Every off-season a big name is sold in European football – often even two or three. From Tottenham selling Gareth Bale to Porto moving James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to Monaco, players are sold for huge sums of money. While the players sold have profound impacts at their new clubs, the bigger impact comes from the raft of players brought in to supplement the selling squad. Generally, a team will reinvest a large chunk of the cash in a similar player to the one sold. They then fill in other team needs with the remaining money. Here’s how some of Europe’s elite have fared at it recently.
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Players Sold: Gareth Bale
Players Bought: Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela
When: 2013/2014 Summer Transfer Window
If you’re looking for an example of how to poorly spend oodles of money, you’ve come to the right place. Of all seven acquisitions, only Eriksen showed well. If anything, the additions bogged down Spurs’ roster. Depth can be perceived as a good thing, but in north London, it wasn’t.
Of all the new talent, Lamela was the player to fill Bale’s boots. Despite being blessed with immense pace and the ability to take players on, the Argentine struggled to adapt. In the end, the team wasn’t able to find a player who could come close to reproducing even half of Bale’s talismanic output. Hence Spurs finished the year, once again, in a Europa League place.
Going forward, most of these players are young enough to contribute and live up to their potential, but right now, the sales have to be looked at as widespread failure.
Players Sold: Luis Suarez
Players Bought: Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lorven and Divock Origi and Mario Balotelli
When: 2014/2015 Transfer Window
Sadly, Liverpool sold the player with the most bite on the team. Ok, I kid, but Luis Suarez’ bite nearly cannibalized any chance of a move – alright, too much. But in all seriousness, Suarez is gone. Liverpool sold him to Barcelona, and has brought in a contingent of quality players to improve on a team that finished second in the Premier League. None of them will be like-for-like replacements for the Uruguayan, after all no one can replace his production, but all will be useful. Former Southampton defender Dejan Lorven will greatly improve a defense that was perceived as Liverpool’s greatest flaw last season. Two other former Saints, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, will provide Brendan Rodgers with the tactical flexibility to use a multitude of different lineups. Other signings, such as Emre Can and Lazar Markovic, will give Rodgers even more options when it comes to picking a starting XI. The signing of Balotelli will have the most immediate impact. His goalscoring and technical ability will play well next to Daniel Sturridge. No one can fill Suarez’ boots, but if you had to pick a player to come close, it would be Balotelli. These signings also give Liverpool much needed depth – something that will be key with the team expected to contend on the domestic and European fronts.