Arsenal
Petr Cech is a proven shot stopper with every Premier League trophy on his CV. Also, he’s won both the Europa League and the Champions League. With Cech, Arsenal can remove the lingering question mark in goal and fortify the last line of defense with one of the best goalies of all time. Unlike outfield players, goalkeepers continue to mature and perform well into their 30s, especially exceptionally tall keepers like Cech. At 33, Cech should continue to be world-class for another five or six years. With the Czech international between the posts, Arsene Wenger’s dream of ending Arsenal’s Premier League drought is decidedly closer to becoming a reality. Chelsea could and should regret selling the dominating shot stopper to Arsenal for about €14 million ($16 million).
1. Jackson Martinez to Atletico Madrid
The 28-year-old Colombian striker is coming off a sensational spell in Portugal. In each of his three seasons in the Primeira Liga, Martinez finished as the top scorer. Clearly a direct replacement for Mandzukic, Martinez enters the Vicente Calderon as an upgrade on the Croatian. In the process of moving to Madrid from FC Porto, Martinez spurned interest from AC Milan, Arsenal and a host of suitors screaming for his signature. Included in his record of 67 goals in 90 games for FC Porto, Martinez scored seven goals in seven Champions League games last term. So far, he has been the top signing of the summer, and the €35 million ($39 million) price tag confirms that sentiment.