Breaking down all the major deals, rumors from transfer deadline day
Another deadline day is in the books. Below, we provide quick-hit analysis of the biggest stories from a frantic final day of the summer transfer window.
Chelsea couldn't move everyone
Chelsea moved out 22 players during the summer transfer window, an astonishing number that would've left most clubs with the bare essentials. But Chelsea aren't most clubs. Even after undertaking such a massive clear out, the Blues still have a bloated squad of 29 first-team players. Deadline-day moves for Conor Gallagher, Ian Maatsen, Marc Cucurella, and Trevoh Chalobah all disintegrated, leaving Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino with future selection headaches. Good luck keeping all these young and eager players happy without any European football to offer. And none of this is new. Thiago Silva warned the club in April the squad was too big to manage, revealing to reporters' astonishment that Chelsea needed a bigger dressing room to accommodate everyone. "We need to stop and put a strategy in place, otherwise next season we could make the same mistakes," Silva said at the time. Though the club generated an estimated £295 million in sales and loan fees this summer, it wasn't enough to cancel out the wave of new signings.
DONE DEAL: PSG land Kolo Muani after U-turn ✅
Details: Transfer reportedly worth up to €90M (Read more)
What a difference a few hours can make. Just when it seemed like Paris Saint-Germain's dream of signing Eintracht Frankfurt star Randal Kolo Muani had well and truly died, PSG somehow convinced Frankfurt to sell him. Frankfurt signed off on a reported €90-million package even though Germany's transfer deadline had passed, leaving them without time to find a replacement. But for a minute, PSG appeared ready to throw in the towel. Club officials reportedly believed the deal hinged on their own Hugo Ekitike accepting a move to Frankfurt. So they reportedly blamed Ekitike, accusing his camp of negotiating a potential transfer to Crystal Palace without their knowledge. In the end, it didn't matter. Frankfurt sold Kolo Muani to PSG without getting Ekitike in return. And what a signing he is. Joining fellow up-and-comers Manuel Ugarte, Goncalo Ramos, and Bradley Barcola, Kolo Muani, 24, represents the kind of forward-thinking signing PSG are now prioritizing.
DONE DEAL: Spurs retool attack with Johnson ✅
Details: Transfer reportedly worth £47.5M
Brennan Johnson is Tottenham's first major signing of the post-Harry Kane era, and he's a good one. The Welsh attacker, who joined Nottingham Forest at the age of eight, developed into an indispensable starter for his boyhood club, scoring 18 goals and 10 assists during its promotion-winning campaign. He continued to produce when it mattered most last season, giving Forest the lead or turning a game on its head with a well-timed equalizer. But, like Spurs, he's not yet the finished article. He has as much room to grow as the club does. What's unclear is where exactly Johnson will play. Will he supplant Dejan Kulusevski on his favored right wing? Could James Maddison play deeper to accommodate Johnson's more attacking qualities? What about up top? Johnson played as a center-forward during his formative years, and he can use his pace to take on defenders.
DONE DEAL: Man United finally land Amrabat ✅
Details: Loan deal with reported €20M buy option (Read more)
It took long enough. Manchester United hemmed and hawed for months before finally landing the midfielder they always wanted: Sofyan Amrabat. Arriving on a loan-to-buy deal worth a reported €30 million, Amrabat possesses the ball-carrying ability and physicality United have long been missing in the center of the park. Scott McTominay isn't that kind of midfielder, Christian Eriksen tends to drift out of games, and Bruno Fernandes is better served in an attacking role. Amrabat is the all-action midfielder head coach Erik ten Hag needs to carry out the high-tempo football he desperately wants to see. But if it weren't for United's penny-pinching tactics, Amrabat would've arrived earlier and earned precious minutes in preseason training. The Moroccan has a shallow learning curve ahead of him.
DONE DEAL: Gravenberch joins Liverpool's rebuild ✅
Details: Transfer reportedly worth £34M (Read more)
Liverpool got there in the end. After struggling to nail down several transfer targets - including Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, the pair Chelsea paid over and above their value to snatch from their rivals - the Reds completed their midfield overhaul with the signing of Ryan Gravenberch on Friday from Bayern Munich for a reported £34 million. Bayern were reluctant sellers, but Liverpool kept pushing for the fourth and final piece of their rebuild. They had already secured Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Wataru Endo but needed a player with Gravenberch's versatility to fill gaps in Jurgen Klopp's three-man midfield. Liverpool didn't just settle on Gravenberch, either. The club scouted the 21-year-old heavily during his days at Ajax and missed out on signing the Dutchman when he joined Bayern Munich last summer. Liverpool made sure they wouldn't look back on this window with similar regret. What looked like a costly rebuilding project actually proved relatively reasonable, with four starting midfielders arriving for a combined £147 million, or £30 million more than the cost of Caicedo.
