Days, weeks and months of speculation all culminated in one hectic transfer deadline day for four of Europe's top leagues.
The Premier League's transfer deadline came and went on Aug. 8, with England's top flight electing to push its deadline to the eve of the new season. La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 operate on a different timeline, though, and all four must concluded their transfer business on Monday.
While a slew of big-ticket names had already switched addresses via full transfer or loan–Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard, Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Luka Jovic, Hirving Lozano, Nicolas Pepe, Romelu Lukaku and Philippe Coutinho among them–a number of others remained front and center in the shop window with the sand falling through the hourglass. Rumors came to fruition for Chicharito, Mauro Icardi, Keylor Navas and others, while for players like Neymar, linked for months to an exit from his current club, the wait for a move goes on and the mending of fences must continue in Paris.
Here's how transfer deadline day played out, with the biggest moves that did happen–and the biggest ones that ultimately did not:
- Neymar is out of options, out of time and has been resigned to staying at PSG. The former Barcelona star has been eyeing a return to Camp Nou, and Barcelona and PSG have been in negotiations for some time over various packages that include players, players on loan and a hefty fee to go along with it. Neymar left Barcelona for PSG in a world-record $245 million purchase just two years ago, but his Parisian adventure has not gone as planned, and he's been yearning for a Barcelona reunion.
The problem is the exorbitant price which PSG was demanding. It was not about to let its superstar go on the cheap, not with multiple years left on his contract, and it held firm on its demands. Barcelona, after signing Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid earlier in the summer, didn't have a real need for Neymar, and it didn't help that PSG's chief targets to secure in return–most notably Ousmane Dembele–didn't want to go, not even on loan. PSG and Barcelona kicked the tires on just about all options over the last few weeks according to various reports and just haven't been able to find an agreement.
Neymar will be staying put–at least until the winter, when this saga will likely be fired up again. In the infamous, two-year-old words of Gerard Pique, "Se queda."
He stays. (AS/L'Equipe)
- Mauro Icardi is free at last.He has found his way to PSG on loan for the season with an option to buy for $71.3 million after a battle with his parent club, Inter Milan, that has been brewing for some time. New coach Antonio Conte had made it clear that Icardi had no place on his team, and summer acquisitions of Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez further underscored his insignificance to the project. Icardi had reportedly been the subject of transfer advances by the likes of Juventus, Napoli and Roma, but Inter had not found a suitable offer and held onto him until the final moments. Things reached legal levels last week, with Icardi reportedly suing Inter for freezing him out.
In the meantime, PSG stepped forward looking to take Icardi on loan. If Neymar returns, it's unclear how PSG would envision Icardi fitting into its team. Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are currently out injured, but they'll be back within a month. If and when they're all healthy, fit, not suspended and in the lineup, that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for a player who just spent months pouting about his club situation. If Icardi is able to be secured for the long-term, though, then he could feasibly step in for Cavani, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
Icardi and his wife/agent Wanda Nara were pictured entering PSG's headquarters Monday, where they finalized the loan deal to free him from club purgatory.
With Icardi coming in, Jese Rodriguezhas made way, with PSG sending the out-of-favor Spanish international on loan to Sporting CP in Portugal for the remainder of the season (with an option to buy).
- Staying with the PSG theme, Keylor Navas has left Real Madrid for the French champions on Monday, ending a trophy-laden tenure at the Bernabeu. The three-time Champions League winner became tired of playing second-fiddle to last summer's big acquisition, Thibaut Courtois, and PSG has given him a lifeline in a move that sends Alphonse Areola in the opposite direction on loan in addition to a reported $16.5 million transfer fee. The Costa Rican veteran is signed on at PSG through June 2023.
PSG, which also saw Gianluigi Buffon leave the club after one year, went to Spain to find its backup, signing Sergio Rico on loan from Sevilla. (Marca)
- Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez has arrived at Sevilla and secured his transfer from West Ham. He's left the Premier League for a return to La Liga on a three-year deal with Sevilla, following a reported $11 million transfer.
Chicharito played in Spain during the 2014-15 season at Real Madrid, spending the year there on loan from Manchester United. The 31-year-old forward remains in the Mexico national team picture and will join El Tri for its friendlies against the USA and Argentina, and he'll do so with a new club chapter on the horizon. He reportedly also drew interest from Fiorentina, Flamengo and unnamed clubs in MLS. (ESPNFC)
- Real Madrid was reportedly in the mix to make a splash with an incoming signing on deadline day, with Los Blancos reportedly having a move lined up for Portugal and Sporting CP central midfielder Bruno Fernandes. The 24-year-old nearly signed with Tottenham on the Premier League's deadline day, but Spurs reportedly did not meet Sporting CP's valuation despite the player and club agreeing on a deal.
Tottenham's loss ultimately was not Real Madrid's gain, with the wobbling Spanish power set not making another major move during a summer in which it signed Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo and was unable to sell James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale. (Mirror)
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan has arrived in Rome, where he's finalized a loan from Arsenal.
It's only appropriate that Mkhitaryan, who was involved in a straight player swap for Alexis Sanchez a year and a half ago, winds up in Serie A, where Alexis just went on loan to Inter Milan.
The loan comes with an option to buy at season's end, and Mkhitaryan joins the likes of Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) and Nikola Kalinic (Atletico Madrid) in securing loans to Roma this summer.
