For the first time ever, the summer transfer window closed before the start of the Premier League season. All 20 top-flight clubs will now have to wait until January to bolster their squads, although players can still be sent abroad or loaned to Football League clubs for the remainder of August.
In this slideshow, we pick out 10 deals from across Europe which don’t make much sense…
Leonardo Bonucci (Milan to Juventus)
Last season, Juventus looked like they’d dodged a bullet and appeared to have sold Bonucci at exactly the right moment. Still a good player, he was a declining force within a Milan defence which, along with almost every other part of the side, struggled.
Strangely, though, Juve seem to have undone Milan’s mistake for them, paying over £30m to return Bonucci to Turin and reunite him with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini. But forget about what that unit was and look at the changing face of the European game: Bonucci will turn 32 before the season ends and there were better options out there.
Salomon Rondon (West Brom to Newcastle)
Nothing against Rondon, because he’s a serviceable player who should actually make Newcastle better, but the deal itself represents more opaque Mike Ashley manoeuvring. Rafael Benitez has needed a proper forward since the beginning of last season and yet, somehow, Ashley managed to spin a fairly rudimentary loan negotiation out over the entire summer.
And the reality is, of course, that Newcastle could so obviously attract someone of a higher calibre. They may not be able to shop in the most expensive parts of the market, but they certainly could have given Benitez more to work with.
Javier Pastore (PSG to Roma)
Roma’s director of football, Monchi, has a well-earned reputation for unearthing gems in the transfer market, so it’s fair to say the £22m acquisition of Pastore is a little out of character. Now 29 and having not played regular minutes for three full seasons, the Argentinian has inexplicably been handed a five-year contract at the Stadio Olimpico.
Pastore is a gifted footballer who will probably score one or two wondergoals in 2018/19, but this isn’t the type of investment Roma should be making. Frankly, the Giallorossi have done PSG a massive favour as the Ligue 1 champions set about balancing their Financial Fair Play books.
Joe Hart (Manchester City to Burnley)
With Nick Pope and Tom Heaton both injured, you can see why Sean Dyche wanted to bring in another goalkeeper to help Burnley through the early part of the season – particularly as the Clarets also have Europa League football to contend with. But did the Lancastrians really need Hart given that they already had Anders Lindegaard and Adam Legzdins on the books?
The former England No.1 will have taken a pay cut to move to Turf Moor, but his wages will still be substantial. Handing him a two-year deal makes little sense, either; this is a very short-termist move which could cause problems for Dyche when Pope and Heaton are fit and available once more.
Tottenham (all the players they didn’t sign)
To put a positive spin on things, Tottenham didn’t sell any of their players in the summer, despite Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose all being linked with moves away. Yet their lack of incoming inactivity leaves Spurs with an ageing midfield and a lack of cover in critical areas.
Jack Grealish was the principal target in the final few days of the window, but Daniel Levy was unwilling to match Aston Villa’s asking price. Tottenham’s injury list is already lengthy, and their failure to strengthen the squad – if not the starting XI – could cost them a place in the top four.
Adama Traore (Middlesbrough to Wolves)
Traore is great fun, thrilling to watch and one of the quickest players in the country, but only last season in the Championship did he finally look capable of adding a final ball to his game. So, while there may be a certain value in his ability to beat defenders, it’s often been cancelled out by the bad decisions which end those passages of play.
A fee of £20m is substantial for a player who looked to have found his level in the Championship last season. While he’s still only 22, it seems as if Wolves are banking on an unlikely evolution for this acquisition to be a success.
Jack Wilshere (free transfer to West Ham)
With no guarantee of regular first-team football, Wilshere opted against signing a new contract at Arsenal when his previous deal expired at the end of June. Yet while he didn’t cost West Ham anything in the way of a transfer fee, the midfielder is damaged goods with an extremely patchy injury record.
Wilshere supported West Ham as a child, so he’ll no doubt be excited to pull on the claret and blue shirt in the Premier League. There’s no doubting the 26-year-old’s ability, but it’s been a long time since he’s performed on a consistent basis for an extended period.
Paulinho (Barcelona to Guangzhou Evergrande)
Eyebrows were raised when Barcelona spent €40m on Tottenham flop Paulinho in summer 2017, particularly as the Brazilian had been plying his trade in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande.
The midfielder enjoyed a steady but unspectacular season at the Camp Nou and looked to have earned himself at least another campaign in Catalonia, but Barcelona clearly had other ideas: Paulinho has returned to Guangzhou on loan with the promise of a future fee which would see the Blaugrana turn a profit on their original investment.
Richarlison (Watford to Everton)
Richarlison is a good player with plenty of potential, but £50m (the sum the deal could rise to) is a lot of money. There may be little value to be found in today’s market, but you still wonder whether a young player with such little experience can cope with the expectation of becoming his new club’s record signing.
It’s a direct contrast to last season, when the Brazilian arrived in the Premier League to little fanfare and for a fairly paltry fee. Being reunited with Silva should help, but either the 21-year-old gets off to a good start at Goodison or this could prove a disaster.
Andriy Yarmolenko (Borussia Dortmund to West Ham)
Yarmolenko was an outstanding player three years ago – the point at which he should have left Ukraine for a big Spanish, English or German club – but his switch to Borussia Dortmund came too late, evidenced by his poor performances and slow drift out of the side.
Most troublingly, the 28-year-old is most effective from the right side of midfield as an inverted winger, and that’s a position which has subsequently been filled at the London Stadium by Felipe Anderson. West Ham have got a name, but probably only a fading player.
Transfer news, Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga, Chinese Super League, Championship, Borussia Dortmund, West Ham United, Javier Pastore, Andriy Yarmolenko, PSG, AS Roma, Joe Hart, Burnley, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Salomon Rondon, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion, Paulinho, Barcelona, Guangzhou Evergrande, Jack Wilshere, Arsenal, Adama Traore, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesbrough, Richarlison, Everton, Watford, Leonardo Bonucci, Milan, Juventus