Players packing for pastures new
© AFP

Holiday destinations may be at the forefront of many supporters' minds at this time of year, but players across the world have been no less focused on discovering new horizons. The summer transfer window has been open since the beginning of June and activity has picked up noticeably of late, as FIFA.com recaps in this glance back at the to-ing and fro-ing in the first half of July.

Rome looks to be fashionable this summer as Lazio have picked up Italian international goalkeeper Federico Marchetti from Genoa and French forward Djibril Cisse from Panathinaikos. They have also lured Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana from Galatasaray, sending Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera in the opposite direction. Elsewhere in the Italian capital, Lazio’s fierce rivals Roma have brought in 19-year-old Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela from River Plate.

The Argentinian game has likewise bid farewell to Ricky Alvarez, who has left champions Velez Sarsfeld to join an Inter Milan side similarly boosted by the arrival of 25-year-old Santos defender Jonathan. Further south, Napoli have found reinforcements closer to home, snapping up Uruguayan defender Miguel Britos from Bologna and agreeing a deal with Udinese for Swiss international midfielder Gokhan Inler.

Inler’s former employers are finding themselves victims of their own success as they struggle to hold on to key talents after last season’s surprise fourth-placed finish in Serie A. Cristian Zapata has quit the club to join Villarreal in Spain, and he could soon be coming up against his erstwhile colleague Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean forward currently in talks with Barcelona. In contrast to Udinese, Malaga have been welcoming new arrivals with open arms, adding Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen and Valencia forward Isco to a squad already boosted by the signings of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Nacho Monreal, Jeremy Toulalan and Joaquin.

Life has been calmer in Madrid, but Real have been getting in on the action too, splashing out €30m for Benfica full-back Fabio Coentrao and sending Ezequiel Garay to the Lisbon giants. The Argentinian stopper’s compatriot Pablo Piatti has also been on the move, swapping Almeria for Valencia, where he will look to make an impact in front of goal. Atletico Madrid have invited Sao Paolo defender Miranda back to Europe after a five-year absence, meanwhile, and Emir Spahic has joined Sevilla following a two-year stint in France with Montpellier.

Over in Ligue 1, there have been comings and goings to rival any division, not least at Evian-Thonon. The promoted side will be strengthened next term by veteran Rennes midfielder Jerome Leroy and Panathinaikos forward Sidney Govou, with Ghanaian international Jonathan Mensah added for good measure. Clubs have been lining up to make the most of Monaco’s relegation as well, and Saint-Etienne have been the latest to profit by swooping for goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. Forward Emmanuel Riviere has left Les Verts, on the other hand, packing his bags for Toulouse.

Indeed, players with an eye for goal are proving to be hot property in France this summer, with overseas outfits looking to get involved as well. Thus, Nigerian striker Ideye Brown will patrol the final third for Dynamo Kyiv after registering 15 times for Sochaux last season, while Moroccan marksman Youssef el Arabi is bound for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia fresh from notching 17 strikes for Caen. One forward returning to France, though, is Jeremie Aliadiere, the Lorient signing now back in his homeland after 12 years spent primarily in the Premier League. Also in Brittany, Rennes have acquired the services of Burkina Faso midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa, whose departure from Hamburg has been one of the few recent transfer stories in the Bundesliga.

Much of the activity in Germany has involved Wolfsburg, who sent right-back Sascha Riether – capped twice by Joachim Low – to Cologne and promptly replaced him with Hasan Salihamidzic. At 34, the Bosnian defender comes on board after four years with Juventus in Italy, having previously spent nine seasons with Bayern Munich – who have captured a defender of their own by finalising a deal with Manchester City for Jerome Boateng.

The Premier League heavyweights have nonetheless galvanised their rearguard by agreeing terms with French international left-back Gael Clichy and versatile Montenegrin Stefan Savic. Defensive additions have been made elsewhere in England too, with Fulham enticing John Arne Riise back to the country from Roma, Roger Johnson swapping Birmingham City for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Jonathan Woodgate moving from Tottenham Hotspur to Stoke City. Manchester United duo Wes Brown and John O’Shea have likewise upped sticks, both opting to join Sunderland.

As for Queens Park Rangers, the top-tier new boys have made efforts to bolster their survival mission by turning to a pair of England internationals in 31-year-old Kieron Dyer and Cardiff City forward Jay Bothroyd, who made his debut for Fabio Capello this year despite operating in the second division. Liverpool will be hoping for a big impact from Blackpool’s Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam, while Omani goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi will wear the gloves of Wigan Athletic again in 2011/12 after making his switch from Bolton Wanderers permanent following last year’s loan stint.

Not to be left out, clubs in the Netherlands have been just as busy, with perhaps the highest-profile transfer involving rising Dutch hope Georginio Wijnaldum making the first move of his career by joining PSV Eindhoven from Feyenoord. For their part, Ajax have put their faith in Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, while losing Demy de Zeuw to Spartak Moscow.

In Asia, meanwhile, Chinese league leaders Guangzhou Yiyao have made waves by investing nearly €7m in Fluminense’s Argentinian midfielder Dario Conca, setting a new record fee for a Chinese club. Lastly, a pair of veteran campaigners have elected to make one final journey before hanging up their boots. English forward Robbie Fowler, 36, is setting sail for Thai outfit Muangthong United and Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto, 37, will be pitching up at Qatari side Al Gharrafa.