Atlético Madrid’s defense lost a superstar when Brazilian defender Miranda joined Inter Milan last week. After four seasons in the Spanish capital, Miranda will go to an Inter side in the midst of a rebuilding offseason after failing to qualify for the Champions League for a fourth consecutive season. The 30-year-old center back will compete with Andrea Ranocchia and Nemanja Vidic for playing time at the heart of defense, but expect him to help a side that allowed 48 goals through 38 games last season. This is Inter’s second major signing of the summer following the capture of Geoffrey of Kondogbia from Monaco earlier in the summer.
After weeks of brewing in the rumor mill, New York City FC finally confirmed that they had signed Italian legend Andrea Pirlo to bolster their midfielder. Pirlo is coming off of a historic season with Juventus helping them capture the Italian Cup and Serie A title. He will join a midfield that already contains Mix Diskerud and former Chelsea man Frank Lampard. Despite his age, 36, Pirlo’s play seems to be like a fine wine that only gets better with time. If he can play to just a fraction of the level he was at in Turin last season, NYCFC will possess arguably the best midfielder in the league. Also, the team has already assuaged fans’ fears of a Frank Lampard-style situation by telling the media that Pirlo will not go on loan to Manchester City.
In arguably the biggest deal of the week, Atlético Madrid’s squad took another major blow as midfielder Arda Turan exchanged the red-and-white stripes for the blue-and-red kit of Barcelona. Turan will be unable to officially register as a Barca player until the conclusion of their transfer ban in January, however. When he finally lines up for the Catalan side, he will have to beat out the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta for playing time. Turan brings a tenacity and passion that is nearly unmatched in club competition, and his ability to spark attacks make him a dangerous option for whatever team he suits up for.
One of the more surprising rumors that looks close to coming to fruition is Xherdan Shaqiri’s reported move to Stoke City in the Premier League. Stoke, a team normally associated with a physical, long ball style of play, started to transition to a more attractive playing style last season with the introduction of players like Victor Moses and former Barcelona man Bojan. Signing a player of Shaqiri’s quality would send a major message to the rest of the league that Stoke are ready to compete for top seven spots. We don’t usually associate Stoke with big money signings such as this, but I think that it would be a great signing for the club and a fresh challenge for Shaqiri.
The latest player to be on the verge of a move to Manchester United is Torino’s Matteo Darmian. The 25-year-old right back would fill a major hole for Louis Van Gaal’s side, but he joins a very long list of players that have been linked with the club this summer. Last season, the Red Devils mainly relied on midfielder Antonio Valencia to occupy the right back position with Van Gaal seemingly losing faith in Rafeal. Darmian, if he signs, would almost immediately step into the starting lineup and get major minutes in the team’s Premier League and Champions League campaigns.
The never-ending transfer saga of Raheem Sterling continued this week with Manchester City being touted as the favorites to sign the 20-year-old. Some papers reported that the winger told Liverpool officials he would refuse to join the team’s preseason tour squad if they failed to find him a new club, while also adding that City hoped to sign him before they left for their Australian friendlies. Sterling will not leave Merseyside cheaply, however, with the widely reported fee being £50 million. If there’s one thing that City do well, it’s buy players and a shortage of homegrown players on their rosters make Sterling that much more valuable to them.
Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Angel Di Maria
After a difficult first season with Manchester United in the Premier League, several media outlets have reported that some of the biggest clubs in Europe are trying to lure Angel Di Maria away from Old Trafford. The latest club linked with the Argentine winger is Bayern Munich. The cost to bring Di Maria to the Allianz, however, is reportedly a combination of Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and some additional cash. As much as I would love to see this deal happen, I don’t think there is anyway that Bayern get rid of two of their best players AND some cash to bring in Di Maria. Also, I don’t think there is anyway that United sell their record signing after just one season at the club.