Soccer

Bellingham, Mount, and More: Early Returns In Soccer’s Summer Transfer Window

August 22, 2023

The summer transfer window has been open for three weeks in the Premier League, and now that July 1-3 has passed, the other major European leagues are free to make deals, as well. Clubs will have two more months to finalize signings, but there have already been significant transactions with the potential to shift the fortune of some clubs.

The biggest official move of the summer thus far is English midfielder Jude Bellingham moving from Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga to Real Madrid in La Liga. The fee was 103 million euros, the largest in Real Madrid history. That alone speaks to the quality Bellingham will bring to club, and the significant expectations that will be attached to his arrival.

Even though they can’t be compared directly due to the ever-increasing money in the sport, the move stands out even more when considering the club paid 100.8 euros for Gareth Bale in 2013 and 100 million euros for Eden Hazard in 2019.

Only 20 years old, Bellingham will spend the next six years with Madrid and will look to join historic greats of the club, including Zinedine Zidane. Bellingham paid homage to the French great, picking to wear the number 5 and specifically mentioning Zidane as inspiration in his opening press conference.

Madrid may not be done, as they are rumored to be in the mix for French giant Kylian Mbappé. He still has one year left on his deal, but if he can’t reach an extension with PSG, reports suggest the club will move Mbappé this summer.

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Chelsea Blues

Moving to the Premier League, Chelsea have consistently been in the news as they look to retool their roster after a disastrous 12th place finish in the Premier League. Chelsea’s Kai Havertz has joined Arsenal on a £65 million deal after scoring seven goals across 35 games with the Blues in 2022-23.

In one of the more emotional moves of the summer, Chelsea also parted ways with Mason Mount, who had been in the team’s academy since he was six years old and went on to win player of the year honors for the club in both 2021 and 2022. The £60 million fee won’t ease the pain of supporters, as he is set to join rival side Manchester United.

It hasn’t been all bad news for Chelsea, though, as they’ve retooled their options at striker with the signings of Christopher Nkunku and Nicholas Jackson. Nkunku managed to find the back of the net 16 times in only 25 games for RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga in 2022, while Jackson was equally prolific with Villareal in La Liga.

Even with those aggressive moves, Chelsea may have more tricks up their sleeve. They have been linked to Viktor Osimhen of Napoli. The fee for his services is expected to reach at least $150 million, which may not be realistic after initial reports suggested that Chelsea would be spending less freely this summer.

Other ‘Premier’ Moves

While it’s impossible to cover them all, there have been several other noteworthy moves for Premier League sides. News broke July 4 that Declan Rice was given permission to take his physical with Arsenal, and he’ll be leaving West Ham for a significant £105 million fee.

He’ll be a key addition to the team’s midfield as a reliable defensive presence, and the move is made all the sweeter by the fact that the Gunners beat out Manchester City for his services. With Havertz already in the mix, Arsenal have had a solid start to their summer transactions.

We’ll end our survey of the topflight English Clubs with Liverpool. The Reds have been widely praised for their signing of Dominik Szoboszlai – another defector from RB Leipzig. Proponents of the move claim that Szoboszlai compares favorably to Bellingham, but with a price tag 33 million dollars cheaper.

In another move, Liverpool also added Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion. Mac Allister should immediately step into a starting role in the team’s midfield.

Welcome To Miami, Messi!

Though it can’t compare to the quality of the Premier League and other top European leagues, the MLS has worked hard to both improve the quality of its product and increase its appeal in the last 15 to 20 years. That campaign began with David Beckham joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, and Lionel Messi’s arrival is the biggest move since.

Messi wasn’t an official transfer because he’ll no longer be under contract with PSG when he signs his deal with FC Miami. The MLS club is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, and Messi will bring at least one old friend with him, in the hopes of changing the fortunes of the team.

While not on the same level of Messi – very few are – former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets has also agreed to come to Miami. There has been no formal announcement, but the duo is expected to be introduced with their new club in mid-July, with the date of July 16 being floated in the media.

Finally, in what would be a shocking move, rumors from Spanish media outlets have suggested that legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta could rejoin his former Barcelona teammates in Miami this summer, as well.

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