Scout Report: Alvaro Fernandez

In the summer transfer window of 2020 alone, Manchester United have bought a dozen players under the age of 19 years old while only 3 – Van De Beek, Cavani and Telles – were above that age. This clear shift in focus of United’s transfer strategy is nothing short of a youth revolution with the guidance of Nicky Butt. What’s even more impressive is nabbing these wonderkids from big clubs like Manchester City’s Charlie McNeill, Barcelona’s Marc Jurado, Atletico Madrid’s Alejandro Garnacho – and today’s focus – Real Madrid’s Alvaro Fernandez Carreras. We analyse what the gifted left-back brings to the table.

Career History

Alvaro was born on 3rd March, 2003 in Mallorca which makes him 17 years old currently. Having spent his development years at Racing de Ferrol from 2007 to 2012, it was his stint at Deportivo de La Coruna for the following 5 years that caught the eye of the top Spanish clubs. He won numerous trophies and awards in this period like the Galo cup in 2014, but it was his Galician Championship win with Deportivo in 2017 where he caught the eye of many scouts with impressive displays. Carreras’ talent was clear to see even at the age of 14, and it wasn’t just Real who looked to bring him in from Deportivo at the end of the 16/17 season. Rivals Barcelona were also keen, but Los Blancos were able to convince him to move to the capital instead. Since then, Carreras has played for Real’s U15, U16 and U17 sides over three exciting years and was considered one of the most exciting young talents at the club. He was part of a select group of young players that Real Madrid had very high hopes for, alongside Bruno Iglesias and Israel Salazar. One of the major factors that saw Alvaro’s development suffer in the 19/20 season was Miguel Gutierrez, who is a left-back like Alvaro, and helped Real Madrid win the UEFA Youth League last season. Miguel was training with Zinedine Zidane’s senior Real Madrid team towards the end of last season and has continued to do so this term. With the senior team packed with many good options at left-back and his peer Miguel next-in-line at his age bracket, Alvaro decided his time with Los Blancos was up.

Playing Style

Usually sporting a no. 3 on his back, Fernandez is an attacking left-back who looks to get forward and support attacks whenever possible. Using his speed, he enjoys making dangerous runs down the left wing, adept at linking up well with those ahead of him. But he is equally capable of coming in-field to strengthen numbers in central midfield, capable of moving around and contributing in build-up play. Check out an example here of his ability to drift in midfield and score himself, with technique that would look at home with a pure attacking midfielder. His ability to contribute in different ways going forward makes him a dangerous and unpredictable opponent, while his positional awareness to get back in shape is extremely impressive for someone so young. While Carreras is naturally a very attacking full-back, he is more than capable of being physical on the pitch. Not only is he a threat in the air – thanks to 6’ plus athletic and sturdy build – he’s also combative in one-on-one situations, and isn’t afraid to muscle his opponents off the ball. His reading of the game is impressive too, and these are all qualities that are likely to improve as he gets more match experience under his belt. Alvaro’s unpredictable dribbling is intensified thanks to his two-footedness. His attacking awareness, positive movement and technical expertise make him a reliable goal threat like showcased here.

Though he looks eerily similar to Sergio Ramos thanks to his hairstyle and build, there are more similarities between Alvaro and Marcelo in their style of play – particularly when going forward. The Brazilian has built up a reputation over the years as being one of the world’s most energetic full-backs, making lung-busting overlapping runs to unlock a defence. On Real Madrid’s official website, it is noted that Fernandez’s ‘reference’ is Marcelo – and the teenager plays with a similar intensity and energy as his idol. Defensively, though, he appears to be a little more switched on than Marcelo – who we all know has a tendency to be out of position because he’s caught up field. Fernandez stands out from his young peers thanks to his technical qualities, intelligence on the field and difficulty to beat one-on-one. If United are keen on bolstering their squad with a well-rounded left-back, he promises to be a solution in the near future.


Transfer Saga

As one of the most exciting young prospects in Real’s academy, it was hardly a surprise that a number of clubs from around Europe began to take notice of Fernandez’s contract situation earlier this year. However, AS reported back in May 2020 that it was actually Manchester United and Manchester City who were the most interested in the youngster. They both sent scouts out on numerous occasions to watch Alvaro and were impressed with what they saw. However, it is the red half of Manchester who look to have got the deal done. Real were keen to keep hold of Carreras, but United’s ‘sports project’ is said to have appealed more to him. Fernandez failed to agree contract terms with Los Blancos and became a free agent on June 30, 2020. He issued a statement on Instagram, confirming that he’ll be leaving Real Madrid and said that it was not an easy decision. He thanked his coaches who have worked with him over the past three years, mentioned that his stay at Real Madrid made him a better footballer and a better person,and concluded that it was time to say goodbye and take another path in his football career to continue his dream.

