By 90Min
June 03, 2019

The season's over, the medals have been handed out and the transfer window has already re-opened for another summer of frenetic rumours of buying and selling.

Who were the winners and losers of last year's transfer market, however? Here's a rundown of the smartest buys across Europe's top leagues last year...


Serie A

Krzysztof Piatek - Genoa & Milan

Krzysztof Piatek

Signed for just €4m from Cracovia Krakow, it's fair to say that Krzysztof Piatek exceeded all expectations during his initial stint at Genoa.


19 goals in 21 appearances earned the Polish striker a move to Milan in January and he was able to keep up his impressive run of form, netting a further 11 goals before the end of the season - going some way to justifying the €35m the Rossoneri forked out to take him away from Genoa.


His goals weren't enough to drag Milan into the top four, but he'll have the chance to play European football for the first time next season in the Europa League.


Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo

Did anyone out there believe that Cristiano Ronaldo would be anything but a success at Juventus this season?


His return in front of goal wasn't necessarily as impressive as it has been in previous seasons, but 28 goals is nothing to be sniffed at - especially for a 34-year-old playing in Italy for the first time in his career.


Although he wasn't able to inspire Juventus to Champions League glory, the highlight of his season came in the round of 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid, where he scored a stunning hat-trick to seal a memorable comeback.


Duvan Zapata - Atalanta

Duvan Zapata

Atalanta's remarkable 2018/19 campaign was one of the biggest fairytale stories across Europe as the Serie A underdogs were able to secure Champions League football for the first time in the club's history.


Central to that success was Duvan Zapata, who finished the season as the second-highest scorer in the league with 23 goals to his name.


The Colombian was signed on a two-year loan deal from Sampdoria last summer, so Atalanta will be looking forward to seeing him don the blue and black again in 2019/20. However, several Premier League clubs have been alerted by his form.


Fabian Ruiz - Napoli

Fabian Ruiz

Napoli fell well short of what was required in Serie A, but there were a few positives to take away from an otherwise underwhelming first season under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti.


Fabian Ruiz was one of the most consistent performers for Napoli and he has filled the gap left by the departure of club legend Marek Hamsik.


Capable of filling just about any position in midfield, Ruiz has proven to be irreplaceable for Napoli. His technical prowess is matched by his impressive athleticism, making him one of the most complete midfielders in Italian football.

Nicolo Zaniolo - Roma

Nicolo' Zaniolo

19-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo joined Roma last summer in a deal which saw Radja Nainggolan go the other way and it turned out to be an astute piece of business from the Giallorossi.


The youngster was one of the standout performers for Roma, and his rapid development has seen his market value skyrocket as a result. He's unsurprisingly being hyped up as one of the most promising Italian talents of the modern generation and, considering how poor Italy have been on the international scene in recent years, the Azzurri are crying out for a new talisman.


Hanging on to Zaniolo could prove to be very difficult this summer as the likes of Tottenham and Juventus are both being heavily linked with a potential summer swoop.


La Liga


Clement Lenglet - Barcelona

Clement Lenglet
Samuel Umtiti's injury record has been less than stellar in recent years so, despite his undeniable quality, Barcelona had to delve into the transfer market to bolster their defensive ranks last summer.

They managed to snap up Clement Lenglet from Sevilla and, although the Frenchman may have been brought in to provide cover for Umtiti, he ended up playing a crucial role in the Blaugrana's La Liga triumph, forming an excellent partnership with Gerard Pique.

His form has been so impressive, it seems feasible that Umtiti could leave the club in search of more regular first-team football elsewhere.

Santi Cazorla - Villarreal

Santi Cazorla

If anyone in world football deserved to have a good season, then it was certainly Santi Cazorla.

After enduring a horrific injury which could have easily ended his career, the former Arsenal midfielder made his long-awaited return to football with Villareal. The Yellow Submarine struggled in La Liga, but they wouldn't have been able to avoid relegation if it weren't for the attacking midfielder's creative nuance in the final third.

Seven goals and 11 assists after a two-season absence from the game in testament to his quality and he has recently been called back into the Spanish national squad as a result.


Rodri - Atletico Madrid

Rodri

Atletico Madrid are already being picked apart this summer, but they will want to hang on to Rodri at all costs after his incredibly impressive debut season for Los Colchoneros.


The central midfielder slotted seamlessly into the Atletico setup, excelling in a deep-lying midfield position all season. 


After just one season in the Spanish capital, he is already being linked with a big money move across Europe, with the likes of Manchester City being heavily linked. The Citizens may have to flex their financial muscles if they are able to secure a deal.


Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis

Giovani Lo Celso

Giovani Lo Celso was never able to acclimatise to life at Paris Saint-Germain, so his decision to join Real Betis on loan seemed like a sensible decision for all parties.


It proved to be more than just a sensible decision on the Andalusian outfit's part - it was inspired. The Argentinean midfielder was in sensational form all season, quickly becoming Betis' talisman, and he was able to register a very impressive 16 goals and six assists in all competitions.


Betis made the loan deal permanent in April, but that won't stop Europe's top clubs from trying their luck in the transfer window.


