Griezmann to Atletico Madrid (loan + €40m clause)
Antoine Griezmann had been linked with an Atletico Madrid reunion for almost a year as his club scrambled to clear wages and reduce debt. Still, it was difficult to envision the move back to his former side ever happening.
Barcelona, after all, were realising the dangers of sending talent to a top La Liga rival in real-time as Luis Suarez lit them up last season, and one would have thought they would never again take the risk of helping Atletico.
Yet minutes before the transfer window closed, Griezmann completed a shock loan switch to the Wanda Metropolitano that includes a €40 million ($47m/£34m) mandatory purchase clause.
Without the French star at Camp Nou, the short-term attacking options for Ronald Koeman will now be sparse beyond Memphis Depay. Ousmane Dembele is out for at least a couple more months with a hamstring injury and Sergio Aguero is shelved indefinitely with calf problems.
They’ve signed nomadic forward Luuk de Jong just before the deadline, essentially replacing a flamethrower with a soggy matchbox.
With a financial crisis of epic proportions hanging over them, personnel downgrades are likely going to be the norm as new Barcelona president Joan Laporta attempts to steer the organisation away from collapse.
Saul to Chelsea (loan + €35m option)
Chelsea have added another talented player to their Champions League-winning squad in versatile midfielder Saul Niguez.
While the 26-year-old has not taken the next forward step as a player that many expected of him, recently falling in Diego Simeone’s midfield pecking order at Atletico Madrid, his durability and big-game experience should still make him an important rotation option for Thomas Tuchel this year.
The depth behind N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in central roles had been lacking for the Blues before this move, but those stars now have cover.
Saul’s year-long loan includes an option for Chelsea to make his move permanent for a fee of €35 million ($41m/£30m).
Kean to Juventus (two-year loan + €28m option)
Moise Kean is free from Merseyside!
The imposing striker pushed for an Everton escape all summer, and after trolling the Toffees repeatedly on Instagram over the past couple of months, he’s on his way to Juventus on a two-year loan with a €28 million ($33m/£24m) obligation to buy if sporting objectives are met.
That fee should be familiar, as it’s the exact same amount Everton paid Juventus to buy the attacker in 2019.
Kean never took to England and wound up making just six Premier League starts. He spent last campaign loaned to Paris Saint-Germain, where he impressed with 13 league goals.
A youth product of the Bianconeri, this is a homecoming for him, and he has much to prove in Italy having been snubbed by Roberto Mancini from his nation’s Euro 2020 squad.
Juventus needed support up front following the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. Everton won’t be too sad to see Kean go given their soured relationship. Kean gets Champions League football. All parties win.
Nuno Mendes to PSG (loan + €40m option)
PSG have signed Sporting CP defender Nuno Mendes to a potential mega-deal that somehow registers as just a footnote to their ridiculous business of late.
But try not to overlook the merits of this move: In the 18-year-old, the French giants now have a potent wing-back to play opposite fellow newcomer Achraf Hakimi. If all goes according to plan, the team will boast perhaps the best twin overlapping threats in the world.
Mendes will spend the season in Paris, and if PSG come away impressed by his efforts, he can be signed permanently for a reported €40 million ($47m/£34m).
Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig (€16m)
RB Leipzig’s move to snap up Barcelona wonderkid Ilaix Moriba feels almost unfair under the circumstances.
Just six months ago, it would have been unheard of to think the 18-year-old midfielder with first-team experience would be shuffled out the door.
However, the Catalan organisation was left vulnerable by its overwhelming financial problems, and the end result of icy contract extension talks was a disgruntled player allowed to leave.
Leipzig will gain substantial comfort from their good fortune here after being raided by rival Bayern Munich all summer.
For perspective on the affordability of this purchase, Ilaix’s €16 million base fee ($18m/£14m) is roughly the same as the price Bayern paid for Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer earlier this week.
Sabitzer, while certainly useful, is nine years older than Ilaix and carries nowhere near the same level of hype.
Camavinga to Real Madrid (€31 million)
Peak petty Florentino Perez!
After Paris Saint-Germain managed to turn away Real Madrid in their very public pursuit of Kylian Mbappe, the Merengue president swooped in for known PSG target Eduardo Camavinga of Rennes.
Camavinga, 18, plays the central midfield role Real Madrid had been scouting in light of their current ageing engine room, but one can’t help but wonder whether Perez also appreciated putting one over on the club that just deprived him of a long-sought superstar.
Perez, after all, is not the warmest executive in the world.
The signing fee is worth a reported €31 million ($36m/£27m) that could rise to €40m with add-ons – a relatively low figure for a player considered one of the best Under-21 prospects on the continent.
Last year, the French wonderkid ranked in the top 10 per cent of all midfielders in Europe’s big-five leagues for tackling and progressive ball carries.
Camavinga is no sure bet, especially given the intense pressure that comes with playing for a European heavyweight. However, he may benefit from the tutelage of manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has overseen crucial developmental years in the careers of Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Marco Verratti, Casemiro and Joshua Kimmich while achieving win-now objectives.