With the Champions League play-off round approaching next month, fans of participating clubs would be forgiven for being wrapped up in the affairs of their beloved side, but with Europe’s best facing off, it’s always an advantage to find out what player has picked up his bags and left for another country before you can’t find him for half an hour on your television.
With that being said, the best have been busy, or at least have tried to be, in the market in the search to improve their squads.
Here’s a list of the best moves this summer, and the one’s we’re waiting on the edge of our seats on.
Douglas Costa, Shaktar to Bayern
It’s not often a player attracts the attention of the opposition club after he’s on the losing side of a 7-0 rout but Douglas Costa impressed enough in Shaktar’s last 16 tie with Bayern, so much so that the Bavarians forked out over €30 million to secure his services.
With the ability to play on either flank, Costa is nimble, intelligent on the ball and has a wicked left foot, as you can see below. A very dangerous player who will be sure to strengthen the German side even further, all at the age of 24.
Yehven Konoplyanka, Dnipro to Sevilla
This transfer will probably hurt Brendan Rodgers but Unai Emery was patient in his chase of the Ukrainian and looks to have finally got his man after Sevilla’s website reported that reached “reached an agreement with the Ukrainian international Yevhen Konoplyanka, at the expense of passing the medical examination and that the final agreement with the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk is closed”.
Despite the fact Konoplyanka was out of contract at Dnipro, an agreement had been made that the club would receive a fee when the 25-year-old did move on. Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham all had approaches turned down by the Europa League finalists, but after catching the eye in the international between England and Ukraine, Konoplyanka has been remarkable on his side’s adventure in Europe, and was outstanding in the final where he and his team-mates lost out to his new side. His speed, awareness and ability to draw fouls are some of his best assets.
Paulo Dybala, Palermo to Juve
There was a lot of rumours surrounding Dybala’s future but there’s no doubt he had a fantastic season, and was always quite impressive in his partnership with Ernesto Vazquez, who certainly deserves some plaudits for his performances. However, Dybala is one of the most exciting players in Europe at the moment. Palermo knew his potential when they paid a hefty €12m to sign the then 18-year-old, and the Old Lady are very much aware of his budding superstar status, transferring €32m into Palermo’s bank account.
He is ice cool, with a bag hidden full of tricks. A quality acquisition. His only weaknesses may arise from his small stature, but his left foot usually silences most critics. 13 goals and 10 assists for a team that finished in mid-table is no mean feat.
Luciano Vietto, Villareal to Atletico
Argentina seem to have an endless supply of attacking talent, and Vietto is no exception. He didn’t come cheap, at €20.9m, but he won’t be arriving at the Vicente Calderon to warm the bench whilst he watches Jackson Martinez have all the fun. Like Dybala, Vietto could be compared to Atletico winger Antoine Griezmann- both are quite light weighted, quick and left-footed, but this shouldn’t mean that one should miss out on a spot in the starting XI. Most likely, Vietto will continue up front either in a 4-4-2 with Martinez, or in a 4-3-3, where Vietto could play on either side of Martinez out wider. He is simply a pain in the backside for defenders. A master of perfecting a counter-attack, quick and a potent finisher. Vietto already has experience in Europe with Villareal in the Europa League.
Max Kruse, Borussia Mönchengladbach to Wolfsburg
Kruse’s rise is a meteoric one. Playing for St Pauli in 2012, he will now be one of Wolfsburg’s most threatening attackers. His time at ‘Gladbach developed him a great deal under Lucien Favre, where he transitioned from an attacking midfielder at SC Freiburg to a forward with the ability to drop back and link up with the play. His partnership with Raffael at Borussia Park was one to behold, and eleven goals and nine assists in a team where there the goals were shared quite evenly between Patrick Herrmann, Kruse and Raffael is quite impressive. Shouldn’t have any issues in beating off competition from Nicklas Bendter to partner Bas Dost but it will be interesting to see what formation Dieter Hecking will opt for.