We’ve barely even dipped our toes into the 2020 summer transfer market—technically, some countries’ windows are yet to open, given the delays the coronavirus pandemic has brought to football—and yet big-money moves are being completed left and right.
Savvy clubs who plan smartly for the future have used the time since the January window closed to look ahead, hash out deals in advance and secure some fantastic talent. Eight €20 million-plus deals have already been struck, meaning the futures of some seriously high-profile names have already been decided.
Here, we’ve assigned a grade to the top 10 most expensive deals struck through July 8. Loans that have been made permanent (either automatically or courtesy of an option exercised) have not been included, nor have deals secured in January that were planned to take place this summer. The players are listed in ascending price order.
Hwang Hee-Chan, Forward
Red Bull Salzburg to RB Leipzig, €10 million
It wouldn’t be a summer transfer window without an internal Red Bull transfer taking place, and after Timo Werner’s move to Chelsea, Leipzig have added Salzburg’s Hwang to their ranks.
He can’t directly replace Werner’s 34 goals this season, but he can step in as a hardworking, powerful dribbling presence who can see a pass and contribute on the scoresheet. He’s perfectly attuned to Leipzig’s style of play, having cut his teeth at an affiliated club, so his transition should be immediate.
Transfers of this nature are extremely unlikely to fail—Hwang is an absolute known quantity within the Red Bull ranks—and he’s the latest example of the clear pathway from Austria to Germany, one Konrad Laimer, Dayot Upamecano, Marcel Sabitzer, Amadou Haidara and more have taken.
Martin Terrier, Forward
Lyon to Stade Rennais, €12 million (rising to €15 million)
The transfer business happening at Lyon this summer has raised a few eyebrows, and the departure of Terrier is one example as to why.
Terrier has never fully hammered out a proper place in Les Gones’ XI, but he has flashed brilliance here and there and has the sort of silky smooth feel to his play that draws you to the edge of your seat. If and when it all clicks and he turns in consistent showings, his ceiling is undoubtedly higher than some of those Lyon are opting to keep instead of him.
Able to play off the left or up front in a support role, the 23-year-old has a varied blend of skills: He’s got decent speed, great close control, can carry the ball and also ping it over long distances, plus deliver a nice set piece.
The man who took Terrier to Lyon, Florian Maurice, is now technical director at Stade Rennais and has bet on his talent a second time. It’s a bet well worth taking at €12 million.
Corinthians to Benfica, €20 million
Benfica’s title defence is crumbling—they’re six points off FC Porto and manager Bruno Lage resigned last week—so you can sympathise with fans who have opted to look to the future rather than focus on the present.
Pedrinho is that future. Signed in March for €20 million, he’s now made the move across the Atlantic, taking a familiar route to Brazilians looking to step into European football.
He’s a nicely rounded player, capable of dribbling and carrying the ball but also letting loose from range and threading a pass. He’s fast, but not overly so, with his technique shining more brightly than his physical attributes.
Able to play on either wing or centrally, he’ll offer whoever the next Benfica manager is plenty of versatility, as well as a spark the club clearly needs.