Unsurprisingly, cash-gorged Manchester City have dominated the footballing transfer market in 2010, shunting a combined total of somewhere up around the €350 million mark in fees and transfers into the global market between January 1st and the present day as owner Sheikh Mansour continues to feed his foray into capitalism on a gargantuan scale.
There are also a few cheeky appearances in the standings from Spanish champions Barcelona, which is fairly surprising considering that, to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t had a ceramic vessel to urinate in for quite some time now!
Soccerlens presents: The top 10 transfers of 2010…
10. Javier Mascherano, Liverpool to Barcelona (€21.2 million)
After using almost every trick in the book to force a move to Barca for ‘his wife’s sake’, Monster Mash has had to be content with a fairly peripheral existence at the Camp Nou so far – with the consistent form of Catalan anchor Sergio Busquets allowing the Argentinian only the merest of sniffs in terms of first-team action.
9. Bruno Alves, Benfica to Zenit St. Petersburg (€21.4 million)
There was a time when all and sundry were queuing up for Alves’ services but Benfica’s ridiculously inflated asking price ensured that only a club funded by a bottomless vat of Russian ‘gaz-dollars’ could afford to make the swoop for the tough-tackling Portuguese centre-back.
8. Yoann Gourcuff, Bordeaux to Lyon (€22 million)
Zinedine Zidane’s one-time ‘heir apparent’ has yet to deliver on the huge promise he displayed during his formative years with Rennes, Milan and Bordeaux but that didn’t stop Ligue 1 heavyweights Lyon taking a pricey punt on him finally coming good at the Stade de Gerland when they plundered their league rivals back in August.
7. Ramires, Benfica to Chelsea (€22 million)
A sporadically exciting force for the Brazilian national team over the past few years, Benfica made Chelsea haggle hard for a player they themselves only signed the previous summer. The 23-year-old midfielder has undeniably taken his time over settling into life at Stamford Bridge, but there have also been promising, if a little fleeting, glimpses of things yet to come.
6. Angel di Maria, Benfica to Real Madrid (€25 million)
Real went big in their pursuit of the fleet-footed flanker over the course of the summer, finally tying the jinky Argentinian to a five-year deal that could well see his fee rise by another €11 million if Di Maria meets certain performance-based criteria over the course of the deal – and, given the dynamic start that El Angelito has made to his Merengues career, it looks like Florentino Perez may be getting his chequebook out again sooner rather than later.
5. James Milner, Aston Villa to Manchester City (€28 million)
The first of Manchester City’s costly summer acquisitions to appear on the list is hard-yarding midfield huffer James Milner, who was finally spirited away from Villa after months of relentlessly turgid speculation linking him with a move to Eastlands – so much so that many people believed he’d actually joined City about three weeks before the deal was officially announced.
4. Yaya Toure, Barcelona to Manchester City (€28.2 million)
Barca yielded their midfield colossus when it came to light that City were ready and willing to fluff millions on a player that was having trouble keeping his place in the first-string at the Camp Nou. There were rumours that the Premier League side had to offer the Ivorian powerhouse a huge £220,000-a-week contract to persuade him to join the club, claims that have since been heavily refuted – but not altogether disproved.
3. Mario Balotelli, Inter Milan to Manchester City (€29.5 million)
City manager Roberto Mancini had his work cut out in trying to persuade his superiors that a big-money move for his one-time Inter protege was going to be worth the hassle, but the Italian’s were eventually reunited in August. A series of repetitive knee problems and self-imposed suspensions have seen the stroppy striker’s impact considerably restricted at Eastlands so far, though he has managed to notch five goals in his first seven games.
2. David Silva, Valencia to Manchester City (€32 million)
City again flexed their considerable financial muscle in steering Silva from the clutches of a phalanx of more ‘prestigious’ suitors, and are finally beginning to reap dividends. The diminutive tyro struggled to justify his price tag during his first couple of months in the Premier League, but the nifty Spaniard has since burgeoned into one of City’s main (or should that be ‘only’) creative forces.
1. David Villa, Valencia to Barcelona (€40 million)
El Guaje‘s move to La Liga giants Barca was undoubtedly the blockbuster move of the summer and, by proxy, of 2010 in general. After sticking with Valencia through nigh-on five years of financial turmoil, the gifted forward finally made the move he was always destined to in mid-May – a move which now ranks as the seventh most expensive transfer of all time.
Just outside the top ten: Robinho (Man City to Milan), Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio to Man City), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona to Milan), Diego (Juventus to Wolfsburg), Milos Krasic (CSKA to Juventus), Sami Khedira (Stuttgart to Real Madrid), Asamoah Gyan (Rennes to Sunderland), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari to Juventus) Loic Remy (Nice to Marseille).
Also see: Detailed league-by-league & club-by-club transfer lists.