By: Anshuman Dixit
As we are slowly absorbing the current reality where Lionel Messi no longer plays at Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo is back with the Red Devils, transfers are more important now that ever! Let’s do a deeper analysis on the few big transfers and see how they affect the 2021-2022 Season.
As a result of an exciting transfer window involving many of the most important soccer players in the world, the article is divided into 3 categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. In this post, we will explore and analyze the good transfers which went through.
Manchester United Masterclass
Undoubtedly, Manchester United had the best transfer window in terms of the big and important signings. The Red Devils are trophy-less in the past 5 years since they won the Europa league in 2016/17 Season. They are not changing the manager, the mistake they have already done three times after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but they have analyzed the positions where they need to update the squad with the better player.
- Rafael Varane:
After the unusual signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester in 2019, which costed them £80m, the central defense of United always seemed quite weak compared to the other heavyweights in the league. In order to contend in the most competitive soccer league in the world, you can’t have Maguire and Lindelof in the starting XI with the likes of Phil Jones on the bench. Although United finished 2nd last season, they conceded a lot of goals due to the weak central defense they had.
With the signing of Rafael Varane for £41m, they have filled the most vulnerable position in the squad. He had the highest successful tackle % in Real Madrid last season with 57.1%. He is a 4x Champions League Winner, 3x La Liga Winner, and a World Cup Winner with a lot of experience in high pressure games.
- Jadon Sacho:
The local boy is finally in Manchester, but with the wrong color. He started his career with the B-team at Manchester City before moving to Dortmund for 5 seasons. The rumor for this transfer was in the air for quite some time now. Finally, United was successful to sign the youngster for €85m.
For a 21-year-old, having more than 10 assists per season consistently makes him one of the best winger prospects in the world. His 2019-20 season was arguably the season which made him worth the money he is now.
37.2% of the assists for Manchester United last season were provided by midfielders compared to just 19.6% by wings. United has many strikers such as Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and now Cristiano Ronaldo. United can now play a 4-3-3(Attack) if they play against teams who like to press higher like Manchester City.
- Cristiano Ronaldo:
“The Prodigal Son” returns to the club which made him one of the Greatest of all time (G.O.A.T). At 36 years of age, Ronaldo is entering his last phase in competitive soccer. After spending 6 years at United, Ronaldo made a shocking move to the Los Blancos in 2009 where he went on to win the Champions League(4x), La Liga(2x) and 4 Ballon D’ors.
After winning 3 consecutive Champions Leagues, in 2018, Ronaldo began a new challenge in Italy with the “old lady”, Juventus. This move looked good at first because he had won everything with Madrid, but during his 3 years at Juventus, it seemed like the tactical gameplay was more possession-based compared to the fast attacking one, which suited him more. Though he scored a lot of goals at Juventus, the team finally lost the title this year after winning it consecutively for 9 years.
Losing the scudetto made this window the perfect opportunity for Ronaldo to leave the club and play where he could get the proper appreciation. Let’s look at some of his stats at the clubs he has played until now.
There is an interesting observation here: the top 3 parameters decline when he made a move to Juventus, except the goals/shot-on-goal metric, which surprisingly increased. We can infer that his accuracy is getting better with time; if he is given more opportunities to score, he will score more. The shots on goal/90 minutes in Juventus are less than what he had in United or Real.
One of the most promising Left Backs in the world, Hakimi is signed by PSG for €60m. He started his career at Real Madrid, spent 2 years on loan in Dortmund, and finally was sold to Inter Milan in 2020. He was a key player in the scudetto-winning side of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan. At just 22 years of age, he has proven to be called one of the best full-backs in the world right now.
Providing more than 2.5 crosses per match in the last two years in leagues, which is better than Ligue 1 (according to the UEFA coefficient), shows he is developing at a very fast rate. His fast pace and accurate crosses will potentially allow him to provide the ball to big names this season like Neymar, Messi and Mbappe.
The big man is back at Chelsea after 7 years. He has played in 6 different clubs from 3 different countries in his career. He has grown into a goal scoring machine over the past few years and won his 1st domestic title after 9 years in the 2020-21 season with Inter Milan. He played 36 Serie A games last season, scoring 24 goals, and providing 11 assists to help the team win “the scudetto” after the 2009-10 season.
Currently, Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the world, and Chelsea paid $135 million to sign the star in a 4-year deal. Although Chelsea won the Champions league this year, their main goal was to get a good striker and a main team replacement for Timo Werner, who was promising at first but performed below average last season.
He is scoring at a rate of 1.03 goals per 90 minutes when he plays international and above 0.5 goals per 90 minutes in the club football since 2014. INSANE CONSISTENCY!
At just 18 years of age, Camavinga has completed a remarkable move to the Los Blancos at just €30m, plus bonuses. Real Madrid, who has not spent anything in the previous window, bagged the young prospect from Rennes where he was playing for the last 3 years.
With the exit of Odegaard to Arsenal, Real’s midfield still has big names like the 2018 Ballon D’or winner, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde, Isco and Dani Ceballos. Camavinga has good potential, as his medium pass completion rate over the years has been consistently over 90%. Under Ancelotti, the youngster can unlock his full potential, which is yet to be revealed.
Finally, Ronald Koeman (Barca’s Manager) got his wish fulfilled as he was trying to get Memphis from Lyon ever since Koeman was appointed at Barcelona. He wanted to reunite with his countryman and get Depay into his tactical plans. The connections between the club and the player started last year when Koeman was appointed as the new manager of Barcelona. Although they couldn’t sign him last year, they finally got him in a free transfer.
His last season at Lyon was incredible, and he proved to the world that he is still one of the best finishers in the game today. Let’s look at some stats from his 2020-21 season at Lyon.
|Stats||Matches Played||Goals(G)||G/90||Assists(A)||A/90||Shots||Shot on G||xG/90||G+A/90|
After the exit of Messi from Barcelona, they need a good striker with good finishing abilities and with Depay in the side, Barcelona can try and finish better in the league this season.