Premier League

A Look Back at the First Transfer Windows These Clubs Had After Big Money Takeovers

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Newcastle United’s first transfer window following their takeover is now underway with the club seemingly linked to a different player every day.

The Magpies have already managed to bring Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood to the club and it looks likely Diego Carlos is also on his way to St James’ Park.

It is an exciting time for fans of the club, as they watch the side take their first steps in the mission to eventually become one of the best teams in the world.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the first transfer windows these following clubs experienced following their own crazy rich takeovers and see how things panned out for them.

Chelsea – 13 Players – £111.15m

By far the biggest spenders in our list, Roman Abramovich wasted absolutely no time in his quest to take Chelsea to the next level.

With 11 players coming through the door in the Russian’s first transfer window at Stamford Bridge, the success of these moves varied between superb to outright disastrous.

The Transfers

Claude Makalele – £18m
Damien Duff – £17m
Hernan Crespo – £16.8m
Adrian Mutu – £15.8m
Juan Sebastian Veron – £15m
Wayne Bridge – £7m
Geremi – £6m
Glen Johnson – £6m
Alexey Smertin – £3.45m
Neil Sullivan – £500,000
Marco Ambrosio – Free
Jurgen Macho – Free

The Good

Signing a 30-year-old Claude Makalele for £18m could have gone very wrong for Chelsea as they looked to revamp the side, but the Frenchman went on to be influential to the club’s success over his five years in London. Makalele won numerous trophies at Chelsea, including two league titles and made 217 appearances before he was released in 2008. He was that good the defensive midfield position he regularly occupied was affectionately named the ‘Makalele role’.

Joe Cole had been one of the finest young talents in England when Chelsea signed him for just £6.6m. Having rejected a new contract at the newly relegated West Ham, the Blues managed to bring the Englishman in for a fraction of what he was worth and he would go on to have a very successful spell at the club. Cole picked up plenty of silverware during his time at the club, including three Premier League titles. With over 280 appearances, the midfielder was one of the best bits of business in the early days of the Abramovich era.

Damien Duff’s £17m move from Blackburn Rovers really showed how ambitious the side were in the goal to become the best team in England. Duff, who had finished the previous season as Rovers’ top scorer, hit the ground running and was instrumental to Chelsea’s success during his time there. Despite only spending three seasons at Stamford Bridge, Duff made over 120 appearances and played a significant role in both of the club’s Premier League title wins, more than repaying the £17m he had cost them.

The Bad

Adriana Mutu actually enjoyed a fruitful first season at Chelsea, making 38 appearances for the club and hitting double figures in terms of goals scored. It is what followed after that really drags this move down. After just two appearances in his second season at Stamford Bridge, Mutu tested positive for cocaine use and was subsequently banned from playing for seven months. He never played for Chelsea again and the club released the player from his contract and what followed was a lengthy legal dispute in which the player was eventually forced to pay the Blues a large amount of compensation for breaching his contract. Yikes.

Juan Sebastian Veron’s £15m from Premier League rivals Manchester United started off so brightly, with the Argentine midfielder scoring against Liverpool to help the Claudio Ranieri’s side beat the Reds 2-1, but that would prove to be the only time Veron hit the back of the net during his time at the club. Injuries severely impacted his time at Chelsea and after just one season and 14 appearances, he was loaned out to Inter Milan and never played for the Blues again.

Overall Verdict

While there were definitely some major misses in Chelsea’s first transfer window following Abramovich’s takeover, the club’s successful moves outweighed the bad. With Wayne Bridge, Cole, Makalele, Hernan Crespo and Duff all playing key roles in future title success, there is no way the window can be considered a failure.

Manchester City – 4 Players – £45.9m

As the Abu Dhabi United Group completed their takeover of Manchester City on September 1 2008, and the only player they signed in that time was Robinho, the first full transfer window the club enjoyed under the new ownership was in January 2009.

As it was mid-season, the club only made a total of four signings and, in contrast to later years, the Manchester side were shrewd, but smart with their business, with only one of the signings considered a failure.

