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SPORT

From Messi to Ronaldo, the 2021 summer transfer window was wild

Words by Nathan Irvine

Silly season

The 2021 summer transfer window will go down as one of the wildest ever. Football teams were quick to remind us that – yes – they too had struggled through the Covid-19 pandemic and financial losses meant a more sedate approach to transfer dealings this term. But, well, that was a lie. A whopping AED 13.3bn was spent on players in the top five leagues in Europe.

Before the window had even opened, England and Spurs star, Harry Kane kicked off the post-season by telling ex-pro and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville that he deserved a move to a title contender. And even though that move never materialised and Spurs kept their man, it was the spark that was needed for a blockbuster transfer window.

It’s astonishing when you look at all the key moments. Lionel Messi crying his eyes out while saying goodbye to his beloved, but skint, Barcelona. Inter Milan’s investors pulling the plug on finances and having to sell Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.

And Cristiano Ronaldo’s rumoured move to Manchester City being hijacked by Manchester United following a co-ordinated charm offensive by current and ex-players of the club. One of these things would’ve rocked the footballing world, but all three had it shaking like a blade of grass in a hurricane. And yet the summer transfer window revelations were STILL not done.

Pain in Spain

Right up until the final seconds of the window slamming shut, there was still time for Atlético Madrid to allow midfield star Saul to leave on loan to Chelsea AND then re-sign Antoine Griezmann from cash-strapped Barcelona.

If you’re a fan of the Catalan club, then this transfer period has probably hit you harder than anyone. For their collective skills, Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay and Martin Braithwaite are nowhere near the superstardom of a club that once boasted Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar as their front three. What a mess it is at the Camp Nou.

On the lighter side of things, PSG’s front line of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe – the latter of which was subject to an eye-watering, yet futile €200m bid from Real Madrid – is going to be a very fun watch. Chelsea and Manchester United seem to have strengthened enough to give title favourites Manchester City a run for their money this term too.

But the takeaway is that football is well and truly bonkers again. And the wildest fact of all is that we haven’t even mentioned that Arsenal were the biggest spenders in the transfer window either. The drama has been absolutely fantastic – bring on the January window.

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