Radamel Falcao has completed a move to Rayo Vallecano after Galatasaray agreed to terminate his contract at the start of the month.

The Colombia striker, 35, left Galatasaray having played just 25 minutes across three games in three competitions so far this season.

Falcao scored 20 goals in 43 matches in all for the Turkish giants, having signed as a free agent in 2019.

He now returns to LaLiga with Rayo, who were promoted through the play-offs last season.

Rayo registered their first win of the campaign ahead of the international break, beating Granada 4-0.

And they will now be boosted by the experience of Falcao, whose previous stint in Spain saw him star for Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2013.

Over two seasons, only Lionel Messi (96) and Cristiano Ronaldo (80) scored more LaLiga goals than Falcao's 52.

He averaged a goal every 112.4 minutes, scoring with 21.1 per cent of his 247 shots and marginally outperforming his expected goals value of 51.4.

Falcao, signed from Porto, went on to play for Monaco, Manchester United and Chelsea, ending his eight-year stay in Europe's top five leagues when he joined Galatasaray.

Between 2011 and 2019, his 122 goals in 212 games ranked 14th across Europe.

Dani Olmo departed Barcelona's youth setup in 2014, moving to Croatian giants in Dinamo Zagreb.

Now playing for RB Leipzig, the 23-year-old continues to catch the eye.

Olmo is reportedly eyeing another chance at Barca.

 

TOP STORY – OLMO WANTS BARCA COMEBACK

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo is hoping to return to Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Olmo came through Barca's famed La Masia before joining Dinamo Zagreb's youth team in 2014 and eventually Bundesliga outfit Leipzig in 2020.

The 23-year-old Spain international, however, wants a new chance at Barca and has reportedly set yes to a Camp Nou comeback without looking at contract terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- Everton are hopeful of launching a bid to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United following Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, per Todo Fichajes.

- Calciomercato says Inter are considering a move for Eintracht Frankfurt and Serbia winger Filip Kostic, who was poised to join Lazio on deadline day before a move fell through.

- The Sun says Wolves are set to make Adama Traore their highest earner amid interest from Tottenham and Liverpool.

Chelsea could target Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in January, reports Football London. The Senegal star has previously been linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barca and others.

- Le10 Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain never made an offer for Ronaldo, who left Juventus for United.

Eduardo Camavinga labelled his Real Madrid transfer a dream come true after swapping Rennes for the LaLiga powerhouse before the end of the transfer window.

Camavinga signed a six-year contract with Madrid in a deal reportedly worth up to €45million, having also been linked to the likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

After his big move, the 18-year-old France international reflected on the transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"It's a dream I had when I was a kid. I can't wait to discover the stadium, which is very impressive," Camavinga said.

"I hope to play there as soon as the building work is finished."

Camavinga made 71 Ligue appearances for Rennes and 88 in total following his debut in 2019.

At 18 years and nine months old, he is the youngest outfield player to feature in that many games in France's top flight since Basile Boli in 1985.

 

In making his senior France debut on September 8 last year, Camavinga was the youngest player to do so since Maurice Gastiger against Luxembourg 107 years ago.

Only Gastiger (17 years and five months) scored for Les Bleus at a younger age than Camavinga, who was 17 years and 11 months old when he netted against Switzerland last October.

In 2019-20, Camavinga's breakthrough season at Rennes, he attempted 105 tackles in top-flight football. Among midfielders in Europe's top five leagues, only Declan Rice (116) and Wilfred Ndidi (129) attempted more. 

"My move to Real Madrid was done very quickly. I am very happy and proud," Camavinga said.

"But I don't want this announcement to change my work with [France's] under-21s. Whether I play at Rennes or at Real Madrid I will continue to give my best, and of course I dream of the senior team, but step by step.

"Now I'll go to Rennes to pack my bags, I'll move to Madrid and I'll continue on my journey."

Miralem Pjanic accused Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman of disrespecting him after departing the LaLiga club for Turkish champions Besiktas.

