The transfer window closed last Monday but there were three surprising transfers that occurred during the final week.
Kevin-Prince Boateng moved from Italian giants AC Milan to German club Schalke 04, Milos Krasic went from Turkish giants Fenerbahce to French club Bastia and Mesut Ozil left Spanish giants Real Madrid for EPL club Arsenal. These were probably the most surprising moves during the summer because all three players moved to clubs that are inferior to their previous ones.
German-born Ghanaian international Boateng went back to the land of his birth and the Bundesliga club paid about €11 million for the midfielder. He played in The Royal Blues’ 2-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen last week in an attacking midfielder’s role.
For Schalke it was a great purchase but some people must be wondering why the rossoneri got rid of him. He scored two goals in Milan’s 3-0 win against PSV Eindhoven in the UCL qualifiers and he looked like the player he was when Massimiliano Allegri’s side won the 2010-11 scudetto.
Boateng later revealed that he couldn’t deal with the racism of some fans at Italian stadiums. During a friendly with Pro Patria, the Ghanaian international and the rest of the AC Milan team walked off the pitch. Despite incidents like this, Boateng looked like a revitalised player in the CL qualifiers and that’s why the move is still surprising.
It could still be a win-win scenario for all parties. Schalke has added another quality midfielder to its squad and Brazilian attacking midfielder Kaka is back at Milan. Whether Kaka can return to form remains to be seen but he won’t have to compete with Boateng for a spot in Milan’s starting 11.
Another intriguing move involved Serbian winger Milos Krasic. He has moved from the Turkish Süper Lig to the French Ligue 1 in what looks like a backward step for the 28-year-old.
He was a promising player at Russian club CSKA Moscow and had a good first season with Serie A giants Juventus but his career has gone downhill since his second season with the bianconeri.
Despite this, it is amazing to think how Bastia got the right-winger in the first place. The Corsican club isn’t exactly one of the powerhouses of French soccer and needless to say, they don’t have the resources PSG and Monaco have.
Ajaccio, who is Bastia’s Corsican rival, has former Romanian star Adrian Mutu leading the attack but he is past his peak. Krasic is still at an age in which he can still produce his best football.
He still needs to look at himself and wonder why he has gone from a Serie A giant to a Turkish giant and now down to a provincial French club. In full flight, Krasic is a rapid dribbler and a great crosser of the ball and for a winger he can score a few goals.
Boateng’s move is surprising because he looked like a man returning to form and Krasic’s move is surprising because he is capable of playing for a bigger team despite his lack of form. Mesut Ozil’s departure from Real Madrid was surprising for another reason.
Ozil went to another well-known club but most fans and pundits would be shocked with the fact that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger finally spent some money. Wenger isn’t known for his big spending but surely the Gunners’ 3-1 loss to Aston Villa in Round One in the EPL sent alarm bells ringing in North London.
Arsenal has a tough group in the UCL. Olympique Marseille might not pose much of a threat but Borussia Dortmund and Napoli will be dangerous opponents for the Gunners.
Jurgen Klopp’s side lost Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich but it has held onto Robert Lewandowski and bought Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Napoli has revolutionised its squad since Rafa Benitez arrived, which now includes former Real players Raul Albiol, Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain.
Arsenal should struggle but a player of Ozil’s calibre will give Wenger’s side a chance of sneaking through. The Gunners probably needed a centre-forward more than anything else and already have some creative midfielders in their squad such as Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla.
Ozil is still a top purchase and he is arguably more talented than the other three midfielders. Wenger has to either fit all of them in the one team or perhaps use the ageing Rosicky as a super-sub. Regardless of what happens, Olivier Giroud shouldn’t complain about a lack of supply.
Three transfers raised eye-brows before the transfer window closed. Each move was surprising in its own way. Now it is up to the respective players to now show that their transfers were worthwhile. It will be an intriguing experience watching their form slump or rise.