Alvaro is said to have agreed a four-year deal with United and a recent report from AS suggested Real Madrid coaches have expressed regret at Fernandez’s exit and feel United have a real talent on their hands. Sources claim: “Alvaro is a footballer with a great future who has been hurt by having Miguel Gutierrez in front of him. But the conditions are there for him to do well in England, and his pace and center of gravity will be admired.” It should also be noted that Real Madrid do not have a buyback clause to sign Fernandez in the future, like they tried to inflict on United in the summer when offering Sergio Reguilon.

Settling in & What next

Carreras made his friendly debut for United on Sept 27 for the U23s and had an impressive showing scoring one goal and running the left flank with attacking flair and discipline. His goal was an exciting announcement showcasing what he was all about as he bombed forward to support the attack and opportunistically cut in before blasting in a top-corner shot with his right foot that would make anyone think twice about what his dominant foot actually is. He made his official debut for the U23s on Oct 18th and then played in the U23s win over Everton in the Premier League 2 in the last week of October, showcasing his well-rounded qualities in both games.

Though he has joined the club’s youth side initially, Alvaro could be integrated into the first team should injuries strike down the Red Devils’ senior options. Compared to his peers, Alvaro’s intelligence and defensive stability make him a very attractive proposition to promote to the senior team after a period of settling in. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say he could be the closest to a first team opportunity among the 16-17 year olds – like Charlie McNeill, Joe Hugill and Willy Kambwala – that the Devils have signed this summer. The 18 year old prospects, Pellistri and Amad Traore are clearly meant to feature for the first team sooner. But given United’s lack of any prospects in Alvaro’s position, it won’t be a surprise to see the youngster knock on the senior team door soon, if he excels for the U23s this season.

(Image and video credits: Alvaro’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/alvarocarreras3 )

Scout Report: Alejandro Garnacho

While the arrival of Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani and Amad Diallo Traore caused a considerable stir, it is Manchester United’s youth recruitment drive that has grabbed the headlines on multiple occasions this summer. With almost a dozen youth signings to boast of, the acquisition of winger Alejandro Garnacho Ferreyra from Atletico Madrid represents United’s third successive raid on the Spanish market this window following the capture of teenagers Marc Jurado from Barcelona and Alvaro Fernandez from Real Madrid. We take a look at the highly-rated Spanish winger in the latest of our wonderkid scout series.

Career History

Born in Getafe in July 2004, Alejandro Garnacho is one of Atletico Madrid’s most highly-rated prospects. He has been with Atletico since 2015, and is said to be the ‘jewel’ of the club’s academy. Described as a ‘goalscoring machine’ by Marca, from a very young age itself, Garnacho’s potential has seen him primed for the top. In 2016, whilst playing for Atletico’s Infantil B, he was Spain’s top scorer at the age of 12 – destroying opposition defences with his natural knack for finding the back of the net. In the 19/20 season, he found himself enjoying run-outs for Atletico’s U19 team despite only being 16 years old.

Playing Style

Alejandro is obsessed with Cristiano Ronaldo, and even wears the same shirt number – No. 7. The comparisons do not end there either with Garnacho’s playing style and movement closely related to Cristiano Ronaldo as well. Garnacho is predominantly a right-footed winger who plays on the left wing, but is comfortable on his left foot as well, allowing him that versatility when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. While he prefers attacking from the left, he is equally adept at playing as a striker, behind the striker and on the right wing. Blessed with a flawless technique, Garnacho boasts attributes including close ball control that make it difficult for defenders to rob the ball off him. The Madrid-born teenager is technically gifted and has superb dribbling ability, making him a nightmare to defend against when he’s running at opposition’s backlines.

While he is able to use his quick feet to beat defenders and round goalkeepers with ease, the teenager also has the knack of finding himself in the right spot at the right time, always hungry to pick up the scraps in front of goal. In the penalty area he’s intuitive and clinical, preferring to shift the ball onto his right foot before calmly slotting the ball home. A real predator in front of goal, Garnacho is also adept at finding space in the penalty box, and is an instinctive poacher.

Most of Garnacho’s goals are textbook modern winger executions cutting in from either wing and blasting or placing his shot in a corner of the goal with his opposite foot. He also has a remarkable rate of dribbling around the goalkeeper and finishing when one-on-one showcasing his confidence, composure and dribbling ability. Any game watching Alejandro isn’t complete without bearing witness to some stepovers, nutmegs, drag-backs, double touches and body feints as the wonderkid loves taking on and often humiliating his defensive counterpart while also dribbling with purpose towards goal. Like his idol, he loves putting on a show. The major weaknesses one can identify in Garnacho’s game are natural for a player with such flair and attacking purpose. His defensive contributions like tracking back and positioning need work but that is to be expected from a 16-year-old winger who has all the time in the world to work on them and challenge for a first team spot. 

