Since the last edition, July gave way to August and Gareth Bale is no longer the most expensive footballer in football. Paul Pogba moved to Manchester United for a world-record £93 million, a fee that doesn't include the £20 million or so paid to Mino Raiola. £89 million is guaranteed with the rest in add-ons, but it doesn't really matter, either fee represents the highest paid for a player's registration. According to Simon Stone, the former Juventus star is a bargain.
John Stones entered David Luiz territory after making the move to Manchester City for £47.5 million, £2.5 million short of what Paris Saint-Germain paid Chelsea for the Brazilian centre back. He couldn't get into the Everton team towards the end of last season but is clearly talented. With Vincent Kompany out injured, Stones looks to be Pep Guardiola's first-choice centre back. There seem to be some valid reasons for picking up the 22-year-old defender.
No club has ever paid nine figures for a footballer, and while Stones cost less than half of Pogba, no English club has ever committed so much money for a defender. José Mourinho likes to spend money as his tenures at Chelsea, Internazionale, Real Madrid, and now Manchester United have shown. Manchester City, too, have previous when it comes to buying centre backs in recent years. £42 million for Eliaquim Mangala and £32 million for Nicolás Otamendi.
Wrapping up July.
Bafetimbi Gomis has left Swansea City to return to France. Marseille is the destination for a reunion with Ligue 1 defenders, but only a loan deal took the 30-year-old away from the Liberty Stadium. Continuing with underwhelming strikers returning home, Ciro Immobile is back in Serie A after disappointing spells in Germany and Spain. At least he tried to see what football was like beyond Italy's borders. Sevilla received £7.1 million from Lazio for the 26-year-old who had a spell on loan at Torino last season.
The two interesting deals that wrap up July are in Spain. Barcelona picked up Andre Gomes from Valencia in quite a big deal. £29.3 million is guaranteed with a further £16.7 million in add-ons. The 22-year-old is part of what looks to be a decidedly younger set of players being targeted by Barcelona to ease the transition from star players in the years ahead. The Portuguese international will hope to make his mark this season after a victorious Euro 2016.
Who rates Kévin Gameiro? He's really come on over the past few seasons as a striker, which must have presumably alerted Atlético Madrid to his goalscoring capabilities. He turns 30 in May, but is £28 million really that much to secure a striker with such an impressive output over the past three seasons in league and continental action? The answer should be no, but as always with football as in life, time will tell.
The Final Month begins...
It's August already and real football is about to begin. Before then, what deals have been completed in the first 12 days of the month? Portland Timbers fans have Steven Taylor to count as one of their own after the Newcastle United defender was released. He's not been very good for some time now along with being injured a lot. Enjoy! Alexandre Song might be on the Yann M'Vila workout plan after joining Rubin Kazan on a free transfer from Barcelona.
Southampton have signed Alex McCarthy from Crystal Palace, but as long as he never repeats that performance against Liverpool ever again against Liverpool he'll be fine. Jérémy Pied also joined Southampton to boost Claude Puel's options at right back. The talented Cédric Soares fell out of favour a few times to the surprise of some last season but has a challenger in the form of Pied. Southampton haven't been that active in the transfer market, meaning that any additions will have a chance to further enhance the club's reputation for developing and finding talent.
Idrissa Gueye might have arrived from hapless Aston Villa but could be one to watch out for after he joined Ronald Koeman at Everton. He cost Villa £9 million but had a £7.1 million release clause in his contract in the event of relegation. Well, that's how everything adds up from reports. Interestingly, Gueye is Koeman's first outfield signing. The exciting Leroy Sané is finally a Manchester City player after being linked for much of the summer. Schalke 04 received £37 million plus add-ons in a transfer that doesn't look too outlandish with all these wanton Premier League pounds flying around. Maybe Pep and Man City fans can thank this rival player for the advice the 20-year-old received before making the move.
AS Roma picked up Mohamed Salah on a permanent deal and Federico Faizo on loan. Salah spent last season on loan at Roma for €5 million and has become a Roma player for a reported €15 million. Salah enjoyed a great campaign scoring 14 goals in 34 appearances and probably made the wrong move when he joined Chelsea instead of another English club that will remain unnamed for non-legal reasons. Fazio, however, just needs to play. The stagnation is strong with that one. After eight good seasons with Sevilla, Fazio has not really be counted on at Tottenham.