Barca outcast and Bosnia-Herzegovina international Pjanic will spend the season on loan with Besiktas following one poor campaign at Camp Nou.

Pjanic arrived at Barca in 2020 for a reported initial fee of €60million in a peculiar swap deal that saw Arthur go the other way to Juventus for an estimated €72m, but he failed to convince and fell down the pecking order in the second half of 2020-21.

After being frozen out by Koeman at Barca, Pjanic reflected on his time with the Spanish giants.

"The coach, yes," Pjanic told Marca when asked if he was respected at Barca.

"I couldn't get used to the situation I faced last year. I knew I didn't want it. I'm a player. I love playing football, this is what makes me happy.

"I always wanted to play for Barca but I didn't expect the situation to get so complicated. 

"There was a point that I was playing less, things were getting complicated. And when I played it was difficult physically and mentally to be well, because it was killing my confidence, because I had no communication with [Koeman]. 

"It was very strange, because a coach is the one who says who plays and who doesn't, but there are different ways to do things. I am a player who can accept everything but I would always like to be told things face to face. Not as if nothing happened and I was 15 years old."

Pjanic played 30 games across all competitions but only 13 were starts, with just four of those coming after the turn of the year as Ronald Koeman's lack of faith became ever clearer.

He did not score or assist a single goal all season, making him the only outfield player who played at least 170 minutes for the club last term to not have one goal involvement.

Pressed on what he thought the reason for Koeman's snub was, Pjanic added: "I've honestly asked myself a lot of times, wondering what I did wrong. Maybe he didn't like that I said I wanted to play more public.

"But any coach would say 'okay, this is a competition and I like to hear that'. That might be it, but I'd have liked him to tell me to my face that I wasn't for him. It didn't exist though and I don't understand him. It's complicated because it's the first time it's happened to me and I've never seen behaviour like that before."

Asked if he regretted joining Barca from Juve, Pjanic said: "No, never. Things happen in life, and I've always fought through my career. I'm ambitious, competitive, I've reached the level of Barcelona and Juventus.

"I know I can play for those teams, I just wasn't given a chance."

Salernitana are attempting to sign Franck Ribery and claim the arrival of the veteran winger could have the same impact as Diego Maradona's move to Napoli.

Ribery, now 38, is a free agent after leaving Fiorentina at the end of last season.

The former France international is clearly past his peak, having won the Champions League with Bayern Munich eight years ago, but he still scored five goals and supplied nine assists in 50 Serie A games for Fiorentina – creating 70 chances and completing 117 dribbles.

Salernitana sporting director Angelo Fabiani believes bringing in Ribery would be a coup to rank alongside Napoli's 1984 Maradona deal.

The late Argentina legend established himself as one of the greatest players of all time over seven years in Naples in the 1980s and early 1990s, winning the Partenopei's only Scudetti in 1986–87 and 1989–90.

Ribery would not be expected to win games alone as Maradona was, though.

Salernitana have already landed one eye-catching signing in the form of Simy, the forward brought in on loan from Crotone after scoring 20 league goals last season.

His shot conversion rate of 31.75 per cent was the best of all players with 10 or more goals.

Fabiani feels Salernitana have such a strong squad, despite losing their first two matches of the season, that Ribery would merely be "the cherry".

"It is true that there may be an interest in this player," he told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. "But to make marriages you have to have two.

"We have the idea. To find an agreement, it takes days, continuous talks. It is not even an economic problem, it is a problem of feasibility.

"Salernitana may be interested, but the player's agreement must also arrive.

"At Salernitana, there is not only Simy. We have a strong team with many players who are certainties. The squad is complete in all its departments.

"Then if a cherry comes on the cake like Ribery, it will all be worth it.

"Bringing Ribery to Salerno would be like bringing Maradona to Naples. The player would raise the global vision of football in a market like ours.

"The offer is there and the player is evaluating it. We are confident."

Ivan Rakitic is planning talks with Sevilla team-mate Jules Kounde in a bid to lift his spirits after a move to Chelsea did not materialise.

