The summer transfer window is in full swing and with the dawn of a fresh European football season firmly on the horizon, it’s interesting to see what kind of business teams have conducted over the last few weeks and months to keep their side competitive and go again this campaign. The World Cup breaks up domestic responsibilities at the end of November, so games will be coming round thick and fast, including the Champions League, where all six group games are set to be finished before players jet off to Qatar.
This means squads will need as much depth as possible, managing fitness as well as expectations across all of the continent’s big leagues, some of which are looking extremely competitive and tough to call when it comes to football odds. Some good signings could well be the difference between first and second come next May, so read on as we look at some of the savviest moves from this summer.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City
In this striker merry-go-round of 2022, we’ve seen good deals, and bad ones. While Robert Lewandowski will find the back of the net for Barcelona, £40 million for a 34-year-old is hardly good return on investment, whilst the Pole’s replacement, Sadio Mané meant Liverpool needed a new man to lead the line, bringing in Darwin Núñez from Benfica. The best deal of all though, looks to be Erling Haaland going to Manchester City from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
Still only 21 years old, Haaland has that unique blend of proficiency and potential, and looks to be the missing piece in Pep Guardiola’s puzzle, with Harry Kane eluding them last summer. Gabriel Jesus was a paperweight in the deal, moving to Arsenal and starting brightly in pre-season, but ultimately, it’s Haaland that punters will have their money on in the Golden Boot discussions.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United to Juventus
It still looks like some time before Juventus can consider themselves genuine title contenders again in Serie A, but bringing back Paul Pogba for a second stint with The Old Lady for free was another step in the right direction. Only Manchester United could part ways with a player they had in the academy, resign him for a then British transfer fee, and lose him again six years later at the end of his Old Trafford contract. United’s loss is Juve’s gain and the still immensely talented Pogba, whose best years came in Turin, has garnered plenty of experience since leaving Italy in 2016, winning the Europa League, League Cup and World Cup with France.
Expect Max Allegri to give Pogba licence to roam in midfielder, and alongside Ángel Di María, who also arrives on a free from Paris Saint-Germain, Juve could run either Milan side closer this year in a bid to once again become the dominant force in Italy.
Paulo Dybala – Juventus to AS Roma
In terms of moves out of absolute necessity, José Mourinho attracting Paulo Dybala to Roma at the end of his Juventus contract is one of the best moves in the club’s history, and signifies why he is still one of the best coaches about. While his side won the inaugural Europa Conference League, they were craving the creativity to support the industry of Tammy Abraham and Nicola Zaniolo, and Dybala will take them to the next level in terms of an outside shot for the title.
You only need to look at the hero’s reception he received at the Palazzo della Civilta to see how loved Dybala will be in Rome, and alongside Georginio Wijnaldum, who looks set to arrive on loan from PSG, and Nemanja Matić, a perennial figure in a Mourinho team linking up for the third time with the Portuguese coach, Roma can forge a genuine attempt at supremacy in Serie A, should they remain consistent in the second half of the season.