With the 2015/16 campaign just around the corner, teams around the world are now scrambling to put together their squads. As usual, there have been dozens of intriguing transfers so far, with many of these being complete surprises which will certainly add to the drama this season. There are still a few weeks left for teams to conduct business and there are a few big deals currently on the brink of completion, but there are also plenty of teams who have wasted no time at all and have already made some huge signings which could be pivotal this campaign.
12. Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton to Liverpool, £12.5 million)
Another player to leave Southampton for Liverpool, Nathaniel Clyne will be hoping for a more impressive debut campaign than Ricky Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren. Brendan Rodgers will also require this of the talented right back, as Liverpool must perform well this season after a disastrous campaign last year, which has seen pressure mount on Rodgers. The 24-year-old joined Liverpool for £12.5 million, and is widely considered to be one of the best young right backs around. He has been an important part of Southampton’s formidable back-line since joining in 2012, and he also poses a threat going forwards, which is a large part of his appeal. He is one of several signings at Anfield, including fellow Englishmen James Milner and Danny Ings, with Liverpool being able to use their funds from the Raheem Sterling transfer to revamp their squad.
11. Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk to Bayern Munich, £21 million)
Bayern Munich have added depth with the signing of Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk for £21 million. The attacking midfielder joins the likes of Robert Lewandoski, Arjen Robben, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery in attack, and formidable midfielder Artuero Vidal looks set to join Munich later this week. The talent and depth of the squad could see them once again return to the Champions League final, and it is hard to see any other team in the Bundesliga giving them a run for their money in their quest for their fourth consecutive league title. Douglas Costa is used to domestic success, including a domestic treble in the 2010/11 season and five consecutive league titles. The 24-year-old from Brazil has already impressed on his Munich debut, setting up a goal in a comfortable 4-1 friendly victory over Valencia in Beijing.
10. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich to Manchester United, £14 million)
After 13 glittering seasons in the centre of midfield at Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger has moved to Manchester United for £14 million. Schweinsteiger has been nothing short of exceptional for both club and country, where he has won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Polka titles, a Champions League trophy and a World Cup in 2014. His spectacular vision, positioning and intelligence has established him as one of the best midfielders in the world, and his experience and presence in the center of the park is exactly what United require. The 30-year-old will also be a great presence around Old Trafford and will be able to pass on his wisdom to the younger talent at the club. Schweinsteiger is expected to form an imposing duo with Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield, which is certainly an intimidating thought for other Premier League clubs (and those in the Champions League) this season.
9. Arda Turan (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, £24.5 million)
Although Barcelona are in the midst of a transfer ban, they have still managed to steal the headlines by making a marquee signing in Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid for £24.5 million. Turan will not be allowed to play for the Catalan giants until midway through next season, but it is still a huge move as the treble winning side look to fill a Xavi shaped hole in their midfield. Turan captains the Turkish national team and is just 21 years old, so he certainly looks set to become a star and the Nou Camp could be the perfect environment for him to flourish. There were rumors that Turan would be loaned out by Barcelona on a short-term deal until the ban had been lifted, but Luis Enrique has now insisted that this will not be the case, and he therefore will not play in a match until 2016.
8. Petr Cech (Chelsea to Arsenal, ~£10 million)
After being dislodged from his starting spot at Chelsea by Thibaut Courtois, Blues legend Petr Cech has made a move to London rivals Arsenal in search of first team football. Chelsea fans will be sad to see a player that has been so integral to their success leave, and particularly to a rival, but Cech is undoubtedly still one of the best goalkeepers in the world and should be playing. The 33-year-old has joined the Gunners for around £10 million, and Arsenal fans will be thrilled to have such an experienced and talented keeper between the sticks (this has been an area of weakness in recent times). Arsenal hope that the signing of Cech will help them to challenge for the league title this season, as well as push on and reach the later stages of the Champions League (both of which Cech has won).
7. Carlos Bacca (Sevilla to A.C. Milan, £21 million)
After missing out on Jackson Martinez, A.C. Milan came in for Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca and signed him for £21 million. The Columbian striker has impressed at Atletico Junior, where he was top scorer in 2010, before moving to Club Brugge in 2012. Here he would also be top scorer in the division, but he would play in just one campaign after joining Seville. He became a star, largely thanks to his role in helping the Spanish team to back-to-back Europa League victories. This includes scoring twice in the 2015 final against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, where they won 3-2. Sinisa Mihajlovic will hope that his ability in front of goal can lift A.C. Milan back into European competition after a disappointing few years. Bacca, who was targeted by United and Chelsea, has stated that he wants Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return to the Rossoneri, with the Swedish striker currently being linked.
