Millennium Post

Big catches in transfer frenzy

MARIO BALOTELL (AC Milan to Liverpool; £16 million)
Following a challenging two-year spell in Milan, maverick striker Balotelli returned to England, where he previously played for Manchester City. Renowned as much for his erratic off-pitch behaviour as for his footballing ability, the 24-year old Italy striker has been signed to help fill the void created by the departure of Luis Suarez.

DIEGO COSTA (Atletico Madrid to Chelsea; £32 million*)
Bruising Brazil-born striker Costa, 25, joined Chelsea after firing Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title last season with 27 goals. Had a chastening experience at the World Cup with adopted country Spain, but has scored four goals in his first three appearances for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

ELIAQUIM MANGALA (Porto to Manchester City; £32 million)
Despite a spending cap imposed on them by UEFA for contravening Financial Fair Play regulations, Manchester City found the funds to bring France centre-back Mangala to the Etihad Stadium. The 23-year-old spent three years at Porto, winning two league titles, and has played three times for France.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ (Barcelona to Arsenal; £30 million)

Twelve months after smashing their transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil, Arsenal flexed their financial muscles again with a move for Chile’s star forward Sanchez. The 25-year-old provided the first return on the investment when he scored the goal against Besiktas that took Arsenal into the Champions League group phase.

CESC FABREGAS (Barcelona (ESP) to Chelsea; £30 million)
After a mixed three years with Barcelona, 27-year-old former Arsenal captain Fabregas has returned to the Premier League with Chelsea. The Spain midfielder has been quick to settle, notably producing an exquisite assist for Andre Schuerrle in Chelsea’s opening 3-1 victory at Burnley.

ROMELU LUKAKU (Chelsea to Everton; £28 million)
Amid renewed competition for places at Chelsea, 21-year-old Belgium striker Lukaku elected to join Everton on a permanent basis, having scored 16 goals while on loan at Goodison Park last season. Everton broke their club record to sign him, but manager Roberto Martinez said he was ‘worth every penny’.

LUKE SHAW Southampton to Man Utd; £27 million (rising to £31 m)

After a fine 2013-14 campaign, which saw him supplant Ashley Cole in the England squad, 19-year-old left-back Shaw joined United in a move that made him become the fourth-most expensive defender in history. Currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

ADAM LALLANA (Southampton to Liverpool; £25 million)

Another Southampton player who sought pastures new after breaking into the England squad, attacking midfielder Lallana left St Mary’s after eight years of service. The versatile, two-footed 26-year-old is yet to make his debut after injuring his knee in pre-season.

RADAMEL FALCAO Monaco to Man Utd; £6 million* (loan)
United pulled off a stunning coup on the last day of the transfer window by signing prolific Colombia striker Falcao on a season-long loan with an option for a permanent £43 million transfer. The 28-year-old could form a devastating three-pronged attack alongside Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
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