Brisk business in the transfer market
While the summer is producing the usual number of drawn-out transfer stories, a good number of deals have already gone through. In this its latest transfer update, FIFA.com rounds up the big moves from the last two weeks, with China and Paris Saint-Germain proving especially attractive.
Having already lured Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, the Chinese Super League has captured another former UEFA Champions League winner, with Mali international Seydou Keita joining Dalian Aerbin after four magnificent seasons at Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain are continuing to spend big. Fresh from recruiting Diego Lugano, Alex, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore, Maxwell and coach Carlo Ancelotti last season, PSG have now snapped up Argentinian midfielder Ezequiel Lavezzi, a cornerstone of the Napoli set-up over the last five seasons.
Ligue 1 rivals Lille have dipped into the market, acquiring the services of another European club champion in Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou, who had reached the end of his contract at Chelsea.
The two clubs are aiming to topple last season’s surprise French champions Montpellier, who have seen their main goal threat Olivier Giroud depart for Arsenal. That vacancy has now been filled by the Argentinian Emanuel Herrera, who joins the southerners after starring with Chilean outfit Union Espanola.
Italian ins and outs
Fresh from a fine season with Boca Juniors, Herrera’s compatriot Facundo Roncaglia has joined Fiorentina with a view to bolstering their defence, while Morocco’s Mounir El Hamdaoui will be hoping to shine in the Viola front line after a season to forget with Ajax.
Another front man with a point to prove after a forgettable season with Inter Milan is Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, who will be aiming to recapture the form that won him the adidas Golden Ball at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with another 'Inter', Internacional of Porto Alegre.
Meanwhile, Forlan’s Nerazzurri team-mate and Brazilian central-defender Lucio has joined their big rivals Juventus. For their part, the reigning Italian champions have sold Dutch wide man Eljero Elia to Werder Bremen and brought in Chile international Mauricio Isla and Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, both of whom impressed with their previous employers Udinese.
Also leaving the Friuli club is another architect of last season’s successful push for a Champions League place, Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who has left for Inter Milan, with defender Davide Faraoni joining Udinese as part of the deal. Inter have also brought in Argentinian defender Matias Silvestre, formerly with Palermo, while fellow countryman Maxi Lopez is bidding farewell to the San Siro after a six-month stay with AC Milan. The blond-haired striker’s latest destination is Sampdoria, who have just made their return to Serie A.
Youngsters and veterans on the move
After clinging on to their top-flight status in their first season back in the big time, English Premier League side Queens Park Rangers have bolstered their playing resources with a double purchase from Manchester United. As well as signing Korea Republic midfielder Park Ji-Sung, several times a trophy winner during his seven-year stay at Old Trafford, the Londoners have also captured his Brazilian team-mate Fabio. Across the capital city, Tottenham have been making their own moves, swooping for Ajax’s Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen and Swansea City’s promising Icelandic attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Welsh club have found his successor in Jonathan De Guzman, signed from recently relegated Spanish club Villarreal, who have also bade farewell to Argentinian striker Marco Ruben, now with Dynamo Kiev. Ruben will be teaming up there with Portugal international and recent UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finalist Miguel Veloso, who joins Kiev from Genoa.
One of Veloso’s former clubs were Sporting Lisbon, who have also been busy wheeling and dealing. As well as drafting in Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes, the man who scored his country’s shock winner against Spain at South Africa, the Lisbon club have made a surprise move for Mohun Bagan’s Indian forward Sunil Chhetri, the scorer of 33 goals in 55 appearances for his national side.
Other eye-catching moves include Peruvian front man Paolo Guerrero’s switch from Hamburg to Corinthians, and Clarence Seedorf’s decision to end his ten-year association with AC Milan and sign on the dotted line for Botafogo.
Finally, former team-mate and FIFA World Cup winner Alessandro Nesta has made only his second move at the age of 36, decamping to MLS side Montreal Impact from AC Milan, the club he joined from Lazio. At the opposite end of the scale is the much-travelled Uruguayan goalgetter Sebastian Abreu, who has left Botafogo for Figueirense, the 22nd switch of his eventful career.