The 2017/18 transfer window (including both the summer window of 2017 and January of 2018) changed the market forever. Record signings were made, players flopped and others exceeded every expectation. 15 clubs spent over €100 million that season alone, comparing to eight clubs this year. Four years on, here’s a look at some of the biggest signings from that season.
2017/18 Transfer Window: Four Years On
The Brazilian shocked the world in August of 2017 by completing a move to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million. He is still, to this day, the most expensive signing ever. Injuries and controversy have plagued Neymar ever since he joined the French side, but when he has played he’s been nothing less than brilliant. In just over a century of games for PSG (103), the number 10 has found the back of the net 83 times and created a further 47 goals for his teammates.
Neymar was instrumental in bringing PSG to their first-ever Champions League final last season. His 20 goals in Europe place him in second place of top scorers in UEFA competitions for the club, already on par with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Neymar has recently revealed his desire to sign an extension with PSG.
When he arrived at Barcelona in January of 2018, Philippe Coutinho was given the near-impossible task of replacing Neymar. The expectation and the heavy €144 million price tag on his shoulders proved to be too much for the Brazilian. It never quite worked out for him in Spain and was loaned out to Bayern Munich the next season.
His spell in Germany was more successful as he won the treble with the record champions, even scoring twice in the Champions League against his parent club, Barcelona. It wasn’t enough to earn him a permanent move though, and Coutinho returned to Barcelona at the beginning of this season. Currently injured, the number 14 has reportedly played his last game for the Spanish giants. Koeman is reportedly desperate to sell Coutinho to avoid paying an appearances bonus to Liverpool.
Very few players in history have had careers similar to Mohamed Salah‘s. The Egyptian international was considered to be an average Premier League player at Chelsea. He enjoyed a couple of good seasons in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma before earning a move back to England with Liverpool.
Then, seemingly overnight, Salah became a football superstar. His impact at Liverpool was instant, as he formed arguably the best front three at the time with Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool’s number 10 led his side to their first Champions League final in more than a decade, won it the next year and helped the club win their first-ever Premier League title.
In terms of individual accolades, Salah has been awarded the Golden Boot twice. His 32-goal campaign in 2017/18 holds the record for the number of goals in a 38-game season. With a €42 million transfer fee, Mohamed Salah has a case for being one of the best bargains in football history.
While Kylian Mbappé was officially bought by PSG in 2018/19, the Frenchman was loaned out to them during the 2017/18 transfer window. Joining newly arrived Neymar in this new look Paris side, Mbappé quickly showed why he was dubbed as the best teenager of his generation. Now only 22, the French international is already the third-best goalscorer in the history of the club, recently surpassing Pedro Miguel Pauleta.
Mbappé formed a fearsome partnership with Neymar, winning ten trophies for their club in just four seasons. The young star adds to his already impressive resume two seasons as Ligue 1’s top scorer as well as PSG’s player of the year in 2018/19. Mbappé’s record with France is also quite spectacular, winning the World Cup and the French Footballer of the Year award at 19 years of age. PSG completed the permanent signing for Mbappé in 2018/19 for a fee of €145 million.
Virgil van Dijk (€ 84.65 million from Southampton to Liverpool) became the most expensive defender ever at the time. He was a crucial factor in Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League winning sides. Van Dijk is now regarded as the best defender in the world.
Manchester City‘s defence (around €250 million), composing of Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Ederson. Those five players were brought in to completely revamp Pep Guardiola’s backline. While Mendy and Danilo weren’t the biggest successes, City’s expensive gamble paid off as the club went on to win back-to-back titles. They became the first side in Premier League history to achieve 100 points.
Ousmane Dembélé (€140 million from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona) was one of the most coveted teenagers in world football. His performances at Borussia Dortmund earned him a move to Spain a few weeks after Neymar’s departure. Unfortunately for him, injuries have kept him from playing consistently. The Frenchman has had a few good spells with Barcelona, but he is yet to live up to his price tag, ranking him at number four in terms of most expensive transfers ever.
Other Notable Transfers