Guest Author - Alice Jones
With the European Championships now behind us, (and Spain probably still celebrating!) attention turns to the transfer window which opened in Europe at the beginning of this month. Let us look at the biggest moves of the summer so far in terms of both managers and players in the English Premier League. .
One of the biggest moves on the managerial side of things has to be “Big Phil” Scolari. During the EURO 2008 competition, it was revealed that Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari would not be signing a new contract with the Portuguese National team and would be heading to to English Premier League giants Chelsea after the tournament. Already Chelsea have signed Portugal International Jose Bosingwa, who joined the West London side from Porto for £16.2m. The 25 year old right back will be amongst former Porto team mates at Stamford Bridge along with Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Henrique Hilario who joined the club four years ago when Jose Mourinho was the manager. Another big signing for the London club is former Portugal captain, Deco from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee. Scolari once commented that he regretted not selecting Deco for Brazil, before the player became a Portuguese citizen. Chelsea are likely to be big contenders for the title next season.
Mark Hughes will now get the opportunity manage a bigger club with big money transfers as he moves to Manchester City from Blackburn. City fans will be hoping their owner former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra is found not guilty in his corruption trial and returns to open the purse strings even further. City seem to be showing their intentions as they payed out £18 million for young Brazilian striker Jo. It was rumoured that Mark Hughes might be trying to sign Ronaldinho but that looks increasingly unlikely as it looks like he will go to AC Milan. Meanwhile, the previous Manchester City manager Sven-Göran Eriksson returns to International management with Mexico having signed a contract with them earlier this summer.
Paul Ince moves into the Premier League after a successful spell at Milton Keynes Dons, and takes up the position at Blackburn which was left vacant by Mark Hughes.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Juventus signing of Danish midfield playmaker Christian Poulsen from Spanish club Sevilla for around £8m. makes their interest in Liverpool's Xavi Alonso likely to diminish. The Spanish International is now receiving interest from Arsenal, but it remains to be seen whether he will move on this summer or not. Liverpool are interested in signing England International Gareth Barry, who has expressed his desire to join the 5 times European Champions, but Liverpool's boardroom troubles linger on, and it is unclear how much they will be spending this transfer window. They have added Andrea Dossema to their ranks, an experienced left back from Udinese, the 26 year old cost the Anfield side £7 million. England striker Peter Crouch has moved to Portsmouth for around £11 million, despite being one of England's current top scorers he was not getting regular games at Liverpoool.
Arsenal have bought Samir Nasri from Marseille for an undisclosed fee. The much admired young French Playmaker will be keen to make an impact and Arsene Wenger will be hoping for a closer challenge to the Premier League title this season. The player has signed a three year deal and did play well when he got the chance as substitute for the French National team in Euro 2008, despite the team itself under performing. Aliaksandr Hleb looks to be on his way to Barcelona, and City are said to have been told they are out of the race for his signature.
Manchester United are yet to make any significant moves this transfer window, but they are rumoured to be interested in acquiring Bulgarian hotshot Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham, who will be hoping to replace him with someone of Andre Arshavin's stature but it looks more likely that the Russian International striker will remain at Zenit, the UEFA Cup Champions.
One of the rising stars of Euro 2008, Croatia's Luka Modric moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £16.5 before the tournament began. The attacking midfielder will be hoping to make an instant impact and help Tottenham's revival under manager Juande Ramos.
Turkish side Fenerbahce have won the race with Istanbul rivals Galatasary to sign Newcastle midfielder Emre Belezoglu. The Turks reached an agreement with United for an undisclosed fee. Newcastle did try to sign Pablo Aimar, but the player opted to join Benfica.
Whilst there have been several other signings to and from the Premier League, I hope I have covered some of the more significant ones here. Surprisingly, there has not been as much activity as was expected, despite there being more money around this season, due to new contracts from television.
The price of individual players has seemed to be higher on average this season, however. When the window closes by September 1st, we will have a much clearer picture, as many of the biggest moves often happen closer to the close of the window.