Transfer Saga & Settling in

Garnacho turned 16 in July 2020, which meant he was able to discuss deals with other clubs, and it had been widely reported that Atletico did everything they could to keep their star man. The Red Devils are said to have fought off Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to secure Garnacho’s signature. Moving to Old Trafford, and emulating his hero Ronaldo was said to be a deciding factor in his decision to move. Garnacho penned a five-year deal with the Premier League giants over the summer window. And all it costed United was a compensation package for his training and development.

‘Atlético de Madrid have lost a promising youngster after United’s great work in Spain, where they have already raided Madrid, Barça and Atleti,’ AS lamented. ‘Despite this loss, Atlético has always managed to retain great homegrown players who receive offers from foreign teams, who ‘take advantage’ of the few laws that protect Spanish quarries so as not to lose talents so easily.


After being officially announced by Manchester United on October 2nd, which was a Tuesday, Garacho was named in the matchday squad for the U18 side on the following Saturday itself. The attacker came off the bench on a rain-drenched afternoon at Manchester City’s training complex as United took on their neighbours in the U18 derby. It was a real ‘welcome to Manchester’ moment for the 16-year-old. Garnacho played the final 15 minutes as United chased an equaliser, having gone 2-1 down. He had one chance from a difficult wide position which he struck with power, but it was rising and went over the bar. United lost the game, but Alejandro impressed. He looked confident, cutting in from the left, and the young forward was pleased to get some action in before the break. He sent a message expressing how excited he was to sign for United and make his debut.

Alejandro Garnacho scored two goals in the last week of October for Manchester United’s U17 side. The Spanish teenager was part of an U17 side taking on Wigan in the re-formatted Premier League Cup. One of his goals included this thunderbolt of a strike from the edge of the box which left the Latics ‘keeper with no chance.United lost the game 3-2, a product of holding many eligible players back for the FA Youth Cup game. Garnacho has made two substitute appearances for the U18s so far. This was his first competitive academy start, and a two-goal return is pretty impressive. Garnacho reportedly started in a closed-door friendly in an attack consisting of Joe Hugill, Charlie McNeill and Hoogewerf against Salford last week which United won 5-2 but reports are still unconfirmed.

What next

The Spaniard certainly needs more time and experience before making a gradual transition to senior men’s football, but his prolific youth record in Spain suggests that he has all the raw materials to evolve into a top-quality striker moving forward. There is plenty of competition in the U18s, with Charlie McNeill and Joe Hugill signing this summer, and Dillon Hoogewerf, Mateo Mejia and Noam Emeran all signing in 2019. With United’s first team strikeforce packed with goals too, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic right now about the future. Given the potential of these youngsters and the opportunity and development the Red Devils seem to want to give to their academy players, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few of these names don the jersey for the main team in a few years time. 

(Image credits: Garnacho’s Instagram account – https://www.instagram.com/garnacho7/)

Scout Report: Charlie McNeill

It’s very rare that a youth level player comes with as much fanfare and hype as Charlie Mcneill did in the 2020 summer transfer window. The striker was part of Manchester United’s youth acquisition spree over the summer and made the switch from rivals Manchester City after turning heads all over Europe with some exceptional displays at many youth brackets for the Citizens. We uncover the content beyond the hype to figure out what the ‘Next Sergio Aguero’ – as he was called during his time at City – is all about.

Career History

Charlie was born on September 9, 2003 which means he celebrated his 17th birthday when his United career began last month. Unknown to many, McNeill actually began his career at United, working his way up through the ranks alongside the likes of Mason Greenwood. But he opted to make the controversial switch to cross-town rivals Manchester City in 2013 for around £12,000 as he looked to take his career to the next stage. Departing United to join City would have been hard enough for the fans in red to take, but to make matters worse, McNeill is actually a United fan himself. All said and done though, it’s safe to say the switch has worked out reasonably well for him so far.

A youngster’s goalscoring record at youth level doesn’t tell the complete story. But when a player scores over 600 goals across different age groups, then it’s clear just how special a talent he is. Yes, you read that correctly! Charlie has scored about 600 goals in his career already. To give you an idea, McNeill netted 110 goals and contributed 38 assists in just 72 matches during his time playing City’s Under-15s side. That’s just the 148 goal contributions in 72 matches. He has been scoring at a similar rate throughout his youth career. 

