Selecting the five best transfers in the coolest, funniest and craziest transfer market in history is really difficult. My choice is to leave out Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi because they are two stars from another planet who cannot compete with anyone. It is too easy to select them among the best transfers of 2021.
Instead, I am passionate about pointing out some really impressive transfer deals based on intelligence, strategy and skills required by the teams that have completed these negotiations.
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#1 Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan to Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku’s transfer took place during the days of the Lionel Messi deal. This is why some people underestimated the power of this transfer for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea.
Lukaku has become a complete goalscorer thanks to Antonio Conte’s work at Inter over the past two years. The Belgian is capable of scoring goals, showing leadership and is an important person in the locker room for the team. In short, this is a deal that will become very precious for Chelsea and is already giving excellent results.
It is not easy to find central strikers in the transfer market. Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku have made a super deal for €115 million. This has also made Inter happy because it is the record sale in the history of the club and Serie A.
#2 Achraf Hakimi – Inter to PSG
It is easy to identify Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos or, of course, Lionel Messi as masterpiece signings of the Paris Saint-Germain transfer market. But Hakimi is more than just a full-back: he plays as a winger, a forward, scores goals and helps his teammates with assists or brilliant runs.
After Maicon and Cafù, Hakimi has been the best right-back in Serie A in the last 20 years. Buying Hakimi for €70 million was a brilliant move by PSG director Leonardo. It will help a lot with the maneuvering of attacking stars. It can also become a devastating factor in the Champions League when games need the turbo speed of a player like Achraf. It is a really smart purchase and in some cases it has been underestimated because of PSG signing some other big names.
#3 Eduardo Camavinga – Rennes to Real Madrid
Eduardo Camavinga is an extraordinary signing for the present and future. It is one of my favorite signings of this summer, because Real Madrid did not wait until June 2022 to buy Camavinga as a free agent.
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain had been in the race for months, but never made any official offers to Rennes. Camavinga could have waited until 2022 but chose to move immediately out of respect for the club that raised him. This helped Rennes receive an important amount of money. An elegant gesture from an exceptional midfielder.
Carlo Ancelotti considers him one of the best talents in the world and buying him for €31 million plus add-ons of up to €40 million becomes a great transfer for Florentino Perez and Real Madrid. Camavinga is a player who will be important in the present and especially for the future of the club. The transfer shows long-term vision and is an excellent choice for Real Madrid.
#4 Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United
I am particularly attached to this deal because it is truly record-breaking. Negotiations between the two clubs began in February 2020, before Covid. The pandemic slowed down the timing of this negotiation. Manchester United were one step away from completing the deal as early as the end of July 2020, however, everything collapsed due to the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Manchester United were able to confirm to Jadon Sancho their interest in the long term and their desire to buy him at any cost. So much so that the player expressed his will to Borussia Dortmund and asked them to facilitate a transfer to Manchester United.
An agreement was reached for €85 million which brings back to the Premier League one of the best wingers in Europe. This is a great buy because there was a real risk of losing Sancho after the fiasco of summer 2020.
#5 Pape Sarr – Metz to Tottenham Hotspur
Many present-day stars moved in the summer, but this Metz midfielder promises to become a very important player in the future. The potential is huge. Tottenham wanted to buy Pape Sarr immediately for €20 million plus add-ons. Sarr will spend another year on loan in France to mature to the fullest.
Sarr is a midfielder with unique characteristics, personality and enormous room for improvement. Spurs’ football director Fabio Paratici is the same person who bought Paul Pogba at 19 as a free agent from Manchester United, when he was at Juventus. He knows how to recognize talent and believes in Pape Sarr. Remember this name. This is a transfer that I really liked because of the club’s vision and intelligence in looking to the future.