Weekly Transfer Wrap Up – August 23rd to August 29th

The Blog FC looks back on this week’s confirmed deals in another transfer wrap up. Don’t worry about the click-bait rumours, we’ve only got the real stuff.

The close of the transfer window is getting even closer, with Deadline Day only a few days away, and there have been some record-breaking moves this week – as well as a couple of bargains.

Manchester United have signaled their intent to return to the European elite after finally signing Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria for £59.7m. Fresh from winning La Decima with the Spanish giants and a World Cup runners-up medal with Argentina, the winger joins the Red Devils for a British record fee. The 26-year-old has signed a five-year deal, replacing Chelsea striker Fernando Torres as the most expensive player in the history of the English game.

He joins a United side desperate to turn things around after a less than impressive start to Louis Van Gaal’s reign has left the club with one point from the opening two league games and League Cup elimination after a sensational 4-0 loss to MK Dons. Question marks remain over his role in Van Gaal’s much-vaunted 3-5-2 formation, but his undeniable talent makes him a key signing nonetheless. If United are to return to their perch, they better pray Di Maria is capable of the kind of miracles befitting his first name.

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Down the East Lancs Road, Liverpool made headlines of their own; signing Italian International and prodigal son Mario Balotelli from boyhood club AC Milan. The ex-Manchester City striker returns to the North West having scored 30 goals in 54 games for I Rossoneri, whose 8th-placed finish and financial difficulties opened the door for Balotelli’s exit. If he can find the temperament to match his obvious talent then Liverpool may have the bargain of the century after agreeing a £16m fee for the player.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o has joined Everton on a free transfer after his contract with Chelsea expired in July. He has signed a 2-year deal, linking up with another former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who the Merseysiders signed for £28m earlier in the window.

Leicester City have made arguably the unlikeliest of the week’s signings; securing the services of Champions League winner and former Inter Milan captain Esteban Cambiasso. The 34-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the newly-promoted side and may make his debut against Arsenal this weekend.

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Wilfred Zaha has rejoined Crystal Palace on loan, after Manchester United bought him from the Eagles for £15m in 2013. He will link up with manager Neil Warnock, who has also returned to the London club for a second spell in charge after leaving the club in 2010 when they went into administration.

England international Michael Dawson has signed for Hull City from Tottenham after nine years in North London. The defender made 324 appearances for Spurs and leaves for a reported £3.5m fee. Liverpool youngster Jack Robinson has signed a four-year contract at QPR, but will be sent on loan to Championship side Huddersfield. Dawson is replaced by Federico Fazio, with the Argentine signing from Spanish side Sevilla.

Modibo Maiga has left West Ham, joining Metz on loan, and Giorgios Samaras is joining the Premier League having signed for West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. The Greek international became a cult hero in Celtic, and Baggies fans will be hoping he can keep them up this season.

On the continent, Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas has joined Italian runners-up Roma for £10.3m. He replaces the 27-year-old Moroccan Mehdi Benatia, who has signed for German champions Bayern Munich despite interest from England.

Bayern Munich have pulled off another big signing, with both clubs confirming today that Xabi Alonso will officially be moving to the Allianz Arena for a reported €5m. The Bernabeu club confirmed the move in an official statement, saying “Real Madrid CF and Bayern Munich have reached an agreement for the transfer of the player Xabi Alonso,” while Bayern Munich announced it on their Twitter.

Following the injuries to Thiago Alcantara, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, Bayern’s Sporting Director Matthias Sammer said that Alonso fit in with what the club were looking for. “After the injuries of Thiago and Schweinsteiger we have been looking for someone who could help us immediately. And Xabi Alonso could play on top level for two years.”

Jimmy Briand has also moved to the Bundesliga, signing for Hannover from French side Lyon.

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Liverpool youngster Kristoffer Peterson has moved to the Netherlands, signing with Tommy Oar’s FC Utrecht after impressing in pre-season. Andres Guardado is also headed to Holland, with the Mexican international being loaned from Valencia to PSV Eindhoven.

USA Men’s National Team star Jermaine Jones (who scored this worldy in Brazil – or “banged this G” according to Clint “Deuce” Dempsey) has headed home in another coup for Major League Soccer, joining New England Revolution from Besiktas. Former Aston Villa man Nigel Reo-Coker was involved in a swap deal with Mauro Rosales, with the ex-Premier League midfielder swapping Vancouver for Chivas USA, and Rosales going the other way.

Closer to home Alessandro Del Piero has finally found a new club. The Juventus, Italy and Sydney FC legend has joined Delhi Dynamos in the Indian League, joining the likes of Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg and Luis Garcia.