This past summer transfer window once again saw clubs from the English Premier League spend a combined total of 1.1 Billion pounds. We saw the likes of Jack Grealish end his 20 year relationship with Aston Villa, where he headed north to the blue side of Manchester for a huge sum of 100 million pounds. As we know strikers are the transfers that always capture the imagination of the fans around the world and this summer window did not disappoint. I will cover the two transfers that I am hugely invested in and can not wait to watch how these two players will transform their sides this season. Both Chelsea and Manchester United will see the return of their “Prodigal Sons” in the form of Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo. For the past ten years the transfer dealings around the world have made me question everything about the sport I love.
Even though both set of respective fans are chanting the return of these players, I can’t help but see a tale of two sides. On one hand you have the very clinical and sterile version of football to what we as fans are growing accustomed to, and then you have the romance, theatrical drama filled sonnet that was what we all fell in love with and gravitated towards. Before you move on, just for a second think about those two tales that I have presented. Which setting do you prefer? And what it means to you.
Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku from Belgian First Division Club Anderlecht as an 18yr old in 2011 for an initial fee of 10 million pounds, which was expected to rise to 17 million with included add ons. Romelu went on to make 10 first team league appearances for Chelsea between 2011 and 2014 for zero goals scored.
To Romelu’s credit he was sent out on loan during the 2012-2013 season to West Bromich Albion where he scored 17 Premier League goals in 35 games, then again in the 2013-2014 season to Everton where he notched up 15 Premier League goals in 31 games. That loan season with Everton earned him a permanent deal costing Everton a 28 million pound transfer fee. So even though he was rather successful during his loan spells, he was hardly a success for Chelsea and in no way would Chelsea fans have considered him to be a favourite. Since officially leaving Chelsea he has gone on to have scored 128 league goals across the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A in 248 League games. In his time away from Chelsea he has won himself 17 individual honours and a Serie A League Title with Inter Milan this past season (2020-2021).
In response to his success Chelsea have decided to bring back Romelu on a 5 year contract rumoured to be worth around 200,000 pounds per week and the transfer alone has put Chelsea back 95 million pounds.
Now since Chelsea was bought by Russian Oligarch Roman Abromovich, the loyalty inside football especially English football for me died. For me this transfer is just typical of the modern era, buy a player who is meant to be a future star, when he doesn’t become an instant hit sell him for a profit and then when he becomes world class buy him for a record price as you knew all along he would be a great player.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo who signed for Manchester United in the Summer of 2003 as an 18 year old from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon for a fee of 12.24 million pounds. Between 2003 and 2009 he amassed 84 Premier League goals in 196 league appearances.
Individually whilst at Manchester United he won the 2008 Ballon d’Or, 2008 FIFA World Player of The Year, 2007-2008 European Golden Shoe, PFA Player’s Player of the year 2006-2007 & 2007-2008, Premier League Player of the Season 2006-2007 & 2007-2008 and Premier League Golden Boot 2007-2008. So it is safer to say he was the more successful of the two individually. Not just personal silverware was won but he was also apart of 9 major club trophies including 3 English Premier League Titles in a row 2006-2007,2007-2008, 2008-2009 and the 2007-2008 European Champions League.
His transfer away from United was a heartbreaking one for the club as he had become a fan favourite and his move from boy to man was beginning. Real Madrid pried him away from the club in a record for its time of 80 million pound fee. His record post United speaks for himself, scoring 392 league goals in 390 league games for Real Madrid and Juventus. His personal and club honours are outstanding 43 awards combined.
Now a reported total fee of 20 million which includes add ons and bonuses is what was reported to have cost Manchester is nothing to shy at but the transfer comes at a time when one of the greatest players of all time is returning home to a club that helped make him the player he is today. It is no secret that the club has fallen from grace since the retirement of Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but the signing of CR7 has raised everyone associated with the club from far and wide. His second debut on the weekend against fellow strugglers Newcastle, Old Trafford was the loudest I have heard it in years. A fairytale return which saw him bag two goals in the process was amazing, but seeing as he has transformed himself into perhaps the greatest striker of all time a goal on return was always on the card.
I know so many of you will say this is the writing of a one eyed fan boy and yes I will not argue or even try and sway your opinion, but just look at the two transfers. One was sold for a world record fee and returned to help the club that made him whilst the other was sold for a 11 million pound profit but bought back for a club record fee. I have no doubt that Lukaku and Chelsea will be successful, but it just shows that football has become a place of employment, no emotion or loyalty. Players like Lukaku told to go away and only come back when someone else has put the time and effort into you and then we will welcome you back like you were always on of us. Have a google search, you will find Lukaku celebrating scoring against Chelsea, whereas with Cristiano never celebrated or taunted the fans that loved him. That just shows with the reception he has being given world world upon his return home. Manchester United’s ability to win trophies with the second coming of Ronaldo will undoubtedly be the yard stick for the success of the transfer, but to me and many millions of fans the transfer has been successful. It has brought back the passion and drama to a sport that was losing touch with reality and the reason why we love this game.
My advice to Romelu, don’t stop scoring because if you do then that door would be opened for you once again.
Until next time. Thanks for reading.