Transfers are one of the biggest risks and rewards for clubs in a day and age where money talks more than it ever has. So as European Club football wraps up, it is an appropriate time to look back at the many signings who arrived at the beginning and middle of the season to see who were those which succeeded and benefited from their debut seasons for Europe’s top clubs.
For this list, we chose one player from each of Europe’s top five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue One) to highlight what we believe we're the best deals for this 2021/2022 campaign.
The 2021/2022 Premier League season saw many, and I mean MANY big-money signings from every single club. It is without a doubt that the top Premier League signing this season came in the winter with Colombian winger Luis Diaz. The pacy, skillful and clinical Colombian arrived from FC Porto in January for a hefty 49.5 million Euros, a risky payout which has benefitted the Reds massively.
Since his arrival, Diaz has become a huge part of Liverpool’s current run for the treble, contributing to crucial matches in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and FA Cup. He's had 11 goal contributions in 25 matches and took home the MOTM award in the FA Cup final, not bad considering he has come late into the season. Although it’s difficult to start in an attack with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and others, his impact is well known and has a bright future for what’s to come.
Real Madrid is known for investing in young talents, not just any young talents but the talents that go on to become the world’s best. Eduardo Camavinga has certainly made his mark at only 19 years of age as a versatile box-to-box, skillful powerhouse of a midfielder who has come off the bench many times this season to only prove himself more and more. The French midfielder had a surprisingly low price tag of 34 million Euros and with every club in Europe wanting his signature from Stade Rennes, it was Los Blancos that was destination.
The Frenchman has played in 38 games for Madrid this season and shown his strong ball-winning ability and accurate passing which has had many comparing him to the likes of Luka Modric. An outstanding signing for the present and future for Real, he takes the cake for best signing this season and definite investment for the future of the Madridista's.
Moving to Italy is a difficult change due to the more tactical and defensive-based style of play that many simply can’t adjust to. A.S. Roma’s new star striker, Tammy Abraham, has thrived since his move from Chelsea, a significantly different game from the Premier League. The 24-year-old target man ended his 8-year run in English football last summer after a 44 million Euro transfer saw him join Jose Mourinho in Rome. It is safe to say he has been worth every single penny in both the Serie A and UEFA Europa Conference League.
Abraham has been Roma’s leading force with his superior aerial ability and clinical finishing as his physicality and height have been dominant going forward. In an astounding 52 appearances this season, Abraham has scored 30 goals and assisted 12 in all competitions, which have placed Roma 6th in the Serie A and in the finals of the Conference League. It is only his first season but expect big things for not only Roma but hopefully, a deserved England call up for this coming fall.
For defenders in the Bundesliga, it is typically difficult when you have to defend against the likes of Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, and Patrik Schick in your debut season in the top flight. For Croatian center back Josko Gvardiol, this has been no such task. The 20-year-old arrived at RB Leipzig in the summer from Dinamo Zagreb for a mere 20 million Euros, a huge fee for a player who has no experience in high-tensity physically attacking football.
Gvardiol however, has been outstanding, especially since the exit of Dayot Upamecano last summer, Leipzig was in dire need of a leader if they wanted to continue fighting for the title. They have been rewarded as Gvardiol has been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga this season. Playing in 45 of Leipzig’s games this season averaging 11.78 pressured moments per game, 2 tackles, 3.34 interceptions and 2.07 successful blocks per 90 minutes. Leading and/or in the top 5 for the majority of defensive accuments this season and winning Leipzig’s first DFB Pokal, he was certainly the best Bundesliga signing this season.
The Ligue One this season was reclaimed by PSG and their thrilling superstar lineup, Achraf Hakimi was brilliant and some of the others…well that's for another article. For the signing of the season, we chose OGC Nice striker Andy Delort. The Algerian center forward moved to Nice from Montpellier last summer for 11 million Euros and has continually been a driving force for their push for European football this season.
First, taking one of Montpellier's top strikers was a tactical decision that not only hindered their rival’s attacking presence but also boosted their own. Delort’s passing ability, aerial efficiency and presence in front of goal brought 18 goals (the most in the squad) and 4 assists in 37 games in all competitions for Nice bringing them to a 5th place Conference League qualification spot and booting Montpellier to a 13th place finish. The 30-year-old has been an excellent addition to Nice’s squad and will be favourable to watch in European competition next season.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United
Cristian Romero - Tottenham Hotspurs
Dejan Kulusevski - Tottenham Hotspurs
Aaron Ramsdale - Arsenal F.C.
David Alaba - Real Madrid
Arnaut Danjuma - Villareal CF
Reinildo Mandava - Atletico Madrid
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - FC Barcelona
Sandro Tonali - AC Milan
Mike Maignan - AC Milan
Dusan Vlahovic - Juventus F.C.
Jesper Lindstrom - Eintracht Frankfurt
Piero Hincapie - Bayer Leverkusen
David Raum - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Achraf Hakimi - Paris Saint Germain
Jean-Claire Todibo - OGC Nice
Tanguy Ndombele - Olympique Lyon