Although the transfer window doesn’t officially close for another month, we’ve seen some blockbuster moves so far this summer as teams in Europe get ready to kick off the new season. Most of the top flight leagues will get started in early August, with an earlier start date due to the FIFA World Cup taking place in November this year.
With so many moves taking place already in the window, let’s go over some of the teams and players that didn’t fare so well throughout the summer.
Loser: Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been relatively quite as far as actual signings throughout the window. They were all set to sign Kylian Mbappe earlier this year as his deal with PSG was set to expire but at the last minute the 23-year-old striker decided to sign a contract extension to stay in Paris, leaving Madrid in the dust. They let Gareth Bale go to MLS side Los Angeles FC on a free transfer, while making just two signings that made headlines with former Chelsea center back Antonio Rudiger and defensive mid Aurelien Tchouameni from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
The Tchouameni signing took €80 million ($83.7 million) to get him out of Monaco, but Madrid’s midfield is aging and they need to bring in some young talent to bolster the future of the squad. It’s a great signing for Madrid, but they haven’t been able to get much else done this summer. They reportedly were interested in Bayern Munich star Serge Gnabry, but he ultimately turned down the offer in favor of an extension with Bayern. The Kylian Mbappe snub will surely be a stain on their offseason as they look to bring in more young talent as next season draws closer.
Although they finished third in the Premier League last season, Chelsea was virtually in shambles after sanctions were placed on the club thanks to the operations of former owner Roman Abramovich. It severely restricted their abilities to do much of anything, and they didn’t have much time to prepare for the summer window as a result. The Blues sent striker Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan on loan after spending just one season at Chelsea, essentially rendering the €115 million ($117.4 million) transfer fee they paid to Inter last year useless. They also lost out on Raphinha and Jules Kounde to Barcelona, with both signings seemingly set to join the Blues until the last moment.
After letting both Rudiger and Andreas Christensen go on free transfers, Chelsea was desperately in need of defenders. They were able to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for €40 million ($41 million), though he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely only be able to give a few good years to the Blues. One bright spot for Chelsea is the signing of speedy winger Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £47.5 million ($57.1 million) and should fit into Thomas Tuchel’s system nicely.
With the potential departure of Timo Werner, Tuchel’s side will need to look for more depth in their attack, or they’ll likely run into some trouble navigating a congested schedule during the upcoming season.
Loser: Cristiano Ronaldo
It seems like Ronaldo just barely made the move from Juventus back to Manchester United, but the 37-year-old striker wants out after just one season with his old club. As United missed out on qualifying for Champions League in 2022-23, Ronaldo reportedly wants to move to a club who will be participating in UCL next season. While United have said they have no intention of selling him, the player and the club are at odds over his immediate future.
Even though Ronaldo is widely considered one of the best players in history, his options appear to be limited as he’s been linked with several clubs such as Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, but ultimately they decided against signing the striker. Whether he stays at Man U or ends up somewhere else by the time the season starts, it seems as though things aren’t looking great for CR7 for the time being.
Juventus wasn’t able to hold onto star forward Paulo Dybala due to contract disputes, and he ultimately left on a free transfer to one of their Serie A rivals, AS Roma. Dybala is a world-class player who scored 82 goals through 210 games for Juve since signing with them in 2015, and it’ll come as a huge blow to a club who were keen on keeping the 28-year-old on the roster.
They also sold Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich for €77 million ($78.5 million) which sounds like a pretty great number, but they bought de Ligt from Ajax in 2019 for €75 million ($76.5 million) so they didn’t make much of a profit from him. As far as signings go, they were able to sign Angel Di Maria from PSG on a free transfer which is fantastic, but the 34-year-old’s best years are behind him and won’t be a long-term solution for Juve’s attack.
Juventus also brought in Paul Pogba from Manchester United on a free transfer, as well as winger Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina and defender Bremer from Torino, who they hope will help fill the hole left by de Ligt.
After securing Kylian Mbappe’s extension, PSG have reportedly been looking to move Neymar in the summer window despite being only one year into his three-year contract, which just triggered an automatic 12-month extension in July. That will essentially keep Neymar in Paris through 2027 unless they can move him before then. Due to the hefty salaries of Mbappe and Messi, PSG are open to offloading the Brazilian superstar through a loan or a permanent sale.
Now looking like the odd man out at PSG, Neymar should have a line of clubs waiting to sign him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems as though no clubs want to take on the financial burden that come with his contract, or his salary of €700,000 ($730,000) per week should they agree to a loan deal.