With Winter 2015 transfer window behind us, which didn’t offer some huge shocking last-minute deals like we used to see before, the round-up of the top European clubs suggest that many clubs due to bad financial situation decided rather to loan players than to buy them. Some like Chelsea have sold some to buy some. Cuardado’s move from Fiorentina to London was done after offloading Salah, Andre Schürrle and selling Ryan Bertrand to Southampton. La Liga reigning winner, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid loaned out and loaned in players, Gunners bought exactly what they needed and the same did the Champions league winner, Real Madrid. In Italy many clubs were active, most of them have loaned players with option of making a permanent deal in the summer.
In: Gabriel Paulista (Villarreal), Krystian Bielik (Legia Warszawa)
Out: Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Lukas Podolski (Inter Milan, loan), Yaya Sanogo (Crystal Palace, loan), Joel Campbell (Villarreal, loan)
What they needed: A solid midfield and a resolute back 4. Adding Gabriel to their ranks just gave them some much needed cover in the defence. Gabriel’s arrival is just what Arsenal fans have been crying out for. Another positive is the form of 23-year-old Francis Coquelin, who has been commanding in the holding role since returning on loan from Charlton Athletic. Bielik, 17, is one for the future.
Current Status: Mesut Özil and Theo Walcott are back among the goals following long-term absences and Santi Cazorla is playing a more instrumental role than ever. The Gunners have a relatively easy draw with Monaco (with all due respect to them), compared to as last four years opposition. The Gunners could go further in the competition this season.
2. Atletico Madrid
In: Fernando Torres (AC Milan, loan), Cani (Villarreal, loan)
Out: Alessio Cerci (AC Milan, loan)
What they needed: Support for Mario Mandžukić, who carries much of the side’s goalscoring threat, who has had to play a lot of games this season. Torres offers another option and a much more pacy route than Mario. Also he is a proven name and a popular figure among the fans at Atheletico Madrid. Cani comes in as a useful squad player who can fill a variety of positions.
Current Status: Diego Simeone favours a 4-4-1-1 formation with Antoine Griezmann, their top marksman in domestic competitions this term. With Torres firing and Cani providing variety, things look good for Madrid.
3. Bayern Munich
Out: Xherdan Shaqiri (Intern Milan, loan), Pierre Højbjerg (FC Augsburg, loan)
What they needed: Bayern have enough squad depth and quality to afford not signing anyone in the winter window. Bayern offloaded a fringe player and loaned out a young talent, while having not needing to bring anybody in. “All our summer transfers have worked out,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently. Josep Guardiola’s squad is already overflowing with talent and any more top-level signings would merely have not made sense.
Current Status: Guardiola is a big fan of mixing things up, so it is always difficult to set tactics again them. However, Juan Bernat seems to be a new favourite at the German giants, while Bastian Schweinsteiger appears more regularly. The Germans could be set for a long run in the competition again.
In: Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina)
Out: Andre Schürrle (Wolfsburg), Mark Schwarzer (Leicester City), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Mohamed Salah (Fiorentina, loan), Tomáš Kalas (Middlesbrough,loan), John Swift (Swindon Town, loan), Lewis Baker (Sheffield Wednesday, loan), Marko Marin (Anderlecht, loan)
What they needed: José Mourinho did the required shopping in the summer and very little was needed to be added to the balanced squad they have .Cuadrado will add more flair and dynamism and he can also operate at right-back if needed. The quick departures of Schürrle and Salah show Mou’s unforgiving nature once he decides they do not figure in his long-term plans.
Current Status: Diego Costa is yet to score in the UEFA Champions League but that’s just a matter of time. Chelsea face a tricky tie against PSG and if are able to win the tie, then they could be the favorites to lift the Cup behind Real Madrid.
5. Real Madrid
In: Martin Ødegaard (Strømsgodset), Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro)
What they needed: A defensive midfielder to cover for injured Luka Modrić and fitness concerns over Sami Khedira. Both of the Madrid’s signing are for the future. Silva will add strength in depth to the centre of the park, while Odegaard is a priced jewel to hold , given the attacker was one of the window’s most sought-after players, with Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City were few of the other clubs chasing him.
Current Status: Madrid rely overwhelmingly on their four forwards – James Rodríguez, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. Indeed the quartet are responsible for 87% of their goals in Europe and 82% in the league. An injury to Isco will see him out for two months, while the holders face Schalke, who they beat 9 – 2 on aggregate the previous season.
Meanwhile, at the Italian shores, AC Milan signed Fernando Torres from Chelsea, Alessio Cerci from Atletico Madrid and Destro from Roma. Inter Milan signed Lukas Podolski from Arsenal, Shaqiri from Bayern Munich and Brozovic from Dinamo. Roma signed Doumbia from CSKA Moscow. That’s the roundup.