Top moves of the 2019 Soccer Transfer Windows
Recruitment staff and scouting teams have consistently been striving to uncover new talents and to land outstanding names all over the world.
The transfers listed below are not considered to be significant only because it's a great deal of money being thrown around for the best players, but that mainly these signings are important because of the implications the transfers will have for football transfer market in general, or some of the world's biggest teams and leagues in particular.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid for €100 million)
Los Blancos pulled off a major steal in the ruthless transfer market of 2019 and Hazard became the eighth-most expensive football player of all time. Eden Hazard completed his long-awaited move to the Santiago Bernabeu after seven seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Upon returning to Real Madrid and seeing out the rest of an otherwise apathetic campaign, Zidane said that Hazard was a player he “always appreciated” having followed his career from his Lille days.
Hazard described Real Madrid as “the best club in the world” back in October even before Zidane returned as manager, adding that he’s been dreaming about playing for the club since he was a kid.
The $113 million transfer fee paid by Real Madrid to Chelsea was merely a formality. With Hazard’s idolization of both club and Zidane, the move was cultivated over the decades.
It didn’t take Eden Hazard long to decide to find a new home. The 28-year-old moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid for £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.
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 honors for September yet was somehow left off of the PFA Team of the Year.
It is worth mentioning that Real Madrid have 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 and Los Blancos will carry him through the rest of it.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid to FC Barcelona for €120 million)
In the inflated football transfer market, FC Barcelona paid the 120 million euro buyout clause to release Antoine Griezmann from Atlético Madrid. Griezmann’s joining to Atletico Madrid felt uncomfortable for years and he finally decided to leave this summer.
FC Barcelona agreed to a £107.5 million deal to land him and sign him to a five-year deal, being part of an insanely potent offense that includes Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Born on 21 March 1991 in Mâcon, France, Antoine Griezmann is one of the best players in the world. The striker comes to Barça after consolidating himself as one of the top footballers in La Liga after spells with Real Sociedad and Atlético Madrid.
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 the pressure off Messi and Suarez, who aren’t getting any younger.
With his arrival at FC Barcelona, the Frenchman took another step forward in his career with the goal of consolidating his place as one of the best players to be transferred in the transfer market in the football world.
Nicolas Pepe (LOSC Lille to Arsenal for €80 million)
As they look to secure a Champions League spot next year, Arsenal have acquired one of the in-form attacking players in Europe by signing 24-year-old Nicolas Pepe.
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, which 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 recruit Pepe.
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 they desperately wanted.
Matthijs De Ligt (Ajax to Juventus for €85.5 million)
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 center-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.
Rodri (Atletico Madrid to Manchester City for €70 million)
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 matches and making 34 La Liga appearances.
The city’s new addition is an outstanding defensive mid and an excellent passer. He’ll fit in well on the squad.
Joao Felix (Benfica to Atletico Madrid for €126 million)
Atletico Madrid pulled off a massive transfer by shipping £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.
Frenkie De Jong (Ajax to Barcelona for €75 million)
The 22-year-old made waves with his performance in the Ajax jersey this past season. He was so good that despite the move practically done and dusted for a long time, people still went crazy when it actually happened. He was one of the orchestrators for Ajax’s brilliant showing the UCL where they beat heavyweight teams to make it to the semi-finals. The Dutch midfielder was simply fantastic in both the UCL and the Eredivisie. He scored 3 goals and 3 assists in the league and managed 2 and 1.3 dribbles per match in the Eredivisie and the UCL respectively. An expensive haul but a fantastic one judging from what we’ve seen so far.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace to Manchester United for €55 million)
The 21-year-old was Manchester United’s first big transfer of the season and while it did not reach the hype of the Maguire transfer, it was a world-record sum for a full-back.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was considered a revelation in the recent season. He proved to be a fantastic player and Manchester United rightfully pounced on the opportunity to sign him.
The English Full-back showed some brilliant skills on the ball with both top-notch dribbling, pace, and even tackling. He had 1.7 dribbles, 2.4 interceptions, and 3.7 tackles (averages) in the Premier League last season and was one of the best players in the Pre-season as well.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City to Manchester United for €87 million)
Manchester United made Harry Maguire the world's most expensive defender after signing him from Leicester for around €87 million according to reports.
Manchester United desperately needed to beef up the middle of its backline and paid remarkably to do so. United sent €87 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.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United's boss, described Maguire as "one of the best center backs in the game today".
"He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure - coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes," he said.
"I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch... he has a great personality and is a fantastic addition to the club."
Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid to Arsenal FC; loan)
Arsenal paid Real Madrid £15million to complete a season-long loan deal for the midfielder, Dani Ceballos.
Ceballos joined Real Madrid from Real Betis in 2017 but he soon got frustrated with a lack of first-team action at the Santiago Bernabeu with stars such as Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the squad.
Former Arsenal Manager, Unai Emery, welcomed Ceballos saying that "We're excited to see Dani join us; he is a talented player with big technical ability, creativity, and precision."
The all-action midfielder was recruited to make up for the loss of Ramsey to Juventus. Indeed, he is a classy midfielder and can play as part of a three or further forward behind the striker.
Having seriously under-performed last season, Real Madrid recruited the 23 years old Spaniard to plot the team's attacks. He was crucial in the central midfield contributing heavily on both attack and defense. He scored 3 goals in 23 games (10 as a sub), averaging 1.4 tackles and incredible passing accuracy of 92.6 percent. He covers a lot of ground and can be aggressive on both attack and defense.
He can help Arsenal become more fluid in attack and to help out with their defense too (something that has been subjected to a lot of analysis and criticism) because his versatility can help the strikers more.
Christian Pulisic (Dortmund to Chelsea for €64m)
Chelsea signed U.S. international Christian Pulisic in January, but by loaning him back to Dortmund for the rest of the season he was not eligible to play for the Blues until July 1. The much-coveted 20-year-old had been tracked by every top club in the world, but Chelsea moved to tie him down, perhaps as a replacement for Eden Hazard, and it's a signing that safeguards the club's future as much as it improves their current squad.
Pulisic's combination of guile, creativity, and skill make him one of the standout prospects in the world so for the Blues to land him for only €64m is a real coup, making him the most expensive player in the American soccer transfer market.
Philippe Coutinho (FC Barcelona to Bayern Munich; Loan with option to buy)
Barcelona's €142m signing of Coutinho from Liverpool back in January 2018 didn’t work out! Coutinho seemed the perfect fit for the Catalan club but he was struggling for form while landing the role of scapegoat when fingers were pointed at the team.
Coutinho is capable out wide and in central areas, making a lot of passes for the attackers. Moreover, he is one of the world's best at executing shots from distance. However, it seemed that those talents were significantly less valuable at Barcelona largely because Messi has already got the role that Coutinho needed to succeed.
It had been previously speculated that Coutinho was Bayern's backup solution in the 2019 transfer market. Paying €8.5m loan fee and having an option to buy for €120m next summer means the ball was entirely in their court. They needed wide players and have a year to reap the rewards of having Brazilian attacking midfielder; if it doesn't work out, they just send him back to Spain.
Some believe that Barca are still regretting such a costly move for the Brazilian now that they are not able to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou.