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Which club had the best transfer window?

The transfer window slammed shut on August 31, and clubs around Europe finalised their incoming and outgoing signings for the 2021/22 season.

It has been one of the most high-profile transfer windows in recent years, with billions spent on some of the biggest names in world football moving on to pastures new.

Most notably, two of the best-ever players in football history moved to new clubs. Lionel Messi ended his 16-year senior career at a financially stricken Barcelona and joined European powerhouses Paris St Germain. Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo also moved clubs, leaving Juventus and joining former team Man United instead.

With squads across Europe’s top leagues finalised in recent days, we look at who had the best transfer summer transfer window, and who may lead the picks for major titles this season.

Paris St Germain

French giants PSG did not hesitate to move for some of Europe’s big names once they became available this summer. They quickly moved for Euro 2020 Golden Glove winner Gianluigi Donnarumma, signing the former AC Milan goalkeeper on a free transfer. The Ligue 1 side then added Gini Wijnaldum from Liverpool and Sergio Ramos also both on free transfers.

However, PSG business did not stop there, and they produced the transfer coup of the summer bringing in Lionel Messi from Barcelona on a free transfer. The Argentinian superstar will link up with former teammate Neymar, world-class forward Kylian Mbappe and compatriot Angel Di Maria to form one of the most threatening attacking line-ups in Europe.

PSG also signed young wing-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan for £54 million to bolster their wide options for the coming season. At just 22-years-old, Hakimi has already made 179 senior appearances for Borussia Dortmund, Inter and Real Madrid.

With several exceptional additions to their already talented squad, PSG will be a force to be reckoned with this season. After a disappointing 2020/21 season, where they missed out on the Ligue 1 title and exited the Champions League in the semi-finals, expect PSG to be back amongst the major honours this season.

Chelsea

Champions League winners Chelsea left their transfer business late during the summer window. The Blues were linked with top players, including Erling Haaland early in the transfer window. But they didn’t move until the final weeks.

It was worth the wait as the West Londoners signed prolific striker Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for around £100 million. The signing was big business for Chelsea, who sorely lacked goals in the Premier League last season. Lukaku will provide the attacking threat to compliment Thomas Tuchel’s highly organised and defensively astute Chelsea side.

Chelsea then added experienced midfielder Saúl to their ranks on deadline day as he joined on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid. It was another clever signing by the Blues, who added more know-how to a team that lacked experience last season with the likes of Mason Mount, Timo Wermer, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech all finding their feet in English football.

Man United

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has built one of the most talented squads in the Premier League with the additions of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho during the transfer window.

The high-profile signings are a sign of intent from the Red Devils as they hope to launch a competitive title challenge against top-flight champions and rivals, Man City.

Sancho and Ronaldo will add an extra edge and provide competition for an already prolific attack of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial. Varane will add world-class experience at centre back to partner Harry Maguire. The French international will also provide further depth with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

With additional depth and competition, United should be more competitive in the 2021/22 season after falling 12 points short of the Premier League title last season.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s incoming transfers were overshadowed by the departure of some household names at the Bernabeau. Centre back duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane both departed after long-term careers at the club.

However, Los Blancos have made some clever signings to replace their outgoing players. The Spanish giants brought in experienced defender David Alaba for a free from Bayern Munich, and they signed sought-after prospect Eduardo Camavinga for £28 million from Rennes.

The pair bring European experience with them to Madrid. Alaba made over 400 appearances for Bayern, won 10 Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues. Despite being just 18-years-old Camavinga also arrives with plenty of top-level experience in Europe and Ligue 1. The centre-back already made 88 appearances for Rennes across three seasons and will likely continue to develop at the Bernabeau under Carlo Ancelotti.

The two signings show a shift from the Galactico years and the £100 million-plus spending on Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard. Instead, investment in Alaba and Camavinga shows a more frugal approach by Madrid to re-build a new squad with a blend of experience and youth.