Soccer’s transfer window slammed shut on Thursday with a crazy deadline day. What follows is our look at the 10 biggest moves from the 2019 summer transfer window. Keep in mind, we’ve left off deals that were agreed to in January, even if they were finally executed this summer.
10. David Luiz to Arsenal
Chelsea let David Luiz go just before the transfer window closed and I’m fairly puzzled as to why. He was a stalwart at centre-back for The Blues for years and even signed a new contract in May. But Arsenal badly needed someone in the middle of the back line and they got him for the paltry sum of £8 million.
Luiz is a 32-year-old who is still wildly effective and Arsenal was able to get him cheaply just before the window closed. It was a huge deal for the Gunners.
9. Moise Kean to Everton
This is a huge pickup for Everton. They landed a 19-year-old with major upside for £25.5 million from Juventus. Juve wanted to sign him long-term but couldn’t agree to a deal, so they shipped him to the Premier League.
Kean can play as a striker or an attacking wing and the young Italian can be a dynamic playmaker and scorer. In 41 first-team appearances over the past three seasons (for Juventus and during a loan spell at Verona) he’s scored 12 goals. He also scored six goals in 13 Serie A appearances last year.
Kean has already stated he wants to take Everton to the Champions League, and a move like this could help them get there.
8. Rodri to Manchester City
Manchester City’s long quest to find a replacement for Fernandinho in the midfield is over. Singing Rodri away from Atletico Madrid for £62.8 million was a huge move for City, which was also the biggest transfer in club history.
The 23-year-old arrived at City after signing a five-year contract after he made it clear he wanted out of Madrid. The deal made Manchester City even better as the arms race in the Premier League ramped up yet again this summer. Rodri spent just one season at Atletico appearing in 47 total match and making 34 La Liga appearnaces.
City’s new addition is an outstanding defensive mid and an excellent passer. He’ll fit in well on the squad.
7. Tanguy Ndombele to Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur made a number of big moves during the summer transfer season, but none was bigger than Tanguy Ndombele. Ndombele arrived from Lyon for on a club-record £55.5 million transfer, and he’ll give them a replacement for the recently-departed Mousa Dembele. The 22-year-old midfielder is one of Europe’s top young prospects.
Ndombele made 49 appearances for Lyon last season, including eight Champions League starts. He was named to both the Champions League Squad of the Season and the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in 2018-19. After two years at Lyon, he was ready to move on to bigger things.
Tottenham didn’t spend any money last year and wound up as runners-up in the Champions League. It was clearly time to add to the squad, and Ndombele was a big addition both now and for the future.
6. Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal
Arsenal was looking to add some punch up front and landed one of the best wingers on the market. The Gunners netted Lille’s Nicolas Pepe for a total of £72 million — fee will be paid out over the next few years, instead of all at once. Arsenal beat out Napoli, PSG and some other big clubs to land the 24-year-old.
During the 2018-19 season, Pepe scored 23 goals in 41 appearances for Lille, 22 of those goals came during league play as he helped his club to a second-place finish. He was named to Ligue 1’s Team of the Year for his performance. The Ivory Coast international wanted a move to the Premier League and he got it.
Arsenal spent nearly twice its transfer budget on Pepe, but got the player it desperately wanted.
5. Harry Maguire to Manchester United
Manchester United desperately needed to beef up the middle of its back line and paid handsomely to do so. United sent £80 million to Leicester City in exchange for Harry Maguire, representing the world record transfer fee for a defender.
The 26-year-old has become one of the more consistent defenders in the Premier League and is also a fixture for England’s national team. Over the last two seasons, Maguire made 69 league appearances for Leicester City and 76 total. He was named Leicester’s Player of the Season for 2017-18.
United tried to make a move for Maguire during last summer’s transfer window, but wound up balking at the price. After a terrible season defensively, the club couldn’t afford to pass him up again.
4. Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona
Antoine Griezmann’s marriage to Atletico Madrid felt uncomfortable for years and he finally decided to leave this summer. FC Barcelona pounced, agreeing to a £107.5 million deal to land him and signing him to a five-year deal. He’ll be part of an insanely potent offense that includes Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
The 28-year-old Frenchman has been a prolific scorer for Atletico, bagging 133 goals in 257 total appearances over the past five seasons. Griezmann has been a two-time finalist for the Ballon d’Or, was the 2016 European Championship Player of the Tournament, won the Bronze Ball and Silver Boot at the 2018 World Cup and was named La Liga’s Best Player in 2016.
Griezmann scored 15 La Liga goals during the 2018-19 season, which followed 19 during the 2017-18 campaign. Expect that production to increase in Barcelona’s potent offense. He’ll also take pressure off Messi and Suarez, who aren’t getting any younger.
3. Matthijs De Ligt to Juventus
Matthijs de Ligt was one of the most sought-after players in the world heading into this summer and Ajax was destined to move him. Juventus was more than happy to oblige, paying €75 million for the 19-year-old Dutchman who is rapidly becoming one of the best centre-backs in the world.
Over the past two seasons with Ajax, de Ligt made a total of 94 appearances and was named the Dutch Footballer of the Year for the 2018-19 season. He was also named to the Eredivisie Team of the year for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
Juventus desperately needed to secure its defense to pair with the club’s offensive firepower. Juve paid dearly to land de Ligt, as Pairs Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, FC Barcelona and others were chasing the youngster. De Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci will now combine to create a phenomenal tandem in the middle of the defense.
2. Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid
With Griezmann clearly on his way out, Atletico Madrid pulled off a massive transfer of its own. Atletico shipped £112 million to Benfica in exchange for 19-year-old sensation Joao Felix. To get the deal done, Atletico had to fend off every major club in Europe but it was able to secure the rights to the Portuguese teenager.
In his only season with Benfica’s senior squad, Felix bagged 15 goals in 26 league matches, and 20 in 43 total appearances. He was named the Primeira Liga’s Best Young Player of the Year and helped Benfica win a league title. His incredible dribbling and scoring abilities became the stuff of YouTube legend. Top clubs were dreaming on his talent, but Atletico was able to land him.
An attacking midfielder who can also line up as a winger or striker, Felix should fill Griezmann’s scoring shoes well.
1. Eden Hazard to Real Madrid
This was a move years in the making, so it didn’t take Eden Hazard long to decide to find a new home this summer. The 28-year-old moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid for the tidy sum of £89 million, but the total could rise by as much as £60 million if certain bonus marks are hit.
Hazard spent seven seasons at Chelsea and was phenomenal for the club. He was named Chelsea Player of the Year four times, was on the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times, was the Premier League Player of the Season in 2014-15 and won the Silver Ball at the 2018 World Cup. While at Chelsea, The Blues won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two Europe League titles and an EFL Cup.
History is great, but Hazard is still at the top of his game. During the 2018-19 season he led the Premier League with 15 assists and was eighth with 16 goals. He also nabbed Player of the Month honros for September yet was somehow left off of the PFA Team of the Year.
The bottom line is that Real Madrid finally found a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, after the club failed to do so following his departure last summer. Hazard is in the midst of his prime and his five-year deal with Los Blancos will carry him through the rest of it.