GOAL’s Mark Doyle will be grading the major transfers from across the world this summer.
For some football fans, the off-season is the most exciting time of the year since it only means one thing: it’s time for transfers! The greatest names will be associated with the biggest clubs in the coming weeks and months, with speculation ramping up.
We all know that some transfers work out well for all parties involved, but there are plenty of cases where at least one of the clubs, or even the player, is left wondering what may have happened if they had made a different option during negotiating.
GOAL is here to ensure that you know who made the best job out of every huge deal before the ink on the contracts is even dry. We’ll be assessing every completed deal as it happens throughout the summer window, allowing you to keep track of the big winners – and losers – of transfer season.
August 3: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona to PSG, €50m)
For PSG: A potential bargain, but with a serious emphasis on the word ‘potential’. We’ve known since he was tearing up the Bundesliga as a teenager that Dembele had the talent to become a superstar – the question was whether he had the temperament. Everything we’ve seen up from him until now suggests not. He has struggled for form and fitness throughout his six-year stay at Barcelona, mainly because of his own lack of professionalism. PSG are gambling on both Luis Enrique and a return to his native France belatedly bringing the best out of Dembele – and given they’ve only stumped up €50m in cash, they’re probably right to believe it’s a risk worth taking. At the very least, it means that they’ll still have one jet-heeled winger on their books even if Kylian Mbappe leaves before the close of the transfer window – even if the pair couldn’t be further apart when it comes to producing quality performances on a consistent basis. Grade: B+
For Barcelona: A fittingly disastrous end to the worst deal in the club’s history. Barca have botched this every step of the way. In their desperation to find a Neymar replacement, they overpaid for Dembele in 2017. Then, when it became clear that he was incapable of taking care of himself off the field, which led to him rarely appearing on the field, they should have cut their losses on the €107m signing. Granted, finding a buyer at the right price wasn’t easy, but they’ve ended up losing Dembele to hated rivals PSG for a knockdown fee anyway – and a year after handing him a new contract, brutally punished for the insertion of a ‘private’ buy-out clausethat also means they won’t even get the full €50m fee, which is to be divvied up between the club, the player and his agent. So, while Barca are right to feel deeply disappointed in Dembele, who has never done anything but let them down, they really only have themselves to blame for investing so much time, trust and money in such an unreliable and frustrating figure. The one consolation? At least the suffering is finally over. Barca really will be better off without Dembele, who proved nothing but a waste of space at Camp Nou. Grade: D-
For Dembele: Yet another ‘last chance’ to make the most of his God-given ability – only this time in Paris. Will he take it? You wouldn’t bet on it. PSG aren’t exactly associated with discipline and dedication. Superstars have been able to do as they please for years. Indeed, indulgence is one of the main reasons why they currently find themselves in this current mess with Mbappe – so what’s the likelihood of a maddening character like Dembele finding the guidance he needs at Parc des Princes?… Still, it’s a decent deal for him from a financial perspective, and he should walk straight into the starting line-up – when fit of course. But in terms of this proving a successful transfer, well, it’s like Messi said when asked about Dembele’s prospects of becoming a Barca legend many years ago, it all depends on Ousmane. Grade: B