6. Paulo Dybala (Palermo to Juventus, £23.4 million)
Twenty-one-year-old striker Paulo Dybala will be suiting up for Juventus this year after joining from Palermo for £23.4 million. With Tevez departing for Boca Juniors, Juventus are looking to fill the void with Dybala and Mario Mandzukic from Atletico Madrid. They will be desperate for these signings to make an immediate impact so that they can return to the Champions League final, where they fell to Barcelona last season. Dybala is coming off the back of a breakout season, seeing the Argentine net 10 goals in the first half of the season, and finishing with 13 goals and 10 assists. The youngster is nicknamed “La Joya” (“The Jewel”), and has been compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Vincenzo Montella thanks to his creativity and technique. He will have big shoes to fill this season as he takes the #21 shirt—previously worn by Andrea Pirlo.
5. Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton to Manchester United, £24 million)
After a transfer saga that seemed to drag on forever, Morgan Schneiderlin finally departed Southampton for Manchester for a fee of £24 million. Schneiderlin had made his intentions to leave the south coast club clear at the beginning of the year, with United, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal all linked to the 25-year-old. United finally won the Frenchman’s signature, and he will now form a formidable duo with Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle of park at Old Trafford. Over the last three seasons, Schneiderlin has established himself as one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League. At the end of the 2012/13 season, Schneiderlin had the most tackles, interceptions and highest work rate in the entire league. Schneiderlin’s United career has gotten off to the perfect start, seeing him score on his debut (and the only goal of the game) in a preseason victory over Club America.
4. Memphis Depay (PSV to Manchester United, £25 million)
Manchester United have been perhaps the busiest team this summer, and they have shown their intent through splashing on some of the top talent around Europe. This includes Memphis Depay from PSV for a fee of £25 million. Depay is just 21 years old and found the back of the net an impressive 25 times last season, and his goal scoring threat could help fire United back into title contention. Depay is a winger but he can also play up front, and this may have to be the case this season with United currently short on strikers. Depay has played under Van Gaal for Holland which should see him bed in well with the team, however there is always a risk when players arrive in the Premier League with no previous experience. At such a young age, however, Depay could be a bright star for United in both the short- and long-term.
3. Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim to Liverpool, £29 million)
It has been another busy summer at Anfield, and Brendan Rodgers needs to have a successful campaign after catching plenty of heat last season. They have shown their intent by signing Brazilian attacking mid/striker Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim for £29 million. Liverpool have not had much luck signing attacking players in recent times, but they hope that the 23-year-old can change their fortunes and both score and create this season. He is their second most expensive signing of all time, and Reds fans will be praying that he is an improvement on the man atop that list (Andy Carroll). Liverpool look set to sign Christian Benteke for around £32.5 million, giving their attack a revamped look which could fire them back into Champions League football (a must for Rodgers this season). Firmino joins up with fellow Brazilians Lucas Leiva and Phillipe Coutinho at Anfield.
2. Jackson Martinez (Porto to Atletico Madrid, £24.8 million)
Jackson Martinez has emerged as one of the hottest assets in football after a stunning three seasons at Porto, which saw him score 67 goals in 90 games and finish as the Primeira Liga top scorer each campaign. Martinez had been linked with Arsenal and A.C. Milan, but it would be Atletico Madrid who would win Martinez’s signature for £24.8 million. Atletico Madrid were in need of a striker after losing Mario Mandzukic to Juventus (who replaces Tevez who has returned to Boca Juniors). Martinez has also proven that he can score on the big stage, netting twice at the 2014 World Cup against Japan, as well as scoring twice against Bayern Munich over two legs. Diego Simeone will be thrilled to add an out and out goalscorer to their ranks, and he joins Luciano Vietto and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco as new recruits at the Vicente Calderon.
1. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool to Manchester City, £49 million)
Another transfer saga that dragged on, Raheem Sterling completed a contentious move to Manchester City for a staggering £49 million. This is the most expensive signing of the summer so far, with City desperate to pry him away from Liverpool to add more homegrown players to their ranks. Although a talented player, the transfer saga has somewhat tarnished Sterling’s reputation and he will have to hit the ground running at City to silence his critics. A contract dispute formed during the season, with Sterling’s agent making comments that angered Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers. The bids soon came flying in from City, with Liverpool holding out for their valuing of Sterling at £50 million. Sterling would then miss two days of training with an apparent illness, causing Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness to voice their displeasure at his actions. A frosty reception awaits Sterling at Anfield this year.