The teenager has developed into a pretty complete striker, while his performances have also seen him called up to the England Under-16s squad a number of times already. International recognition with England has led to 4 appearances so far for the U16s. His one goal for the Young Lions came in a 5-1 win over Moldova at the Aegean Cup last year. The goals come with trophies too making Charlie a Runner-up in the FA Youth Cup (18/19) and two-time winner of the U18 Premier League Cup (18/19 and 19/20). From his Instagram account, it’s easy to capture many other achievements of Charlie. He stands at the forefront of a group photo after City won the Premier League Under-15 International Tournament, held at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, when they beat Arsenal 1-0 in the final. There’s also a picture of McNeill holding two trophies with a medal round his neck at the equivalent under-14 tournament a year earlier.


It’s an interesting narrative that McNeill was actually the player tipped to step up and replace City’s departing Jadon Sancho – whom United chased to a dead end this summer – in 2017. Goal.com reported in an article titled, ‘Brahim and Sancho gone – but Man City have other teenage sensations’: “McNeill is just 14 but has been making a name for himself in the City academy for the past few years. Those familiar with the City youth set-up believe he is one of the best prospects of any age group and is definitely one to keep an eye on in the coming years.”

Playing Style

The variety of the goals McNeill has scored in U16 and U17 games is the most striking aspect. There are true highlights reel hits from 30 or 40 yards like this similar to those Paul Scholes used to produce while McNeill also enjoys cutting inside and bending shots across the keeper reminiscent of Wayne Rooney like this, and there are also confident traps, exquisite chips and casual bangers in the vein of Eric Cantona like these. He also appears to be an assured penalty taker with a cheeky Panenka slipped in for good measure at times. McNeill’s assist record from the U15s also suggests he’s more than happy to pass or cross when team-mates are present in better positions.

One of his U16 goals against Manchester United saw him pick up the ball wide on the left, cut inside and unleash a beautifully curled effort into the top right corner. A natural born finisher, McNeill knows where the goal is without needing to look up. Instead he ruthlessly fires home armed with two-footedness, technical prowess and a natural eye for goal most strikers crave for. Sure, he’s clinical in and around the box, but he’s also more than capable of the spectacular. Goals from the halfway line are made to seem almost easy by McNeill having scored a couple from that range at the youth level. He is a complete attacker who is more than capable of linking attacks and darting into space, while many comparisons have also been made with Wayne Rooney in regards to the way he drops deep to collect the ball at times.


(Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

But perhaps what is one of his most promising traits is his mental strength and desire to never be completely satisfied with what he already has. As a result, it won’t come as much of a surprise to see the Times report that McNeill idolises Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. His insane goal tally speaks of a player who never rests on his laurels. Always searching for more and looking at ways to improve, McNeill has the talent with the ball at his feet – but also the mentality to become a top footballer.

Transfer saga & settling in

After six years with the club, McNeill opted not to sign a new deal with City as he was said to be growing frustrated with his lack of opportunities at a higher level. He found games hard to come by in the U18s, managing just 8 appearances. In 18/19, he made just 3 substitute appearances in the U18 Premier League and that remained the case in 19/20 with just 4 substitute outings and 1 start before the season was curtailed because of the pandemic. McNeill did prove a point by scoring his first goal for the U18s in a 2-1 win over Blackburn back in February, but it was clear his time for the Sky Blues was coming to an end. The Manchester Evening News reported that McNeill saw a clearer pathway to the first team with United than at City. Italian giants Juventus and Red Bull Leipzig were also heavily linked to McNeill. But for the childhood United fan in Mcneill a chance to get back to his club was too good to turn down. With the Red Devils having built up a famous reputation with regards to first team opportunities for academy graduates and overseeing a youth revamp under Nicky Butt, the choice was obvious. McNeill returned to the United academy for an initial fee of £750,000 that could rise to £1.35million after he rejected the offer of a new contract at City in the summer. United sources say McNeill would represent an ‘absolute bargain’ even if he costs the full amount as he would have to play in a significant amount of first-team games and record noteworthy achievements to trigger the clauses. After a highly successful 6 years at City, Mcneill made the switch in September.

In true Charlie Mcneill fashion, the striker needed no time to start doing what he does best for the Red devils. His first appearance came in a pre-season friendly earlier this month against West Brom where the striker finished off a cool chance to get on the scoresheet. Last weekend, Charlie made his first official start for the U18 side against Derby U18 and – surprise, surprise! – smashed 2 goals in succession in an impressive 4-0 win. A timely dribble latching onto a through ball followed by a far-post finish and a poacher’s first time shot from a cut-back cross were enough to excite United fans about what’s to come. “First 2 of 600 goals for us” – an enthusiastic fan on social media chimed.