Kalinic, the 31-year-old Croatian forward, has left Atletico Madrid for Roma on loan for the season with a $9.9 million option to buy at the end of the season. Kalinic had four goals in 24 appearances last season, which was his first at Atletico Madrid. He takes the place of Patrik Schick, who was sent, in another loan deal, to Bundesliga contender RB Leipzig. His new club is paying $3.8 million to take him for the season and has the option to buy him outright next summer for $31.8 million.
The 23-year-old Czech Republic striker has struggled to score in the Italian capital, with just five league goals in two-plus seasons after arriving with high expectations from Sampdoria (AS Roma)
- Another former Manchester United player is heading to Italy, as Matteo Darmianhas left the Red Devils for Parma, signing a four-year deal in his native land. The fullback never really carved out a consistent role for himself at Old Trafford and becomes the latest player to leave this summer, following Lukaku, Alexis and Smalling. (BBC)
- Mauricio Pochettino says it will be "difficult" for Christian Eriksen to secure an exit from Tottenham at this juncture, and that held true, with Eriksen staying put. With Premier League sides unable to buy reinforcements until the winter, a sale prior to the EPL deadline always made the most sense if it were going to happen. Eriksen hasn't been shy about his desire for a new challenge, but he'll have to recalibrate his expectations and put dreams of a move to reported suitors like Real Madrid on hold. He did manage to score the opener in Tottenham's 2-2 draw vs. Arsenal on Sunday. (Mirror)
- One of Eriksen's former teammates, Fernando Llorente, has signed with Napoli on a free transfer. Llorente was out of contract after helping Tottenham reach the Champions League final last season and joins Carlo Ancelotti's attack along with Mexican star Hirving Lozano.
- Paulo Dybala was one of the other major dominoes waiting to fall, but Juventus didn't wind up budging. Dybala's role at Juve has diminished, as Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival last season coincided with a decrease in form for the otherwise dynamic Argentine forward. Manchester United and Tottenham both tried to sign him before the Premier League's deadline hit but had their attempts fall through. Now that he's staying, he'll have to fight for playing time under Maurizio Sarri, and if it doesn't come, then he'll be a prime candidate to move in January. (Sky Sports)
- Juventus and Barcelona were reportedly in talks over some intriguing player swaps, with Juventus said to be wanting Ivan Rakitic to bolster its midfield, while Barcelona wanted Federico Bernardeschi in return. Rakitic's name had been floated in Barcelona's Neymar talks as well. Separately, there was reportedly talk of a defender swap, with Juventus willing to part ways with Daniele Rugani, while Barcelona could offer Samuel Umtiti or Jean-Clair Todibo in return. The sticking point as reportedly in the respective valuations of the players in question, and Juventus wanting cash on top of the player swap kept the moves from materializing. (Gianluca Di Marzio)
- Radamel Falcao is on his way to Turkey to continue his storied career at Galatasaray on a three-year deal. The Turkish giant confirmed talks with Monaco and Falcao were taking place prior to the Super Lig's Monday deadline, and the Colombian forward was reportedly welcomed by an astounding 25,000 fans at the airport upon his arrival.
- Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is off to Azerbaijan, joining Qarabag on loan from Bournemouth on a short-term basis through January. Qarabag will play in the Europa League in a challenging group that features Sevilla, APOEL and Dudelange, a decent landing spot considering his current situation with the Premier League club.
- In another loan move, Barcelona has sent Rafinha to Celta Vigo for the season but only after extending his deal with the parent club through 2020-2021. The move marks a return to Celta for Rafinha, who played on loan there during the 2013-14 season. (FC Barcelona)
- U.S. forward Andrija Novakovich will continue his career in Italy's second flight after securing a transfer from Reading to Frosinone. The club was in Serie A as recently as last season, but its second-to-last finish sent the club to relegation. Novakovich has signed with the club through 2022.
At Frosinone, the 22-year-old Novakovich will play under Italian great Alessandro Nesta. Novakovich spent the last two seasons on loan in the Netherlands, scoring a combined 28 goals, and earned scattered U.S. national team calls as a result, though has not been part of the picture under Gregg Berhalter.
- AC Milan has had a largely quiet summer, with Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao the notable additions, but the club did secure the deadline-day addition of Croatian forward Ante Rebic on a two-year loan from Eintracht Frankfurt for a fee of $5.5 million (with an option to purchase for $27.4 million). Going the other way is Andre Silva, who joins Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-year loan for the same $5.5 million fee.
It's been a busy summer of transfer rumors for Croatian internationals, with Rebic joining Kalinic as men on the move Monday, while Ivan Perisic joined Bayern Munich on loan from Inter Milan and Rakitic had his name in the crosshairs for a potential exit from Barcelona.
Chelsea has sent Kenedy back out on loan, with the Brazilian winger joining Getafe in La Liga for the season. He enjoyed success on loan at Newcastle over the last season and a half but hasn't played yet for Chelsea this season. He'll hope for more playing time in Spain, where he'll spend the next 10 months.
The move comes a day after Chelsea sent Tiemoue Bakayoko on loan to Monaco, where he first rose to stardom and earned a lucrative transfer to Chelsea two years ago. He'll look to recapture his top form after a disappointing pair of seasons spent largely on the bench or out on loan. (Chelsea FC)