At the time of writing this article, the transfer window is slowly edging to a close. Some clubs are in a strong position having completed the bulk, if not all, of their business earlier in the summer.
There are also, however, clubs that still have a lot of work to do in order to strengthen their playing options. These clubs will come under increasing pressure from their fans to find solutions in the market.
The issue is that late business in the window comes at a cost. Late signings are often the result of a change in circumstances either from the buying or selling club or from the player.
While there are, of course, times that this can lead to value for the buying club — especially in the event that the price of a player suddenly becomes more affordable than initially thought — There are also times in which these late moves can be rushed with a lack of work put into the player in question.
At times, especially in the summer transfer window, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the moves that are made. While the most high-profile players will move clubs surrounded by a buzzing hive of media interest, there are always players who will move that are more under the radar.
The purpose of this article is to shine a spotlight on five of the more under-the-radar transfer deals that we have seen so far this summer.
Firstly, though, some housekeeping. In this article, we will use pizza charts to visualise the player data. All data is taken from Wyscout and converted into percentile ranks in order to visualise the data fully.
#1 Mohamed Camara, 22 years old, Central Midfielder, RB Salzburg to Monaco
First of all, we have the 22-year-old Malian international midfielder, Mohamed Camara. Monaco are well known for identifying and signing young, promising players and they may well have got a bargain with the reported £13.5M fee that they have paid to the Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg to secure Camara’s signature.
Red Bull Salzburg are, of course, a side in their own right who are well known for the identification and development of young players. Camara had moved to Austria directly from Mali and had played for Liefering, the feeder club for RB Salzburg in the Austrian second tier, before going on loan to Hartberg and then breaking into the first-team at Salzburg.
Camara is perhaps best described as a ‘6’ or a controller at the base of the midfield, but he can also play as an ‘8’ in the more advanced areas.
Camara is capable of playing effectively in all phases of the game. Against the ball, he can break up the play and get into areas in order to block passing lanes and prevent the opposition from being able to play forward into advanced areas. He controls the space in front of his side’s defensive line and stops the opposition from progressing the ball centrally.He is also, however, more than capable of playing progressively with the ball. He is extremely press resistant and capable of taking possession under pressure. He is also a strong ball progressor who is comfortable either stepping through the midfield with the ball at his feet or finding driven through passes that break the lines and find the striker.
As you can see from his pizza chart, with data from the 2021/22 Austrian season, Camara is very capable in possession of the ball and he was in the 98th percentile for passes per 90, the 97th percentile for progressive actions and the 94th percentile for dangerous passes.
We fully expect Mohamed Camara to become an important player for Monaco this season coming.
#2 Xaver Schlager, 24 years old, Central Midfielder, Wolfsburg to RB Leipzig
There are few deals this summer that make more sense on first viewing than the move made by the Austrian international midfielder Xaver Schlager from Wolfsburg to RB Leipzig.
Schlager perhaps profiles best as a box-to-box midfielder who really thrives in moments of transition. In this sense, he is a midfield player who is very much created in the mould of Red Bull football. He is a product of the RB Salzburg youth system, and it was somewhat surprising when the destination of his 2019 move to Germany was Wolfsburg and not RB Leipzig.
Schlager is at his best when the game is stretched. He is active and capable against the ball with a great engine. He can press aggressively, and when pressing, his angle of approach is very good. He will engage opposition players aggressively to look to win the ball back as quickly as possible.
In possession, Schlager is vertical and direct in his style. He likes to play forward as quickly as possible looking for the opportunity to break the last line and release attacking players behind the defensive line. This does not mean, however, that he is incapable of being technical in the midfield. He can slow the game down and control the tempo of the match through short passes and intelligent movement off the ball.
It is interesting to note from his pizza chart that Schlager actually performed well in terms of midfield carries. He was in the 83rd percentile of all Bundesliga midfielders for carries on the pitch. He is capable of driving centrally and moving the team into advanced areas. His passing and ball progression was generally lower than we might have expected but this is more to do with the lack of effective possession that Wolfsburg enjoyed last season.
