The summer transfer window of 2023 is one that will stick in the memory of soccer fans for a long time. According to stats from English newspaper The Guardian, clubs in the top five European leagues completed 1555 transfer deals, which were worth a total of £2.66 billion.
With so much money being splashed out, it’s no surprise then that some of those transfers included players who are some of the biggest names in the sport. Even though, arguably, the best soccer star in the world, Lionel Messi, shockingly moved from Barcelona in La Liga to Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1, most of those big names actually ended up in the Premier League on England’s shores.
As we’re now advancing through the 21/22 Premier League season, with the halfway mark being in January, it’s a good time to take stock of how the biggest signings in the league are settling in.
It was the return that most Manchester United fans had been dreaming of, ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left them for Real Madrid back in 2009. The Portuguese forward, who is thought of as one of the most perfect soccer players in the world, by many people, including us here at Ocean Up, decided to make the move back to Old Trafford in August. Even though he’s now thirty-six and very much in the twilight of his career, he’s quickly proven that he still has lots to offer at the highest level.
Ronaldo managed to score twice on his return to The Theatre of Dreams, and has netted several last gasp goals since then that have given his team much needed victories. Some experts have theorised that Ronaldo’s lack of defensive movement might make the team suffer against the best teams, and that did look the case against Leicester, where they lost 4-2. However, as long as Ronaldo keeps bagging crucial goals, United fans will continue to worship him.
Even though London club Chelsea won the Champions League last season, most pundits were in agreement that the team was crying out for a devastating striker who could finish off all the chances that they created. It seems that the Chelsea hierarchy agreed, because they went out and splurged £97.5 million on Romelu Lukaku on a five year contract.
It looked like he was going to slot in perfectly at Chelsea, as he started the season strongly, scoring on his debut against Arsenal, and also getting two against Aston Villa on his first game back at Stamford Bridge. However, since then Lukaku hasn’t quite been able to put a scoring run together, and has gone a number of games without a goal.
Plus, in even worse news for Blues fans, he went off with a sore looking ankle injury in Chelsea’s 4-0 win against Malmo in the Champions League group stage match, which was reported on at BBC Sport. Which means he is now looking at a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
The English winger Jadon Sancho was another big transfer to Manchester United, though the deal for the twenty-one-year-old ended up being completely overshadowed by the previously mentioned Ronaldo transfer. The youngster had made his name at German side Borussia Dortmund, where he became famed for his ability to run with the ball and get past defenders with his close ball-control and tricky feet.
United had apparently been courting him for years, and he finally made the move from Germany for a reported £85 million. He hasn’t found it easy so far though, and Sancho has actually not managed a single goal or assist for his new club yet, at the time of writing. Whilst it’s way too early to start calling the player a flop, there are rumblings amongst supporters wishing for more from the player.
It is this kind of slow start that has featured amongst a few United players, and has many people wondering if their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær is up to the job. Many bookmakers seem to think he isn’t, as Man United are now priced at the super long odds of 33/1 to win the league, at some of the best online betting sites.
Websites like SBO.net, have made it easier for sports fans to find the best odds around, by only listing betting sites that they highly recommend, due to their fantastic range of betting markets and offers. So, you can bet on everything from the Premier League to NBA basketball, and everything in between.
What a disaster the start of the season was for Arsenal, they managed to lose their first three games in the league without scoring a single goal, and by conceding nine. There were rumblings that their manager, club legend Mikel Arteta, could be on his way out the door, especially if you tuned into the infamous Arsenal Fan TV channel on YouTube. However, the club have stuck by him, and it now seems that the team are turning the corner results wise, and also playing some scintillating stuff.
Their signing of Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid, for an undisclosed fee, was the cause of real excitement for the fan base. The player spent the second half of last season on loan at The Emirates, and they decided they liked what they saw, and signed him up this summer.
The flair player has had moments of superlative inducing magic on the field, including his performance in Arsenal’s mercurial destruction of their intense North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners tore apart Tottenham 3-1, and Odegaard played a big part in that seamless destruction, performing three key passes, and had a passing completion rate of 88%.
Since then, he has had a couple of niggling injuries, but hopefully he’s over the worst of it. It looks like he’ll be back in contention for the upcoming games, and will be a big part of the festive seasons congested fixture schedule, where the games come thick and fast. Arsenal fans will be praying for more of that seminal Tottenham performance from the twenty-two-year-old, and that he will help them shoot up the league table.