Newcastle and Rafa Benítez raided Hull City for their best player in Mohamed Diamé. Ciaran Clark also joined, but for now, let's focus on the pitiful state of affairs at Hull. Release clauses may have been activated for both players, but it must be remembered that Clark is in the Championship. With Aston Villa. A move is understandable. However, when your best player sees a drop down to the Championship as a better career move than remaining in the Premier League, well, alarm bells have to be ringing rather loudly, no?
Apparently Gabriel Jesus is blessed with the touch of the divine. Well, Manchester City have secured the Brazilian showstopper for £27 million plus add-ons. He'll stay with Palmeiras until December when the Brazilian league finishes. Marlos Moreno is another South American forward who will link up with Manchester City later despite signing this summer. £4.75 million for the yet another 19-year-old who will spend a season at Deportivo La Coruna on loan. Continuing with 19-year-old tricky wide players, Premier League champions Leicester City snapped up Bartosz Kapustka for £7.5 million.
Sticking with Polish players, Arsenal's Wojciech Szczęsny has returned to Roma on loan. He's 26 now. Remember when he was young, cocky, and full of promise? Although he's still a good goalkeeper, he's proof that Wenger will give up on players eventually. Maybe he needs to have what some of what Ross McCormack—king of the Championship—is having. Aston Villa paid Fulham £12 million for the man that Fulham paid Leeds United £11 million for. Jese has joined PSG for £21 million to bolster the attacking options that Unai Emery can call upon.
Premier League defensive moves have been made. Ashley Williams has joined Everton from Swansea City for £12 million, Papy Djilobodji made a surprise move to Sunderland for £8 million, and Arthur Masuaku left Olympiakos for West Ham for £6 million. Hopefully none of these deals will be as disastrous as Thomas Vermaelen's £15 million move from Arsenal to Barcelona two years ago. He recently joined Roma on loan after 21 appearances in total over two injury-plagued seasons. Rumblings of a first option on Kostas Manolas might make this deal not as bad as it looks for the Spanish champions. Vermaelen is terribly prone to injury so perhaps this is the best move for all parties.
Scott Sinclair scored the winning goal his debut for Celtic FC as a substitute after joining Brendan Rodgers on a four-year deal. Liverpool are still waiting for that Andre Wisdom transfer or loan bid towards the end of the month. Andre Ayew is now a Hammer after leaving Swansea City for a club-record £20.5 million. Slaven Bilić will know what to do with him in a campaign that won't be easy with potential Europa League commitments to stretch his squad. But how did Swansea react to losing a star attacker in Ayew and a defensive leader in Williams? The defensive question is as yet unanswered, but how about a pair of Spanish strikers?
Fernando Llorente is the new number nine for the Premier League's Welsh representatives after he moved from Sevilla to sign a two-year deal to ply his trade under the watchful eye of Francesco Guidolin. Borja Bastón moved from Atlético Madrid to Swansea for a club-record £15 million to wear the number ten shirt. The whiff of relegation battler looks to be blown away, especially with the presence of the delightful Gylfi Sigurðsson with a new four-year contract to keep him at the club until 2020. There's probably a release clause in there somewhere.
Speaking of new contracts, Odion Ighalo has signed one for five years to stay at Watford FC. Lamine Kone was believed to have been promised a new contract but won't be signing one after handing in a transfer request to leave Sunderland. Everton seem ready and waiting with around £18 million. It's just as well that David Moyes isn't obsessed with signing young Manchester United centre backs.
So. Lots of deals done with more to be completed. It wouldn't be right to overlook the importance of Claudio Ranieri ahead of this much-anticipated Premier League season. He signed a new contract to remain at Leicester City for the next four years. The 64-year-old achieved one of the most astounding feats in English football to win the title last season and deserved to be rewarded. With a new season imminent, it's worth remembering that for all the players signed, sold, fined, loaned, and discussed, they should be part of a team and a squad working for a common goal.
While all the transfer talk is fun, there should be a clear purpose and way of working. Money helps and usually rules in the world's most popular sport, but without a plan and leadership in the right places, it's worthless.