Kounde has established himself as one of the best defenders in LaLiga over the past two seasons, prompting interest from a number of elite clubs.

Reports of interest from Chelsea were persistent throughout the recent transfer window, and Sevilla sporting director Monchi confirmed the European champions had made an approach.

It was a move that would have appealed to Kounde, Monchi confirmed, but the two clubs were unable to agree a fee, as Sevilla held out for the player's €80million release clause.

Kounde appeared well suited to a top Premier League side, ranking third among LaLiga defenders for aerial duels won (205) and sixth for successful passes (3,536) since the start of the 2019-20 season – an effective blend of physicality and finesse.

Yet veteran Rakitic hopes the 22-year-old can move on quickly.

"Hopefully, on his return from his national team, we can have a moment to be able to talk, sincerely, so that he knows that he has the confidence of us, that we are his second family," Rakitic said in a wide-ranging interview with ELDesmarque.

"It is very important to us. The first thing we need is for him to feel at ease, to be at his best and to know that everything we do, we do together."

Already a complete defender – also counted in LaLiga's top 25 for duels won (339, 11th), recoveries (303, 22nd) and clearances (191, 23rd) since his arrival – Rakitic wants Kounde to kick on again and show his quality.

"He is a boy, 22 years old, very young," Rakitic added. "He has been here for some spectacular years, that's why he attracts the interest of big clubs with those amounts.

"He has earned that with his game. The most important thing is that he understands that this has already happened.

"Besides being young, he has a lot of experience. He no longer has to teach anything to anyone. He is already a well-rounded player.

"He still has to improve, of course, but he has to continue to enjoy football. It doesn't help him now to be down, sad, or angry. He has to lift his spirits." 

Arsenal Women have confirmed the signing of United States star Tobin Heath on a free transfer.

Heath, who spent last season at Manchester United, has won the World Cup twice and also has Olympic gold medals.

The 33-year-old, who has scored 31 international goals, was named in the FIFPro Women's World 11 in 2020 and won the US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year in 2016. 

Prior to her move to United in 2020, Heath had spent seven years with the Portland Thorns and had a spell with Paris Saint-Germain.

"Tobin's record speaks for itself. She's an incredibly talented player who will bring so much experience to our squad," said Arsenal's head coach Jonas Eidevall.

"This is an exciting time for the club, and I'm delighted we could secure Tobin's signing as we prepare to kick off the new season at Emirates Stadium on Sunday."

Heath, who plays on the wing or up front, scored four league goals for United last term. Arsenal's first game of the new season sees them take on champions Chelsea.

Erling Haaland will move to England because "the economic power of the Premier League is too strong", Arsene Wenger has said.

There is no shortage of suitors for Borussia Dortmund's superstar striker with Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain having all been linked to his signature.

Haaland penned a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund when he joined in January 2020, but he looks set to be on the move next year as a reported €75m (£66m) release clause comes into effect.

The lure of Haaland is simple to see. Since making his debut for Dortmund only Robert Lewandowski (61) and Cristiano Ronaldo (50) have registered more than his 43 goals across Europe's top five leagues.

In the Champions League only Lewandowski has matched his tally of 20 since the Leeds-born striker made his debut in Europe's premier club competition.

The race for his signature is sure to hot up over the coming months but former Arsenal boss Wenger is sure he will head to England.

"I think that will happen. The economic power of the Premier League is too strong," Wenger told Bild.

"English football is dominant because it is where the most money is. The best players always go the best way to make the most money."

Wenger expects Haaland and PSG striker Kylian Mbappe – reportedly the subject of a huge deadline-day bid from Real Madrid – to continue to be prolific for years to come.

"Haaland is likely to be the next high-profile goalscorer after Mbappe. He's a super talent," Wenger added.

"His ambition, his will to score goals and the ability to fight in a duel [set him apart]. He's there and wants to win, there is something in him that is great for a striker."

Emerson Royal feels "hurt" by the way he was forced out of Barcelona after the defender completed a move to Tottenham.

The full-back joined Spurs in a deal worth £21.5million (€25m) on transfer deadline day, signing a five-year contract.

