Breaking down all the major deals, rumors from transfer deadline day

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Breaking down all the major deals, rumors from transfer deadline day

Another transfer deadline day is in the books. Below, we provide quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals – and rumors – from the summer window’s frantic final day.

DONE DEAL: Saul solves Chelsea’s midfield shortage ?

  • Details: Season-long loan with option to buy (Read more)

This 11th-hour move works well for both parties.

Saul Niguez’s influence has waned over the past year or so despite his relatively clean bill of health, and that’s resulted in stints on Atletico Madrid’s bench and his omission from Spain’s Euro 2020 squad. It seemed the academy graduate’s time with Los Colchoneros had run its course, and a change would help the midfielder reignite his career.

And now Saul has landed on his feet with a switch to the European champions.

Thomas Tuchel was on the lookout for more bodies in midfield after relying heavily on Jorginho and dealing with N’Golo Kante’s increasingly frequent spells in the treatment room. Aside from that pair, the German tactician’s third-choice midfielder is Mateo Kovacic.

Saul is a tactically gifted player who can pick out a killer pass from the base of midfield, and he’s a surprisingly tough opponent in all kinds of duels. Tuchel could be the perfect coach to help Saul rediscover his best form.

DONE DEAL: Griezmann back at Atletico Madrid ?

  • Details: Loan with obligation to buy (Read more)

Antoine Griezmann was an awkward fit at Barcelona. The forward was regularly scapegoated for the club’s financial problems after his €120-million move and singled out for its on-field underachievement.

DeFodi Images / DeFodi Images / Getty

But now, at long last, Griezmann has pulled the escape hatch and returned to Atletico Madrid.

The 30-year-old will be back grafting under Diego Simeone, the manager who turned him into a complete forward, and lining up alongside players like Luis Suarez and Joao Felix. That’s some upgrade on Martin Braithwaite.

Atleti is in good shape for its La Liga title defense.

It’s clear that Barcelona’s frontline is one of the weakest in its history after this summer window, but offloading Griezmann, Lionel Messi, and Trincao is out of necessity. The club holds debts of €1.35 billion, so it needs to rebuild gradually while aiming to return to its former glory.

DONE DEAL: Real Madrid get Camavinga ?

  • Details: Midfielder joins in reported €31-million deal (Read more)

This is arguably the signing of the summer.

Eduardo Camavinga made his Rennes debut at 16, and it was soon clear he played with the maturity of a midfielder twice his age. He’s got incredible composure and always seems to pick the right pass, while his positional sense helps him break up plays, create space for his teammates, and lead counter-presses. He dictated Ligue 1 matches with his all-around game, helping Rennes reach last season’s Champions League group stage.

And he’s still just 18.

Real Madrid are officially moving into their next era with this signing. Camavinga will be expected to become one of Los Blancos’ chief protagonists for the next 15 years, taking Luka Modric’s midfield mantle and establishing himself among the sport’s elite.

Camavinga was available for an affordable €31 million because his Rennes contract was due to expire in June.

PSG risk losing Mbappe for nothing next summer ?

  • Details: PSG reportedly fail to respond to Real Madrid bid (Read more)

Kylian Mbappe can join another team on a free transfer next summer after Paris Saint-Germain apparently stalled with their response to a bid worth at least €200 million from Real Madrid.

The Qatari-owned French club has therefore potentially surrendered almost a quarter of a billion euros. But rather than this being a case of PSG struggling to decide whether to accept Real Madrid’s offer, it’s likely a reflection of club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s belief that Mbappe will still sign a new contract.

“There’s no one more competitive than us. He has no reason to do anything (other than stay at the club),” Al-Khelaifi said about Mbappe’s future during Messi’s unveiling earlier in August.

Even if Mbappe leaves for nothing, it’s a risk that could lead to a rich reward. Fielding Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar together greatly boosts PSG’s bid for Champions League silverware. That’s the club’s No. 1 priority.

And although Mbappe may be initially downbeat about the collapse of his Real Madrid move, it’s a long-term win-win scenario for him. PSG are better equipped for Champions League glory than Real Madrid this season, and he’ll be due a mammoth signing-on fee upon arriving at his next destination due to the absence of a transfer fee.

However, there’s one possible piece of bad news for some of Europe’s biggest clubs: PSG will aggressively pursue Erling Haaland next summer if Mbappe takes off.

German transfer window shuts quietly ???

The Bundesliga rarely gets involved in the mad scrambles that define deadline days, so relegation-threatened Greuther Furth briefly garnered the spotlight when they struck deals for Cedric Itten and Sebastian Griesbeck.

But three of the country’s bigger clubs also brokered late transfers before the 12 p.m. ET deadline.

