Big names, big money and big clubs, yes its transfer time again. It is set to be a big European summer of sales from the biggest clubs letting go ailing stars and chasing new, young talent. It is also the last transfer window before FIFA's fair play rules come in where clubs are basically not allowed to spend more than they earn - so Manchester City may start slipping back down the ladder. Although the transfer window doesn't officially open until the first of July lets take a look at the deals that have already been done.
The biggest move so far? German shot stopper Manuel Neuer leaving his boy-hood club Schalke 04 for Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. The money involved I hear you ask? Although the deal will not be made official until the 1st of July when the transfer window opens, it is rumoured to be around the £20 million mark. What most people don't understand with football transfers - the casual football supporter - is that this £20 million is not what Neuer gets, this is the fee payed by Bayern Munich to Schalke 04 to secure Neuer's services for the next five years. Bayern Munich have also added Brazilian defender Rafinha to its squad after his unsuccessful stint at Genoa.
Staying with the Bundesliga, young Turkish international Nuri Sahin will be going to the Spanish capital to link up with Real Madrid after helping his team Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title. Sahin is not the biggest name in world football but if he can press his way into Mourinho's starting XI he will be well on his way to super stardom. Also leaving the Bundesliga will be Hamit Altintop, another Turkish international. He leaves Bayern Munich having won six titles with the club, but lets have a look at what he does best:
To the Serie A where champions AC Milan have bolstered their defence with the signings of Phillipe Mexes from Roma and Nigerian international Taye Taiwo. AC Milan have also secured the permanent services of Ghanian midfielder - and star of their 2010 World Cup campaign - Kevin-Prince Boateng. In Italy often clubs will buy players in a 'dual ownership' deal and this was the case for Boateng where both AC Milan and Genoa agreed on a 'dual ownership' deal for him from Portsmouth. To explain a 'dual/co-ownership' deal briefly, a team can offer to 'co-own' a player with a team bidding for a player, in this case Genoa put in a bid for Boateng, Milan offered co-ownership in which they payed the players wages for this season and Genoa except and let the player join Milan for a season. The clubs can then decide where the player will play next season with the help of the Italian football association. In this case AC Milan bought Boateng after a stellar season outright from Genoa. AC Milan however lost midfield maestro and club stalwart Andrea Pirlo to rival Juventus. Pirlo has signed for three years and looks to be a big signing for the Turin giant. Lazio have undoubtedly picked up what will be one of the bargains of the transfer window in Miroslav Klose. The German striker is renowned for his international goal scoring record (48 goals in 98 caps - 14 of those goals coming from the 19 games he has played at World Cups putting him only one goal behind Brazilian super striker Ronaldo) and will be going to Italy without a fee to his former club, Bayern Munich, because his contract expires on the 30th June.
Now to the English Premier League where Manchester United have finally got their target Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers in a deal expected to be worth £16.5 million. The 19 year old defender will link up with national team-mate Chris Smalling as understudies to the brilliant centre-half pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Fergie has landed yet another gem and this young lad is definitely one for the future. Another one for the future of England is Jordan Henderson who is currently taking part with both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the Under 21's European Championship. Liverpool have shelled out a fee of £16 million for the lad from Sunderland. Damian Comolli - Liverpool's director of Football - believes the youngster has the potential to be a star for club and country making him a vital signing for the understrength Liverpool squad.
Finally to the A-League where Gold Coast United has had an exodus of players. Jason Culina has left the club to link up with his Dad - who is Manager - of Newcastle Jets. Shane Smeltz has also left Gold Coast for Perth Glory in a lucrative deal. Bas Van Den Brink has joined Smeltz at Perth after an unsuccessful spell in the Korean League recently. Gold Coast however have made up for these losses only recently as they have got Olyroo (Olympic Football Team Under 23's) hopeful Dylan McGowan on loan from Scottish club Hearts and have landed Dutchman Paul Beekermans on recommendation from former player Bas Van Den Brink. Perth Glory look to be assembling a dominant squad as they added former Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller from Scottish giants Celtic. Miller will get the chance to play his former club straight away in a friendly match between the two sides on July 9th in Perth. Alex Brosque also left former club Sydney FC controversially after receiving a dream offer from Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse. Brosque however had every right to leave Sydney as he had a buy out clause in his contract that Shimizu met, leaving red-faced. Scouse legend Robbie 'God' Fowler has ended his career after leaving Perth Glory. The striker was expected to go round for one more season with new strike partner Shane Smeltz, but has cited a need to go back to England to be closer with family and friends for his exit. Melbourne Victory have lost captain and club legend Kevin Muscat to retirement. This will have players the league over breathing a sigh of relief after seven seasons of harsh tackling from the defending dynamo. Robbie Kruse reborn at Melbourne Victory has secured a deal with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2.Bundesliga. The A-League is also awaiting the decision of, arguably Australia's most talented player to ever grace the pitch, Harry Kewell. He has been linked with numerous clubs and could potentially rescue the A-League single handedly with his involvement on and off the pitch. Fingers crossed our Harry comes home for the adoring Australian public.
These are just some of the signings so far in what promises to be a spectacular summer sale. We are yet to see any signings from big-money-spending Manchester City, but that will change sooner rather than later as they pursue a number of targets as they look to strengthen their squad even further for Champions League football next season. Once again Arsenal are going to be put to the test as captain Cesc Fabregas is targeted by home-town club Barcelona for a dream move back. Wenger may be resigned to losing his star midfielder this time round as Fabregas wants silverware. Samir Nasri is another player that is potentially eyeing a move elsewhere, although he says it depends on Wenger's willingness to spend money on strengthening the squad, something he's not good at. So folks sit back and enjoy the ride as the silly season looks set to swing into gear in the coming weeks.