With Paul Pogba’s world record smashing transfer to Manchester United blocking out the sunlight on this summer’s window, it’s perfectly understandable if a bunch of intriguing switches overseas may have gone unnoticed.
Then there’s your club’s frustrating efforts to lure a desperately needed 20-goal-a-season striker proving a constant distraction along with countless big-money moves across the continent’s elite leagues dominating the headlines. Under such a deluge of gossip and photographs of players awkwardly holding a shirt up backwards it’s little wonder then if some genuinely fascinating deals fly under the radar.
Three of the six examples below were news to me ahead of researching this feature. Maybe they will be to you too?
How on earth did this one pass me by? The 20 year old defender first gained attention in May 2014 for the unusual distinction of making his international bow for Argentina ahead of his club debut. An impressive stand-out at the U17 World Cup a year earlier, Mammana may have since seen his Albiceleste appearances limited (though to be fair there is some strong competition!) but has grown in stature at River Plate, establishing himself as a cultured stopper who instinctively senses danger.
Back in May, the English press were offering up the tall porteno as a potential solution to Chelsea’s endless search for a centre-back with his £11m buy-out clause put forward as a major factor. £7.5m then is a steal for a prospect who could easily excel in Ligue 1.
The shrewd additions of Grzegorz Krychowiak, Ben Arfa, and Belgium’s Euro star Thomas Meunier will only strengthen the claim that Ligue 1 is presently a one-horse race but the most intriguing move by PSG was their £10m swoop for a 20-year-old nicknamed The Phenomenon.
Lo Celso has been compared in some quarters to Riquelme for his ability to dictate the tempo of any game with a calm, precise passing style that belies his years. An outstanding season that so nearly contributed to Rosario securing their first title for thirty years deservedly led to a call up to his country’s Olympic squad and though Argentina flopped the midfielder’s stock continues to rise.
It was unrealistic to assume Hannover could retain their 26-year-old playmaker after suffering relegation from the Bundesliga but they must be aggrieved at the £5m price-tag that equates to a pittance for a superb talent.
Capped 35 times by Japan, Kiyotake’s welcome habit of scoring stunners combined with his constant probing will quickly make him a firm favourite at La Bombonera – especially if he forges a good relationship with Sevilla’s other big signing Joaquin Correa.
The three-time Europa League winners may have lost Krychowiak to PSG but they arguably look even stronger this term.
It’s hard not to resort to cliché when describing the Brazilian superstar-to-be. A tricky, imaginative creator who foregoes a simple ball for an eye-catching dribble, the boy from the wealthier side of Rio de Janeiro is one of a number of sensationally gifted 19-year-olds his nation seem to produce at will.
Roma boss Luciano Spalletti wasted little time in recruiting Gerson following the reluctant sale of Pjanic to Juventus but it would be remiss to consider him a like-for-like replacement. Indeed it would have been a treat for the eyes to see the Bosnian schemer in tandem with the raw prodigy. Instead we’ll have to settle for an unpredictable Gerson/Shaarawy partnership. Oh well.
Here’s one for you fact fans. Gerson becomes the 39th Brazilian to don the yellow and red of Roma. A virtual round of applause to whoever can name another five or more in the comments below!
Hardly an obscure pick but here to represent those exciting deals that get swiftly forgotten among the unrelenting sensory bombardment of a transfer window.
The exciting young winger’s switch from Scandinavia will go some way to appease the Dortmund fans, disgruntled at once again seeing their finest talent taken from them. The £5m fee meanwhile is crazily low for an adventurous wideman with the world at his feet.
Previously linked to Manchester United and Liverpool, the recently turned 19-year-old has been compared to Ribery and showed glimpses as to why at this summer’s Euros for his mother’s native Turkey.
Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has a sterling record with trusting and nurturing young talent and it would be wholly unexpected if Mor doesn’t eventually become the next fantastic player die Borussen sell on for a huge profit. The fans’ disgruntlement will feel awfully familiar.
You can always rely on the Eredivisie giants to go left-field and their twin purchases of Colombian prospects Mateo Casierro and Davinson Sanchez is just so quintessentially Ajax it makes the heart sore.
Striker Casierro has some big boots to fill with the departure of Viktor Fischer to Middlesbrough though his YouTube best bits bode well. Then again, name a player who doesn’t look world-class in three minutes of highlights.
In Sanchez they have a much safer bet to distinguish himself and become an integral part of their seasons to come. A rock on which Atletico Nacional formed a semi-successful Copa Libertadores earlier this year, the 20-year-old turned down Barcelona after discovering they planned to blood him initially in their B team. Here then is a player who knows his worth. He just has to show it now.