The summer transfer window of 2022 saw us become Europe’s joint-third biggest spenders, tied with Manchester City and behind Newcastle United and Manchester United.
Across seven transfers, we spent £114M, with five players coming immediately into our first-team.
Our first deal was to complete the transfer of 16-year-old Australian/Spanish/English winger Francisco Jesús Rey from League Two outfit Bolton Wanderers.
Rey joined for a fee of £475,000 following the club’s relegation from the third tier where he made two substitute appearances.
Just four days later, we completed another development signing by bringing in another Francisco, this time for a £400,000 fee from Atlético Madrid.
The 18-year-old featured 30 times for Atlético Madrileño in the U19 Division 1 Group 7, scoring twice and assisting five times from centre midfield.
However, due to Brexit, Francisco was unable to fulfill the correct parameters for a UK work permit so he will spend the 2022/23 campaign in the Segunda División with Numancia.
The first first-team signing of the summer was the decision to bring Uruguayan midfielder Nahitan Nández into the club for a fee of £12.5M from Serie A club Cagliari.
Nández, 26, made 118 appearances for Cagliari over the three years he spent in Sardinia. It is likely that Nández is to be a replacement for Luke Ayling, who was subject to a publicly-known bid from Brentford.
The 52-time international has been linked with us throughout Bielsa’s term at the club but never came to fruition. As well as being a natural midfielder, Nández can also play as a right wing-back.
We bolstered the centre of our defence as we intend to continue with our three-at-the-back system. Edson Álvarez was the first centre-back through the door, signing from Ajax for a fee of £24M, potentially rising to £28M.
Álvarez started his career with Club América in Mexico before a move to the Netherlands to link up with the Dutch champions Ajax. At Ajax, he won the Eredivisie twice as well as the domestic cup.
At 24, he has already made 62 international appearances for Mexico and was part of the Gold Cup winning squad of 2019.
With a lack of affordable options in the transfer market for versatile wingers, we turned to the domestic loan market to bring in Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi for the season. Chelsea also demanded that we insert a £77million option-to-buy at any point during the spell but with our finances, it is unlikely that we will activate that.
Hudson-Odoi was a bit-part player for Chelsea last season, only making 7 starts in all competitions in addition to 13 substitute appearances. The 21-year-old scored 3 goals and assisted 2 times out of these appearances.
Our biggest deal of the window was undoubtedly the £40M deal bringing Dušan Vlahović from Fiorentina.
The Serbian has grown a reputation as one of the hottest prospects in European football throughout his time in Italy. He scored 47 goals in 88 appearances whilst at Artemio Franchi in Florence.
The transfer may rise by another £18.5M based on performance metrics but we are delighted to have an outstanding player to compete with Andrea Petagna and Joe Gelhardt following the latter’s return from his loan spell at Nottingham Forest.
Our only movement on Deadline Day was to bring in Sporting’s young centre-back Gonçalo Inácio for £30M, brought in following Liam Cooper’s loan move to Ajax which will become a permanent £4.1M transfer if the Eredivisie favourites win their title.
Inácio was a Sporting academy graduate and was handed his debut under Rúben Amorim, leading to 81 appearances in just two years for the 21-year-old.
Along with Álvarez, Llorente, Struijk and possibly Charlie Cresswell via the academy, we have a solid back-line with good back-ups at our disposal.
On the departures side, we let two senior players go from the Championship days at the end of their contracts with Adam Forshaw leaving to Hull City and 29-year-old full-back Laurens De Bock - who had not featured since 2018 (pre-Bielsa) - joined Amiens.
Hélder Costa returned from his unsuccessful Valencia loan without the LaLiga side wanting to activate their option to buy, leading to his transfer-listing here, where Fenerbahçe picked the Portuguese winger up for £3.8M. This kick-started the sale of two other loaned-out players as Tyler Roberts departed for £5.5M to Anderlecht and disgraced goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to Dynamo Moscow for £575,000.
Club icon Luke Ayling finally ended his six-year stay at the club, joining fellow Premier League side Brentford for £5M. This was followed by another Premier League side coming in for Rhys Healey whose form had dipped after January. He joined West Ham for £3M.
The biggest deal going out of the door was the sale of Dan James to Borussia Dortmund, leaving for £19M. Last season, James only made six starts and 17 substitute appearances as he scored only two goals and created one goal. This meant he was underwhelming considering the £25M that we paid in 2021, it seemed the correct decision to sell before his valuation decreased any more.
The final two deals were loans for our senior players as Rodrigo heads to Ligue 1’s Nice who have a £5.5M mandatory fee to pay if he makes 25 league appearances. Similarly, Liam Cooper has a £4.1M mandatory fee in place with Ajax if they win the Eredivisie title.
16 players have departed on loan, mainly from the U23s with the most significant moves being Lewis Bate, Max Dean, Stuart McKinstry, Leif Davis, Crysencio Summerville and Alfie McCalmont to Blackpool, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Bolton, Midtjylland and PAOK respectively.
He instilled the system so well beforehand, it would have changed the entire dynamic to tear it away from this squad, credit to Don Marcelo on that one