The 2020 summer transfer window officially closed on Monday, 5th of October 2020. Despite the economic effects that the coronavirus pandemic had on the finances of clubs, there were still some huge and exciting transfers and activities that grabbed headlines (the most notable being Lionel Messi’s transfer request to leave Barcelona). Meanwhile, some clubs made shrewd signings, conforming to the realities brought by coronavirus.
Here, we look at the winners and losers from the just concluded window.
WINNER: MIKEL ARTETA
Arteta returned to Arsenal last December as manager to lead the club back to the top; he was faced with many challenges with the biggest being lack of funds. Coming into the transfer market with limited funds this summer, he made some absolutely shrewd signings by bringing in Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer, Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille to improve the defence alongside Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari (who both had their loan deals made permanent), Alex Runnarson from Dijon as a backup goalkeeper to replace the departed Emiliano Martinez, Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and Thomas Partey from Athletico Madrid. Thomas Partey to Arsenal was one other potential transfer we expected to happen before the transfers window ends.
Thomas is seen by many as the ideal player to improve the Gunners’ midfield and overall play. Arteta (and Arsenal fans) will be pleased with how the window went for the club.
LOSERS: MANCHESTER UNITED
What a terrible period to be a Manchester United fan! Coming into the new season, fans of the Old Trafford outfit expected the club to bring in new signings to improve the attack, wings, midfield, and most especially the defence. Still, they were left disappointed as the management failed to secure their top targets.
Donny Van de Beek, Alex Telles, and Edinson Cavani were signed, but that has done nothing to pacify the fans, especially on the back of the team’s 6-1 drubbing by Tottenham in the club’s last match before the transfer window closed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has it all to do!
The kings of the 2020 summer transfer window! The Blues were able to secure the signing of their identified targets to improve the team in specific positions. They spent in excess of £200 million to bring in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr, Thiago Silva, and Edouard Mendy.
With the new additions, Frank Lampard is expected to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish in the league.
LOSER: LIONEL MESSI
Amid Barcelona’s chaos on and off the pitch towards the end of last season, Messi tried to force his way out of Camp Nou by handing in a transfer request, but his hopes of securing greener pastures elsewhere were dashed as the club refused to sanction his exit. He was eventually forced to stay put, at least for another season, and he was further frustrated when the club sold his pal and long-term ally, Luis Suarez, to Athletico Madrid!
Although the club’s only major signings were Miralem Pjanic and Sergino Dest, from Juventus and Ajax respectively, Barcelona’s biggest win during the window was keeping Lionel Messi at Camp Nou. The Argentine sent a transfer request through a Burofax expressing his desire to leave but the club adamantly held on to the fact that the clause which allowed him to leave had expired amid the coronavirus crises, thus leaving Messi with the only option of seeking legal action in court, an option which the forward is unwilling to explore as it will tarnish his legacy.
Barcelona will also be boosted by the returns of Ousmane Dembele (from injury) and Phillipe Coutinho (from loan) and the emergence of youngsters; Ansu Fati, Pedri, De la Fuente, Trincao, Ilaix Kourouma, and Riqui Puig.
LOSER: PEP GUARDIOLA
Entering into the final year of his contract, Guardiola is under pressure to deliver the UEFA Champions League trophy for Manchester City. His squad was depleted by the exit of the likes of David Silva, Leroy Sane, and Angelino.
During the Messi transfer saga, Guardiola made efforts to lure him to Manchester but was ultimately left disappointed. He also made frantic efforts to sign defenders — most especially a world-class center back — but failed to secure his top targets and was forced to settle with Ruben Dias from Benfica, who is surely overpriced at £62 million.
City also signed Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake.
WINNERS: MOURINHO AND TOTTENHAM
Spurs really backed Jose Mourinho in the market; what is impressive about their business was the fact that they didn’t overspend. Gareth Bale was signed on loan from Real Madrid, and Sergio Reguilon also joined permanently from the La Liga champions. Experienced goalkeeper Joe Hart was signed on a free transfer. Carlos Vinicius, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Matt Doherty were also acquired for fair sums.
WINNERS: BORUSSIA DORTMUND
In an era where top sides poach the best players from lesser sides, it is considered impressive for a financially-weak team to hold on to its best players, and that is exactly what Borussia Dortmund did in the just concluded transfer window. The club held on to the services of its best players, notably Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, and Giovanni Reyna. (especially amidst intense pressure from Manchester United in the case of Sancho). There was evenaeven chance that Haaland could be on the move again in the summer. However, Dortmund successfully held on to all their youngsters.
Not only that, Dortmund captured youngsters Reinier (on loan from Real Madrid) and Jude Bellingham (from Birmingham FC). Both teenagers are regarded among the hottest properties in world football.
Although the German side were unable to afford the fees to sign Achraf Hakimi permanently from Real Madrid, they managed to replace him with the experienced Thomas Meunier — who was signed up for free from PSG.
WINNER: JAMES RODRIGUEZ
After starring at the World Cup in 2014, James moved to Real Madrid, but his time at the Spanish capital didn’t go as planned. He failed to cement his place in the team throughout his stay. His Madrid nightmare was finally brought to an end this summer as he made a £20m transfer to Everton —to link up with Carlo Ancelloti for the third time in his career. He is one of the players who have to prove himself in the 2020/21 season.
James has hit the ground running at Goodison Park, netting 3 goals and providing the same number of assists in just 5 games so far. His goal contribution already more than the 1 goal and 2 assists in made in 14 appearances for Madrid the whole of last season.