Five Summer Transfers That Just Make Sense
With the transfer merry-go-round once again in full flow seeing the likes of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham secure moves for £100 million plus, here we take a look at five smart transfers that may have gone under the radar.
Valentin Castellanos (New York City FC to Lazio)
After a hugely impressive season under veteran manager Maurizio Sarri, Lazio will be looking to kick on in 2023/24 season and prove a second-placed finish was no fluke.
With all-time top scorer Ciro Immobile now 33, it was pivotal that the Lazio hierarchy acted in the transfer market to get a suitable backup.
They have done just that with the £13 million signing of Valentin Castellanos from MLS side New York City.
The Argentinian striker is no slouch in the European game however as his 13 La Liga goals for Manchester City’s sister club Girona FC last season shows. His goals including a record-equalling four in one game against Real Madrid which inspired the Spanish club to an unlikely top-half finish.
It can only be a matter of time before he gets a call-up for the national team and scoring goals for a Champions League club in Lazio could help that dream become a reality.
Although it seems Immobile will start when fit, Castellanos will not just be happy to sit back and relax. Expect the forward to fight his way into Sarri’s starting lineup with his passion and high work rate and then the goals should come.
Jonathan Bamba (Lille to Celta Vigo)
With Rafael Benitez joining on as Celta Vigo’s manager ahead of the upcoming season, it was clear his side needed some smart transfers to get the club back on track as surviving relegation only by three points last term must be a lesson learned.
Bamba joins from Ligue 1 side Lille on a free transfer after he had a very productive five-year stint that included winning the league title in 2020/21.
The versatile frontman hit six goals and seven assists in league play last term which shows he has an eye for the killer instinct which will be needed this season with the club still overly reliant on Iago Aspas.
Bamba is most comfortable playing on the left wing in a 4-3-3 system which could be implemented by Benitez who will look to be moving on from the overly defensive 4-4-2 implemented by Carlos Carvalhal.
Andy Diouf (Basel to Lens)
With Lens proving the standout team in another predictable PSG Ligue 1 triumph last year, it is no surprise that they are going to have to invest in the team for the upcoming Champions League participation.
The French under-21 international joins from Swiss side Basel for an initial fee of £12 million. The box-to-box midfield operator caught the eye of many top European sides last summer after impressive displays on Basel’s way to the Europa Conference League semi-finals.
With talismanic captain Seko Fofana leaving for the riches of Saudi Arabia in a £25 million deal, Leans moved quickly to secure a replacement in the form of Diouf.
Although Diouf is arguably better defensively than his predecessor, his end product will need to improve as Fofana’s goals and assists will need to be replicated somewhere else in the squad.
With Lens proving once again that success can be achieved on a minimal budget, Diouf could prove to be a bargain buy as many other Lens recruits have in seasons gone by.
Lucas Tousart (Hertha Berlin to Union Berlin)
After years of Hertha dominating football in Berlin, the pendulum has truly swung in the direction of Union Berlin in the modern day. Union have proved that by capturing their rival’s best player for £6 million after they were relegated.
Once touted as one of the best young midfielders in Europe, Lucas Tousart’s career has not panned out as many would have hoped.
That’s not to say though that he is a smart acquisition for Union Berlin on their quest into the Champions League unknown in 2023/24.
For a fee of just £6 million, Union are getting an expert ball progressor and professional who will add valuable cover to the ever-improving Rani Khedira in the centre of the park.
Having lived in Berlin and played Bundesliga football since 2020, Tousart will only have to make adjustments to Urs Fischer’s style of football.
With Champions League football to play in, Tousart will look to nail down a starting spot as soon as he can.
Zeki Amdouni (Basel to Burnley)
The second Basel player in this list, Zeki Amdouni has made the move to England after an excellent season in which he hit 22 goals including seven in the Europa Conference League.
The forward can play across the frontline but is happiest at centre forward where he can link up play and make darting runs beyond the last man. In Burnley’s possession-based team where chances are plenty, Amdouni is sure to thrive.
With another two goals for Switzerland at the Under-21 European Championships, Amdouni shows no signs of slowing down in his hunt for more goals. Having been linked with top European sides, Burnley and Vincent Kompany must have persuaded the forward with the Clarets project for the move to materialise.
With Burnley back in the Premier League after one season away, they will want all the firepower available to ensure they remain at the top of the English football pyramid, and in Amdouni, they have a young player who can provide the goals this term but also for seasons to come.