Club Football

Transfer action hots up as new season looms

Bayern Munich's new Polish striker Robert Lewandowski (L) and Bayern Munich's sports director Matthias Sammer (R)

While the thrills and spills of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ have kept the world of football on the edge of its seat for the last month, clubs have continued to dip into the transfer market in preparation for the upcoming season. rounds up some of the most notable summer moves.

The future whereabouts of Robert Lewandowski had been common knowledge for some time, but his transfer from Borussia Dortmund, for whom he had starred since 2010, to German rivals Bayern Munich was officially completed at the beginning of July. **

*Die Schwarzgelben *wasted no time in replacing the Polish goal machine, bringing in the clinical Italian Ciro Immobile, top scorer in Serie A for Torino last campaign.

Another World Cup star, David Luiz,is also on the move, joining up with his Brazilian compatriot Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain, after having spent three seasons at Chelsea.

Prior to exiting Brazil 2014 at the first-round stage, Spain’s David Villa had already sorted out the next phases of their impressive careers. The Atletico Madrid attacker committed himself to newly-established New York City FC, set for an MLS debut in March 2015, and will keep in shape by turning out for Australian side Melbourne City (formerly Melbourne Heart) in the meantime.

Aside from Villa, Los Colchoneros have also lost another forward who contributed greatly to their historic Liga-winning season, namely Diego Costa, whowill try to put his World Cup woes behind him at Chelsea, where he will rub shoulders with international team-mate Cesc Fabregas, who returns to London three years after leaving Arsenal for Barcelona.

To fill the gap left by the incisive midfielder’s absence, the Catalan giants have acquired the services of Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic, who has been on excellent recent form with Sevilla, as well as the goalkeeping pair of Claudio Bravo (Chile) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen(Germany), signed from Real Sociedad and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively.

But Luis Enrique’s most eye-catching capture is without a doubt that of Luis Suarezfrom Liverpool, as it provides fans with the enticing prospect of a Barça frontline made up of the Uruguayan striker, Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Supporters of the Anfield side will be hoping that the performances of their own new recruits – England internationals Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana from Southampton and young German Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen – will help to compensate for the loss of the fiery South American.

To replace Can, Leverkusen have turned to Turkish attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who had a fine season with Hamburg, as well as Swiss front man Josip Drmic, signed from Nurnberg.

Other notable Bundesliga comings and goings include German midfielder Aaron Hunt’s move from Werder Bremen to Wolfsburg, Cameroonian marksman Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s transfer from Mainz to Schalke, and Venezuelan playmaker Juan Arango’s switch from Monchengladbach to Tijuana. Die Fohlen have registered one arrival, however: that of Thorgan Hazard, younger brother of Eden and also a Belgian international.

Bayern Munich’s aim of defending their German title will be boosted by the addition of Spanish left-back Juan Bernat from Valencia, but the Bavarians have simultaneously bid farewell to their Croatian penalty-box specialist Mario Mandzukic, who has put pen to paper with Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish champions have been busy in the market, procuring Getafe keeperAngel Moya as a successor to Thibaut Courtois,whoreturns to Chelsea after three years on loan. Other players departing the Estadio Vicente Calderon include Brazilian schemer Diego and Spanish forward Adrian Lopez, who have moved to Fenerbahce and Porto respectively.

Another Liga custodian trying his luck in England is Willy Caballero, who has linked up with compatriot Manuel Pellegrini – whom he played under at Malaga – at Manchester City.

In Premier League matches, he is likely to cross paths with Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, persuaded to leave Barcelona by Arsenal, and promising midfield man Ander Herrera, purchased by Manchester United from Athletic Bilbao.

The Manchester derby will likely feature three other newcomers this term: Luke Shaw, who has travelled north to Old Trafford from Southampton, and Bakari Sagna and Fernando, who have joined City from Arsenal and Porto.

Joleon Lescott will no longer experience the famous rivalry, however, having decided to nail his colours to the mast of West Bromwich Albion, following five years on the blue half of the city.

Aston Villa have not been idle in the market either, securing the experienced trio of Swiss defender Philippe Senderos (from Valencia), evergreen winger Keiran Richardson(from Fulham), and attacking midfielder Joe Cole(from West Ham).

Newcastle United, meanwhile, have placed their hopes in Montpellier’s up-and-coming midfielder Remy Cabella and Feyenoord’s tireless right-back Daryl Janmaat.

It has not been all one-way traffic into England, as Ashley Cole’s deal with Roma demonstrates. In the Derby della Capitale versus Lazio, the former Chelsea defender will line up alongside left-sided Dutchman Urby Emanuelson, on AC Milan’s books since 2011, and against Marco Parolo, Dusan Basta and Filip Djordjevic, reinforcements brought in from Parma, Udinese and Nantes respectively.

French wide-man Jeremy Menez played in numerous such clashes for the Giallorossi between 2008 and 2011, prior to his transfer to PSG. Having opted to relaunch his career with AC Milan, where he will team-up with Brazilian centre-back Alex,he can now look forward to gaining a taste of the Derby della Madonnina instead.

There has also been action in Wales, with Swansea City having signed free-scoring forward Bafetimbi Gomis from Lyon at the end of June. While last but not least, 2002 World Cup-winner Kaka has made the somewhat surprising decision to join Orlando City, who will enter the MLS fray in 2015. Until then, the ex-AC Milan star will play on loan with Sao Paulo – the second time in his career that he has represented the Brazilian heavyweights.

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