Rating the 10 Biggest EPL Transfers of the 2021 Summer Window

By Ben Morris in Sports
| September 2, 2021 8:41 am PST

The English Premier League summer transfer window slammed shut at 23:00 (BST) on Tuesday, August 31.

As is tradition, some of the biggest deals weren’t completed until the final minutes of the window. However, many clubs carried out their business months in advance.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will probably be aware that Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United. But Ronaldo’s return is not the only high-profile EPL transfer this summer.

In fact, Premier League clubs spent a combined total of £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) on player transfers during the 2021 summer transfer window. Although this is the lowest gross spend since 2015, the sum is still astronomical amid a pandemic.

Join me as I rate the biggest EPL transfers of the 2021 summer transfer window.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus to Manchester United (£13.50m)

It only makes sense to start with the big one, right?

When Ronaldo announced that he wanted to leave Juventus, every major club was put in red alert. At first, it looked as though Manchester City was the frontrunner to secure CR7’s signature. But Man Utd ended up luring the Portuguese megastar back to Old Trafford.

While the return of Ronaldo will obviously benefit Man Utd as a brand, I’m not convinced the transfer will benefit Man Utd as a team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already spoiled for choice in the attacking department, yet other areas of his squad are clearly lacking quality.

Don’t get me wrong, Ronaldo’s goalscoring record is outrageous – and I’m sure he will continue to add to his tally this season. But at the age of 36, he could struggle to readapt to the demands of the Premier League.

Although I like the idea of watching Ronaldo in the EPL again, this isn’t my favorite transfer of the summer window.

  • Rating: 5/10

Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan to Chelsea (£103.50m)

Another player returning to his former club this summer is Romelu Lukaku. Yet, unlike Ronaldo, Lukaku returns to Chelsea in his prime.

Fresh from guiding Inter Milan to the Serie A title, the 28-year-old is back in the Premier League with a point to prove. If he picks up where he left off last term (30 goals and ten assists in 44 appearances), it shouldn’t take him long to prove his doubters wrong.

ROMELU LUKAKU’S PAST EPL RECORD
Club Games Goals Assists
Everton 141 68 26
Manchester United 66 28 8
West Brom 35 17 7
Total 242 113 41

We all know that Lukaku’s previous stint at Chelsea didn’t work out. He only played a handful of games for the Blues between 2011 and 2014 before moving to Everton. That said, he has since established himself as one of the best strikers on the planet.

The Belgian has already reopened his Chelsea account with a debut goal in the Blues’ 2-0 victory over Arsenal. Under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, he is only going to get better.

I REALLY like this transfer!

  • Rating: 9/10

Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United (£76.50m)

Before the arrival of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho was supposed to be Man Utd’s marquee summer signing. Although Ronaldo’s return has taken the shine off Sancho’s arrival, this transfer should not be overlooked.

It is easy to forget that Sancho is still only 21. After all, he joined Borussia Dortmund all the way back in 2017 and returns to England after racking up 50 goals and 64 assists in 137 appearances for the German giant.

He’s already among the 10 most valuable soccer players in the world, too.

Having perfected his trade in the Bundesliga, the tricky winger is now ready to tear up the Premier League. If he fulfils his potential, the £76.50m that Man Utd paid for him could turn out to be an absolute bargain!

This is undoubtedly one of the biggest EPL transfers of the 2021 summer window – and it is also one of the best in my eyes.

  • Rating: 8/10

Jack Grealish – Aston Villa to Manchester City (£105.75m)

It’s safe to say that Jack Grealish gave his all for Aston Villa. The 25-year-old made 213 first-team appearances for his boyhood club, contributing 32 goals and 43 assists along the way.

But let’s face it – he was always destined for bigger and better things.

On Friday, August 6, Man City smashed the British transfer record when they paid Villa £105.75m to acquire Grealish’s services. The deal eclipsed Paul Pogba’s move to Man Utd 2016.

Grealish has hit the ground running at the Etihad Stadium, notching one goal and one assist across his first three EPL starts for the Cityzens. Even with the strong competition for places, he looks set to play a pivotal role in Pep Guardiola’s side.

  • Rating: 7/10

Ben White – Brighton to Arsenal (£52.65m)

There is no denying that Ben White is a good player – and at 23, he is only going to improve. But considering Arsenal paid £52.65m (yes, £52.65 MILLION!) to snatch White from Brighton, this deal doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Gunners’ recruitment has been questionable at best over the past few years, with numerous players arriving at the club and failing to impress. Unfortunately, I can see White falling into that category.

The versatile center-back, who can also play in midfield, made a name for himself on loan at Leeds United before starring for Brighton last season. He even made it into Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, although he didn’t get off the substitute bench during the tournament.

One of the biggest Premier League transfers this summer, White’s fee is the fourth-biggest of the window – behind Grealish, Lukaku, and Sancho.

Arsenal’s new boy will have to do something pretty special to pay back his price tag.

  • Rating: 4/10

Raphaël Varane – Real Madrid to Manchester United (£36.00m)

I know what you’re thinking – how did Raphaël Varane only cost Man Utd £36m if White cost Arsenal £52m? Well, I am wondering exactly the same thing!