Emerson's move came just under three months after Barca exercised the option to sign him from Real Betis, where he had spent the past two and a half years.

The 22-year-old started in the 2-1 LaLiga win at Getafe last weekend and feels he has been poorly treated by the cash-strapped Catalan giants.

"It hurts me to go out like this because I knew that in my best form I could bring a lot of joy to the fans," he told Marca. "I leave with the feeling that one day I will return to give that joy to the fans."

Asked if he felt used by Barca, he replied: "Used is not the word, but it did hurt me. They could have done things differently. There were better ways to fix things."

Emerson revealed he was told on Monday the club were planning to sell him.

He said: "I thought the club wanted me to stay. I played on Sunday as a starter, the next day I woke up and went to train. 

"There I already began to see that a lot of things were coming out; that Tottenham were talking to Barcelona, ​​that they had almost done it... I didn't understand anything about what was happening because I didn't know anything. 

"In the afternoon the club called me to go to the Ciudad Deportiva because they wanted to talk to me and there, I found out that they wanted to sell me.

"I met the leaders of the club. They began to tell me that the club's situation was not good, that it was going through a difficult time and that it was better for them to sell. 

"I repeated to them that my intention was to stay because I had the dream of playing here and contributing things to Barcelona. 

"I knew that if I was in my best shape I was going to succeed here. I am smart and there came a time when I realised that they were definitely telling me to go. They were kicking me out with very good words."

Emerson played the most minutes of any Betis player in all competitions last season (3,186).

He ranked second at Betis for recoveries (163), third for chances created from open play (30) and second for successful duels (246).

Real Madrid have not given up on their hopes of adding Kylian Mbappe. 

He will be a top priority for Carlo Ancelotti following the 2021-22 season.

But could Los Blancos add two stars for the price of one? 

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE MBAPPE-HAALAND PAIRING

Real Madrid will be the favourites to land Kylian Mbappe following the season if he does not reach a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, but they will not be content adding only him. 

According to Marca, Erling Haaland is also a prime target at the Santiago Bernabeu and Madrid could pursue both players. 

Mbappe would be available on a free and Haaland could be had from Borussia Dortmund via his €75million release clause. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Declan Rice expects to leave West Ham after the season, according to 90min, which reports he has asked the club to include a release clause in any new contract offer the Hammers might make. 

- Juventus declined the opportunity to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo's move in the other direction, the Mirror reports. 

- Former Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier prefers to remain in the Premier League and could end up at Arsenal, according to Sky Sports. The Ivory Coast international and Spurs terminated his contract by mutual consent this week. 

- Nicolas Nkoulou could be an option for Lazio if they cannot sign David Luiz, reports Calciomercato. 

Barcelona have finally managed to offload Miralem Pjanic as the Bosnia-Herzegovina international joined Besiktas on loan after one poor season in LaLiga.

Pjanic arrived at Camp Nou in 2020 for a reported initial fee of €60million in a peculiar swap deal that saw Arthur go the other way to Juventus for an estimated €72m.

While most saw the exchange as bizarre on Barca's part, even with Arthur becoming an unpopular figure among supporters, football finance experts at the time outlined that the deal would potentially benefit both clubs in terms of their accounting.

But ultimately that proved to be about as far as the positives went for Barca, as Pjanic failed to convince and fell behind youth player Ilaix Moriba in the pecking order in the second half of 2020-21.

Pjanic played 30 games across all competitions but only 13 were starts, with just four of those coming after the turn of the year as Ronald Koeman's lack of faith became ever clearer.

He did not score or assist a single goal all season, making him the only outfield player who played at least 170 minutes for the club last term to not have one goal involvement.

Barca were open about their willingness to offload Pjanic in the close-season, particularly in their face of crippling debts that have surpassed €1.3billion and led to significant player departures in the past few months.

He was only named on the bench for one of Barca's first three league games this term, with youngster Gavi and Nico Gonzalez the latest academy products to move ahead of Pjanic.