What next

McNeill is expected to play with the United’s U18s side for a while rather than the Under-23s, partially due to the long-term injury suffered by D’Mani Mellor. However, should he settle quickly and continue his progression, he could soon make the step up. If he keeps scoring at the rate he does, a U23 call-up is possible in the near future. Having just turned 17, Charlie has time on his side to make a mark at both levels before eyeing a main team debut. With Edinson Cavani and Ighalo, the Red devils are clearly looking at stop-gap solutions for the striker role to compete with Martial. Mcneill made the switch back to his boyhood club for a reason and if he keeps doing what he does he might just get the chance to impress the Old Trafford faithful sooner than later. 

(Image & Video Credits: Getty images & Charlie McNeill’s official Instagram account)

Scout report: Marc Jurado

Manchester United haven’t been very active in the business of wonderkids over the past two decades, which other top teams like Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund seem to thrive on – either in terms of performance or profitability, or both. A drastic change in United’s academy project has seen Nicky Butt lead the Devils into a new era of focus on academy youngsters and buying high potential players for the same. Coupled with manager Ole gunnar Solskjaer’s trust in youth and the academy setup, this summer has already seen the club renew contracts for Harvey Neville, Tahith Chong, Greenwood, Brandon Williams, James Garner, Ethan Laird, and Dylan Levitt while recruiting fresh talent in the forms of Isak Hansen-Aarøen from Tromso, Alvaro Rodrigues from Real Madrid’s academy, Radek Vitek from Olomouc, Joe Hugill from Sunderland and Marc Jurado from Barcelona’s famed La Masia.

Marc Jurado is only the second player in United’s history to have been signed from FC Barcelona’s youth academy and the first ended up being a decent player. Gerard Pique could not make it at the club but went on to become one of the world’s top defenders. Marc Jurado was born the same year Pique arrived at United in 2004. Now 16 years old, he arrives at Old Trafford aiming to make a bigger mark than his predecessor.  

Career History:

Jurado was born in Sabadell, a town 18 miles from Barcelona, on April 13, 2004,. He played for his local club, CF Can Rull, from the age of four to seven before impressing enough to be picked up by FC Barcelona’s La Masia academy. He has been playing for the youth team for the past nine years. In his second season for Barcelona, he recorded the fastest goal for the FCB Benjamin C side (Under-10s) as he stole the ball straight from kick-off, dribbled past two UD Viladecans defenders before coolly slotting past the keeper to score within five seconds. This is also the record for the fastest goal at any youth level at Barcelona. His crowning moment for FCB Infantil A (Under-12s) came as he scored in a 2-0 win against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Mediterranean International Cup 2016 tournament. He has been a prominent figure in Barcelona’s Cadet A (Under-16) side and was due to be promoted to the Juvenil B (Under-17) for the 20/21 campaign.

Playing Style:
When it comes to playing style, Jurado is your quintessential modern right-back, bombing forward with speed and skill to overlap and support the attack. Most consistently associated with jersey #2, the first noticeable aspect of Jurado is his immense speed and acceleration which he uses aggressively to dribble past players and take up good attacking positions on the right side of the pitch. He has a huge reputation as a capable attacker having once scored 6 goals in a season for FCB Cadete B. Technically strong, Jurado fits the usual La Masia graduate pattern of being very adept at passing, link-up play and ball control while he is no slacker in his defensive duties utilizing intense pace and stamina to get back in position and mark wingers. Jurado loves playing 1-2s to burst past opposition often linking up with the right sided attacker or central midfielder for a classic give-and-go. Armed with a very capable left foot, Jurado also has a penchant to cut inside and release the opposite fullback or dribble in central areas himself towards the opposition box which explains the occasional goal he scores and offers a more unpredictable dynamic to his attacking play. A few of his goals have come via headers and volleys from corners indicating his value as a set-piece threat. He has been deployed mostly as a right back but has also been used as a right winger on some occasions to utilize his attacking traits.

Transfer Saga:
Barcelona had no intention of letting Jurado go as they secured Ansu Fati, Ilaix Moriba, Pablo Paez and Ilias before offering a lucrative 3-year contract, worth up to €300,000 per year, to Jurado to convince him to stay as well. They viewed Jurado as a key part of their promising generation of youngsters. But Jurado was certain he wanted to leave for better opportunities which probably says a lot about the current condition of the Blaugrana in terms of giving chances to academy graduates in the main squad. They have lost a few youngsters in recent years who have opted to try their luck abroad instead. It also says a lot about the great recent work Nicky Butt and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been doing in terms of youth promotion. Reports first emerged in April 2020 suggesting United had contacted Barcelona regarding Jurado and their pursuit worked soon after as they received the confirmation of Jurado soon after.  

