These players are bound to have extensive impact at their new clubs.
In football, summer transfer windows are tricky bits of time. Players join the unlikeliest of clubs, while clubs break the bank to bring in stars that can take the league by storm. This time around we saw plenty of big moves that rarely happen. However, the 2021 summer transfer window was probably the craziest one in recent memory.
It was the window that saw some of the biggest names change allegiances. On the other hand, exciting youngsters too stepped up a notch to move to more competitive sides. Here’s Khel Now’s top 10 signings of the 2021 summer transfer window:
10. Eduardo Camavinga – Rennes to Real Madrid
Despite being just 18, Eduardo Camavinga has created ripples within the European transfer market for a couple of windows now. Putting an end to the suspense, Camavinga made his way to Santiago Bernabeu in the 2021 summer transfer window.
Supposed to be a move that materialized after Paris Saint-Germain’s reluctance to release Kylian Mbappe, the young midfield prodigy came at a price of €31m. Anticipated to be the next big European midfielder, Camavinga’s move will strengthen the aging Real Madrid midfield in the years to come.
9. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid to Paris Saint-Germain
Following an eventful saga that many thought would end up with Sergio Ramos staying at Real Madrid, the Los Blancos captain joined Paris Saint-Germain for free. The four-time Champions League winner joined Real Madrid in 2005 and was a crucial figure throughout his 16-year stay.
Ramos will be a huge addition in PSG’s mission to win the Champions League. In addition to the defensive stability, experience and leadership that the 35-year-old will bring, his aerial prowess will benefit the Parisian club that houses set-piece takers like Angel Di Maria, Marco Veratti and Lionel Messi.
8. David Alaba – Bayern Munich to Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s pursuit of David Alaba started long before the move became a reality in the 2021 summer transfer window. Now that both of their signature centre-backs have made their way out of the club, this move makes more sense than ever. Moreover, they pulled the 28-year-old for free from Munich.
Alaba, with his versatility and ball-playing ability, is expected to steady Real Madrid’s ship on the defensive side. At his peak, the Austrian international will also be expected to groom youngsters like Eder Militao and Nacho with his experience, while making his own impact felt.
7. Memphis Depay – Lyon to FC Barcelona
In a transfer window full of free moves, Memphis Depay joined his former national team manager Ronald Koeman at Barcelona. After having an impressive European Championship, the Dutch forward will now be donning the No. 9 shirt for the Catalans.
After having a shaky spell at Manchester United, Depay’s resurgence came at Lyon, where he led the side to the Champions League semi-finals in the 2019/20 season. Depay’s free transfer is itself a plus for Barcelona, who now have one of Europe’s most sought-after forwards at their disposal.
6. Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United
After a failed pursuit last season, Manchester United welcomed Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford in the 2021 summer transfer window. Despite getting him after a year, United got him for €85m – a figure less than what Dortmund asked initially.
Coming from the youth ranks of Manchester City, Sancho has developed into one of Europe’s most prolific playmakers in recent years. The 21-year-old made 100+ appearances and scored 38 goals for the Black and Yellow – piling up expectations on his shoulders to repeat something similar at Old Trafford.
5. Raphael Varane – Real Madrid to Manchester United
Centre-backs switching clubs, especially in their prime is rare. While Real Madrid acquired Alaba, they lost 28-year-old Raphael Varane to Manchester United for €40m in the 2021 summer transfer window.
Varane joined Madrid in 2011 and immediately made an impression pairing up with Sergio Ramos. It was during his 10 years at the club that he became a four-time Champions League winner. Varane is considered one of the most robust positional centre-backs currently. He will be a huge addition to the United backline.
4. Jack Grealish – Aston Villa to Manchester City
From rescuing Aston Villa from the depths of the Championship to making them an impressive side in the 2020/21 season, Jack Grealish has played a huge part as their talisman. After developing himself as one of English football’s prime attackers, Grealish left Villa for Manchester City in the 2021 summer transfer window.
City paid €117.5m to Villa for the playmaker, making him the most expensive British transfer. City will be disappointed about the Harry Kane saga, but they’ve strengthened their creative side with another premium player. Grealish’s impact in the Premier League has been immense so far and within Pep Guardiola’s system, expectations are higher than ever.
3. Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan to Chelsea
After a bumper transfer window in 2020/21, many things have happened for Chelsea. Manager Frank Lampard made way for Thomas Tuchel, under whom the Blues lifted the Champions League. Their signings, especially Timo Werner, took time to settle and hinted at the need for another striker. In the 2021 summer transfer window, they went all out and signed Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian, in addition to scoring a lot of goals in Italy, was a force in the final third. From creating space through hold-up play to making off-the-ball decoy runs, Lukaku has matured since his last spell in England. Chelsea’s pursuit of the Premier League finally looks to be on track with this signing.
2. Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain
Until the very last moment, everyone was optimistic about Lionel Messi’s situation at Barcelona. After a Copa America-winning campaign, the No. 10 made his way to Paris Saint-Germain for free in the 2021 summer transfer window, following financial turmoil that has engulfed Barcelona for quite some time now.
After joining the club as a 13-year-old, Messi debuted in 2004 and cemented his legacy as the greatest player ever to set foot on the turf at Camp Nou. Winning 34 trophies in his decorated spell, Messi’s last stretch will now be at the club that has put up one of the most powerful squads in recent history. With 672 goals and 266 assists in his studded career, Messi is expected to bolster PSG’s aim to win the Champions League.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus to Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United developed all of a sudden and took very less time to execute. The ultimate homecoming story grew quickly after reports of his transfer to the other half of Manchester. Ultimately, it was Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who got the No. 7 back to his breakthrough destination.
Ronaldo’s Juventus spell lasted three seasons, in which he scored 101 goals in just 131 appearances. While United are looking to build a core out of the talented youngsters they have, the Portuguese star will be pivotal in having an impact on those players. Expected to score a flurry of goals, the €15m move has indeed taken Ronaldo back to where it all started.