Joe Hart (Manchester City to Torino)
Any managerial change leads to upheavals, but Joe Hart probably didn’t see the sudden change of fortune that was to come his way after the appointment of Pep Guardiola at the helm of Manchester City. The long-serving Citizens’ custodian and a crowd favourite became a pariah and it was quickly made clear to him that he featured nowhere in the new manager’s plans.
The Catalan made it clear to the England international that in order to find regular first team football, he had to move elsewhere. Everton and Sevilla were a couple of options being talked about, but he ultimately went to Serie A outfit Torino on a season-long loan.
Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus to Napoli)
With the two Milan giants in turmoil the mantle of challenging Juventus for the top Italian honours has been taken up by Napoli and they came quite close to unseating the Old Lady of the league title last season with Gonzalo Higuain firing on all cylinders and racking 36 league goals to tie an 87-year old record.
Needless, to say he was the main reason behind Napoli’s title surge and an absolute hero for the club’s supporters who compared his impact to that of the legendary Diego Maradona. However, all the goodwill was put aside as Higuain did the unthinkable and joined Juventus for a Serie A record transfer fee of €90 million.
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich)
The Germany international began his football career at Bayern Munich, but found it hard to break into the club’s first team, and after a season-long loan at Borussia Dortmund in the 2008/09 campaign, he signed a permanent contract with the Black and Yellows.
Subsequently, he became one of the most trusted lieutenants at the Westfalenstadion, going on to become the club’s captain as they challenged the hegemony of the Bavarians. To add to it all, he talked about being faithful to a club and not jumping ship at the earliest opportunity.
He jumped the ship and, that too, to the closest league rivals of Borussia Dortmund.
Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund)
The 2014 World Cup winner was the first signing of Guardiola when the Catalan took up the job at Bayern Munich and was talked about being given the same role and status that Lionel Messi was accorded at Barcelona by the Catalan. However, he found his first team minutes dwindle during his three seasons at the Allianz Arena.
The manner of his transfer – concluded through the backdoor – had infuriated the Borussia Dortmund faithful. But after finding himself surplus to the requirements of Carlo Ancelotti, Gotze is back at the Westfalenstadion and attempting to mend fences.
Paco Alcacer (Valencia to Barcelona)
Barcelona are absolutely stacked at the top. Many consider the forward line of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez to probably be the best in the history of the game. In the given circumstances it is clear that any new striker that signs for the Catalans will be a fourth choice and will find it hard to get a look in.
However, Paco Alcacer, 23, and on the verge of breaking into the Spain national team, has made the puzzling decision of being the trio’s understudy at the Camp Nou.