DONE DEAL: Joao Felix gets Barca move ✅
Details: Season-long loan deal (Read more)
Barcelona had to wait until the final day of the window to get clearance to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid. The player issued multiple come-and-get-me pleas, waiting for Barcelona and no one else, but Blaugrana struggled to come up with the finances just to pay his wages. They couldn't even think about including a buyout clause. So why bother to sign Felix at all? He's shown few flashes of quality since leaving Benfica in 2019 for a mammoth €126 million, performing only in brief purple patches. While he wasn't exactly a fit in Diego Simeone's rigid lineup, Felix hardly gave Atletico a reason to play him week in, week out. He was ineffective at the World Cup and a non-factor on loan at Chelsea last season. Xavi doesn't even have a natural place for Felix in his new 3-4-2-1 formation, with Gavi and Pedri better positioned behind Robert Lewandowski. One of the reasons Barcelona find themselves in financial ruin is that they continue to sign high earners with little prospective value. Felix looks like nothing more than that. The same could be said for compatriot Joao Cancelo, who joined on an identical loan deal Friday.
Bayern whiff on just about everyone
Bayern Munich were finally ready to sign the players they wanted when the transfer window slammed shut. However, they lost out on Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha, Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah, and Southampton center-back Armel Bella-Kotchap after being heavily linked with all three in the final 24 hours of the window. Bayern's transfer campaign ended without them securing a replacement for either Ryan Gravenberch, who's off to Liverpool, or Benjamin Pavard, who joined forces with Inter Milan earlier this week. For a club so accustomed to doing business smoothly, Bayern had a difficult time getting deals done this summer. They needed nearly two months to negotiate Harry Kane's eventual arrival and seemed hell-bent on keeping Gravenberch until relenting down the homestretch. Thomas Tuchel's squad now feels lighter than it did last season in defense and midfield.
Liverpool reject monster Salah offer
Put simply, Al-Ittihad gave Liverpool an escape route, a chance to reinvest a substantial amount of money into defence and midfield. They chose not to take it. By rejecting a potential £150-million payday for a player over 30 with an onerous contract, Liverpool have missed an opportunity to truly kick-start a new era. While Mohamed Salah remains a sort of totem for Jurgen Klopp's side, he's reportedly on £350,000 per week, and they'd struggle to find another suitor who'd take on those wages and pay Liverpool a premium. As a winger who relies on pace, the 31-year-old isn't going to be effective for much longer. There wouldn't have been any need to scramble for a replacement, either. Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo, and Darwin Nunez are raring to go and deserve to start regularly.
DONE DEAL: Chelsea snatch Palmer ✅
Details: Transfer reportedly worth £40M (Read more)
What's truly at the core of Chelsea's transfer policy? Are they making bets on every youngster possible in the hopes at least one of them pays off? That's not to say Cole Palmer is a massive gamble, but it's worth asking whether Chelsea would've had any interest in the 21-year-old if he hadn't had a great tournament for England at the Under-21 European Championship, or if he hadn't scored in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. It's a move that screams recency bias. What Chelsea really needed was an out-and-out striker to replace the injured Christopher Nkunku and mentor 22-year-old Nicolas Jackson. Chelsea have to hope Palmer and the freshly inspired Raheem Sterling can keep up their recent scoring form.
DONE DEAL: Fati's stunning Brighton move ✅
Details: Season-long loan (Read more)
Finally, a move that makes complete sense for everyone involved. Ansu Fati, the injury-ravaged wunderkind who's plateaued in the most devastating way possible, has a real chance to find his feet again at Brighton & Hove Albion, a club with a tremendous track record of promoting and developing talent. Brighton get a player on the cheap who embodies head coach Roberto De Zerbi's attack-first ethos, and by avoiding an outright sale, Barcelona get to keep a hold of a prized academy graduate who has plenty of time to recapture the magic he showed in his teenage years. Fati, now 20, will fill the void left by another fleet-footed youngster, Julio Enciso, who's out with a long-term injury.
DONE DEAL: Man City add Nunes ✅
Details: Transfer reportedly worth £53M (Read more)
Manchester City had to move quickly. After learning of Kevin De Bruyne's injury-related setback and transfer target Lucas Paqueta's potential betting-related violations, City homed in on Matheus Nunes, a midfielder Pep Guardiola described as "one of the best players in the world" just last year. Nunes is indeed an excellent player, a game-breaking midfielder who can handle quick transitions and make good decisions on the fly. While he's not prolific, the 25-year-old is an exceptional dribbler and capable of progressing play. With De Bruyne out for several months, Nunes will get a lot of game time, and it'll make the £53-million fee City paid look like money well spent.