“It is never easy to leave the team that has given you everything,” Jurado wrote on his official Instagram account to confirm his departure. “FC Barcelona has been my second home, my second family, where I have trained as a player but also as a person. Today I have to say goodbye but not before thanking each of the people who have helped me since I started in 2011. I have been fortunate to share my passion with a fantastic generation with whom I will always be linked. We started as children who only wanted to run after the ball and I said goodbye, nine years later, being able to call them friends. Only we know the immense luck we have had with all the coaches who have trained us and helped us to continue fulfilling our dreams.”


What next?
His contract expired on June 30, 2020 with the Red devils having to pay a compensation fee of £175,000 for the youngster. Jurado shared an image of his departure gate ahead of his flight to Manchester on 27th August with a caption “A new dream is coming.”. The pacey defender was seen strolling through Manchester in a denim jacket and jeans post which he self-isolated for 14 days before joining training. Jurado has linked up with the Manchester United Under-18 side for the 20/21 season and is already off to a bright start having scored in the 2-1 friendly win against West Brom U18 earlier this month. Jurado’s path to the main team won’t be easy with Aaron Wan Bissaka (22 years old), Fosu Mensah (22 years old), Diogo Dalot (21 years old) and Ethan Laird (19 years old) seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order. But with Dalot’s long-term future up in the balance given his recent loan to AC Milan, Fosu-Mensah’s injury concerns, Laird yet to make his senior debut and manager Ole’s heavy trust in the academy, Jurado will know he has the time and opportunity to make a mark for the reserves first and then make the step up in a few years. 


(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

5 clubs that nailed the transfer window

It was always going to be an uphill battle planning transfers for the summer window, given the financial impact of COVID-19 on most football clubs. To think a powerful club like Real Madrid, usually in the top 3 in the Forbes’ list of most valuable clubs, made zero signings this summer for the first time in 40 years and still had to sell for £88.65m to maintain finances, makes you realise how tough it has been all around. But among all the doom and gloom, a few clubs have had the opportunity to make shrewd transfers and build a good platform for their manager to achieve his aims while keeping an eye on the bank balance. We highlight 5 of these clubs who have had a praise-worthy 2020 summer window.

1. Everton FC

Ins:

Name Age Pos From Fee
Ben Godfrey 22 CB Norwich £24.75m
Allan 29 CM Napoli £22.50m
Abdoulaye Doucoure 27 CM Watford £19.89m
James Rodriguez 29 AM Real Madrid Free
Robin Olsen 30 GK AS Roma Loan

Sum: £67.38m

Outs:

Name Age Pos To Fee
Morgan Schneiderlin 30 DM OGC Nice £2m
Kieran Dowell  22 AM Norwich £1.98m
Luke Garbutt 27 LB Blackpool Free
Maarten Stekelenburg 37 GK Ajax Free
Sandro Ramirez 25 ST SD Huesca Free
Moise Kean 20 ST Paris SG Loan
Theo Walcott 31 RW Southampton Loan
Leighton Baines 35 LB Retired
Cuco Martina 30 RB Released
Oumar Niasse 30 ST Released
Djibril Sidibe 28 RB AS Monaco End of loan

Sum:  £3.98m

Net Spend: £63.4m

The Premier League clubs have had it better than the rest of Europe when it comes to the financial burdens due to COVID. The Premier League clubs together spent a whopping €1.37 Billion with a net spend of €892.05 million this summer. But when it comes to gaining high value for deals and creating a competent team to support their manager, nobody did it better than Everton. The Blues bought a completely new midfield in workhorses Allan and Doucoure and creative genius James Rodriguez, who had his best spell under Carlo Ancelotti in Real Madrid. The manager-player duo has reconnected to great effect with James starting the season strong with 3 goals and 2 assists already to his name. Manager Ancelotti is enjoying great performances from the 3 midfielders, an area where Everton have been desperately lacking in for many years. In addition to that, the shrewd acquisition of Ben Godfrey has gone unnoticed. A high potential defender, he is one player who can fix the back line issues that have plagued the Merseyside club in recent years. Coupled with the in-form strikers, the Italian manager now boasts of a very competent squad that already sits at the top of the table with 4 wins in 4 games. All this while letting go of many deadwood players, Everton have managed to streamline their squad and give their manager a great platform to build on. A top 4 finish? The dream is on!