We expect to see Xaver Schlager acting as an important player in the RB Leipzig midfield this season.
#3 Éderson, 23 years old, Central Midfielder, Salernitana to Atalanta
The third player on our list is the 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder, Éderson, who has just completed a move within Serie A as he joined Atalanta from Salernitana. Éderson is a box-to-box midfielder who makes aggressive runs to break forward into the opposition penalty area. This is a profile that Atalanta have been missing from their midfield.
Éderson was actually on loan at Salernitana last season from the Brazilian side Corinthians, but Salernitana made the loan permanent before then selling the midfielder a couple of weeks later.
Éderson isn’t a midfield player who will typically link the play in the midfield. Instead, he is more likely to be making aggressive movements off the ball to break past the opposition lines.
He has a habit of drifting late into the opposition area and attacking crosses from the wide areas. This is combined with the capacity to get on the ball in deeper areas before either beating a man with a dribble or taking a bigger touch and driving forward into space.
At Atalanta, he will be used as the link between the midfield and the attack in the attacking phase. You can clearly see from Éderson’s pizza chart what kind of player he is. Last season, when playing for a struggling Salernitana side, he was in the 72nd percentile for goal contributions, the 75th percentile for shots per 90 and the 78th percentile for carries.
#4 David Carmo, 23 years old, Centre-Back, Braga to Porto
Next, we move away from central midfielders and look at the only defensive player on our list. The 23-year-old Portuguese player has moved from Braga to Porto after a season in which his minutes were cut short by a horror injury.
Carmo is a composed and elegant left-footed central defender who is just as capable of playing effectively in the build-up phase — where he has the ability to play progressive passes that break the line and move his team into the final third — as he is when asked to defend with aggression either in isolation or in the penalty area.
This is a move that seems like an extremely intelligent piece of business from all parties with Braga aware that they were unlikely to be able to hold on to the defender for another season.
Carmo moves to a side that will be possession-dominant and where his ability on the ball will really come to the fore, while Porto get a Portuguese asset who perfectly fits the way that they plan to play.
Carmo’s size and strength mean that he can play aggressively when defending and get touch tight to opposition attacking players but he also has the mobility to defend when he is pulled out into the wide areas.
While Carmo is good defensively, it is in possession that he really stands out. He has the quality to play diagonal switches of play that change the angle of the attack but he can also either step out in possession of the ball or find line-breaking passes from deeper areas.
You can see from his pizza chart how effective Carmo was in possession of the ball. He was in the 84th percentile for passes per 90, 86th percentile for progressive actions and the 95th percentile for dangerous passes.
We are of the opinion that David Carmo is unlikely to spend long in Porto before he moves on again to one of the top-five European leagues.
#5 Andrea Pinamonti, 23 years old, Forward, Internazionale to Sassuolo (loan)
Sassuolo have endured a difficult summer. They have lost two of their three main attackers from last season with Giacomo Raspadori moving to Napoli and Gianluca Scamacca moving to West Ham United.
Their decision to sign the Internazionale forward Andrea Pinamonti on loan feels like a very sensible move in terms of replacing some of the attacking talent that has walked out the door. Pinamonti performed well last season in Serie A, on loan at Empoli, and his combination of movement and finishing make him a very difficult forward to stop.
Pinamonti is a true ‘9’ who will look to play on the shoulder of the opposition defenders, looking for opportunities to run off and attack the space behind the back line. His movement and typical positioning will mean that opposition defensive lines will be pinned back.
We see from his pizza chart that Pinamonti is a balanced attacking player. He was in the 58th percentile for goal contributions and the 67th percentile for expected goal contributions. His underlying attacking data was also good as he was in the 62nd percentile for shots per 90 and the 69th percentile for touches in the opposition area.
It remains to be seen whether Pinamonti will ever get the chance to break through into the first team at Internazionale but he is more than capable of finishing chances at this level.
We expect the five players that we have picked out for the purpose of this article to have strong 22/23 seasons. They are all players who seem to have made sensible moves to teams who need players of their profile, and they should fit nicely into the style of play at their new clubs.