Didier Drogba-Free Transfer
Frank Lampard-Free Transfer
Ashley Cole-Free Transfer
Chelsea have had what can only be described as the near perfect transfer window. Jose Mourinho was often eager to point out last season that the team he had taken over from long-time adversary Rafa Benitez, was by no means his own. Over the course of his first twelve months back at Stamford Bridge he made subtle changes and additions of his own to kick-start a new Chelsea, but this summer has seen the most reconstructive work.
David Luiz, a player Mourinho clearly didn’t trust to play either as a central defender or holding midfielder went to PSG for £50million. It was a deal which gave Chelsea all kinds of freedom with regards to UEFA’s Financial Fair Player regulations. Next to go were club stalwarts Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, who were ready for change.
Romelu Lukaku was ideally a player Chelsea would have liked to have kept and developed, but the player was keen to move and £28 million for a striker who had never scored a competitive goal for Chelsea was an offer not to be turned down.
Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have been Chelsea’s two main arrivals and they already characterise the new look Chelsea. Costa is Didier Drogba’s replacement, albeit a number of years later than many would have liked. The Spaniard gives Chelsea a real edge up front and a desire to not only score goals, but have an impact in other areas of the pitch.
Fabregas is the craftsmen, he keeps the team ticking over and has already provided numerous assists, including a mind boggling pass to set up Andre Schurrle’s goal against Burnley.
Mourinho has now surrounded him with players he has chosen, whom he can mould and get the best out of. For the first time in a number of years Chelsea start the season as title favourites, with a net spend of just £8.6million.
2. Bayern Munich
Sebastian Rode-Free Transfer
Robert Lewandowski-Free Transfer
Daniel van Buyten-Retired
As if Bayern Munich were not already strong enough, manager Pep Guardiola has seen fit to furnish his already luxurious team with a brand new striker. The undoubtedly world-class Robert Lewandowski, for free. After playing the waiting game with the Polish forward for just under 18 months, Bayern finally have their man giving them supreme quality up front.
Make no mistake this is a transfer window which could have gone one or two ways for Bayern, following the departure of Toni Kroos. That was a significant blow, especially when you consider the team was hit with an early season injury crisis. However, the double arrival of Mehdi Benatia and the vastly experience Xabi Alonso have ensured that the club remain strong in both depth and quality.
Defensively there have been question marks over Bayern even since the treble winning season of 2012-2013, with Jerome Boateng and Dante not convincing everybody. Benatia arrives in Bavaria fresh from an outstanding season with AS Roma, which cemented him as one of Europe’s top centre halves. It will give Bayern an injection of defensive solidity, particularly in Javi Martinez’s long absence.
3. AS Roma
Mapou Yanga Mbiwa-Loan
Ashley Cole-Free Transfer
Seydou Keita-Free Transfer
Urby Emanuelson-Free Transfer
Jose Angel-Free Transfer
Rodrigo Taddei-Free Transfer
AS Roma, whilst losing their best defender in Benatia, have actually improved their squad significantly from last season adding quality and depth in numerous positions. Rudi Garcia’s men will be out to challenge for glory on both the domestic and continental front with the Italian giants back in the Champions League.
Ashley Cole stands out as a free transfer with the former Chelsea left-back providing experience to Roma’s defense, particularly in Europe. Cole’s performances against Atletico Madrid in last season’s semi-final proved he still has the quality to perform at the highest level.
Konstantinos Manolas is Benatia’s replacement, after a great season with Olympiacos. The Greek defender has earned his big money move and snubbed the interest of Arsenal to move to the Serie A heavyweight. If he can settle, then the loss of Benatia could be significantly lessened particularly amongst supporters whom had become uneasy with Benatia’s treatment of the club during the summer.
Mattia Destro has been retained in another positive move by sporting director Walter Sabatini. Chelsea made their interest clear in the forward, who following a long injury lay-off looked to be hitting top form last season, but fortunately Roma were able to stave off the English powerhouse.
Radja Nainggolan has been signed on a permanent deal, following his loan to keep balance in midfield. While the introduction of maverick playmaker Juan Iturbe is a clever move, and it will be exciting to see what he can produce. He will ease the weight off the shoulders of Roma’s creative outlet Gervinho, who was too heavily relied upon last season at times.
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