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Summer transfer window: Who is going where?

As Europe continues to drown in an economic recession that shows no sign of abating, the football transfer market is set to defy the trend again, as major clubs look to reshape their squads for new domestic and continental challenges.

Due to Euro 2012, it has been a slower start than most summers in the market but there have still been some eye-catching deals from La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A sides.

Alba signals Barcelona’s intent

The acquisition of talented left back Jordi Alba from Valencia for approximately £14 million states Barcelona’s intent. They want their trophies back.

In the post Pep Guardiola era, Tito Vilanova will want to stamp his authority on the world class squad and the signing of Alba eliminates a weak link in the squad, ever since Eric Abidal had to undergo a liver transplant earlier in the year.

Whilst champions Real Madrid and more surprisingly, free spending Malaga have remained quiet so far, Europa League winners Atletico Madrid are desperate to end years of constant domestic underachievement.

The Vicente Calderon stadium will be the new home for three players at the moment, only costing a £1 million between them. That was spent on Daniel Diaz with the 32-year-old moving from Getafe after six years and 165 games for his previous club.

Los Colchoneros have also brought in experience Turkish midfielder Emre from Fenerbache and Cristian Rodriguez arrives from FC Porto, both on free transfers. In the meantime, Antonio Lopez has ended 11 years of loyal service and moved to Real Mallorca on a two year deal.

Lastly the exodus has begun at relegated Villarreal, with Diego Lopez moving to Sevilla and defender Ivan Marcano heading to Rubin Kazan for £5 million.

The team has had a shattering season and is still coming to terms with the sudden death of Manuel Preciado. Preciado, who had been fired by Sporting Gijon in January, had just been appointed coach when he suffered a heart attack and passed away on June 6.

Busy Bundesliga

With the German national team doing so well at international level, it’s hardly surprising that the Bundesliga is getting more competitive and with it, more recognised.

Money has been spent frequently in the first month of the window, with Champions League finalists Bayern Munich showing no shyness in spending the cash.

They have already added six players to their squad roster, including £13 million on Croatian hotshot Mario Mandzukic, £10 million spent to bring Swiss talent Xherdan Shaqiri to the Allianz Arena and Claudio Pizarro has made an emotional return on a Bosman from Werder Bremen.

Defending champions Borussia Dortmund might do well to hold onto their stars but they have acquired the services of Marco Reus from Monchengladbach for £17.5 million and striker Julian Schieber from VFB Stuttgart.

Schalke 04 finished third last season and have made the loan deal for Nigerian Chinedu Obasi a permanent move. He comes in from 1899 Hoffenheim. There was a fond farewell to legendary Spanish striker Raul, who will finish his career playing in Qatar for Al-Sadd SC.

Former Liverpool great Sami Hyypia has taken over at Bayer Leverkusen and is changing the guard at the BayArena. Goalkeeper Rene Adler has moved to Hamburg SV with his contract having expired and fans favourite Michael Ballack has also been released from his second spell with the club.

There are plenty of high-profile free agents, with Tim Borowski, Tranquillo Barnetta, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Mikael Silvestre all looking for new clubs after being released at the end of last season by their German sides.

Sleepy Serie A

Despite Italy’s passage into the Euro 2012 finals, the Italian game is in the midst of a match-fixing scandal and has lost creditability within European competition too.

So much so, the Bundesliga has overtaken Serie A in the league coefficients, meaning there can only be a maximum of three Italian competitors in the Champions League this season.

Juventus returned to the top as champions after several years in the wilderness. Head coach Antonio Conte has already spent nearly £20 million on Sebastian Giovinco and Martin Caceres.

Giovinco had been on a co-ownership agreement between Parma and Juve and had scored 15 times for Parma last season. The Serie A winners have paid £11 million to ensure 100 per cent owning rights to the 25-year-old attacking midfielder.

After a desperate season which saw them closer to the relegation zone than the top four for much of it, Inter Milan made a late surge to ensure Europa League football in the coming campaign.

Inter have already signed Fredy Guarin from FC Porto and Rodrigo Palacio has exited the revolving door that seems to operate every season at Genoa. The two deals have cost the former European champions the best part of £22 million.

AC Milan might have been relatively sleepy in the market but have bolstered the midfield ranks at the San Siro with the signing of midfielder Ricardo Montolivo on a free transfer from Fiorentina.

Rest of the world

The Dutch league has seen plenty of comings and goings.

There hasn’t been any significant activity from Eredevisie champions Ajax but PSV Eindhoven brought Mark van Bommel back after his contract expired at AC Milan and Mathias Jorgensen arrives at the Phillips Stadion from FC Copenhagen.

Steve McClaren has cashed in on Ola John. The 20-year-old has moved to Benfica for £9 million and McLaren has spent £7.7 million of that on Serbian Dusan Tadic, with the midfielder joining from Groningen.

Montpellier ended up the surprise champions of the LFP in France and strengthened their squad despite the departure of striker Olivier Giroud. Daniel Congre comes in from Toulouse on a free transfer and Anthony Mounier is a £3.5 million capture from Nice.

The biggest domestic deal in the French game so far is Marvin Martin’s move from Sochaux to Lille, with Rudi Garcia spending a quarter of the money received from Eden Hazard’s move to Champions League winners Chelsea.

Lastly, fans of FC Sion in Switzerland can look forward to Gennaro Gattuso (pictured) playing for them this season. The volatile defensive midfielder has joined from AC Milan after a potential return to Rangers collapsed, following the Glasgow’s club well-documented financial difficulties.

Some big moves have happened already and when it has to be considered that oil rich Malaga and PSG have made no movements so far, there is bound to be plenty of money spent in the coming months between the main European superpowers.

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

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