Barca's brief statement to confirm the deal did not even wish the player luck in his next chapter, perhaps highlighting the ill-feeling surrounding him after a disappointing season.

The statement read: "Barcelona and Besiktas have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Miralem Pjanic until June 30, 2022.

"Pjanic arrived at the Camp Nou last summer from Juventus, where he had been since 2016. The Bosnian international has made 30 appearances for FC Barcelona."

Kylian Mbappe will play for Real Madrid "one day or another" according to his France team-mate and Los Blancos striker Karim Benzema.

LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly offered Paris Saint-Germain €200million on deadline day, a whopping sum for a player in the final year of his contract.

It was said PSG failed to respond to that bid – Madrid's third during the window – meaning Mbappe will remain in Ligue 1 to form a mouth-watering attack alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar at the Parc des Princes this term.

However, Mbappe looks certain to agree a pre-contract agreement with Madrid in January, with the superstar forward having his heart set on a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Benzema is excited by the prospect of teaming up at club level with his Les Bleus team-mate, who has scored 135 goals in 175 games for PSG at a rate of one goal every 101.61 minutes.

Speaking to RTL, Benzema said of Mbappe: "He is a player who will play for Real Madrid one day or another.

"We get along really well, I would like him to be with me today in Madrid."

Benzema was speaking in the aftermath of France's 1-1 draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, a World Cup qualifying match that saw Didier Deschamps' side finish with 10 men after Jules Kounde was sent off.

The point keeps France top of Group D on eight points after four games, four clear of Ukraine who have drawn all of their matches in the pool so far.

"We would have liked to win this match here, in France, in front of our audience," Benzema added.

"In the first half we made good moves, in the second half, with the red card, we fell back a little, which is normal when we play [with] one less."

Manchester United had a busy window in the transfer market.

The Red Devils landed Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.

But their plans will not stop there, as the Red Devils set their sights on re-claiming silverware.

 

TOP STORY - HAALAND TO BE UNITED'S TRANSFER PRIORITY

Manchester United's priority transfer target in mid-2021 will be Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland despite their recent spending spree, claims ESPN.

Haaland can trigger a release in his Dortmund contract at the end of the 2021-22 season that is reportedly set at €75 million.

ESPN's report cites sources who claim United's capture of Ronaldo came outside of their transfer budget, meaning it will not impact their 2022 recruitment plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims that Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne may be willing to leave the club next off-season on a free transfer to join Inter if they cannot agree to a new deal.

- Injured French forward Ousmane Dembele is set to be offered a new deal by Barcelona according to RAC. Barca have seen Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave over the past month.

- Barcelona will also look to sign Dani Olmo from RB Leipzig in January after missing out with their deadline day claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea defender David Luiz is weighing up options with Lazio , Benfica and Flamengo as a free agent reports Sportitalia.

The transfer window does not close. It slams shut, and on Tuesday, it slammed shut with a flurry of late activity.

LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid were heavily involved, with Antoine Griezmann re-joining the club on loan from Barcelona while Saul Niguez left for Chelsea.

It marked the end of a difficult window for Barca, who of course lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, who rounded off a stellar three months by not only keeping Kylian Mbappe, but also adding promising left-back Nuno Mendes.

Earlier in the day, Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational return to Manchester United had been confirmed, perhaps putting the Red Devils right in the mix for the Premier League title, while Chelsea - buoyed by Romelu Lukaku's comeback - cannot be ignored.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the winners, and losers, of what has been a chaotic transfer window.

 

THE WINNERS

Paris Saint-Germain

Let's start with the obvious. Achraf Hakimi, Mendes, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georgino Wijnaldum and, of course Messi. Oh, and PSG kept hold of Mbappe, too, rebuffing three bids - the final one reportedly worth €200m - from Real Madrid for the 22-year-old superstar who is out of contract next year. Speaking of out of contract players, Ramos, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Messi were all brought in for combined fees of €0, although their wages are sure to be astronomical even by PSG's standards. In Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, PSG have, on paper, what could be the most feared attacking trident of the modern era, not to mention Angel Di Maria in reserve. Mauricio Pochettino's side look suspect defensively but have Ramos to come in, while Donnarumma will compete with Keylor Navas. If they do not win the Champions League this season, will they ever manage it?

