The 2019 transfer window has seen a number of huge deals completed, but which high-profile moves stand out above the rest?
After a dramatic 2018-19 campaign which saw Liverpool win the Champions League and Manchester City secure a domestic treble, English football has reached a new, unprecedented peak.
Three Premier League clubs featured in this year’s Champions League semi-finals, while the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain all suffered early exits.
It will have come as no surprise then, that the top European clubs in question have all spent big money to reinforce their squads in the current market, with a view to knocking the Reds off their perch in 2020.
A number of other household names have also seized the opportunity to strengthen, including Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham, who have conducted their business smartly in a bid to challenge among the elite next season.
When the new domestic campaigns kick off in August it will be time to see which world-class players integrate best into unfamiliar surroundings and history tells us that some might end up failing to live up to expectations.
However, some superstars were born for the biggest stage and with that in mind, CaughtOffside has compiled a definitive list of the 10 best transfers around Europe so far this summer, which begins with a certain Dutch teenager..
Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax to Juventus)
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) July 18, 2019
Matthijs de Ligt arrived in Turin on Tuesday night to complete a medical ahead of a £67.5million switch from Ajax – as per BBC Sport – after one of the longest-running transfer sagas of the year.
The Netherlands defender had been linked with a host of top European clubs over the past 12 months, having enjoyed his best season yet at both club and international level.
De Ligt won a domestic double with Ajax and also helped them reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, racking up over 50 appearances across all competitions.
The 19-year-old has opted for Italian champions Juventus ahead of the rest, which gives him the opportunity to link up with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who was seen whispering sweet nothings into the youngster’s ears after a Champions League quarter-final clash back in April.
The Bianconeri have landed one of the most promising players in world football and the prospect of him lining up alongside Leandro Bonucci in the heart of the defence is a tantalising one, which could reap rich rewards.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid)
After months and months of speculation, Real Madrid finally managed to lure Eden Hazard to the Bernabeu at the start of June, as he signed a five-year contract with the club to seal a huge £150 million switch from Chelsea – as per BBC Sport.
The Belgian is undoubtedly one of the finest individual talents of his generation and he now has the opportunity to play for the biggest club in the world, fulfilling a long-held dream.
Hazard left Stamford Bridge on a high note, netting twice in a 4-1 Europa League final win at the end of May, which capped a superb campaign during which he managed to post career-best numbers for goals and assists.
Madrid have lacked a real talisman in the final third since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus in 2018, but the 28-year-old has the quality and experience to fill his boots and help the club to erase the memory of last year.
Expect mesmerising dribbling skills, superbly crafted goals and outrageous passing from Hazard in abundance next term, especially if he links up well with Madrid’s other newest attraction Luka Jovic.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona)
This particular deal seemed inevitable after Antoine Griezmann announced his intention to leave Wanda Metropolitano at the end of last season, following an exhausting pursuit from Barcelona which stretches back two years.
The Blaugrana finally got their man on July 12, as the Frenchman moved to Camp Nou for £107 million – as per the Independent – ending his five-year association with Diego Simeone’s Atletico.
Luis Suarez has served as Barcelona’s only first-choice centre-forward for the last two seasons, with mixed results.
Lionel Messi’s continued brilliance ensured Ernesto Valverde’s side were still contenders for major honours, but a lack of extra quality in the final third has proved telling on a number of important occasions, particularly in Europe.
Griezmann has finished the last five seasons as Atletico’s top scorer, displaying a clinical edge which helped the club reach a Champions League final and win the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup.
The 28-year-old is also a World Cup winner and his arrival should go a long way to helping Barcelona conquer the Champions League once again in 2020 while also maintaining their dominance of La Liga.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace to Manchester United)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second signing in charge at Manchester United at the end of June, completing a £50 million move from Crystal Palace – as per the Irish Independent.
The 21-year-old lit up the Premier League with his performances for the Eagles last term, featuring in 35 matches to help Roy Hodgson’s side comfortably avoid relegation.
Wan-Bissaka is a superb right-back, with a penchant for getting forward to join in attacks and a natural ability to the read the game, which combined with his incredible athleticism, makes him a great acquisition for United.
The young defender was harshly criticised for his displays at the U-21 European Championships with England this summer, but he has already shaken off that disappointment to play a starring role in United’s first two pre-season matches.
Ashley Young will captain the Red Devils when he plays next season, but he might find his time on the pitch limited if Wan-Bissaka gets off to a good start, given his immense potential and infectious energy, which is sure to make him a favourite among supporters.
Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon to Tottenham)
Tottenham completed their first signing in over a year when they secured Tanguy Ndombele’s services from Lyon for a club-record fee of £65 million – as per the Daily Mail – and big things will be expected of the midfielder next season.
The 22-year-old announced himself on the biggest stage with a string of superb performances in the Champions League group stages last year, helping Lyon earn credible draws home and away against Manchester City.
Even Pep Guardiola expressed his admiration for Ndombele, which fuelled rumours of a potential City approach, but Spurs have managed to land the French enforcer ahead of their Premier League rivals.
Ndombele is an all-action midfielder with a penchant for breaking up play in the middle of the park and superb technical ability, which is why he is pushing for a place in Didier Deschamps’ France side ahead of N’Golo Kante.
His arrival could help Tottenham finally break their trophy duck next season, especially if Mauricio Pochettino keeps the rest of his exciting young squad intact.