Signings of the Summer
Stanley Murphy-Johns gives his take on this summer’s football transfer window.
The discussion about ‘signings of the summer’ is an expected topic of conversation across the country as September rolls around, but since I began following football about 10 years ago, this has been one of the most interesting ones I can remember.
The sheer volume of world-class players who’ve moved clubs in the space of 3 months is pretty spectacular. Ronaldo and Messi are, of course, the headliners, but beneath that there have been so many others; Sancho to Utd, Grealish to City, Lukaku to Chelsea, Griezmann back to Atlético, Donnarumma on a free to PSG, and Ben White to that Championship club, to name a few.
So today, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to discuss the most signings I view as the most successful, along with those I am perhaps less impressed by.
Perhaps it’s easiest to address the two elephants in the room first, Messi to PSG and Ronaldo back to Utd. Both have spoken about their intent to keep winning and their desire to do well at their new clubs. However, I think it’s important to note that Ronaldo and Messi moved due to respective problems with their former clubs rather than burning desires to play for their new ones. (As a Man Utd fan, that pained me to say.)
No matter how they got there, though, the important thing is that they moved, and both were fascinating to follow. In the past few days, I’ve seen articles that are now heralding this Champions League Season as a ‘Swan Song’ for them both, the last hurrah type scenario, and I think the hype surrounding both of their moves is entirely justified.
Do I believe that either of them are going to change the footballing world this season? No. But do I think they have made a hell of a lot of people very excited? Yes, of course. But on the basis that I truly don’t believe that they will rock the footballing world this season, despite their 11 Balon D’ors, I cannot argue that they are the best signings of the summer.
Instead, I would like to argue that Romelu Lukaku is the signing of the summer. At Inter Milan, he reached a new level, going from an impressive player in his first stint in the Premier League to a World-Class striker by the time he returned this summer.
Before his return to Chelsea, I couldn’t see past Manchester City for yet another Premier League title. But now that Chelsea has bolstered their ranks with one of the most well-rounded strikers in world football, it’s difficult to see past them instead.
Furthermore, unlike Messi and Ronaldo, Lukaku is only 28, so his signing could be instrumental to Chelsea dominating both European and domestic football for the next few years. I’m aware this level of hype over a signing makes it seem like I would probably be a Chelsea fan, but I remain a tentatively excited Man Utd fan, very much looking forward to the season we could have as well. Chelsea may have the signing of the summer, but I would argue that Utd (perhaps tied with Qatar) have had the best transfer window of the summer.
It’s going to be a good year for football.