Since the last transfer roundup, the most expensive transfer in the world finally took place. After a summer of speculation and cryptic tweets, Paul Pogba returned to Old Trafford to play for Manchester United. The 23-year-old, comes with a world of expectations and opinions about whether or not he can live up to the billing are mixed. A suspension carried over from the Italian Cup meant that the Frenchman was out of the Red Devils’ season-opener against Bournemouth, but now he looks set to make his debut at Old Trafford against Southampton on Friday. #POGBACK
Joining Pogba in the Manchester arms race is 22-year-old centerback John Stones. The former Everton man is considered one of the brightest prospects in England, and joins a star-studded cast at the Etihad with Pep Guardiola. While he has shown weaknesses over the last couple of seasons, his ability to move the ball made him a perfect prospect for Pep to mold. Can he live up to the nation’s expectations, and handle the pressure of playing with a Champions League caliber team like Man City?
After a lackluster start to the summer where their only signing was a backup keeper, and a midfielder from Aston Villa, Ronald Koeman finally bolstered Everton’s lineup with some “big name” additions. First, the Blues followed up the departure of John Stones by bringing in Premier League veteran Ashley Williams from Swansea City. Then, they added to their slim attack with Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie. While the creative winger can be inconsistent, when he’s at his best he’s near unstoppable. Both could prove to be pivotal buys for a potential Everton bounce back.
Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen finally moved on from his tumultuous time with Barcelona last week joining AS Roma on loan for the 2016/17 season. The 30-year-old struggled mightily with injuries during his two-year stint in La Liga and he appeared in just 21 games for Barça. The move to Italy gives the 30-year-old a chance to revitalize his once great career, but in his debut for the Italian club, he was sent off before the first half even ended.
Where will they go?
Joe Hart / Claudio Bravo
One of the more surprising transfer sagas that have popped up recently is the one surrounding Manchester City keeper Joe Hart. The England number one was left on the bench for Pep Guardiola’s league debut against Man City, and now his future at the Etihad looks to be heavily in doubt. This recent development has sparked reported interest from Everton, Sevilla and even Borussia Dortmund. His replacement looks to be Claudio Bravo, and that’s not a bad player to have between the pipes. Hart has been with the Cityzens for 10 years, but it looks like that decorated tenure is coming to an abrupt end.
24-year-old Shkodran Mustafi has quickly become one of the most sought after defensive players in Europe. The Valencia center back has been heavily linked with injury-riddled Arsenal, and some even reported that he had already agreed a fee with the Gunners. Unfortunately for fans at the Emirates, Mustafi is still on the books at Valencia and it’s unclear whether or not this saga will end anytime soon. Even worse for Arsenal is the reported interest from Liverpool. Who will win the race for the German’s signature?
After helping Portugal win this summer’s European Championship, it looks as if 23-year-old Joao Mário is set for a move to the San Siro and Inter Milan. The defensive midfielder anchored Portugal’s midfield alongside the likes of Joao Moutinho and Renato Sanches, and now Inter look set to spend close to £26 million to bring him over to Serie A. Once a storied European champion, Inter have struggled recently to stay relevant in the league and have become a complete non-factor in terms of Champions League competition. Mário reinforces the club’s rebuilding strategy, and it should provide him with consistent playing time at the top level.
With Claudio Bravo looking set to join Manchester City and Marc-André ter Stegen currently injured, Barcelona are now looking to sign an experienced keeper to hold down the fort. That experienced keeper looks like it’s going to be Diego Alves from Valencia. The Brazilian has been a solid keeper in La Liga for the last several seasons and his reported £7 million makes him a great bargain. While he’s unlikely to remain the Catalans’ number one after ter Stegen returns, he provides the club with a reliable option to carry them through the early part of the campaign.