Ratings on an AF scale, where A is excellent and F is a failure.
More than six months have passed since the summer 2021 transfer market closed. If you have already forgotten how incredible it was, you just have to remember that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo changed clubs; while the likes of Arsenal invested more than £150m in new players, all despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on football finances around the world.
Therefore, after the storm of the main operations, the time has come to evaluate their performance with their new clubs.
As expected, the world-class Austrian international has brought stability, experience and a quality touch to the Real Madrid defence. The versatile defender required little time to adapt, and we must attribute the clear improvement of the 24-year-old Brazilian Eder Militao, who accompanies him, to his presence in the center of the defensive line. Alaba kept his level as he was when he left Bayern Munich: confident and strong in one-on-one situations when he plays as a center back, while he shows off his creativity and ability to cross when he plays as a winger. . Alaba usually initiates Madrid’s attacks regularly, courtesy of his precise distribution (93% of successful passes in LaLiga) from behind.
The 24-year-old centre-back continues to improve after a nightmarish debut in last August’s 2-0 loss against Brentford. Six months on, White is more secure and confident than ever in an Arsenal shirt; combining good speed with resolute and decisive defense, apart from a great distribution and handling of the ball. Everything seems to indicate that Arsenal can build their game for years to come based on the partnership between the former Brighton player and Gabriel. They are as compatible as any centre-back duo in the Premier League.
Hakimi maintained the level shown when he left Inter Milan. The Moroccan international didn’t need long to adapt to French football and from the start he regularly flies down the right flank. As is often the case with such an attack-minded defender, there have been some troublesome moments: Kamaldeen Sulemana made him sweat in the 2-0 away loss to Rennes, and he could have defended better on both goals in the 2-1 setback. suffered in Champions against Manchester City. However, Hakimi has been one of PSG’s most reliable players this season and is already proving that he was worth the hefty price tag.
AS ROME: Tammy Abraham, €40m: B+
The England international, who has already become a favorite with the Roma fans, has made a welcome impression in his first few months under Jose Mourinho. The striker has not only scored 11 goals in 25 Serie A games; likewise, he has stood out with his play as a center forward in general (winning free kicks and holding on to the ball in situations under pressure). The former Chelsea striker is one of the club’s best players this season, in a team that hasn’t always been renowned for his fluid attacking football.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Cristiano Ronaldo, €15m: B
Aside from the endless debate over the Portuguese superstar’s impact on his United team-mates, the harmony in the dressing room, the club’s style of play and manager, Cristiano has performed decently at Old Trafford. Due to his recent stagnation within an underperforming team, it’s easy to forget that CR7 has come to his squad’s rescue on several occasions this past fall. Obviously, those hoping to see the Ronaldo of yesteryear will be disappointed, as we rarely see the 37-year-old outflank defenders these days. Despite this, he remains the most reliable player in United’s attack, with 15 goals in 29 games.
PARIS SAINT GERMAIN: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Free: B-
Last year’s world No. 1 goalkeeper is now, somewhat unexpectedly, in the middle of a rotation alongside Costa Rican Keylor Navas, following his free move to PSG from AC Milan last summer. Although he has not been as dominant as we might have anticipated, the goalkeeper has left the net unbeaten eight times in 16 games. The Italian international has made no obvious mistakes and although Navas is also an excellent goalkeeper, it would be opportune to give Donnarumma a long uninterrupted cycle with the team so that he can adapt properly.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Jadon Sancho, €85m: B-
Sancho has had a frustrating start to his United career; however, his rise is evident and his two best performances for the Red Devils have come this month in games against Southampton and Leeds. Despite appearing tactically lost and struggling to find the same tune as his team-mates in his first few months at Old Trafford, the England winger now operates more cohesively with the movement around him. Previously, he used to hesitate at decisive moments. Now, he appears to have recaptured some of the precise play from his time with Borussia Dortmund and will try to improve on his current tally of two goals and a couple of assists in 21 Premier League games.