After a decade at Real Madrid, Varane has won it all. Four Champions Leagues, four FIFA World Cups, three La Liga titles, and a host of other accolades. Oh, and did I mention that he also won the World Cup with France in 2018?

RAPHAËL VARANE’S TROPHY COLLECTION
Competition Trophies
UEFA Champions League 4
FIFA Club World Cup 4
La Liga 3
UEFA Super Cup 3
Supercopa de España 3
FIFA World Cup 1
Copa del Rey 1

Better yet, Varane is still just 28. It could be argued that his prime years are ahead of him.

The Red Devils have been crying out for a center-back partner for Harry Maguire. Guys like Victor Lindelöf and Eric Bailly were struggling to nail down a spot in the starting XI, but the arrival of Varane has changed all that.

  • Rating: 8/10

Tammy Abraham – Chelsea to Roma (£36.00m)

While the majority of the biggest EPL transfers this summer saw high-profile players arrive in the Premier League, Tammy Abraham’s move from Chelsea to Roma has to be the biggest outgoing deal.

With both Lukaku and Timo Werner ahead of him in the pecking order, Abraham had little choice but to seek a move elsewhere. There is no doubting his talent, but he wasn’t guaranteed game time at Stamford Bridge.

The 23-year-old striker has teamed up with former coach Jose Mourinho in Italy, hoping to get regular first-team action and further his development as a player.

In my opinion, this transfer is perfect for all three parties – the player and the two clubs. Abraham gets game time, Chelsea gets £36m, and Roma gets a proven goal scorer. Everyone’s a winner!

  • Rating: 9/10

Ibrahima Konaté  – RB Leipzig to Liverpool (£36.00m)

Rather than splashing the cash on a host of big-name players, Liverpool spent the offseason tying down current stars to long-term contracts. Still, the Reds were able to make one high-profile signing.

All the way back in May, Jurgen Klopp’s side announced the transfer of Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig. Although he remained Liverpool’s sole incoming player this summer, few would argue that he isn’t a top-quality acquisition.

The highly-rated French center-back made a name for himself in Germany, chalking up 95 appearances for Leipzig over the course of four years. Now 22, Konaté is primed to take the Premier League by storm.

Of course, Virgil van Dijk is the main man in Liverpool’s defense. But with CBs such as Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Nathaniel Phillips uncertain of a place in Klopp’s team, Konaté will be confident of breaking into the Reds’ starting XI and becoming VVD’s long-term partner.

  • Rating: 7/10

Martin Ødegaard – Real Madrid to Arsenal (£31.50m)

Martin Ødegaard spent the second half of the previous campaign on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid. The Norwegian playmaker clocked up 21 appearances for the Gunners last season, although he only managed to chip in with two goals and three assists.

Yet, despite his questionable performances last term, Mikel Arteta still thought it was a good idea to spend £31.50m on the 22-year-old.

MARTIN ØDEGAARD’S CLUB CAREER
Club Games Goals Assists
SC Heerenveen 43 3 5
Vitesse Arnhem 39 11 12
Real Sociedad 36 7 9
Strømsgodset IF 25 5 6
Arsenal 22 2 3
Real Madrid 11
Total 176 28 35

It feels like Ødegaard has been around forever, doesn’t it? I mean, he did sign for Real Madrid when he was just 16. But six years later, we are still waiting for the ex-wonderkid to fulfil his potential.

If he starts contributing more goals and assists, I am more than happy to be proved wrong. As things stand, though, I’m not convinced that Arsenal has made a good decision here.

  • Rating: 5/10

Saúl Ñíguez – Atletico Madrid to Chelsea (Loan)

This deal came out of nowhere.

Midway through transfer deadline day, it looked as though Chelsea had carried out all their business. But the Blues ended up making a late swoop for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez, acquiring him on a season-long loan.

Although Saúl has fallen out of favor at Atletico, there is no denying that he is still a top talent.

After all, he has made a whopping 340 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side – notching 43 goals and 20 assists in the process.

Lukaku appeared to be the final piece in Tuchel’s puzzle, but Saúl adds another dimension to his team. Personally, I can’t wait to watch the Spaniard in Chelsea’s midfield.

While this isn’t the biggest Premier League transfer of the 2021 summer window in terms of money, it has to be viewed as one of the most high-profile deals.

  • Rating: 6/10

Final Word on the Biggest EPL Transfers This Summer

Considering the impact of the pandemic, the fact that Premier League clubs still managed to spend in excess of £1 billion during the summer transfer window is pretty mind-blowing, right?

Of course, Ronaldo’s return to Man Utd has overshadowed every other EPL transfer in 2021. But the big-money deals involving players like Grealish, Lukaku, and Sancho can’t be overlooked.

Aston Villa also spent big this summer, forking out a combined total of £95.04m on Emiliano Buendia (£34.56m), Danny Ings (£31.68m), and Leon Bailey (£28.80m).

Other big transfers include Kurt Zouma’s £31.50m switch from Chelsea to West Ham and Patson Daka’s £27.00m move from Red Bull Salzburg to Leicester City.

As the money in the English Premier League continues to rise, don’t be surprised to see more record-breaking transfers in the next window.

For now, keep up with the latest in the Premier League with my week three EPL review.

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