If Europe is in economic crisis nobody told the football clubs. Transfer deadline day has come and gone and like a scene from Wall Street , when the frantic trading on the floor has come to an end and the floor is littered with used dockets some clubs will be happier than others, some sold, some bought, some will have their head in their hands wondering how they could have missed out. Here’s a round up of who went where and for how much...
As usual many of Europe's largest clubs played their cards close to their chests until deadline day, whereupon they indulged in an unbridled orgy of spending.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets off te mark for PSG
Newly minted rich kids, Paris Saint-Germain, who won the football lottery by being taken over by Qatari Investment group making them overnight the richest club in the world, peeled off 60 million euros from the world’s largest wad and forkiked out for luxury items Zlatan Ibrahimavic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan. As if that wasn’t enough they also put a down-payment of €40 million on Brazilian Lucas Rodriguez Moura Da Silva, known as Lucas, who will join up with the club in January as well as stuffing €26 million into the shirt pocket of Napoli to take Argentinean Ezequiel Lavezzi off their hands. Lavezzi’s in-demand strike partner at Napoli Edinson Cavani snubbed a move to the Premiership by signing a contract that will keep him at he Stadio San Paolo until 2018.
Total expenditure: €141,000,000
Niklas Bendtner in training for Juve
Which brings us to Serie A where Champions Juventus tempered the bad news that their manager Antonio Conte is banned from football for 10-months for allegedly failing to report match-fixing while manager of Siena with some retail therapy. Their brand of football which saw them finish last season undefeated was enough for them to entice Italian international and pint-sized wizard Giovinco from Parma. French international and reputedly the best underage player in the Premiership 19-year-old Paul Pogpa left Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson purple-faced with rage as he opted to join ‘La Vecchia Signora’ for the tidy wage packet of €20,000 a week. Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner comes to Turin on loan from Arsenal and Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah cost Juve €9m from Udinese.
Total expenditure: €53,650,000
Giampaolo Pazzini celebrates his hat-trick for Milan against Bologna
Despite earning big money with the departure of their two biggest names, AC Milan have decided to air on the side of caution this season and sit on their nest egg acquired from PSG. The Rossoneri have seen the departure of, Pirlo, Thiago Silva, Ibrahimovic, Seedorf, Van Bommel, Gattuso, Inzaghi and Nesta in a mass exodus of major players. Instead of dipping into the rainy day money to attract some of the world class fare on offer this summer, Allegri chose the more ‘sustainable’ financial model employed by such Premiership clubs as Stoke and Wigan and gone for unproved players with impressive physicality. Colombian Christian Zapata came in from Villareal at centre-back, Kevin Constant from Genoa and M’Baye Niang, an unproven French striker comes in from Ligue 2’s SM Caen.
Try as they might to rekindle the relationship with Real Madrid’s Kaka and woo the prodigal son back to the San Siro on loan, a move the Brazilian was apparently amenable to, the money men at the Bernabeu poured cold water on the idea leaving Milan to look elsewhere for class and finesse for their midfield which they found on the last day in the shape of Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong. Probably the most surprising move was a straight swap of Milan’s Cassano for Inter’s Pazzini. a move that now looks like very shrewd business indeed. Milan’s spending was an exercise in measured and prudent financial decisions, such as picking up Ricardo Montolivo on a free from Fiorentina and Bojan Krkic from Roma for €13 million. Perhaps Italy’s ex-President is more au fait with Europe’s economic realities than the others? AC Milan were football's biggest earners during he 2012 close season.
Total transfer revenue: €69,000,000
Cassano defects to Milanese rivals Inter
Internazionale went shopping for South Americans this year and bagged Uruguayan defender Alvaro Pereira from Porto for a fee of 10m, Uruguayan midfielder Walter Gargano on loan from Napoli, Argentinean forward Rodrigo Palacio from Genoa and Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin from Porto for 11m. Inter also bid a tearful farewell to club institution ‘keeper Julio Cesar who packed up his things and boards a flight for London where he will take up his position between the sticks at QPR.
Total expenditure: €46,500,000
The Premiership's player of the year Van Persie has already scored four goals for United
Meanwhile across the Channel in England, Robin Van Persie trampled all over his Arsenal legacy by joining bitter rivals Manchester United for €30.7m, which looks money well spent as the Dutch striker has already netted four goals in two games combining well with Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa bought for €21m from Bundesliga Champions Borussia Dortmund. United’s enigmatic Bulgarian striker Berbatov failed to show up for his medical at Fiorentina despite agreeing personal terms and instead disappeared down a wormhole, reappearing in the arms of the manager who brought him to the Premiership, father figure Martin Jol at Fulham.
