If there’s anything to help keep football fans sane during a summer without a major international tournament, it’s the drama of the transfer window — perhaps even more so this year as the World Cup should have taken place throughout June and July had it not been moved to the winter months due to the extreme climate of Qatar.
We’ve already witnessed the big clubs in Europe splash the cash this year, with Liverpool breaking their transfer record on Darwin Núñez (£85m), Manchester City improving their ranks with Erling Haaland (£63m), Romelu Lukaku returning to Inter Milan on loan after a failed second stint at Chelsea and Barcelona spending tons of money they don’t appear to have.
A colossal fee doesn’t always represent a good transfer though, as proven plenty of times in the past. So, while some of the moves already mentioned continue to dominate the headlines, let’s take a look at what we believe are five of the best signings so far this summer.
Paulo Dybala – Juventus to Roma (free)
The signing of Paulo Dybala is a real statement of intent from Europa Conference League champions Roma — and one that could come back to bite Juventus as they let one of their star players move to a real rival in the Serie A, especially as he didn’t want to let his contract run out in Turin.
Dybala had held talks with both Inter and AC Milan. However, nothing materialised with the last two winners of the scudetto and Roma are now the lucky recipient of the Argentine’s signature, with José Mourinho hopefully able to get the best out of the 28-year-old attacker.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United to Juventus (free)
While the Old Lady perhaps made a mistake allowing Dybala to move on to another top Serie A side, it’s hard to argue against this piece of business — bringing Paul Pogba back to the Juventus Stadium for free from Manchester United for a second time.
Pogba will, of course, come with some hefty wages, but at 29 years of age he still has a lot to offer as he approaches his peak and if he can rediscover his best form then Juventus could really benefit from his services as they look to make the ground back up on the Milan sides.
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City to Chelsea (£47.5m)
The first of our five transfers to actually come with a fee, Chelsea fans certainly won’t be complaining with the arrival of a player of Raheem Sterling’s quality for £47.7m — a relatively small fee for a 27-year-old England international in today’s market.
Although Chelsea are still not that fancied in the Premier League winner odds at this stage, Sterling scored 17 times and assisted nine in 47 appearances for Manchester City last season but has been left frustrated with his game time at the Etihad for the last couple of years.
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City to Arsenal (£45m)
Chelsea aren’t the only side who have benefitted from the Premier League champions’ clear out this summer, as their London rivals snapped up Gabriel Jesus for just £45m — by no means a bad price for a striker of his quality.
Of course, the arrival of Haaland and Julián Álvarez meant there was no room for Jesus at the club, so to receive £45m for a player surplus to requirement is also a good bit of business from their side. With 95 goals in 236 games for City, Arsenal will benefit from his scoring ability and he knows Mikel Arteta well from his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City (£63m)
Man City have been crying out for an out-and-out striker for the last couple of windows, so this move could potentially prove to be the best of the summer window — especially as Haaland’s £63m release clause, about half the price of what he is truly worth, indicates good value for money.
Not only is Haaland still only 21, but he is already one of the best forwards in world football and he could be the missing piece of the puzzle that Guardiola needs to win that elusive Champions League title and truly dominate English football.
Real Madrid also deserve some recognition for bringing in Antonio Rüdiger for free and securing the services of the promising Aurélien Tchouaméni for £80m, while Franck Kessié to Barcelona from AC Milan for free is also a notable piece of good business.