Ten of the Best Value-for-money Signings in the European Transfer Window

Thursday, 6 September, 2018 - 07:15
London - Niall McVeigh

William Carvalho (midfielder), Sporting Lisbon to Betis, £13.3m

The crisis at Sporting has led to a summer exodus, with several players leaving Lisbon for cut-price fees. Goalkeeper Rui Patrício joined Wolves for free and Lille snapped up promising forward Rafael Leão. After years of Premier League interest, William Carvalho has also moved on – but Real Betis were the surprise name at the head of the queue. The Seville side have spent well this summer, signing Japan winger Takashi Inui for free and loaning Giovani Lo Celso from PSG. Carvalho, an accomplished box-to-box midfielder signed for less than £15m, may be the pick of the bunch.

Alban Lafont (goalkeeper), Toulouse to Fiorentina, £6.75m

The going rate for a talented young goalkeeper has skyrocketed. Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have collectively paid out more than £150m for three keepers under the age of 25, and if Gianluigi Donnarumma leaves Milan, he will surely become the first £100m keeper. According to a CIES report, Donnarumma is the best under-20 player in the world – the man in second is another goalkeeper, Alban Lafont. Starting out as an attacking midfielder for his youth team before switching to nets, the former Toulouse keeper made his Ligue 1 debut at just 16. Blessed with raw talent and the right temperament, Lafont could soon be worth 10 times what Fiorentina paid this summer.

Juan Bernat (defender), Bayern Munich to Paris Saint-Germain, £13.5m

Paris Saint-Germain have had to rein in their spending after last summer’s purchases of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé and they may have grabbed a deadline-day bargain in Juan Bernat. The left-back can also play in midfield and central defence, and has wide, varied experience for a 25-year-old. The Spaniard will provide cover for Layvin Kurzawa, who may need surgery to resolve a persistent back problem. Bernat’s Champions League experience could also help the team overcome their struggles in Europe.

Robin Olsen (goalkeeper), Copenhagen to Roma, £7.6m

It was a mixed summer for Monchi, the Roma sporting director – Javier Pastore and Steven Nzonzi arrived for less than £25m each, but the club were left red-faced by the failed move for Malcom. The shrewdest signing of all may have been Olsen. Sweden’s No1 did well at the World Cup and has Champions League experience with Copenhagen and Malmö. Olsen has big gloves to fill after Alisson’s departure but he should be a safe pair of hands, secured at just over a tenth of the Brazilian’s £65m fee.

João Moutinho (midfielder), Monaco to Wolverhampton Wanderers, £5m

Moutinho heading to Molineux for just £5m was one of the summer’s biggest surprises – although Jorge Mendes’ ties with player and club tempered the shock somewhat. The midfielder may be a proven winner – he has won titles in two countries, a European trophy and Euro 2016 with Portugal – but small, skilful playmakers the wrong side of 30 are not a guaranteed hit in England. Moutinho has adjusted quickly, forming an instant understanding with compatriot Rúben Neves at the heart of Nuno Espírito Santo’s team.

Danny Ings (forward), Liverpool to Southampton, loan with £18m obligation

Southampton were desperately short on firepower last season – Charlie Austin top-scored with seven – but an injury-prone forward lacking match fitness did not appear an obvious solution. It’s early days, but Winchester-born Ings looks a perfect fit, scoring twice and bringing a new tenacity to Mark Hughes’ front line. The fee payable next summer isn’t cheap, but if Ings keeps his team up, Hughes will happily hand it over.

Paco Alcácer (forward), Barcelona to Borussia Dortmund, £1.8m loan, £21m option

Dortmund had a curious transfer window under new head coach Lucien Favre. Young talent arrived in the form of defenders Abdou Diallo and Achraf Hakimi, but Favre went for midfield experience with Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney. Their best recruit may be up front, where they have rescued Alcácer from his purgatory at Barcelona. Now 25, the Spanish forward was hot property at Valencia before his move to Camp Nou, and could make the difference in a competitive Champions League group.

Hamza Mendyl (defender), Lille to Schalke, £6.3m

Schalke saw two of their best players, Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer, leave for nothing this summer with Goretzka joining Bayern. Domenico Tedesco has brought in seven players for £46m, including Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rudy, as the team returns to the Champions League. Most intriguing is 20-year-old Morocco left-back Mendyl, wanted by a number of Premier League clubs but swayed by Tedesco’s reputation for developing young players. Do not be surprised if Bayern come calling next summer.

Fabian Schär (defender), Deportivo to Newcastle, £3m

Rafa Benítez has become accustomed to scouring the market for bargains, and may have found his best yet in the Swiss centre-back. Schär has played in La Liga, the Bundesliga, the Champions League, two World Cups and Euro 2016 – and he’s still just 26. Alongside fellow newcomer Federico Fernández, Schar brings a wealth of experience to a defence that was the Premier League’s seventh-best last season. He is worth much more than the £3m release clause Newcastle paid after Deportivo’s relegation.

Saman Ghoddos (forward), Östersund to Amiens, £3.4m

Capped by two different countries, Ghoddos was a key member of Graham Potter’s Östersund side and will pose a versatile danger to Ligue 1 defences. Born in Malmö and developed in Sweden’s lower leagues, Ghoddos has experience as a striker, winger, playmaker and central midfielder. The 24-year-old scored 41 goals in 93 appearances under Potter and set up 25 goals, including two in the Europa League win at the Emirates. That led to a Sweden call up before Ghoddos opted to play for Iran, featuring in all three of their World Cup games this summer.

The Guardian Sport

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