The transfer window has finally drawn to a close and it truly was lively. Across the continent there were a number of huge moves including arguably the two best players to ever play the game. It may have started slowly but the late stages of the window were intriguing, here are some of my favourite moves in the late stages/last month or so.
Joaquin Correa to Inter
Starting in Italy and having won the Serie A title last season, Inter Milan have undergone quite the transition. Manager Antonio Conte, striker Romelu Lukaku and wingback Achraf Hakimi are the biggest departures from the San Siro. Meanwhile, the likes of Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries have been signed for new manager Simone Inzaghi. The headliner in my eyes is Argentinian Joaquin Correa who has followed the legendary Inzaghi from Lazio to Milan. The presence of Ciro Immobile in the Eternal city overshadowed Correa’s quality but it will be interesting to see how he dovetails with his fellow countryman up front Lautaro Martinez. A brace on his debut against Hellas Verona is a sure-fire sign of what is to come for this late arrival!
Dodi Lukebakio to Wolfsburg
Another man on the move but staying in the country is Dodi Lukebakio. The former Watford man was never established as a key player with Hertha Berlin, so to see him go on loan to Wolfsburg poses a few questions. Mark van Bommel is the new man in charge which is an odd one given that under Oliver Glasner, they secured Champions League football. Despite this, Glasner left for Europa League Frankfurt. This was a late move that went under the radar in truth. Lukebakio is an explosive winger who brings a relatively competent goals contribution to the table and given the demands of European football, Wout Weghorst needs support more than ever.
Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig
Remaining in the Bundesliga and Leipzig never miss when it comes to the transfer window. Granted they have had big players, from Werner to Upamecano to Konate, picked off by Europe’s top-tier teams, but they are still so savvy. These sales bring in major fees and the recent reinvestment has thrilled me. Andre Silva, Josko Gvardiol and Caden Clark are all great moves, and the latest one is Ilaix Moriba. There was a lot of friction going on between his team and the Barcelona hierarchy so a fresh start for the young midfielder could be the difference maker. Moriba is one of many exciting La Masia graduates in recent years and Leipzig could be the perfect place for him to become a world-beater. This was a late move and it really went down to the wire.
Arnaut Danjuma to Villarreal
From a player who departed to La Liga to a player who arrived in the Spanish top-flight. Arnaut Danjuma is one of a few great signings by Villarreal which are made even better when you consider the relative inactivity of their competitors. Boulaye Dia is another new face who should help to take the weight off of Gerard Moreno’s shoulders. When you add Dia and Danjuma to Moreno, Samu Chukwueze and Paco Alcacer is simply excellent business. Dutchman Danjuma was far and away one of the best players in the Championship for Bournemouth last term and fully deserves this more. He has a lot to bring and I have no doubt that he will thrive under Unai Emery, he scored on his debut after all!
Kang-In Lee and Matthew Hoppe to Mallorca
Remaining in Spain and with RCD Mallorca, a club who I have a soft spot for. Their ownership includes former MLS player and now commentator Stu Holden as well as NBA legend Steve Nash and so following this club is even more exciting. With the likes of Fernando Nino, Pablo Maffeo and Take Kubo amongst others, I am confident they will survive. Given Stu Holden’s links, the signing of USMNT striker Matthew Hoppe who was relegated with Schalke last season makes sense. He didn’t get into the team until after Christmas really but was still just one of few shining lights. The other new face to keep an eye on is South Korean international Kang-in Lee. He arrives from Valencia as a result of the catastrophic hierarchy at the Mestalla and Mallorca profit, an exciting young winger on their hands for a modest fee.
Marc Cucurella to Brighton
Like with Moriba, Marc Cucurella is a now-former Barcelona man on his way out of La Liga. There was never really a place for Cucurella in the plans of a number of managers; from Valverde to Koeman. He has featured prominently when on loan with both Eibar and Getafe though and it seems Graham Potter has a wonderful player arriving at the Amex. Even with Ben White moving on, Brighton have tended to play a back-five in Potter’s expansive system and so Cucurella can play his best position as a left wing-back. Solly March has began this season very well so it remains to be seen if the Spaniard will displace him instantly, but regardless, the business is very savvy.
Jonathan Bamba to West Ham
Another Premier League club who have made some smart moves in my opinion this window, especially late on, is West Ham. The Irons are often lauded for their appalling mismanagement but it appears a corner may have been turned. Kurt Zouma is very sensible, Alex Kral is low-risk but could be high-reward whereas Nikola Vlasic is the only questionable one. The Croat struggled with Everton not too long ago and whilst he may have been dangerous for CSKA Moscow, but it remains to be seen if he can actually cut his teeth at this level. Not getting Michail Antonio reinforcements is a gripe for West Ham fans in an ideal world but Ligue 1 winner Jonathan Bamba definitely adds something in the final third. He featured heavily as Lille shocked PSG and stole their crown under Christophe Galtier, I keenly await him continuing this under David Moyes.
Morgan Gibbs-White to Sheffield United
The final name on this list for my favourite late moves of the transfer window is a Championship arrival. Irish international Conor Hourihane joining Sheffield United on deadline day was going to feature here but it is instead a new teammate of his, Morgan Gibbs-White. Hourihane played for my beloved Argyle and is generally one of my favourite EFL players, but the same can be said for young Gibbs-White. Opportunities for him to star were few and far between at Molineux, especially after they have established themselves as a Premier League mainstay, so his future surely lies elsewhere. He was only loan with Swansea last season but didn’t really get a look-in and with the Blades having a shocking start to this campaign under new boss Slavisa Jokanovic, the U17 World Cup winner could help to revitalise an ageing midfield. Fleck, Norwood and Hourihane bring the experience whereas Gibbs-White, Luke Freeman and Sander Berge bring more energy for this side that should be aspiring for a return to the promise land.