Transfer window without mega-deal

Unsettled star Neymar will remain at Paris Saint-Germain at least until January when the transfer window reopens. The 27-year-old Brazilian is seeking a return to Barcelona and has been linked with Real Madrid. PHOTO: REUTERS
Unsettled star Neymar will remain at Paris Saint-Germain at least until January when the transfer window reopens. The 27-year-old Brazilian is seeking a return to Barcelona and has been linked with Real Madrid. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • The transfer window shut gently in much of Europe on Monday, with a flurry of loan deals instead of the bang of a mega-move.

Several big-name players changed clubs on loans, including Mauro Icardi moving to Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan and Nikola Kalinic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan going out to Roma from Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.

The biggest names among the permanent transfers were a pair of Central American veterans: Keylor Navas and Javier Hernandez.

The closure of the window also brought to an end to the saga surrounding Neymar, who will stay at PSG having failed to get the move back to Barcelona he craved.

He had also been linked with Real Madrid, but the Brazilian will have to wait till at least the January window for a move.

The 27-year-old has not done nearly enough at the Parc des Princes in two seasons marred by injuries and off-field distractions.

The party boy has never learnt French and has often appeared too busy with non-football activities, including throwing lavish birthday parties and making a cameo appearance in his favourite Netflix series.

PSG fans have made clear their unhappiness towards Neymar though his coach Thomas Tuchel was more supportive.

"I like Neymar. I want to keep playing with him, with Kylian (Mbappe) and with everyone," he said recently.

Real did complete a deal with PSG though, but it was the 32-year-old backup goalkeeper Navas of Costa Rica heading to Paris. The 26-year-old French international custodian Alphonse Areola moved in the opposite direction on loan.

PSG also pulled a surprise with the loan signing of Icardi "with an option to buy". The Argentinian striker was joint-top scorer in Serie A in 2017-18 but, amid a series of disputes, he was stripped of the Inter Milan captaincy last season and barred from full training.

Even without a deadline-day blockbuster, Spanish La Liga clubs spent a record €1.3 billion (S$2 billion) on players, including Eden Hazard, Rodri and Ferland Mendy to Real, Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona and Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid.

Mexican striker Hernandez, 31, joined Sevilla from West Ham on a three-year deal for a reported £7.3 million (S$12.2 million).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'Transfer window without mega-deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe