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Breaking down all the major deals, rumors from transfer deadline day


Another transfer deadline day is in the books. Below, we provide quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals - and rumors - from the summer window's frantic final day.

DONE DEAL: Man Utd unveil Antony ✅

Other areas of Erik ten Hag's Manchester United probably needed attention before they recruited another wide attacker. How about a right-back? Or a deep-lying midfielder to complement or compete with Casemiro? The club signed Martin Dubravka as David De Gea's backup, but shouldn't it sign a higher-profile goalkeeper who can seriously challenge the Spaniard for the No. 1 jersey?

Nevertheless, United signed Antony. No doubt he's entertaining through his array of party tricks, and along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, he could help forge a fluid, unpredictable, and dangerous attack. Plus, the Brazilian star is only 22.

But analyzing this deal will always come back to the fee. Transfermarkt currently values the winger at €35 million - just over a third of what the Red Devils actually paid. Ajax chief executive and former Red Devils 'keeper Edwin van der Sar may have pulled off a masterstroke in raising almost €170 million through the sales of Antony and Lisandro Martinez to United, giving him the chance to rebuild the Dutch giants.

DONE DEAL: City bolster backline with Akanji ✅

Manuel Akanji's departure from Borussia Dortmund appeared inevitable when he slipped down the pecking order following the summer arrivals of Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck. He's yet to make an appearance this campaign, with his last outing being Switzerland's Nations League win over Portugal in June.

And there was also the looming prospect of him leaving Dortmund for free when his contract expired next June - that's why Manchester City got the defender for such an affordable price on deadline day.

Tom Flathers / Manchester City FC / Getty

Where Akanji quite fits in at the Etihad Stadium remains to be seen. Pep Guardiola already had four senior center-backs to choose from, two of whom are right-footed (Ruben Dias and John Stones) while the other two are left-footed (Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte). There was balance, but perhaps Akanji's arrival hints at a more serious injury for Laporte, who's yet to play this season.

Akanji is right-footed but is almost equally comfortable with his left, and his physicality and distribution at the back should suit the Premier League.

DONE DEAL: Arthur to Klopp's rescue ✅

  • Details: Season-long loan with €37.5M option to buy (Read more)

Just days ago, Jurgen Klopp urged Liverpool's owners to "risk a bit more" in the transfer window in search of a midfielder that could bolster the squad and alleviate the club's injury crisis at the position.

Klopp has unquestionably built up enough trust at Anfield to warrant the backing of ownership, and they listened, to some degree, as the Reds signed Arthur Melo on a season-long loan from Juventus on Thursday.

An accurate, high-volume passer who operates at the base of midfield, the Brazilian footballer's career has badly stagnated since he moved to Italy as part of the now-infamous swap deal with Miralem Pjanic in 2020. Injuries slowed his progress almost immediately in Turin, and he could never fully integrate himself into either Andrea Pirlo's or Max Allegri's plans.

This signals a very low-risk move for Klopp and Liverpool, who badly needed another body in central midfield to at least weather the current storm. The loan will cost €4.5 million up front, and the Merseyside outfit will have a €37.5-million option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season. If the Brazilian lights it up at Anfield, he'll prove a relatively cost-effective permanent signing. If not, he can be shipped right back to Turin for the aforementioned nominal loan fee.

DONE DEALS: Aubameyang, Zakaria to Chelsea ✅

  • Details: Aubameyang joins for €12M fee (Read more)
  • Details: Zakaria joins on initial season-long loan (Read more)

Chelsea, languishing to begin the new campaign, needed someone to act as the focal point of a stuttering attack that has generated just six goals through five Premier League matches so far.

In times of need like this, managers often turn to familiar faces. That's exactly what Thomas Tuchel did, dipping into his Borussia Dortmund connections and ultimately adding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona.

Though left wing-back Marcos Alonso was widely expected to be part of the deal, Chelsea eventually announced that the veteran Spaniard departed the club by mutual consent. He's expected to join Barcelona on a free transfer.

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty

Even by their staggering transfer window standards, Barca's longstanding interest in an aging Alonso is odd. Chelsea's need for Aubameyang, though, was crystal clear.

Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling have excellent attacking qualities, but neither is a natural scorer. Aubameyang, the former Arsenal captain who will relish his return to London, gives Tuchel that exact profile without sacrificing fluidity up front. With both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner shipped out and Armando Broja still a little too raw, adding a striker before the window closed was a no-brainer for Tuchel and the free-spending Blues.

Not content with just upgrading the attacking options, Chelsea also brought midfielder Denis Zakaria to Stamford Bridge on an initial loan from Juventus.

With N'Golo Kante sidelined yet again, the Blues' midfield badly needed another mobile, robust player who can cover ground and occupy a box-to-box role, while Juventus needed to create room at the position after adding Leandro Paredes from Paris Saint-Germain.

The biggest overhaul ever?

Nottingham Forest's rebuild since their promotion from the Championship is one of the stories of the summer.