Manchester United

It remains to be seen whether United really needed to go out and buy Ronaldo, but the temptation – and reportedly, the requirement to get one over on noisy neighbours Manchester City – was just too much. However, there is no doubting Ronaldo brings a focal point you could argue was still missing from the Red Devils' attack, though with so much quality at his disposal the pressure will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjer to deliver a trophy. United spent big on Jadon Sancho and also brought in a world class defender in Raphael Varane. A title tilt might not be expected just yet, but silverware in some form must be the goal now. After fan protests during the botched Super League proposals earlier this year, the Glazer family seem to have gone all out to prove they want success.

Chelsea

When it comes to Premier League title contenders, Chelsea have surely put themselves well in the running. The European Champions have brought in two major additions in the form of Lukaku and Saul, both players with a wealth of experience at the highest level, and both on the back of title-winning campaigns last season. The Blues did sell Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma, among others, but the strength in depth Thomas Tuchel has to play with is remarkable. A deadline day move for Sevilla's Jules Kounde did not materialise, but Saul adds another fantastic option in midfield to go alongside N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and the in-form Jorginho.

Tottenham

For a long while, it looked as though Tottenham would be one of the big losers from this window. A prolonged managerial search eventually resulted in Nuno Espirito Santo's appointment, but the main saga was over Harry Kane's future. City reportedly made one bid, during Euro 2020, which was dismissed out of hand. The champions never did return with an improved offer, despite huge speculation, and Kane ultimately stayed put. Older players such as Joe Hart, Toby Alderweireld, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko were moved out, while Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal – a deadline day arrival from Barca – arrived to fill the gaps. Serge Aurier's contract was terminated, while three wins from three means Spurs sat top of the league heading into the international break.

Atletico Madrid

While Saul was a deadline day exit, Atleti have given themselves a great chance of retaining their LaLiga title. With rivals Madrid failing to land Mbappe, as well as losing two of their stalwarts, and Barca seemingly in disarray, there has never been a better opportunity for Diego Simeone's team to really assert themselves as top dogs in Spain. Griezmann's arrival, on a season-long loan with the option for either club to extend the switch, has bolstered a fearsome attack that already included Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, new signing Matheus Cunha and Joao Felix - though the latter may now find chances to play in his preferred position, nominally off the front man, even harder to come by. Saul was struggling to nail down a regular spot in the first team, but Atleti showed greater desire to keep Kieran Trippier, who stayed despite interest from the Premier League. Rodrigo de Paul also arrived from Udinese.

 

THE LOSERS

Barcelona

The chickens have finally come home to roost at Camp Nou. Years of mismanagement, and the impact of COVID-19, has left the club's finances in a shambolic state. Barca had agreed to a new deal with Messi only to then announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles". Barca ended the window by selling promising youngster Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig and shipping off Emerson to Spurs. Then, late on Tuesday, Griezmann, who cost Barca €120m in 2019, was sent back to Atleti. Luuk de Jong, a target man Ronald Koeman worked with during his stint as the Netherlands' coach, was drafted in from Sevilla as a replacement. Memphis Depay seems ready to step up after his arrival from Lyon, while Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero also came in on free transfers, though Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were among the players who took pay cuts in order for Barca to register their latest acquisitions.

Inter

Serie A champions Inter were dealt a blow when, just after ending their 11-year trophy drought, coach Antonio Conte left the club. Financial difficulties meant the Nerrazurri had to cash in on prized assets, and Hakimi and subsequently Lukaku followed Conte out of the door. Lautaro Martinez did stay, however, with Inter reinvesting some of the funds to sign Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries, Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Lazio forward Juan Correa. Hakan Calhanoglu, meanwhile, joined from rivals Milan on loan, though it is difficult to see that being enough for Inter to challenge on all fronts this season.

