LONDON: Ahead of the new Premier League season, AFP Sport runs down the 10 biggest incoming transfers of the close season (all fees as reported by British media):
Juventus (ITA) to Manchester United, 89 million pounds ($116.4 million, 105 million euros).
The close season’s most long-running transfer saga concluded with France midfielder Pogba returning to former club United in a world-record move. Allowed to leave Old Trafford in 2012 after failing to win over legendary United manager Alex Ferguson, the rangy 23-year-old midfielder with the dazzling haircuts and blistering shot returns as one of the biggest names in the sport.
Schalke (GER) to Manchester City, 37 million pounds.
The biggest signing to date of the Pep Guardiola era, 20-year-old winger Sane arrives in England with a burgeoning reputation. After scoring eight goals in 33 Bundesliga appearances last season, he was named in Germany’s Euro 2016 squad and made a late substitute appearance in their semi-final defeat by hosts France.
Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) to Arsenal, 35 million pounds.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger moved to address longstanding concerns about the lack of bite in his team’s midfield by sanctioning a big-money move for Switzerland international Xhaka. The 23-year-old was an ever-present for Switzerland at Euro 2016.
Southampton to Liverpool, 34 million pounds.
After two fine seasons with Southampton, during which he scored 25 goals in all competitions, 24-year-old Senegal flier Mane left St Mary’s to join Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool revolution. Mane holds the record for the fastest Premier League hat-trick, having scored three times in two minutes and 56 seconds during Southampton’s 6-1 win over Aston Villa in May 2015
Marseille (FRA) to Chelsea, 33.2 million pounds.
A cunning and unorthodox striker, 22-year-old Belgium international Batshuayi moved to Chelsea following a prolific season at Marseille in which he scored 23 goals. With incoming Chelsea coach Antonio Conte expected to deploy a two-man strike-force, he could start the season up front alongside Diego Costa.
Leicester City to Chelsea, 30 million pounds.
The indefatigable driving force behind Leicester City’s fairytale title triumph, France international Kante became the first of Claudio Ranieri’s stars to jump ship when he left for Chelsea. In the words of former Leicester coach Steve Walsh: “No matter who we’re playing, we play three in midfield Danny Drinkwater in the middle and Kante either side.”
Villarreal (ESP) to Manchester United, 30 million pounds.
Centre-back Bailly, 22, became Jose Mourinho’s first signing as United manager when he arrived from Villarreal in June on an initial four-year contract. An Ivory Coast international, he made six appearances as his country won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
Palmeiras (BRA) to Manchester City, 27 million pounds rising to 31 million pounds.
Dubbed ‘The New Neymar’, 19-year-old starlet Jesus reportedly turned down an opportunity to join the Brazil megastar at Barcelona in order to link up with Guardiola in Manchester. He will be loaned back to Palmeiras until the end of the year before joining up with his new team-mates in January.
Borussia Dortmund (GER) to Manchester United, 26 million pounds.
Mkhitaryan, 27, will become the first Armenian to play in the Premier League after joining United from Dortmund on a four-year deal. The playmaker is the reigning Bundesliga Player of the Year, having scored 11 goals and supplied 15 assists last season, and is tipped to take Juan Mata’s place in United’s starting XI.
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) to Manchester United, free.
Ibrahimovic did not cost United a penny in terms of transfer fee, but the charismatic 34-year-old Sweden star could prove to have the biggest impact of all the division’s new recruits. After four breathtaking years in France, where he won four Ligue 1 titles and became PSG’s record scorer, Ibrahimovic has rejoined forces with Mourinho, with whom he previously worked at Inter Milan.