Jose Mourinho is clearly unhappy with his club’s business this summer, but who else will be crying and who will be smiling now the window is closed.
Winner: Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois left Chelsea high and dry with his refusal to return and play for the club this season. That boycott meant the deposed Premier League champions were forced to go into the market for an inferior goalkeeper in Kepa Arrizabalaga at a much higher price than they would have liked.
It smacks of bad planning at Stamford Bridge considering they must have known for some time that Courtois was intent on moving to Madrid come hell or high water. It’s been well publicised that the Belgian No. 1 wanted to move back to the Spanish capital in order to be closer to his young family and the 26-year-old has got his way.
Player power has grown to exponential levels and with Courtois out of contract next summer there was little Chelsea could do to deny him his wish. It’s not the first time Courtois has gone on strike having done similar to get away from Genk in order to move to Chelsea in the first place in 2011. But it also means Real Madrid have upgraded massively in the goalkeeping stakes now that they’ve found a replacement for Keylor Navas.
Courtois for his part joins the European champions and will have Champions League football again next season. It’s a bitter blow for Chelsea but Courtois will be delighted.
Loser: Jose Mourinho
The last thing Manchester United needed on the eve of the new season was a transfer standoff with World Cup superstar Paul Pogba but that’s exactly what they’ve got following Jose Mourinho’s thinly-veiled criticism at the midfielder following his trophy win in Russia.
The news that the Frenchman is now demanding a payrise of £200,000 to stay at Old Trafford amid links to Barcelona came at a time when United fans were already deeply pessimistic about the season ahead. And now they have to worry about their biggest player moving to La Liga.
Alexis Sanchez’s ill-advised transfer in January means Jose Mourinho quite simply cannot splash much more money this summer having spent around £430m in his two years in charge so far.
He has been chasing centre backs like Toby Alderweired, Jerome Boateng, Yerry Mina and Harry Maguire to no avail. While midfielder Fred and right back Diogo Dalot have been recruited, there are simply too many holes in the United squad for them to kick on successfully this season.
Worse still, Mourinho has upset not only Pogba but also Anthony Martial, who he wanted rushed back after the birth of his child, and Antonio Valencia who he accused of being out of condition in preseason.
He has also reportedly been demanding United’s World Cup stars come back early from their holidays and was audibly unhappy at having to blood young players in the first team during the American tour.
Last season ended in the most heart-breaking fashion for Liverpool, being beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final. But a summer overhaul will have given fans reason for optimism ahead of the new term.
Loris Karius has taken plenty of criticism for a string of high-profile errors but Brazil’s No. 1 Allison Becker should provide a much more reliable figure in goal from now on.
The midfield has been altered drastically with Emre Can departing on a free to Juventus and Naby Keita and Fabinho arriving instead. Those two should give Liverpool better control and dynamism through the centre of the pitch.
Xherdan Shaqiri meanwhile will provide plenty of cover in the attacking midfield positions as well as up front; a high-class replacement that Jurgen Klopp had to do without last term.
Mohamed Salah – after a record-breaking campaign – has not only been retained but has signed a new contract making it more unlikely than ever that a predator like Real Madrid should swoop in and take him away.
All in all Klopp has had a dream summer which leaves the Reds best placed to challenge Manchester City this season.
And the investment has continued apace meaning Wolves are planning to stay for the long term. Impressive loan signings like Leo Bonatini, Willy Boly and Diogo Jota have been added on a permanent basis and two European champions in the shape of Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho have been recruited with the assistance of Jorge Mendes.