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Players in focus as new European Football season begins soon


19-year-old Portuguese striker Joao Felix from Benfica. Photo/Reuters

The new 2019/2020 European football season, comprising matches of the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, and the Italian Serie A, will begin soon. Matches will be broadcast live on DStv and GOtv.

With just a few days left before the season opener, the various clubs are ramping up their activities in the transfer market, seeking to recruit players to beef up their squad.

The La Liga has been the hot spot for the biggest transfer news in the last couple of weeks, especially with the long-mooted move of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona completed.

The French forward’s buy-out clause was set at a reported €200 million, although Atletico is claiming that he had agreed his move to the Catalan giants before 1 July, and they should, therefore, receive a higher total. The actuality of Griezmann linking up with Lionel Messi is one that will have Barcelona fans really excited for the new season.
Atletico has also been extremely busy in the transfer market. Asides Griezmann’s departure, the club has also seen midfielder, Rodri, leave for Premier League champions, Manchester City, for a reported fee of €70 million. But they have brought in youngster, Joao Felix, an attacking player from Benfica, for a whopping €126 million, the biggest fee spent in this summer’s transfer market yet.
Felix’s signing for such a huge sum was a surprise, though the versatile 19-year-old Portuguese starlet has immense promise and could prove a great buy in the long run.

Rodri, meanwhile, is seen very much as the long-term replacement at the Etihad Stadium for Fernandinho and adds further depth of quality to Pep Guardiola’s already stacked squad.
Tottenham Hotspur also made waves in England after it secured Tanguy Ndombele from Olympique Lyon for a club-record €60 million. An all-round midfielder and superb athlete, the 22-year-old should be a great fit for English football and strengthens Spurs’ bid to shatter the dominance of City and Liverpool.
Chelsea, despite their transfer ban, finalised the loan deal of midfielder Mateo Kovacic by making his move from Real Madrid. This was allowed because Kovacic’s initial move was completed before the sanction was applied. More important for the Blues, however, was the appointment of club legend, Frank Lampard, as a manager, replacing Maurizio Sarri.
Sarri has returned to Italy to take charge of champions, Juventus, who have conducted some decent deals in the transfer market. The club sold Leonardo Spinazzola to Roma for €29.5 million and brought in Cristian Romero for €26m.

Lille forward, Nicolas Pepe, has completed his move to join Arsenal in a £73million deal, becoming the club’s record signing in the process.

The 24-year-old took Ligue 1 by storm last season, netting 22 times and providing 11 assists to catch the eye of several top clubs – but it is the Gunners who won the race for his signature.

Another big move yet in Italy in this transfer window has been the transfer of the ‘Greek god,’ Konstantinos Manolas, from Roma to Napoli for €36 million. There has been speculation that this move might open the door for the Neapolitans to sell star defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, although the Senegalese remain a part of the team at Stadio San Paolo for now.

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