Big moves amidst a lull
After an early rush as the summer transfer window swung open, clubs have begun taking their time before swooping for new players. High-profile moves have largely disappeared off the radar in the last few weeks, but deals continue to be struck around the globe as FIFA.com recaps.
In England, Manchester United have found their man to replace Edwin van der Sar after the veteran goalkeeper finally called time on his career aged 40. Come next season, Sir Alex Ferguson will be trusting the gloves to 20-year-old former Atletico Madrid No1 David de Gea, who had not even been born when his new manager took the reins at Old Trafford. Winger Ashley Young was aged just one, meanwhile, and he too has joined the Premier League champions – much to the delight of his England team-mate Wayne Rooney, who quickly took to Twitter to say he is “looking forward to some assists” from the ex-Aston Villa man.
On the other side of the English Channel, United’s French counterparts Lille have been busy filling the same positions, with goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama arriving from Hapoel Tel-Aviv and attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet making the switch from Saint-Etienne. The Ligue 1 titleholders have also snapped up centre-back Marko Basa from Lokomotiv Moscow to make up for the loss of Adil Rami to Valencia. Further south, 2009/10 champions Marseille have made steps towards regaining their crown by recruiting a trio of players in the space of a week, signing Cameroonian stopper Nicolas Nkoulou from Monaco, Lorient left-back Jeremy Morel and Bordeaux and France captain Alou Diarra, a defensive midfielder by trade.
Turkish talent on the move
Promoted sides Ajaccio and Dijon will be more concerned with surviving in the top flight but both have made significant captures, with the Corsican club turning to Mexican international keeper Guillermo Ochoa and the Burgundy side luring Ivorian defender Abdoulaye Meite, who spent six seasons at Marseille before spells with Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion in England. Dijon have also picked up Cedric Varrault from Panionios, bringing the midfielder back to France, where he contested over 200 matches for Nice and almost 100 for Saint-Etienne.
The last of those outfits have likewise been active, Les Verts agreeing a loan deal to take Florent Sinama-Pongolle off the hands of Sporting, where he has struggled to make an impact. Finally in Ligue 1, Toulouse are desperate to improve on their performances last term and will be hoping for great things from Serbian defender Pavle Ninkov, formerly of Crvena Zvezda, and Turkish forward Umut Bulut, who racked up 67 goals in five seasons with Trabzonspor.
Heading to Turkey, in contrast, are Czech defender Tomas Ujfalusi, who has left Atletico for Galatasaray, and Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros, ready to serve Kayserispor after a season at Sunderland. New Bursaspor goalkeeper Scott Carson has also made the trip from England after leaving West Brom, while Eintracht Frankfurt winger Halil Altintop – a Turkish international since 2004 – will get a first taste of his own country’s top flight with Trabzonspor following ten years in Germany
Halil’s brother Hamit was also on the move last month, packing his bags for Real Madrid, and he will come up against a strengthened Malaga line-up next season. Having already made a number of acquisitions in recent months, coach Manuel Pellegrini has added French midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, a two-time Ligue 1 champion during his five years with Lyon, Sevilla defender and Spain U-21 international Sergio Sanchez, and sparkling winger Joaquin, who starred at Valencia after starting out at Real Betis. For their part, Betis have added Jefferson Montero to their ranks from Villarreal as they prepare for their return to Spain’s elite division. In addition, the Liga will be welcoming Mexican defender Hector Moreno, now with Espanyol after departing AZ Alkmaar, and Portuguese full-back Silvio, signed by Atletico following a fine 2010/11 campaign with Braga.
Big names seek fresh starts
As one defender leaves Portugal, another arrives in the shape of USA international Oguchi Onyewu, now on loan at Sporting from AC Milan. As for the Serie A champions, they have negotiated to sign Stephan El Shawaary from Genoa, while the young attacking midfielder’s old club have snared Guinean international Kevin Constant from Chievo and a pair of talents from the Chilean championship: namely, Argentinian striker Lucas Pratto of Universidad Catolica, and Colo Colo schemer Cristobal Jorquera.
Fiorentina have been shopping in South America as well, coming back with Brazilian recruit Romulo from Cruzeiro, though they have also lost midfielder Marco Donadel to Napoli and Adrian Mutu to Cesena, the charismatic Romanian marksman now at his sixth Italian club after earlier stints with Parma, Verona, Inter Milan and Juventus. Not to be left out, La Vecchia Signora have secured the signature of Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner, while his compatriot Blerim Dzemaili has quit Parma for Napoli.
Italian international Domenico Criscito is leaving Serie A altogether, meanwhile, setting sail for Zenit St. Petersburg from Genoa, where he also began his career before a short interlude with Juve. As he settles in to his new surroundings, the left-back will perhaps come up against Victor Obinna, the forward having been drafted in from Inter by Lokomotiv Moscow. Obinna’s fellow Nigerian Lukman Haruna has travelled east too, bidding farewell to Monaco and taking up residence with Dynamo Kiev. Staying in Ukraine, Ghana’s Derek Boateng has opted to leave Getafe for Dnipro Dniepropetrovsk.
In North America, finally, DaMarcus Beasley will open a new chapter with Mexican outfit Puebla, while MLS side DC United have made a splash by acquiring Dwayne De Rosario from New York Red Bulls and Brandon McDonald from San Jose Earthquakes. A buzz has similarly begun spreading further north, with Toronto FC convincing Torsten Frings to review his decision to retire. The 34-year-old former Werder Bremen captain will be moving to Canada after 17 years in the German game, having also turned out for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.