Brisk business in European markets
Europe’s major league teams are still putting their squads together ahead of the new domestic season, which is still a few weeks away in Germany, Spain and Italy but only just around the corner in France and England. FIFA.com rounds up the latest transfer news as the continent’s finest continue their search for the players who might make all the difference in the months to come.
What better place to start our round-up than at Real Madrid, where comings and goings are a regular feature of the close season. Taking their leave of the Estadio Bernabeu in the last couple of days have been club legends Raul and Guti. After collecting six Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League winners medals in a highly profitable 16-year association with the club - scoring 323 goals in 740 matches in the process - Raul has now taken his services to Schalke 04. Meanwhile midfielder Guti, a Madrid debutant in 1995, has teamed up with former Merengue coach Bernd Schuster at Besiktas.
Another old stager looking for one last challenge is former England centre-half Sol Campbell, who at the age 35 has swapped the red and white of Arsenal for the black and white of Newcastle United. Just weeks after collecting a FIFA World Cup™ winners medal with Spain, the equally experienced stopper Carlos Marchena has left Valencia for local rivals Villarreal, while French central defender Jean-Alain Boumsong is on the point of leaving Olympique Lyon for Greek giants Panathinaikos, where he will renew acquaintances with compatriots Djibril Cisse and Sidney Govou.
Continuing his exile from the Stade Gerland is Ghanaian centre-half John Mensah, on loan for a second straight season at English Premier League outfit Sunderland, where he will compete for places with fellow defenders Marcos Alberto Angeleri and Titus Bramble, respective signings from Argentina’s Estudiantes and Wigan Athletic. Mensah’s Black Stars team-mate Jonathan Mensah, no relation, will himself remain on loan at Spanish second division side Granada from Italy’s Udinese.
Among the clutch of Uruguayans on the move is forward Sebastian Fernandez, who joins Malaga from Banfield, while namesake and fellow countryman Alvaro Fernandez has signed for MLS club Seattle Sounders from Universidad de Chile. Both players formed part of the Celeste squad that did so well at South Africa 2010, where their team-mates included central defender Diego Godin, newly recruited by Atletico Madrid from Villarreal, and livewire midfielder Diego Perez, who has just left Monaco to sign on the dotted line for Serie A’s Bologna. Meanwhile, Danubio defender Marcelo Silva will be playing his club football for Almeria in La Liga next season.
After making five appearances under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan last season, rising Slovenian star Rene Krhin will be teaming up with Perez at Bologna, with Norwegian international Tore Reginiussen hoping to put an unproductive season with Schalke 04 behind him by joining fellow Italian outfit Lecce. Departing calcio for cooler climes are Serbian internationals Aleksandar Lukovic, who has moved to Zenit St Petersburg from Udinese, and Aleksandar Kolarov, who has switched one sky blue shirt for another after leaving Lazio for Manchester City.
Aside from the arrival of Raul, the Bundesliga will welcome back the versatile Serbian Gojko Kacar, relegated with Hertha Berlin last season but in the top flight once more with Hamburg. Over in Ligue 1, meanwhile, Malian forward Modibo Maiga has plotted a similar course, switching his allegiance from newly relegated Le Mans to Sochaux.
Back in Spain, Mallorca have snapped up Dutch midfielder Jonathan de Guzman while offloading Brazilian right-back Felipe Mattioni to Liga rivals Espanyol, where he will link up Portuguese youngster Rui Fonte, recently arrived on loan from Sporting Lisbon. And finally, Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic have strengthened their squad by drafting in Israeli midfielder Biram Kayal from Maccabi Haifa and English striker Gary Hooper from Scunthorpe United.