Story by Nathaniel Rivas
A slow offseason does not exist for soccer. Not only do teams play in several exhibitions matches such as the International Champions Cup and the MLS All-star game and begin training all over the world, but clubs frantically attempt to sign new players.
Transfers are constantly in motion and rumors never cease to cause commotion such as talks of Gareth Bale leaving Real Madrid and the unknown future of Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Despite rumors and drama, two superstar transfers headlined the summer; Romelu Lukaku joining Manchester United and Neymar departing from Barcelona for a record transfer fee for Paris Saint-Germain.
Romelu Lukaku, a striker of Belgium nationality, transferred from Everton to Manchester United for £75 million (around $90 million). Lukaku scored 25 goals last year in the Premier League, finishing second behind Harry Kane’s 29 goals. Lukaku provides the Red Devils with an extra line of attack.Embed from Getty Images
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured indefinitely and the end of Wayne Rooney’s time in Manchester, someone needed to fill the offensive void. Having Lukaku provides not only another body in the box but a genuine threat in the final third. He scored two goals in the International Champions Cup and two goals in the Premier League opener.
The field can now open up for Paul Pogba and other players to have more freedom to play thanks to the presence of Lukaku. Whether a clean-up goal or a nice run through defenders, Lukaku knows how to finish. Time will tell how well the team chemistry will be.
The most attention in the offseason centered around Neymar and the rumors of his departure from Barcelona. Who would want to leave a star-studded team that is known to win and win big? Rumors and some critical thinking pointed to Neymar wanting to leave was because he wants to compete for the Ballon D’Or, but he didn’t want to remain in Lionel Messi’s shadow. It’s a comparable situation with Kyrie Irving wanting to leave Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.Embed from Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain, the team that lost to Barcelona led by Neymar in historic fashion last season in the UEFA Champions League, jumped on trying to buy out Neymar. However, PSG would have to come up with £222 million (nearly $263 million).
PSG had issues with this buyout because Barcelona filed a complaint to La Liga discussing how they didn’t believe PSG had the money to buy Neymar and violated UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, according to The Independent. However, no one could find anything illegal with the transfer and money. After the dust cleared, Neymar completed his transfer to PSG. In his debut with PSG, he scored one goal and had one assist.
Obtaining a superstar seems to be a common aim for teams in several sports today. In soccer, having a superstar player can change everything, on and off the pitch. Some teams such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich consist of more than one of these star-studded players. Neymar and Lukaku left their respective clubs to create new achievements and make a name for themselves. The future is bright for these stars.
Featured image for this post courtesy of Reuters