Transfers you may have missed
With the constant influx of big signings, rumors, and transfers being called off at the last minute, deadline day can be a whirlwind. Here are some notable deals you may have missed today.
Callum Hudson-Odoi ➡️ Nottingham Forest: There was a time when Chelsea could hardly keep a hold of Hudson-Odoi. In 2019, the English winger handed in a transfer request amid reported interest from Bayern Munich. Chelsea eventually rewarded him with a five-year contract worth £120,000 per week. Then the injuries happened. Hudson-Odoi lost his form, went out on loan to Bayer Leverkusen, and returned goalless in 14 Bundesliga appearances. Chelsea reportedly considered terminating his contract before finding a suitor in Nottingham Forest, who paid Chelsea a paltry £5 million to give Hudson-Odoi a second chance in England.
Nicolas Dominguez ➡️ Nottingham Forest: Forest cut bait on Remo Freuler after just one season and summoned another Serie A-based player to take up his place. Argentinian midfielder Dominguez joins from Bologna for a reported €10 million and promises to balance Forest's squad with smart, unassuming play in the middle of the park. Dominguez is primarily a ball-winning midfielder who does the things that go unnoticed, acting as a link between defense and his forward-thinking teammates.
Divock Origi ➡️ Nottingham Forest: After a season to forget at AC Milan, former Liverpool striker Origi returns to the Premier League hoping to resuscitate his career. The Rossoneri reportedly waited all summer for a club to take the Belgian and his apparently high wages off their hands. And Forest, enjoying a night out on the town after selling Brennan Johnson for a club-record fee, happily obliged. Origi only scored two goals in 27 appearances for Milan last season.
Ibrahim Sangare ➡️ Nottingham Forest: Forest didn't just think about discovering Sangare on deadline. The club reportedly spent the last 18 months scouting the Ivory Coast midfielder at PSV Eindhoven, where he became an analytics darling. The reported £32-million fee eclipses Forest's previous club-record outlay for Morgan Gibbs-White, who cost them an initial £25 million last summer.
Altay Bayindir ➡️ Manchester United: It's difficult to find a goalkeeper with considerable top-flight experience who's both cheap and willing to serve as a backup. Bayindir ticks every box. The 25-year-old collected nine clean sheets in 26 Super Lig appearances for Fenerbahce last season while helping the Istanbul-based outfit win the Turkish Cup. Signed for a reported £4.3 million, Bayindir replaces Dean Henderson, whose sale to Crystal Palace allowed United to book a reported £20 million in transfer income.
Sergio Reguilon ➡️ Manchester United: Luke Shaw's untimely injury left Manchester United scrambling for a low-cost replacement with just days remaining in the transfer window. Reguilon wasn't their first pick - United reportedly pushed to sign Marc Cucurella on loan from Chelsea before running into a dead end - but options were limited. The Red Devils may not even use Reguilon all that much when Shaw and deputy Tyrell Malacia return to fitness. But the 25-year-old is a capable substitute who has Champions League experience.
Luka Jovic ➡️ AC Milan: Milan scoured Europe for a cost-effective striker who could give Olivier Giroud a rest every now and then. Porto's Mehdi Taremi seemed to be the right candidate for the better part of a week. But a deal collapsed Thursday, leaving the Rossoneri with less than 24 hours to sign a backup striker. After attempting to sign Leicester City's Patson Daka and Sevilla's Rafa Mir, Milan convinced Fiorentina to let Jovic join them on a free transfer. Signed to a one-year deal, the former Real Madrid player is an acquisition of convenience with little risk.
Davy Klaassen ➡️ Inter Milan: Klassen, who may be best remembered for his torrid spell at Everton, joined Inter on a free transfer from Ajax in one of the most random deals of the window. Inter had been looking to strengthen their midfield following a breakdown in talks with Udinese's Lazar Samardzic. But having spent €30 million to acquire defender Benjamin Savard from Bayern Munich, the Nerazzurri had to fetch what they could from the bargain bin. While good enough to make up the numbers in a squad with title aspirations, Klassen is hardly the man to give Inter a refresh.
Hirving Lozano ➡️ PSV Eindhoven: Lozano was one of the only players Napoli could afford to lose in the transfer window. Largely a passenger during the Partenopei's Serie A-winning campaign, the Mexican international returns to PSV a shell of the player they sold to Napoli in 2019 for a reported €45 million. He scored just eight league goals over the past two seasons, compared to the 34 he scored for PSV between 2017 and 2019.
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