The Transfers

Nigel De Jong – £16m
Craig Bellamy – £14m
Wayne Bridge – £10m
Shay Given – £5.9m

The Good

Signing Shay Given, who had been one of Newcastle United’s best players for several years, for as little as £5.9m was considered a major steal for City and he was instantly a key figure for the Cityzens as they chased European football. While he only had one and a half seasons as the club’s first-choice keeper, Given came up big on a number of occasions for City and was an absolute bargain considering the low price they paid for his services.

Nigel De Jong hit the ground running following his move to City and he quickly cemented his place in the first team, a role in which he would hold for three years. The midfielder was tenacious in the middle of the park and his aggression and grit played a key role in the team’s success as just two years after he joined the side they won their very first Premier League title. De Jong was only at the club until the summer of 2012, but his performances throughout his time at the Etihad more than repaid the money he originally cost.

The Bad

While it feels harsh to label the move a failure, Wayne Bridge’s £10m move from Chelsea is the only blemish on City’s transfer business in the January 2009 window. The Englishman was a first team regular for just one full season before he was replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov and Bridge would make just three league appearances over his last two years at the club before he was let go.

Overall Verdict

Considering City only brought four players into the club throughout their first transfer window following the Abu Dhabi United takeover, it has to be considered a success. De Jong was a vital first team regular for several years, whereas Given and Craig Bellamy played key roles during their short spells at the club. Bridge himself was not necessarily a major failure at City, but his £10m price tag was likely a little too much.

PSG – 9 Players – €87.1m

The Qatar Sports Investments’ takeover of PSG in 2011 brought about spending that had previously never been seen in French football. The club wasted no time revamping the side as they chased domestic success, bringing in nine new faces in the summer of 2011.

Spending €87.1m in the window, the club enjoyed some successful ventures into the transfer market, but also undeniably suffered some failures too.

The Transfers

Javier Pastore – €42m
Kevin Gameiro – €11m
Blaise Matuidi – €8m
Jeremy Menez – €8m
Mohamed Sissoko – €8m
Salvatore Sirigu – €3.9m
Milan Bisevac – €3.2m
Diego Lugano – €3m
Nicolas Douchez – Free

The Good

Signing a player that would make the impact Blaise Matuidi did does not happen very often. To do so for as little as €8m is almost unheard of. The midfielder was an instant success at the Parisians and was an ever present fixture in the middle of the park for six seasons. Matuidi was instrumental to the club’s growth and success during his time in Paris, making 295 appearances and scoring 33 goals for the club. Better yet, they even made a profit when they sold him in 2017, with the then 30-year-old joining Juventus for €20m.

Five seasons and 190 appearances later, Salvatore Sirigu’s arrival for just €3.9m is undeniably one of the biggest successes of PSG’s first transfer window under the Qatar Sports Investments group. The Italian was instantly the club’s first-choice goalkeeper and held the position for four straight seasons until he was replaced by Kevin Trapp in 2015. Sirigu won 13 trophies during his time in the French capital, including four Ligue 1 titles. Not bad for less than €4m.

By far the most expensive acquisition of any of the clubs we’re looking at today, Javier Pastore was a real statement of intent and his €42m move from Palermo showed the ambition the new PSG owners had in making the club a global force. Despite his lofty price tag, Pastore had a tremendous spell at PSG and would go on to make 269 appearances, scoring 45 goals and winning 16 trophies with the club.

The Bad

While PSG did not break the bank when they signed Mohamed Sissoko for just €8m, there was a certain amount of expectation around the midfielder’s arrival at the club. Sissoko, who’d just spent four years at Juventus, was expected to slot into the team’s midfield and strengthen the side for the foreseeable future, but after just one season as a first team regular, he fell down the pecking order and would leave the club in 2013, having made just 35 appearances.

Overall Verdict

With a lot more hits than misses, the Qatar Sports Investments reign at PSG got off to a promising start and only went from strength to strength in the following years. With long-term signings like Pastore and Matuidi brought in, as well as formidable members of the first team such as Sirigu and Jeremy Menez, the team quickly laid the foundations for what would become one of the best teams in the world several years later.

Main image credits: Embed from Getty Images

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