Steve Cooper took the squad from the bottom of the second tier and into the Premier League via the playoffs after his appointment last September, but he clearly thought a lot of his players weren't equipped for top-level life. Popular first-team members were soon allowed to leave - captain Lewis Grabban, Joe Lolley, and Brice Samba among them - while Forest seemingly signed anybody who was interested.

Blackpool's Josh Bowler and Rennes' Loic Bade followed Willy Boly to Forest on deadline day. The deals took Forest's number of incoming transfers to 21 in this window, testing Cooper's team-building skills in the Tricky Trees' first Premier League campaign since 1998-99. A late move for Michy Batshuayi collapsed, otherwise the list of arrivals would have been even longer.

Blackpool winger Bowler was an affordable transaction at around £4 million, but Forest haven't just rooted in the bargain bin.

Exciting young frontman Taiwo Awoniyi and right-back Neco Williams cost £17 million apiece, and the most eyebrow-raising arrival of their window has undoubtedly been Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The midfielder could eventually cost around £40 million.

The unwanted superstar

Cristiano Ronaldo wanted something more. He wanted to supplement his goals tally in the Champions League rather than venture to the more unfashionable corners of the continent in the Europa League. He was also apparently unimpressed with Manchester United's recruitment and embattled defender Harry Maguire keeping the captain's armband.

But while news of Ronaldo's ask to leave Old Trafford reverberated around the globe, it didn't rouse a European giant into action. Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea quickly ruled themselves out of signing the Portuguese forward. Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn said acquiring the 37-year-old wouldn't "fit with our philosophy." Atletico Madrid fans protested when their club was linked with Ronaldo. Real Madrid and Juventus, two of his former employers, kept quiet.

It's been two months since his transfer request, and a deal never materialized.

Kieran Cleeves - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

It's difficult to know where his increasingly labored gait now fits into Erik ten Hag's plans. United belatedly kickstarted their season with a 2-1 home win over hated rivals Liverpool, with their aggression and tempo unsettling Jurgen Klopp's side. Would the Red Devils have played with the same intensity with Ronaldo up front? Probably not.

True, Ronaldo scored 18 goals across 30 Premier League appearances last season, but there's a reasonable argument that the likes of Rashford and Sancho would've played more freely without the veteran constantly demanding service from inside the 18-yard box. Indulging Ronaldo worked for Ronaldo, but it didn't work for United, who finished sixth in the Premier League and suffered early exits from the Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup.

It promises to be a fascinating few months while Ronaldo prepares for what will likely be his last World Cup this winter.

Transfers you may have missed

With the constant influx of completed signings, rumors, and deals being called off, deadline day can be a whirlwind. Here are completed deals you may have missed amid Thursday's madness.

Hector Bellerin ➡️ Barcelona: Who doesn't love a feel-good story about returning to your roots? Bellerin, no longer a part of Arsenal's plans, completed a free transfer to his hometown club Barcelona, where he began his career as a member of the youth team.

Carlos Soler ➡️ Paris Saint-Germain: It's odd to say this about PSG, of all teams, but the French giants have made some very subtle, very impressive signings this summer. Adding the Spanish midfielder from Valencia for an eminently reasonable €18-million fee is top of that list.

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty

Francesco Acerbi ➡️ Inter Milan: Inter were seeking defensive cover all summer. After being linked with a handful of different players of varying ages, values, and attributes, they landed on Acerbi, who will be linking up with Simone Inzaghi again after the pair worked together at Lazio.

Sergino Dest ➡️ AC Milan: Barcelona manager Xavi told Dest in no uncertain terms he wouldn't see much - if any - playing time this season and that a transfer was in his best interest. AC Milan swooped in on deadline day, adding the American full-back on loan with an option to make the move permanent.

The ones that got away

As always, numerous deals either fell apart or weren't registered in time to be completed on deadline day. Here are the rumored transfers that didn't materialize.

Milan Skriniar ➡️ Paris Saint-Germain: PSG manager Christophe Galtier wanted to close the transfer window by adding one more defender, but Inter Milan remained firm on their hefty asking price for Skriniar, who will remain with the Italian side for at least another season.

Douglas Luiz ➡️ Arsenal: In the wake of Mohamed Elneny's hamstring injury, the Gunners were scouring the market for additional midfield cover and honed in on the Aston Villa player, who was reportedly pushing for a move. Multiple offers in the £25-million range weren't enough to seal the deal.

Ben Brereton Diaz ➡️ Leeds United: Leeds, active on several fronts on Thursday, were exploring a late move for the Chilean international striker, but were unwilling to meet Blackburn's asking price, which was believed to be around the £20-million mark.

Bamba Dieng ➡️ Leeds ... and Nice: The wackiest ordeal of deadline day. Dieng was on the verge of joining Leeds - the English club's chairman proclaimed on Twitter that a deal was done - before Nice swooped in to hijack the signing. Dieng then failed his Nice medical. What a wild ride.

Memphis Depay ➡️ anywhere: After all that, Depay, like teammate Frenkie de Jong, stayed put. The Dutch forward never did terminate his contract and complete a free transfer to one of Europe's other elite teams, a switch that seemed like an inevitability for so long this summer.

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