The ongoing pandemic had a devastating effect on sports in 2020. The forced hiatus of more than 3 months in Europe – even more in the Americas – has left even the most successful and popular teams’ purses empty. The lack of matches means a lack of broadcasts, and this means no revenues. Thus, many expect this summer’s soccer transfer season to lack spectacular and record-breaking player transfers. This doesn’t mean teams don’t reach deep into their pockets to improve their squads – let the examples from the English Premier League below stand witness to this fact.
Kostas Tsimikas (Olympiacos to Liverpool)
The story of Kostas Tsimikas could make a fine sports movie: he started playing in his native Greek village when he was discovered by a talent scout from Neapoli Thessaloniki at the age of 14 – by the time he turned 18, he was playing for Olympiacos, the most successful club in Greece. Now, he will continue his career with Premier League champion Liverpool as a result of a transfer deal worth £11.75 million ($15.3 million).
Tsimikas probably felt like the winner of the Atlantean Treasures jackpot when he signed his contract: he, and his entire family, were Liverpool supporters since his childhood.
Ferran Torres (Valencia to Manchester City)
Ferran Torres García has trained and played with Spanish club Valencia since he was six – most recently, he was in the position of a right-winger. He joined the first team in 2017, made his Champions League debut in 2018, and became Valencia’s youngest goalscorer in 2019 in a Champions League match against Lille.
Starting this year, Torres will play for Premier League club Manchester City as a result of a transfer reportedly worth £27 million ($35 million)
William Saliba (Saint-Étienne to Arsenal)
Saliba started playing football at the age of 6 at AS Bondy, under the guidance of Wilfried Mbappé – Kylian Mbappé’sfather. He moved to Saint-Étienne’s youth side in 2016, and once he turned 18, he joined the club’s second team – quickly progressing to the first. Last year, he went on loan to Premier League club Arsenal (beating off interest from North London rivals Tottenham) – the two parties decided to make it permanent this summer, in a transfer reportedly worth £27 million ($35 million).
Nathan Aké (Bournemouth to Manchester City)
Nathan Aké was born in The Hague to a Dutch mother and Ivorian father in 1995. He went pro with the Premier League team, Chelsea, in 2012, spending time at Reading, Watford, and AFC Bournemouth before making it permanent with the latter in 2017. This year, the time has come for him to move on: Manchester City signed the young center-back in a five-year deal worth £41 million ($53.5 million).