 

Juventus

While Inter were weakened, it has to be said that Juventus – surely their closest rivals in the Scudetto hunt – also had a disappointing window. Like many European clubs, they have been hit hard by COVID-19, though appeared well set to challenge again after reappointing Massimiliano Allegri. However, Ronaldo decided he wanted out late in the window, and Juve did not stand in his way. An initial fee of £12.86m (€15m), payable over five years, was agreed with United, and Ronaldo left just like that. Moise Kean returned from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy as a replacement, while Manuel Locatelli was their other major acquisition and Weston McKennie's move from Schalke was made permanent. Based on the performance in Sunday's defeat to Empoli, however, Juve are far from the force they were during Allegri's last spell in charge.

Real Madrid

For a time last week, it really did look as though Madrid were going to end the window in sensational fashion. Three bids were lodged for Mbappe, but PSG did not buckle. Madrid did move for another French youngster – Edouardo Camavinga, who joined from Rennes on Tuesday – but overall it must be considered a poor window. Los Blancos allowed Ramos to leave on a free and sold long-time defensive partner Varane - just the eight Champions League winners' medals between them. Martin Odegaard was deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti and sold to Arsenal, though no buyers were found for fringe players Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos. David Alaba's arrival on a free transfer from Bayern Munich at least softened the blow of Ramos' departure, and Mbappe may well be on board in 2022.

Manchester City

City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, who in turn have made smart acquisitions such as Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia. While another attacking midfielder was more of a luxury than a necessity, City did miss out on Kane and then seemingly saw Ronaldo snatched from under their noses by United, though the club have claimed it is they who pulled out of the deal. Pep Guardiola went into the window wanting an out-and-out number nine following Aguero's departure, but for now the Premier League champions will have to carry on with makeshift forwards, it seems. Not that it did them much harm in 5-0 routs of Norwich City and Arsenal last month. Meanwhile, wantaway playmaker Bernardo Silva is still at the club, though he will remain a first-team regular.

Liverpool 

Unlike their league rivals, Liverpool never seemed focused on spending big. The Reds instead turned their attention to tying down the futures of key players, with Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Fabinho and Andrew Robertson signing new deals. Ibrahima Konate came in from RB Leipzig to boost the defence – a clear area of weakness last season during an injury crisis – though Jurgen Klopp's squad does seem weaker. They have started the season well, but it remains to be seen how they cope without Wijnaldum and even Xherdan Shaqiri should injuries trouble them again.

Jerome Boateng has joined Lyon on a two-year deal after leaving Bayern Munich as a free agent.

The World Cup winner was released by Bayern at the end of his contract, departing the club after 10 years in Bavaria.

Boateng played 229 Bundesliga matches at Bayern – a tally only bettered by three team-mates over that period, in Thomas Muller (311), Manuel Neuer (282) and David Alaba (276).

Those four players were stalwarts as Germany's most successful club won nine straight titles.

But Alaba left for Real Madrid as Boateng was also let go, with ardent supporter Hansi Flick quitting as head coach.

Boateng, now 32, did not rush into his next move, yet his arrival at Lyon in France was confirmed on Wednesday following the closure of the transfer window.

He said at a news conference: "I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome.

"I can't wait to write a new chapter in my story. I can't wait to meet my team-mates. I know the team is young and I will try to bring my experience."

Twice a Champions League winner, Boateng will indeed bring a wealth of experience to a leaky defence.

Lyon have conceded seven goals in four Ligue 1 games so far this season, as many as basement side Troyes.

Two of those were own goals, including one from Marcelo, who was later demoted to the reserves for "inappropriate behaviour" in the dressing room.

Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes committed an error leading to a goal, too, as Lyon took only two points from their first three matches before getting back on track with a win at Nantes ahead of the international break.

Boateng will be expected to bring calm in the back line as they look to make up ground, already seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain – opponents Bayern beat in the 2019-20 Champions League final.

"I haven't played since May but I have done everything to stay in shape," he said. "I want to regain my best level as soon as possible and be at 100 per cent to be able to help the team."

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