MANCHESTER CITY: Jack Grealish, £100m: B-
Although we might have expected more forceful contributions in exchange for such an expensive transfer, Grealish is doing a good job after his transfer to Manchester City, whose transfer fee set an English football record. (Also, he has two goals and a couple of assists in 17 Premier League games.) He would always find it hard to replicate the exceptional stats added with Aston Villa within a team that is regularly forced to navigate a wall of defenders every week. His dribbling rate per game has been roughly halved (from 5.8 to 3.2) and the congested nature of the game he has to deal with now slows him down and can make him less incisive.
RB LEIPZIG: Andre Silva, €23m: B-
The bar was set extremely high for the Portuguese international after scoring a stunning 28 goals last season for Eintracht Frankfurt. While it took some time to adjust to the pattern of Leipzig’s attack, the 26-year-old striker has started to pick up the pace recently and is beginning to show a return to form at his best, with 6 goals in his last 11 league games. .
MANCHESTER UNITED: Raphael Varane, £41m: C+
Although he is still far from being the world-class center back that everyone remembers after his time at Real Madrid, Varane’s career at Old Trafford has not been helped by injuries or the fact that the defense was disjointed and urgent of organizational principles before the arrival of interim manager Ralf Rangnick. Both Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have gone through rough patches, something that has hurt Varane even more, not having an undisputed partner.
ATHLETIC MADRID: Antoine Griezmann, Loan: C+
Aside from a few Champions League-inspired displays (notably his brace against Liverpool and his magnificent volley that helped turn the match around against AC Milan, coming on as a substitute), Griezmann has shown nothing but flashes on his return to Atleti. The France striker, who has been out with a muscle injury since early January, has eight goals and three assists in 22 games in all competitions and should join the club permanently from Barcelona for €40 million this summer.
PARIS SAINT GERMAIN: Lionel Messi, Free: C
The former Barcelona striker’s first six months in Paris have not been characterized by brilliance, after an emotional free pass last summer. Two goals in 15 Ligue 1 games is surprisingly low output and while he has performed better in the Champions League and with the Argentina national team, there is little evidence that French football suits the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. Despite his 34 years, however, Messi remains one of the most creative players in European football: his averages of 3.1 key passes and 2.2 chances created per game are close to equaling the level shown by Messi last season with Barcelona. , apart from adding nine assists.
REAL MADRID: Eduardo Camavinga, €30m: C
This would always be a signing with a view to the future; however, the goal scored by the 19-year-old midfielder on his debut did not help temper expectations. Camavinga’s best performances came early (although he was a substitute on most occasions); however, the Frenchman has failed to make a significant impact in Madrid’s games since the start of the year. The fact of being deployed in different positions does not help him, as well as having above him in the hierarchical order the eternal duo of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos.
Day of surprise defeats for Manchester City, PSG and the leaders in Serie A.
BAYERN MUNICH: Dayot Upamecano, €42.5m: C-
Upamecano, who has performed better in the Champions League than in the Bundesliga by a wide margin, has at times shown his quality with Bayern; however, his debut season has been marred by some terrible appearances. He had a debut in which he hesitated against Borussia Monchengladbach and did not exactly cover himself with glory in the commitments against Eintracht Frankfurt or Borussia Dortmund. However, his worst performance came two weeks ago, in Atletico’s surprise 4-2 loss at Bochum, in which he was substituted during half-time. The center-back has become a regular piece with the France team; however, he will have to improve his level with his club during the second half of the season.
CHELSEA: Romelu Lukaku, €115m: D+
The case of the €115m gunner exemplifies the enigmatic nature that surrounds the transfer market: Lukaku already knew Chelsea well, having played for the club between 2011 and 2014. He returned to the reigning European champions backed by his 64 goals in 95 games in two seasons wearing the Inter Milan shirt, winning the Scudetto in the last one. However, his return to London has not worked out, at least so far. Lukaku has been unreliable in the Premier League (despite his decisive role in last January’s Club World Cup) and has only five goals in 17 games, while he collected just seven touches last weekend against Crystal Palace. . Also, the fact that he averaged only half of the dribbles from the previous campaign indicates that the Belgian was better suited to Inter’s expansive style, which frequently generated abundant spaces.