Total expenditure: €64,700,000
Eden Hazard has shown awesome form already for Chelse
Chelsea’s manager Roberto di Matteo’s reward for winning the Champions League last year was a Blankety Blank check book and pen, which he used to buy Belgian Eden Hazard for €40 million form Lille, Brazil’s bright young midfielder Oscar for €40 million and Victor Moses from Wigan for 11.5m. Leaving Stamford Bridge is Benayoun, Bosingwa de Bruyne, Drogba, Essien, Kalou, and Lukaku. With maximum returns from their opening three games Chelsea look to have bough in soem top quality and with this form you’d have to back them as one of the favourites for the title and if rumours are to be believed Chelsea have already secured the services of Atletico Madrid sensation Falcao, who scored a hat-trick against the Blues in the UEFA Super Cup final, for the January transfer window.
Total expenditure: €103,800,000
Liverpool target Clint Dempsey went to Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool’s green shoots of recovery led by new manager Brendan Rogers looked perilously close to being labled a ‘false dawn’ as, despite offloading English football’s most expensive flop, Andy Carroll to West Ham on loan had to reach down the back of the sofa in order to make a measely offer of €3m in change for Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. Not enough, and the American opted to join the Villas Boas ‘project’ at Tottenham Hotspur along with France ‘keeper Hugo Lloris, Moussa Dembele, Adebayor and Jan Vertonghen. This left Liverpool staring into the abyss with the prospect of having to draft in ex-player Michael Owen or face a season with no proven back up for Uruguayan Luis Suarez. The latest rumours are linking Del Piero with a move to Anfield, but judging by the animosity with which the Juventus supporters hold the Liverpool fans, it seems more than a little unlikely. New Arsenal signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla both scored against Liverpool this weekend to add salt to the wound.
Javi Garcia comes to the City of Manchester Stadium
Last year’s new rich kids on the block, champions Manchester City didn’t get things all their own way and missed out on targets Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, Javi Martinez and Daniele De Rossi. So they consoled themselves with a €53 million last day splurge on Javi Garcia from Benfica, Matija Nastasic from Fiorentina, Scott Sinclair from Swansea and Maicon from Inter to add to the earlier purchase of Jack Rodwell from Everton. Mancini claims to be ‘frustrated’ over his transfer dealings this summer and with the Manchester club being drawn in the Champions League ‘group of death’ with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmand and Ajax he has his work cut out for him if he is to satisfy his bosses by making it to the knock-out stages of competition this year.
Total expenditure: €42,600,000
Real's Croatian magician Modric
Spain is also battling it’s economic demons and La Liga champions Real Madrid chose to scrimp and save this year, not surprising considering the club’s yearly wage bill is in the region of €315 million per year. They did though, treat themselves to the one player they coveted most and bought Croation midfield illusionist Luca Modric from Tottenham and took in Chelsea’s crocked Ghanian hard man Essien. Madrid finished the season in profit after bringing in two players while letting as many as eight go. While star man Ronaldo seems to be in a strop again after claiming to be ‘unhappy’ at Madrid and refusing to celebrate his brace of goals against Granada, but that could be a ploy aimed at forcing contract negotiations his way.
Total transfer revenue: €2,781,000
Barcelona get Arsenal Alex Song for a 'song'.
At Camp Nou, however, well there wasn’t a lot in the way of transfer news, and that’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. They did bring in Alex Song from Arsenal as the London club continue their bewildering practice of stalling on contract negotiations which saw the departure of Van Persie and now worryingly they seem to be dragging their heels on the issue of Theo Walcott. Jordi Alba came in from Valencia while other defensive signings included Martin Montoya and Johnathan dos Santos.
Total expenditure: €36, 709,644
No pressure on Bundesliga's record signing Javi Martinez
All was quiet on the western front as the Bundesliga clubs exercised fiscal caution until Bayern blew the bank on Spanish defensive midfielder Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao for a staggering €40 million, making him him the most expensive player in the history of German football, an impulse buy that will have Frau Merkel tutt-tutting with dissaproval. Rafael van der Vaart’s London sojourn came to an end as he left Whitehart Lane and scoured the web for the first flight to Hamburg and it was a case of all is forgiven for Brazilian playmaker Diego who says he is glad his FC Wolfsburg teammates are giving him a second chance.
Total expenditure: €78,202,300
By Hugo Mc Cafferty