Tomas Vaclik - Sevilla

FBL-ESP-LIGA-SEVILLA-LEGANES
One of the more understated signings of the season was Seviall's acquisition of Tomas Vaclik, who came in to replace Sergio Rico.

The Czech didn't arrive in Spain with much of a reputation, but he ended the season as one of the best performing goalkeepers in La Liga and the only custodian to be awarded with the league's player of the month award for his performances in November.

Rico's loan deal with Fulham comes to an end this summer, but it seems highly unlikely that he will get back into the side ahead of Vaclik.

Bundesliga


Axel Witsel - Borussia Dortmund

Axel Witsel

Axel Witsel has been an integral part of the Belgian squad for the last few years, which is a testament to his quality when you consider the fact that he had never competed in any of Europe's top divisions before this season.

Borussia Dortmund took the decision to sign Witsel from Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Tianhai and the central midfielder quickly became a central figure in BVB's doomed quest for the Bundesliga title.

He featured in 43 of Dortmund's 45 games in all competitions and even chipped in with a few goals to complement his industrious work in the middle of the park.


Paco Alcacer - Borussia Dortmund

Paco Alcacer

Supersub personified, very few strikers are able to have quite the same effect as Paco Alcacer off the bench.


The Spaniard was only in the starting XI for a third of his appearances in the league, but he was still able to score a very impressive 18 goals, which is more than any of his Dortmund teammates were able to provide.


His loan from Barcelona was made permanent midway through the season and he'll surely be hopeful of a few more starts next season.


Wout Weghorst - Wolfsburg

Wout Weghorst

Wout Weghorst became Wolfsburg's highest-scoring Bundesliga debutant ever as he netted 17 goals - tying with Luka Jovic, Andrej Kramaric, Kai Havertz and Marco Reus in the Bundesliga scoring charts.


He registered two hat tricks during the course of the season, with his second coming in the 8-1 drubbing of Augsburg on the final day, a result sealed Europa League football for the Wolves.


He'll be hopeful of featuring for the Netherlands at the Nations League finals in Portugal this summer, so England will want to keep a close eye on him.


Kevin Trapp - Eintracht Frankfurt

FBL-EUR-C3-FRANKFURT-TRAINING

Another to fall by the wayside during his time with PSG, Trapp was afforded the chance to get his career back on track with a loan move to surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt.


He was in fine form for the Eagles in both the Bundesliga and the Europa League, even being named in the team of the tournament for the latter. He made the second highest number of saves in the league and kept an impressive 12 clean sheets in all competitions.


Trapp returns to PSG this summer, but there's almost no chance he'll be willing to stick around for another season on the sidelines.


Filip Kostic  - Eintracht Frankfurt

Filip Kostic

Hamburg were unsurprisingly picked apart last summer after suffering relegation to the second division and Filip Kostic was one of those who was on the move.


The Serbian initially signed for Frankfurt on a two-year loan deal, but his performances warranted a permanent move 12 months before it was even necessary. 


He hit double figures for goals and assists in all competitions, which is notable when you consider that he was moulded into a left wing-back after previously playing as an attacking midfielder for the majority of his career.


Best of the Rest

Dusan Tadic - Ajax

Dusan Tadic

Arguably the best signing in Europe, let alone the Eredivisie, Dusan Tadic was truly unstoppable for Ajax in 2018/19.


In total, he scored a jaw-dropping 38 goals and provided 24 assists - numbers that Lionel Messi would be proud of. 


His most memorable performance came against Real Madrid in the Champions League, where he practically turned Los Blancos inside out and pulled their pants down in front of a stunned crowd at the Bernabeu.


Daley Blind - Ajax

Daley Blind

The whole world is talking about the prodigious talent that is Matthijs de Ligt, but the 19-year-old may not have received the same sort of recognition if he wasn't paired alongside Daley Blind.


A popular figure at Manchester United, Blind rejoined Ajax four years after initially leaving the club for the Red Devils. He made the transition from left-back to central defence look effortless and, despite his lack of height, formed a rock solid partnership with De Ligt.


He's now solidified his place as an Ajax legend and it would come as a surprise if he were to leave the club before he hangs up his boots.


Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-BORDEAUX-LYON

Last summer it was all about Nabil Fekir, but this time around the Lyon player everyone is going to want a piece of is going to be Tanguy Ndombele.


The defensive midfielder, who was signed permanently for Lyon last summer for just €8m from Amiens, has seen his value skyrocket this season after he has played a starring role for the Ligue 1 outfit, with some of his most notable performances coming in the Champions League against Manchester City.


The entirety of Europe appears to have been linked with him at some point or another, so it seems inevitable he'll be on the move - although we did say that about Fekir last year.


Eder Militao - Porto

FBL-POR-LIGA-AVES-PORTO

Eder Militao was the only player to come away from Porto's comprehensive Champions League defeat against Liverpool with any credit to his name, which is a testament to his enormous potential.


The Brazilian has speed, strength and cunning in abundance and he has used it to great effect for Porto during his first season in Europe - explaining why Real Madrid were willing to splash out on him ahead of next season.


There will be plenty of pressure on his young shoulders to perform and, with Sergio Ramos' future on the line, he could be playing a huge part in their revival.

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