Money made it possible... for Man City and the ilk!
As clubs kick-start their campaigns and renew the battle for silverware with newly-acquired talents, Bikash Mohapatra looks at those that made the biggest noise in the transfer market across Europe.
The transfer window has closed, thereby ending a flurry of activity in the off-season.
With the new season underway (across Europe), it is time for clubs to kick-start their respective campaigns and renew the battle for silverware with their newly-acquired talents.
While the big ticket clubs have charted a predictable path, and expectedly made a couple of big acquisitions, Barcelona's purchase of Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez being a perfect example, it is the clubs with new-found wealth that have made the biggest moves.
These clubs, which were either underachievers or unknown entities before, have raised their heads, courtesy some freshly-infused cash. A higher evaluation, vis-a-vis the prevailing market price, has meant it doesn't take them long to convince players to join their ambition, which, in a couple cases at least, is to achieve success at the highest level.
Whether they succeed in their endeavour is a question best left for time to answer, but the effort towards that end cannot be counted out.
Rediff.com takes a look at the clubs that have made the biggest noise in the transfer market.
Nasri, Aguero have added to the Eastland stock
The 'second' Manchester club has constantly made the headlines in the last couple of years.
Ever since its purchase by the Abu Dhabi Group three years back, City have been on a signing spree. This year is no different. While Edin Dzeko joined the club during the January transfer window, helping the club to its first piece of silverware-- the FA Cup -- in 35 years, it was in the off-season that The Blues made the biggest acquisitions.
The list of players acquired ahead of the 2011-12 season makes for an impressive read: Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Stefan Savic and Costel Pantilimon. The purchases have meant City's summer spending surpassed the 75 million mark.
The club's chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, was himself involved in the negotiations with Atletico Madrid for Aguero and when the Argentine was bought for 38 million (approx.), he became the most expensive player in City's history, ahead of Robinho -- and second only to Chelsea's Fernando Torres in the Premier League.
The Eastlands club followed it up with another high-profile acquisition, getting Samir Nasri in a 23 million move from Arsenal.
The Frenchman became the second player from the North London club after Clichy to join City, even as the club resumed their pursuit to build on last season's third-place finish.
Image: Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero
Photographs: Getty Images
A change of management has done the trick for Roma
A change of management has ensured a fresh influx of cash and, consequently, a slew of purchases at the Rome club.
The Sensi family, that had owned AS Roma since 1993, relinquished control of the club last year as part of a debt-settlement agreement. The takeover, by the new holding company, NEEP Roma Holding S.p.A., happened in the close season and the new ownership immediately went on to make significant changes in the club.
Walter Sabatini was named as director of football and former Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique was appointed manager. What followed was a slew of big name signings.
While Enrique ensured the arrival of promising Barcelona player Bojan Krkic, midfielder Erik Lamela was purchased from Argentine club River Plate, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was bought from Dutch club Ajax, and striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was acquired from Spanish side Espanyol.
The club even got the services of unattached Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze while off-loading names such as John Arne Riise, Doni and Mirko Vucinic.
With the talismanic Francesco Totti leading the side, AS Roma can hope for success in the coming season.
Image: Bojan Prpic
Qatari investors have ensured big buys at PSG
Another case of a club's increase in purchase power, courtesy Qatari investors.
Paris Saint-Germain, who have done precious little since the mid-nineties, are suddenly making the headlines again for the right reasons.
With the backing of investors from Qatar, the club spent 86 million euros in the transfer market. A plethora of big names, nine to be precise, were signed on in a bid to regain lost glory.
Prince Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, whose Qatar Sports Investments owns 70 percent of the club now, took the first step when he convinced Brazilian Leonardo to leave his job as Inter Milan coach to oversee PSG's long-term plan for success as the director.
A record 42 million euros were splurged to acquire the services of talismanic Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore from Palermo. A further three million was shelled out to get Uruguay defender Diego Lugano from Turkish club Fenerbahce
French striker Kevin Gameiro, winger Jeremy Menez, midfielder Blaise Matuidi, Serbian centre back Milan Bisevac and Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu were among the other signings made by PSG in the transfer market.
Apart from the above acquisitions, the club also made an audacious bid to get the services of Man United forward Dimitar Berbatov and Diego Forlan (who joined Inter eventually).
With such massive expenditure incurred the club is targeting no less that its first Ligue 1 title since 1994.
Image: Javier Pastore
Malaga look to challenge the Real-Barca duopoly
In recent times, the Spanish league has been about just two clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid -- a duopoly, so to speak.
All the other clubs compete for third place, which guarantees a direct Champions League berth. However, this season one club will be trying to punch above its weight.
Malaga CF doesn't have a proud history to boast of. However, Qatari investor Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani's purchase of the club last year has ensured a complete overhaul.
Former Villarreal and Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini was entrusted the task of avoiding relegation last season and once the Chilean oversaw that, the owner wasted no time in ensuring him a supreme set of players.
While the January window witnessed the likes of Julio Baptista, Martin Demichelis and Ignacio Camacho joining the club, it has been a hectic off-season, to say the least, with no less than nine players signed, for approximately 60 million euros.
The addition of Joris Mathijsen (from Hamburg SV), Nacho Monreal (from Osasuna) and Sergio Sanchez (from Sevilla) has bolstered the defence of Los Boquerones, the midfield has been taken care of by the acquisitions of Jeremy Toulalan (from Lyon), Isco and Joaquin (both from Valencia), Diego Buonanotte (from River Plate) and Santi Cazorla (from Villarreal).
Pellegrini has also added to his forward line by brining Ruud Van Nistelrooy on a free transfer from Hamburg.
Besides that, there have been audacious bids for Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Javier Pastore and even Wesley Sneijder of Inter Milan.
Their spending has made the La Rosaleda club a Spanish Manchester City so to speak, their expenditure matching those of the Big Two.
If Malaga match up in terms of results as well only time will tell.
Image: Spanish singer Maria Villalon sings in front of pictures of Malaga's players (L-R) Joris Mathijsen, Diego Buonanotte, Jeremy Toulalan, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ignacio Monreal, Joaquin
From Russia, with money
Many of you might not have heard the name before.
But fact remains that the Russian clubs was one of the most active participants in the transfer market this year. Purchased by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov at the start of the year, the club is splashing cash in zillions to ensure itself an identity in an already overcrowded field.
The first step to this effect was taken this February when former World Cup winner Roberto Carlos was signed by the club. This was followed by the acquisition of Moroccan Mbark Boussoufa from Anderlecht, thereby completing what was a good start in the winter transfer market.
The acquisitions continued in the summer. Highly-rated Hungarian midfielder Balazs Dzsudzsak was signed from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven in a reportedly 14 million euros switch. Russian midfielder Yuri Zhirkov was acquired from Chelsea.
And last month, the club made their thus far biggest purchase when they secured the services of Samuel Eto'o.
The Cameroonian striker was signed for around 28 million euros from Inter Milan as Anzhi made one thing clear, that they will make further additions once the winter transfers start.
Image: Samuel Eto'o