(Photo by NICK POTTS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

2. Stade Rennais FC

Ins:

Name Age Pos From Fee
Jeremy Doku 18 RW RSC Anderlecht £23.40m
Serhou Guirassy 24 ST Amiens SC £13.50m
Martin Terrier 23 LW Olympique Lyon £10.80m
Alfred Gomis 27 GK Dijon £9.00m
Nayef Aguerd 24 CB Dijon £3.60m
Dalbert 27 LB Inter Loan
Daniele Rugani 26 CB Juventus Loan

Sum: £63.90m

Outs: 

Name Age Pos To Fee
Edouard Mendy 28 GK Chelsea £21.60m
Raphinha 23 RW Leeds £16.72m
Armand Lauriente 21 RW FC Lorient £2.70m
Souleyman Doumbia 23 LB SCO Angers £2.70m
Jordan Tell 23 ST Clermont Foot Free
Sacha Boey 20 RB Dijon Loan
Lilian Brassier 20 RB Stade Brest 29 Loan
Jeremy Morel 36 CB FC Lorient Free
Jakob Johannson 30 CM IFK Goteborg Free
Hakim El Mokeddem 21 AM FC Sete 34 Loan
Rafik Guitane 21 AM Maritimo Loan
Metehan Guclu 21 ST Valenciennes FC Loan
Jeremy Gelin 23 CB Royal Antwerp Loan
Jordan Siebatcheu 24 ST BSC Young Boys Loan
Joris Gnagnon 23 CB Sevilla FC End of loan

Sum: £44.89m

Net Spend: £19m

It was always going to be interesting to see how Stade Rennais approached the summer transfer window. The French club finished 3rd in Ligue 1 last season – the highest in the club’s history. Suddenly faced with Champions League football and a challenge to follow up with a good league season, the onus was on Rennais to ace the transfer window. And that’s exactly what they did. Two extremely talented young wingers for either side in Doku and Terrier will have fans super-excited while the signing of Guirassy completes a new look attack. Using the lure of Champions League football, the club was able to loan in unwanted but talented stars, Rugani and Dalbert, who will be looking to prove themselves. Stade Rennais was able to capitalize on the big-spending desperation of Premier clubs Chelsea and Leeds by selling Mendy and Raphinha for a combined £38m. The shrewd capture of Gomis serves as a good GK replacement. All in all, the club sold well, bought players to fill in all the gaps and developed bench strength to compete in multiple competitions, all while rounding off a net spend of just £19m – a masterclass window!


(Photo by Philippe Le Brech/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

3. Bayern Munich

Ins:

Name Age Pos From Fee
Leroy Sane 24 LW Manchester City £40.50m
Marc Roca 23 DM Espanyol £8.10m
Bouna Sarr 28 RB Marseille £7.20m
Alexander Nubel 23 GK FC Schalke 04 Free
Tanguy Nianzou 18 CB Paris SG Free
Eric Choupo-Moting 31 ST Paris SG Free
Douglas Costa 30 RW Juventus Loan
Tiago Dantas 19 DM Benfica Loan

Sum: £55.80m

Outs:

Name Age Pos To Fee
Thiago 29 CM Liverpool £19.80m
Sven Ulreich 32 GK Hamburger SV Free
Sarpreet Singh 21 CM FC Nuremberg Loan
Lars Lukas Mai 20 CB SV Darmstadt 98 Loan
Christian Fruchtl 20 GK FC Nuremberg Loan
Michael Cuisance 21 CM Marseille Loan
Adrian Fein 21 DM PSV Eindhoven Loan
Ivan Perisic 31 LW Inter End of loan
Phillipe Coutinho 28 AM FC Barcelona End of loan
Alvaro Odriozola 24 RB Real Madrid End of loan

Sum: £19.80m

Net Spend: £36m

It won’t be ridiculous to say that Bayern Munich would make the top 5 clubs that nailed the transfer window every year in recent times. The Bavarians are well-run and have been showing astute planning and execution in the transfer market for a few years now and this summer was no less. The long-term strategy to acquire Leroy Sane for good value paid off this window. The Germans were able to bid goodbye to loanees Coutinho and Perisic who took care of the left-wing slot last season and finally welcomed one of Europe’s exciting wingers for just £40.5m. Coupled with the in-form Lewandowski and Gnabry, this puts Bayern’s attack among the best in Europe now. While they had to let go of superstar Thiago to Liverpool, they more than made up for it by acquiring one of Europe’s brightest deep-lying playmaker prospects for a measly £8.10m (not including add-ons). Marc Roca’s capture could quite possibly be the deal of the window and was included in our top 5 under-the-radar deals of the window as well. Trading a 29 year old want-away for a 23 year old potential star is exactly the kind of smart move the Bavarians are known for. Coupled with the existing high-performing midfield duo of Kimmich and Goretzka and the loan-in of wonderkid Tiago Dantas, Bayern now have enough quality midfield depth to the point where they could let go of Cuisance on loan for game time. The signing of Tanguy from PSG represents another insanely smart grab of one of Europe’s talented defender wonderkids for no fee at all. With backup loan-ins for Choupo Moting and Costa, the Bavarians seem to have made a Champions League winning squad seem stronger than before – all for a modest net spend of £36m. Announce them as the champions of the 2020 transfer window as well, please!


(Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

4. Villareal

Ins:

Name Age Pos From Fee
Pervis Estupinan 22 LB Watford £14.76m
Francis Coquelin 29 DM Valencia £5.85m
Geronimo Rulli 28 GK Real Sociedad £4.50m
Jorge Cuenca 20 CB FC Barcelona B £2.25m
Takefuso Kubo 19 RW Real Madrid Loan
Mario Gonzalez 24 LW Clermont Foot Free
Dani Parejo 31 CM Valencia Free
Juan Foyth 22 CB Spurs Loan

Sum: £29.61m

Outs:

Name Age  Pos To Fee
Karl Toko Ekambi 27 ST Olympique Lyon £10.35m
Enes Unal 23 ST Getafe £8.10m
Alvaro Gonzalez 30 CB Marseille £3.60m
Akram Afif 23 LW Al-Sadd SC Free
Javi Ontiveros 23 LW SD Huesca Loan
Andres Fernandez 33 GK SD Huesca Free
Santi Cazorla 35 CM Al-Sadd SC Free
Jorge Cuenca 20 CB UD Almeria Loan
Zambo Anguissa 24 DM Fulham End of loan
Bruno Soriano 36 DM Retired

Sum: £23.99m

Net Spend: £5.6m

It has been a tougher period for La Liga teams compared to the others in the top 5 leagues. Put together, La Liga clubs spent €411.80m in the window which is lesser than what Serie A and Ligue 1 clubs spent and less than 1/3rd of the Premier League clubs. They were also the only league in the top 5 to close with a positive net spend (€82.45m profit) showing how there just wasn’t enough money to spend for Spanish teams this summer. But, in crisis comes opportunity and the yellow submarine danced around the pitfalls of the summer window impressively. They had to bid goodbye to the ageing midfield duo of Cazorla and Bruno but picked up highly impressive replacements in Coquelin and Parejo. Taking advantage of the turmoil at Valencia, Villareal acquired one of Europe’s best playmakers for free. Coupled with the very smart loan-ins of Foyth and Kubo and high-value sales of Ekambi, Unal and Gonzalez, Villareal were able to round up their window with just a £5.6m net spend while improving a squad that finished 5th last season. Finance students,take notes!


(Photo by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

5. RB Leipzig

Ins:

Name Age Pos From Fee
Alexander Sorloth 24 ST Crystal Palace £18.00m
Hee-chan Hwang 24 ST RB Salzburg £8.10m
Josep Martinez 22 GK UD Las Palmas £2.25m
Justin Kluivert 21 LW AS Roma Loan
Lazar Samardzic 18 AM Hertha BSC U19 Free
Benjamin Henrichs 23 RB AS Monaco Loan

Sum: £29.70m

Outs:

Name Age Pos To Fee
Timo Werner 24 ST Chelsea £47.70m
Adeomola Lookman 22 LW Fulham Loan
Hannes Wolf 21 AM Monchengladbach Loan
Jean-Kevin Augustin 23 ST FC Nantes Free
Yvon Mvogo 26 GK PSV Eindhoven Loan
Ethan Ampadu 19 CB Chelsea End of loan
Patrik Schick 24 ST AS Roma End of loan

Sum: £50.85m

Net Spend: -£21.15m (Profit)

RB Leipzig are the only club in this list to churn out a negative spend i.e. profit based on their summer activity. Bundesliga clubs have had it rough due to COVID and together spent the least among the top 5 leagues with a total spend of €323.20 million. They sold for almost the same amount, roughly breaking even for the window. In such conditions, RBL were able to generate immense revenue from their most valuable asset in Timo Werner who was the 7th most expensive transfer of the 2020 summer window. Losing Timo and Schick upfront meant a need for firepower and RBL delivered replacements in the form of Sorloth who comes from the back of a strong goal-scoring season and the highly-rated duo of Hwang and Kluivert. With the rest comprising loan deals, they have managed to generate an important £21.15m without letting the team quality suffer. The club has started strong this season, already racing to the top of the table, and look on course to finish close to their previous season’s strong 3rd palace finish. A profitable window without letting squad quality suffer – now that’s business!


(Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)