Was 2021 the best summer transfer window of all time?
Drama, big money signings, unbelievable business by some clubs and legends making big moves on to pastures new. The summer transfer window of 2021 has without been the best transfer window of all time.
With Financial Fair Play being restricted this year it provided an opportunity for some of the big hunters to come preying on financially vulnerable clubs especially. But who would’ve thought some of these hunters themselves would’ve been preyed upon.
Barcelona and Real Madrid each parted way with some legendary and iconic names. The big Premier League sides got even stronger and ultimately ‘super teams’ were formed. Some big-name players have been denied moves they’d been set on for a while.
Operating in the transfer window is never easy but coming of the back of two major international competitions in the Euros and Copa America as well as the Olympics, this window has left us with some unforgettable moments.
As this window ends, I wanted to look at some winners and losers of the historic 2021 Summer transfer window.
Winner: Paris Saint Germain
It’s Difficult to mention this window and not talk about PSG. Some of the transfer business has been nothing short of incredible. With clear intention to go all out for that elusive Champions League.
The Messi and Ramos transfers stand out immediately. Messi, arguably the best player to ever play the game and arguably the greatest centre-back in history in Sergio Ramos.
The Parisiens managed to capitalise on the financial constraints of Both Barcelona and Real Madrid in order to bring their respective legends to Paris.
Bringing in two long-time rivals with multiple honours and still possess the quality to perform at the highest level in their twilight years.
Additional quality and experience brought in with Champions League and Premier League winner in Wijnaldum.
Then the addition of two signings on the younger side with one of the best goalkeepers in the World and one of the best right-backs in the World.
The best transfer window from a single side arguably in history. With the hyper-inflation of the transfer market in recent seasons it’s even more impressive these star names were brought in all under €100m.
Most of the names came in on a free transfer. Clever business and no doubt one of the best works in the transfer market by a single club ever.
Loser: RB Leipzig
Leipzig knew prior to the 21/22 season that they were going to be without highly-rated manager Julian Nagelsmann. Now given the fact Julian went to title rivals Bayern Munich just proves the uncompetitive nature of the Bundesliga.
Further evidence can be seen with the fact that Leipzig also allowed their best centre-back in Dayot Upemacano as well as star midfielder and captain Marcel Sabitzer leave for Bayern Munich, for me shows a lack of endeavour and already accepting domestic defeat.
Dayot’s defensive partner Ibrahim Konate also moved on to pastures new. One of the best defences in the Bundesliga broken up and replaced with talented young hopefuls in Mohamed Simakan and Josko Gvordiol.
There is a glimmer of hope however starting with their new manager Jesse Marsch. Then the permanent signing of Angelino along with recruiting one of the Bundesliga’s deadliest marksmen in Andre Silva.
The recent arrivals of talented youngsters Ilaix Moriba and Brian Brobbery would give anyone much optimism and no doubt they’d perform in the Bundesliga.
Despite some impressive incomings, giving up their best players and manger to a team who is already almost guaranteed to win the league, doesn’t look smart at all.
A second-place finish may be difficult to attain and they could struggle to qualify for the following season’s Champions League campaign.
Winner: Aston Villa FC
The prospect of losing of Jack Grealish, would’ve led anyone to believe that Aston Villa would struggle to bring in the level of quality to replace such a talismanic maverick.
However, as Christian Purslow explained to the Villa fans, they looked to bring in players who specialise in 3 different attributes that made Jack so important to Aston Villa.
The squad looks much more balanced going into the new season, bringing in more matchwinners gives the team more equilibrium.
What was impressive was that they were quickly able to identify what they needed and were able to agree deals prior to the departure of Grealish.
The return of cult-hero Ashley Young on a free transfer was also amazing business. A serial winner picking up trophies during his time at Manchester United and Inter Milan. His versatility in wide areas makes this an absolute bargain.
The loan acquisition of Man Utd’s Axel Tuanzebe is another piece of savvy business. A young physically imposing defender who loves to defend as well as the quality of a modern-day centre back has the ability to add to an already impressive defensive unit.
There is much to look forward to for Aston Villa fans and could they dare of playing in Europe once again?
Loser: Liverpool FC
An argument can be made that Liverpool didn’t need to match their rivals in this unprecedented transfer window. The main priority was bringing an injury-stricken squad back to full fitness.