Eintracht Frankfurt loaned Sam Lammers from Atalanta and have handed the Dutchman the No. 9 shirt that Andre Silva previously wore. Lammers, 24, enjoyed his most prolific season on loan at Heerenveen, where he scored 16 goals over the 2018-19 Eredivisie campaign.


Borussia Dortmund also brokered a season-long loan agreement with Wolfsburg for defender Marin Pongracic. RB Leipzig, meanwhile, signed teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba from Barcelona for a €16-million fee, according to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano.

A summary of the German transfer window can be found here.

DONE DEALS: Ronaldo in, James out at United ?

  • Details: CR7 joins from Juventus for potential €23M fee (Read more)
  • Details: James moves to Leeds United for reported £25M

Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United used deadline day’s early hours to put the final touches on the transfer that still has the football world in a frenzy.

The 36-year-old was seemingly on the verge of joining local rivals Manchester City after their pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane collapsed. However, a chaotic few hours culminated with United announcing the return of Ronaldo from Juventus on Friday, pending an agreement of personal terms, the receipt of a visa, and the Portuguese forward completing a medical.

Some reports suggest City pulled the plug on a deal, allowing United to swoop in. Other accounts claimed the allure of United – and persuasive phone calls from former teammates such as Rio Ferdinand – encouraged Ronaldo to turn his back on City. There was even speculation that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, used City as a pawn to tempt United into an approach, though that would seem unlikely as some of Mendes’ top clients play for the reigning Premier League champions.

Sebastian Frej/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Perhaps the biggest debate around Ronaldo’s return is United’s motivation. Was this primarily an emotional decision, one designed to stop a club icon from moving to City and instead bring him back to Old Trafford? Or does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believe the Madeiran maverick is the crucial final piece in a title-winning team?

There’s no doubting the supreme quality and influence of Ronaldo, but the riches United already had in attack and their vulnerabilities in defensive midfield may suggest their money was best spent elsewhere.

Ronaldo’s return dealt a significant blow to Daniel James’ first-team chances, so the Welsh winger moved across the Pennines to join Leeds United on Tuesday in a reported £25-million deal.

Manchester City fail in No. 9 search

It went very quiet at City headquarters after Ronaldo moved to their cross-town foes. It was almost as if they conceded defeat in their search for an out-and-out striker.

Winger Ferran Torres has impressed at center-forward, while Gabriel Jesus, who’s flourished in his recent outings on the right flank, remains City’s most natural striking option. But that clearly isn’t enough while Pep Guardiola competes for four separate pieces of silverware. City needed a Sergio Aguero replacement.

But the club strangely wasn’t rumored to be exploring late moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Haaland and Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic on transfer deadline day.

Interestingly, 18-year-old Liam Delap is yet to move out on loan despite links with Stoke City and other Championship clubs. Perhaps the boisterous striker will get an opportunity in Guardiola’s lineup after the failures to land Kane and Ronaldo.

DONE DEAL: Moise Kean re-joins Juventus ?

  • Details: Bianconeri could pay up to €38M after initial loan (Read more)

Kean signed off from Everton duty with a red card in a League Cup match at Huddersfield Town. It was a fitting way for him to end a disappointing spell on Merseyside.

Tony McArdle – Everton FC / Everton FC / Getty

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin establishing himself as the main striker at Everton and roving forward duties left to Richarlison, Kean struggled for minutes with the Toffees. The 21-year-old only once started in back-to-back Premier League matches and completed 90 minutes just twice: a 2-0 home defeat to Sheffield United and a cup win over League Two’s Salford City.

So, Everton potentially receiving even more than what they paid two years ago isn’t a bad return at all.

At Juventus, Kean is widely recognized as Ronaldo’s replacement. It’s a burdensome tag. But Juve should take confidence from his haul of 13 goals from 26 Ligue 1 appearances on loan at Paris Saint-Germain last season and his exploits as a teenager during his previous spell in Turin.

Kean has often thrived as a support striker or when being one of a few forwards, and Juventus can certainly play to those strengths when Massimiliano Allegri has the likes of Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa, and Paulo Dybala to call upon.

Best under-the-radar signing

Brighton & Hove Albion could be one of the most exciting Premier League teams to watch following the addition of Marc Cucurella.

Cucurella, a £15.4-million arrival from Getafe, will wreak havoc on the left flank while a fit-again Tariq Lamptey will raze everything in his path down the right. It promises to be a thrilling watch.

The 23-year-old addresses an area of need for the Seagulls after midfielders Pascal Gross, Solly March, and Jakub Moder have played at left-back or left wing-back during the opening three matches of the Premier League season. Cucurella could also feature to the left of the striker, with Leandro Trossard playing on the right.