Transfer Window Special - The Biggest Transfers of the Summer (and some great Freebies too!)

We are coming to the latter stages of this summer's European football transfer window, which will shut on Thursday 31st August.  A record amount has been spent by England's Premier League clubs so far this summer as they have reshuffled their packs ahead of the new season.  Proving that the appeal and wealth of the Premier League is no longer restricted to a select few clubs, teams at the lower end of the table such as Watford have broken their transfer records with the capture of Burnley striker Andre Gray for over £18million.

But who have been the players that have cost clubs the most money this summer?  We've picked out 5 of the biggest signings made since Real Madrid won their 12th European Cup back in June and also looked back through the archives at some classic equivalents to these transfers from down the years.  As well as this, we've picked out 5 players that have moved clubs on free transfers, proving that you can still get a bargain!

*all figures are reported figures in the media and may not be what was officially paid to the selling club

Neymar   (Barcelona to Paris St.Germain)  -  £200million

The football world was stunned when PSG paid a reported £200million for Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr. to join the Parisian club from FC Barcelona.  This smashed the world transfer record that was only broken last year by Manchester United when they bought Paul Pogba from Juventus.  The 25 year old Brazilian forward is seen as a key player in the French club's dream of dominating European football while he looks to realise his personal ambitions of winning the Ballon D'Or.  Time will tell if it was the right move or if he was better staying a part of the famous MSN trio at Barca.

Who would this transfer be like from yesteryear?  Diego Maradona signing for Napoli from Barcelona in 1984.  The world's best player at the time, and still one of the best ever, led a dormant Napoli side to multiple successes in Italy and Europe.  While PSG are one of the top sides in Europe, with all due respect to the club, they still aren't at the level of a Barcelona.  Will Neymar be the modern version of Napoli's Maradona?

[caption id="attachment_2747" align="alignleft" width="300"] A world record signing for a reported £200 million, Neymar Jr, signed for Paris St.Germain from Barcelona this summer.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2745" align="alignleft" width="219"] Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku could be the difference between the Old Trafford side getting back to the summit of English football and be £75million well spent![/caption]                                  

Romelu Lukaku   (Everton to Manchester United)  -  £75million

Lukaku was re-united with Jose Mourinho this summer when the Red Devils splashed out £75million on signing the Belgian forward from Everton.  During his time on Merseyside the powerful striker netted 87 times for the Toffees and has already made a great start to his life as the main striker at Old Trafford, scoring 4 goals in 3 games.  He is seen as the missing piece in the puzzle to United returning to the top of the English game.

Who would this transfer be like from yesteryear?  Les Ferdinand signing for Newcastle United from QPR in 1995.  A striker from a similar mould to Lukaku, Ferdinand was a strong pacy striker that knew where the target was like the back of his hand!  His 41 goals on Tyneside saw the former England international achieve legendary status with the Toon Army, but sadly for him he could only show off two Premier League runners-up medals.  Lukaku will hope to go one better with Manchester United than Sir Les!


Alvaro Morata  (Real Madrid to Chelsea)  -  £70million

Seen as one of the most promising strikers in European football, Spanish striker Alvaro Morata has already banged in 9 goals for his country in just 20 games.  For some reason however, he has never quite managed to hold onto his place as the main man at Real Madrid, being loaned out to Juventus in 2014 for two seasons before a return to the Bernabeu in 2016/17.  Last year he scored 15 goals for the European champions but this wasn't enough to stop him leaving the club this summer.  Chelsea will hope the £70million they spent on the striker is money well-spent and Morata can fire in the goals prolifically for the English champions and show why he's one of the world's deadliest strikers.

Who would this transfer be like from yesteryear?  Dennis Bergkamp signing for Arsenal in 1995.  Legendary Dutch striker Bergkamp never quite scaled the heights he was predicted for while in Italy playing for Inter Milan, scoring only 11 goals.  However Arsenal took a chance on him when they signed him for £7.5million in the summer of 1995 and he became a legend for the Gunners, scoring 87 goals including a goal against Newcastle United in 2002 which was recently voted the Premier League's best goal of all-time.

  [caption id="attachment_2742" align="aligncenter" width="257"] Spanish striker Alvaro Morata will hope to justify his £75million price tag and hit many goals for Chelsea to prove Real Madrid were wrong to let him go.[/caption]  

Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon to Arsenal)  -  £52million

26 year old Lacazette finally got his big move out of Ligue 1 this summer when Arsene Wenger forked out £52million on the French striker.  After 113 goals for the French side Lacazette will hope to carry this form onto Premier League pitches this season while fans will hope he becomes a Gunners legend like former greats Ian Wright and Thierry Henry.

Who would this transfer be like from yesteryear?  Didier Drogba joining Chelsea from Olympique Marseille in 2004 in a big money move (£24million) and the Ivorian would go on to score 164 goals for the Stamford Bridge side while winning 4 Premier League goals.  He was living proof of a striker being able to jump straight from the French top division to the Premier League and be a success straight away!

[caption id="attachment_2743" align="alignleft" width="300"] Alexandre Lacazette cost Arsenal £52million this summer and the Gunners need the Frenchman's goals if they are to get back into the Champions League next season![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2741" align="alignleft" width="300"] At over £50million, Benjamin Mendy became the world's most expensive defender when he joined Man City from Monaco as part of Pep Guardiola's revolution at the Etihad Stadium![/caption]                            

Benjamin Mendy (Monaco to Manchester City) - £52million

Another big-money signing to come from France to English shores this summer.  23 year old Mendy joined the Citizens from French champions Monaco for £52million, a world record fee for a defender.  The left-back will be seen as an important part of Guardiola's plans for Manchester City returning to the top of the English league and making a better challenge in Europe.

Who would this transfer be like from yesteryear?  Lilian Thuram joining Juventus from Parma in 2001.  Another famous French defender, World Cup winner Lilian Thuram moved from Parma to Italian rivals Juventus for a world record £22million for a defender.  Thuram was one of the best at going forward to join attacks as well as defending, and Mendy will hope to follow in his countryman's footsteps while donning the colours of Man City and France.

So that's all the big bucks spent, what about some of the best free transfers made this summer?  Here's 5 we have picked out where clubs have shown you don't have to break transfer records to improve your team.

[caption id="attachment_2749" align="alignleft" width="300"] England's record scorer Wayne Rooney returned home to join boyhood heroes Everton where he has already made an impressive start to his second life as a Blue![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2740" align="alignleft" width="300"] A talisman for Chelsea and England for many years, John Terry has taken his experience to Aston Villa to help the Midland giants return to the Premier League.[/caption]                       [caption id="attachment_2746" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Seen as one of the best defenders of this century, Brazil's Dani Alves moved to PSG from Juventus on a free transfer this summer to help the Paris club's bid for European Cup success.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2744" align="aligncenter" width="165"] A winner at European Championship and European Cup level, Pepe moved from Real Madrid to the red-hot environment of the Turkish league and Besiktas.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2739" align="aligncenter" width="240"] 34 year old Dutch striker Klaus-Jan Huntelaar returned home to Ajax this summer and will hope to continue to bang in the goals for the Dutch giants.[/caption]