Tying down key players to long term contracts is also smart business. Preserving their value in the transfer market is no doubt forward thinking. However, Liverpool have had a strong first eleven for the last 3-4 seasons.
With Jurgen’s high energy, high octane style it would’ve been wise to look to reinforce the squad and improve the level of quality on the bench. The departure of Wijnaldum meant his position in the squad needed replacing.
Talented youngster Harvey Elliot returning from his successful loan spell and adding in promising young defender Ibrahima Konate brings youth and quality to this already strong Liverpool side.
Beyond Firmino, Mane and Salah there isn’t the required quality in reserve to rotate if needed. With the latter two due to take part in AFCON 2022 during the winter, it looks as if FSG missed an opportunity to bolster Jurgen Klopp’s squad in attacking areas.
Every squad has a cycle and with a lot of key players aging, it felt like now was the time to bring in the type of quality that would push and demand more from the existing starters in the squad.
It isn’t to say that they will suffer as a result of it but with fellow contenders Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City spending heavily, at some point during the season they’ll see the advantages of their rivals’ transfer business.
Winner: Eduardo Camavinga
From the beginning of the window talented midfielder Eduardo Camavinga made it known that he was not looking to sign a new contract at Rennes. Which put the European heavyweights on alert.
With Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG and Manchester United all registering an interest and Rennes more than happy to negotiate, there was no way Camavinga wouldn’t have a successful outcome in this window.
A talented all-round midfielder who boasts top numbers in defensive actions as well as had displaying a flair and vision going forward, this wonderkid was a bargain ready to snatched up by those who could afford it.
Despite PSG and Manchester United keeping in regular contact with Camavinga’s representatives, the young Frenchman always had his heart set playing in La Liga and got his dream move to Real Madrid.
Real Madrid, bring in a young midfielder who looks impressive and already is in and around the French National team set up. He is still developing but possesses the raw ability to be a superstar.
The deal is a win for everyone involved especially Camavinga. With rumours there are two other superstar French targets high on the transfer list (Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba), Camavinga certainly has something positive to look forward to now and in the future.
Loser: Harry Kane
This is the most obvious one in my opinion. There are many variables that contribute to why Harry Kane hasn’t got the move to Manchester City he so desperately wanted.
Arguably the best player in the Premier League finishing as Golden Boot winner and with the playmaker award. Ultimately, his Spurs side finished in 7th position.
Prior to even the European Championships kicking off Harry Kane had made it publicly known that he wanted to leave his beloved Tottenham Hotspur. This was mainly due to some naïve trust in a ‘’gentleman’s agreement’’ with chairman Daniel Levy.
His early form at the Euros was very much out down to his mind being with all the transfer speculation surrounding his future.
Coming away from the Championships disappointed with how it ended he was permitted a break. How long? Even till today it is still unclear how long he was given. Missing the return date for pre-season, whether it was agreed or not it certainly stoked the fire.
Seeing his England Team mate secure a record-breaking move to City must have caused him some concern nevertheless City still pursued this deal. Unable to meet the valuation set by Mr. Levy
Daniel Levy lived up to his reputation and his influence on proceedings was inevitable without having to utter a word publicly. Harry Kane stays at Tottenham for another season.
Harry was so confident that he would leave. Perhaps he shouldn’t have signed that 6 year deal a couple of seasons ago and if he did there would need to be some stipulation or clause that would have maybe be a part of the amazing window we’ve been a part of.
Harry wants to win titles and will now have to guide this Spurs side once more. Tottenham themselves have had an amazing window and good start to the season, perhaps new boss Nuno Espirito Santo can work with Harry to deliver him is first senior trophy.
There are of course so many obvious moments to remember from this window. Lionel Messi finally leaving his boyhood Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo returning back to Manchester United for one last dance. Never would i have thought to see them both moving in the same window.
Manchester United finally getting their hands on Jadon Sancho as well as bringing in Raphael Varane during his prime years.
With Messi’s departure it seemed the pressure rested on Antoine Griezmann to lift this Barca side along with Depay but he has also returned back to where he became known at Atletico de Madrid. Who have brought in real quality in depth to defend their title and challenge on multiple fronts.