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Transfer Talk: From Rice to Messi & more – the top moves of the week

Silly season is well underway with the 2023 summer transfer window already producing a mind-blowing array of big-money moves.

There is another intriguing layer to the transfer rumour mill this year, with Saudi Arabian clubs on a mission to sign as many ‘big names’ as possible.

We’ve scoured last week’s transfers to identify the standout moves, starting with one player who looks a tad overpriced.

Declan Rice – West Ham United to Arsenal – £100m

Arsenal’s top 10 list of record signings suggests Declan Rice could be on a hiding to nothing after completing his £100 million move from West Ham United.

The Gunners have a patchy record when it comes to major transfers, and their huge outlay on the England midfielder is a big gamble by the club.

Rice often goes missing in big games and will need to improve if he is to succeed with Arsenal. As things stand, there are probably better ways to spend £100m.

Lionel Messi – Paris Saint-Germain to Inter Miami – Free

Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami was finally confirmed last week to put the seal on the end of his glittering spell in European football.

He resisted the temptation to join the Saudi Arabian gravy train to head to Major League Soccer, where he will undoubtedly be a big hit.

In a bid to stay relevant, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed the Saudi Pro League is ‘much better’ than MLS after Messi’s move was announced. He really is insufferable, isn’t he?  

Pau Torres – Villarreal to Aston Villa – £33m

When Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard as Aston Villa manager, the club was in a mess. Less than a year later, they are genuine top six contenders.

Villa’s £33m purchase of centre-back Pau Torres from Villarreal could help them achieve their aims, with the Spaniard one of the top defenders in Europe.

He helped Villarreal win the Europa League under Emery in 2021 – do not be surprised to see the pair lift more silverware together at Villa.

Jurrien Timber – Ajax to Arsenal – £34m

While Arsenal appear to have paid well over the odds for Rice, they may have bagged a transfer bargain by signing Jurrien Timber from Ajax for £34m.

The 22-year-old was linked with several top European clubs, but the Gunners have offered him a bumper salary package to tempt him to the Premier League.

Timber’s ability on the ball should make him an ideal fit for Mikel Arteta’s style of play, while his versatility is a bonus.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – Lazio to Al-Hilal – £34m

Having spent the last few years being linked with moves to most of Europe’s top leagues, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has completed a £34m transfer to Saudi Arabia.

While the Serbian has been a standout performer for Lazio in recent seasons, there has always been the suspicion that he enjoys being a big fish in a small pond.

On that basis, switching Serie A for a sub-standard domestic competition makes perfect sense. He will not be missed.

Christian Pulisic – Chelsea to AC Milan

It does not seem too long ago that Christian Pulisic was hailed as ‘the next big thing’, but his time at Chelsea was extremely underwhelming.

His £20m switch to AC Milan will not end up being one of the most expensive transfers this summer but could prove good business for the Serie A giants.

Pulisic still has plenty of time to fulfil his potential, and Milan may well be the ideal place for him to reignite his career.

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