In a Summer full of movement on the transfer front, that also seen some fascinating dealings take place, we take a look at the top three shock transfers of the window.
3. Danny Welbeck: Manchester United to Arsenal.
Danny Welbeck’s Manchester United career has been up in the air over the past year and not least when Louis van Gaal took hold of the reigns at Old Trafford after the World Cup. After joining United when he was just eight years-old, the England international of Ghanaian descent, went on to have loan spells at Preston North End and Sunderland AFC. He joined United on professional terms during the 2005–06 season, making his debut for the club’s Under-18 side on 8 April 2006 in a league match against Sunderland, a club he would later spend time with. Welbeck had been touted as one of the most promising young players to come through the youth system in England.
But why Arsenal, and why did Arsenal go for Welbeck? This deal went right down to the wire with both Arsenal and Manchester United needing an extension to the transfer deadline to get the deal over the line. On 2 September 2014, it was announced that Welbeck had joined arch rivals Arsenal on a “long-term deal” for a fee in the region of £16 million. It was reported that Tottenham were also in advanced talks with Welbeck over a potential move to White Hart Lane. Welbeck clearly fell out of favour with LvG and the Dutchman clearly wanted him out of the club after he had time to survey what he had at his disposal upon succeeding David Moyes at the helm. Arsene Wenger was under severe pressure to land another striker, especially after the Gunners missed out on Radamel Falcao, but he delivered. Whether Arsenal fans will be happy with the signing, one thing is for sure, this talented young player will give 100 per-cent every time he’s on the playing field.
2. Mario Balotelli: AC Milan to Liverpool.
Ah yes, the return of ‘Super Mario’ Balotelli to the Barclays Premier League, how could we possibly leave him out? The Italian maverick comes back to England on the back of a mere single season with Italian giants AC Milan following his move from Manchester City in 2013. On 21 August 2014, AC Milan agreed a £16 million fee for Balotelli to return to the Premier League with the Kop outfit. The deal was officially announced on 25 August 2014.
Liverpool had been in the market for a world-class striker ever since the departure of star player Luis Suarez to Barcelona during the Summer window. But has Brendan Rodgers pulled off a stroke of genius by signing Balotelli? What made the Azzurri man want to come back to England’s top flight? Especially when you consider how the British press responded to his on and off the field antics. Perhaps he’s now back with a vengeance and out to prove he’s more than just a circus clown in the mix of top class footballers at every club he’s since sampled. Nevertheless, nobody seen the move coming and questions have since been asked in regard to the former City front-man’s temperament. Yet, you simply cannot deny Balotelli’s remarkable footballing abilities, on his day. That’s the problem however, ‘on his day’, in other words, his consistency is a major issue, an issue which has been rather suspect in recent years. His pace, strength and finishing will bring something to the table but it remains to be seen if he can fill the big boots of Suarez alongside Daniel Sturridge this year.
1. Radamel Falcao: Monaco to Manchester United. (On loan).
Just when you thought Manchester United already had one of the most potent strike-forces in world football, they poach the services of the Colombian ace Radamel Falcao. On 1 September 2014, Manchester United agreed to sign Falcao on loan for £6 million subject to a medical and also with an option to sign permanently for £43.5 million at the end of his loan spell at Old Trafford.
The deal of course, took place after Falcao had previously been heavily linked with rivals Manchester City and Arsenal. Despite the rumours, Ed Woodward went all out to bring Falcao to Manchester United, further boosting the potency of Louis van Gaal’s star-studded attacking line. Why does this deal come as a major shock? Lets play the obvious but reasonable card, United don’t even find themselves in the Europa League this season yet they can bring the likes of Falcao and Di Maria to the club. People also wondered, where does Robin van Persie now fit in? What happens to Wayne Rooney? Not a bad scenario for LvG to ponder it must be said. Manchester United fans certainly weren’t expecting the former Atletico and Porto man’s arrival because they expected a defender, maybe a Mats Hummels. No doubt however, they won’t complain as Falcao, arguably the best striker in the world, joins the Red Devils on a season long loan as LvG says goodbye to the likes of outcasts Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez.