Lionel Messi, Arturo Vidal

After the most unprecedented of summer transfer windows. Football Castle brings the clubs who were the most skilled in the recruitment area, and those who were not.

Many big clubs were unable to clear out their unwanted players due to the complicated financial situation. However, the biggest task everywhere was getting adequate quality with limited budgets.

Here are the winners and losers of the 2020 summer transfer window.


Chelsea: The Stamford Bridge side were the most impressive in the European transfer window after a transfer ban and large turnover in outgoings for consecutive windows. In came Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Édouard Mendy, and Malang Sarr to bolster the first team after a stable but inconsistent first season in charge for Frank Lampard. 

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Chelsea set about their business early, securing their top targets in each department despite the financial uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the over £200million outlay will prove beneficial as they have assembled a squad more than capable of competing for the top honours in England again.

Aston Villa: The Villains escaped relegation by only a single point in the final moments of last season and have done impressive business compared to last summer. Dean Smith’s men have been able to recruit Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traoré, Ross Barkley, and Emi Martínez to inject a mix of quality and Premier League experience to the squad. Above all, the Claret and Blue Army were able to tie down Jack Grealish to a new five-year deal and are already looking good for a mid-table push this season and thrashed Champions Liverpool 7-2 to remain undefeated in 2020/21.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic signed for rejuvenated Milan on a permanent amongst very smart deals by Paolo Maldini

AC Milan: II Rossoneri have enjoyed fantastic form since returning from lockdown, going unbeaten in 15 Serie A games since. They have backed up that genuinely good form with shrewd business; signing Zlatan Ibrahimović, Pierre Kalulu, Jens Petter Hauge, Sandro Tonali and Brahim Díaz and Diogo Dalot to add fresh impetus to a revived club

Arsenal: In a season of transition after the turbulence of the last 12 months, The Gunners were able to nail down the signatures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka to contract extensions. The FA Cup winners also added Willian, Gabriel Magalhães, Rúnar Alex Rúnarson, and Thomas Partey on deadline day to boost their ranks. 

Mikel Arteta has truly turned the club around since his arrival in December, now the whole club is looking up after some smart business. Although they ultimately failed to get Mesut Özil off the wage bill or offload Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Sead Kolašinac; there is genuine optimism and positivity on the pitch in North London.

Newcastle: Despite uncertainty over the club’s ownership throughout the summer, Steve Bruce was backed with the admirable recruitment of Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis, with Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser joining on a free to inject quality to an already decent Premier League squad. The Magpies are expected to challenge in mid-table and have started the season impressively, with adequate contribution already from their newcomers.

Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez
Carlo Ancelotti is primed for a brilliant season with his signings at Everton. (Reuters)

Everton: The Toffees have been the biggest story of the Premier League season so far having won all four games. Carlo Ancelotti’s triple swoop for Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan, and James Rodriguez has been a masterstroke so far as they have totally revamped the Everton midfield and the team’s fortunes. With 19-year-old Niels Nkounkou also joining at left-back, they signed Goalkeeper Robin Olsen from Roma to compete with the error-prone Jordan Pickford, and Ben Godfrey for €20 million on deadline day to further bolster their defensive ranks

The Merseysiders look like real top-six contenders and have a tantalizing derby clash with Liverpool after the International break to test these credentials.

Tottenham Hotspur: Desperation for trophy success was the main motivation for appointing José Mourinho in December, now the North Londoners have backed The Special One impressively. Matt Doherty, Sergio Reguilón, Joe Hart, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale have all been signed to strengthen the side. 

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is back for a renaissance at Tottenham. (Getty Images)

Pertinently, Mourinho has been given the kind of squad he needs to compete.


Manchester United: It’s a hard time for United supporters as only a day after their defensive problems were laid bare in the 6-1 thrashing to Tottenham, the club let Chris Smalling return to Roma permanently. Without getting in a centre-back or defensive midfielder, the club also failed to sign prime target Jadon Sancho after failing to match Dortmund’s valuation all summer. Although they did sign wingers Facundo Pellistri and Amad Traoré (who joins in January).

Alex Telles
Alex Telles joined Man United on transfer deadline day, but he wasn’t the most wanted signing at Old Trafford.

The decision to sell Romelu Lukaku 12 months ago but then sign Odion Ighalo and Edinson Cavani since is head-scratching as they also failed to clear out some of the deadwood within the squad. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has a squad lacking in certain areas and has to scapegoat the club’s abysmal recruitment efforts.

Barcelona: For the Blaugrana, keeping Lionel Messi was the most important business of their summer as they underwent a seismic first team clear-out, following the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich last season. However, they are now left with an imbalanced squad as Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal, Nélson Semedo, Ivan Rakitić and Arthur Melo all left to be replaced by a band of returning loanees or youngsters.

Inter Milan: Having finished Antonio Conte’s first season in charge with second-place in both Serie A and the Europa League, a summer of strong transfer dealings was expected of the Nerazzurri but they would secure some bizarre deals. After starting strongly with the addition of Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal was signed from Barcelona on a free, Matteo Darmian and 34-year-old Aleksandar Kolarov were also added to the list of wingbacks with Alexis Sánchez signing permanently.

They are all not eye-catching prospects, but Conte’s men are primed to go all the way with Juventus in Serie A.

Valencia: Due to the Covid-19 financial complications, Los Che were forced to let captain Dani Parejo, Francis Coquelin, Ferran Torres, and Rodrigo Moreno leave for less than €60 million combined to be replaced with a band of academy graduates. Ex-Watford manager Javi Gracia has a daunting task on his hands but he has just about steadied the ship so far this season.

Paris Saint Germain: After the highs of a first Champions League Final in the club’s history, the Parisiens plumped to the lows of the loss of Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier, and Thiago Silva without quality replacements. The French Champions Instead got Rafinha from Barcelona on a free, Moise Kean, Danilo Pereira, and Alessandro Florenzi on loan.

Moise Kean
PSG swooped for Moise Kean on loan. But is he the quality addition needed for the Champions League? (Paris Saint Germain)

Thomas Tuchel’s side should wrap up Ligue 1 once again but the German would have hoped for a stronger squad to challenge Europe’s best once again.

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
October 7, 2020

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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