Suarez, Ronaldo, Bale and more: The Premier League talent drain
By Football News
Luis Suarez's move from Liverpool to Barcelona was agreed on Friday, marking surely the biggest deal of the transfer window.
Suarez lit up the Premier League last season with 31 goals in 33 games as Liverpool challenged for the title, but has now become the latest star from England's top flight to leave for new shores.
Approximately €500million has been spent on the following players in transfer fees alone and, while that income has allowed Premier League sides to finance deals for the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa, there is a noticeable trend that England's top stars are now looking abroad.
Luis Suarez - Liverpool to Barcelona
The Uruguay forward was undoubtedly the Premier League's top performer last term as Brendan Rodgers' side sprung a surprise title challenge. Though controversy always seemed to follow him, Suarez's absence tears a huge hole in Liverpool's attack, which the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana will be under pressure to fill.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United to Real Madrid
The last player to win the Ballon d'Or while playing in England, Ronaldo led United to three consecutive Premier League titles before moving to the Santiago Bernabeu for a world-record fee in 2009. The 2007-08 campaign saw the Portugal star rule supreme. United won the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, while Ronaldo's tally of 31 goals in 34 games saw him crowned Europe's top scorer.
Gareth Bale - Tottenham to Real Madrid
Suarez has dominated headlines this year, but 12 months ago Tottenham's Welsh wizard Gareth Bale was at the centre of the close-season's biggest transfer saga. The winger earned the PFA's Player of the Year award in 2012-13 after single-handedly dragging Spurs through the campaign. Though his efforts were not able to secure a top-four spot, Real made Bale the world's most expensive player of all time, splashing out an eye-watering estimated €100m for his services.
Carlos Tevez - Manchester City to Juventus
Perhaps the only player able to match Suarez for controversies combined with talent in recent Premier League seasons, Tevez ended a turbulent four-year spell with Manchester City - which saw him captain the club to the FA Cup before spending several months on strike - to join Juventus, where his goals helped the Turin side to a third successive Serie A crown.
Mario Balotelli - Manchester City to Milan
Balotelli arrived at free-spending City in 2010 as a talented but tempestuous 20-year-old, characteristics which would remain with him throughout his two-and-a-half seasons at the Etihad Stadium. Despite contributing to the success of Roberto Mancini's side on the pitch, stories of mad-cap behaviour off it persisted and bust-ups with his fellow players, as well as his manager, preceded a move to Milan, where he remains one of the game's most colourful characters.
Paul Pogba - Manchester United to Juventus
Though Pogba only made three Premier League appearances, his subsequent performances for Juventus suggest he would have starred in England. Pogba has become a key cog in Antonio Conte's midfield and reports of Chelsea or Manchester United shelling out up to £60m to bring him back to Old Trafford indicate he is seen as the ultimate one who got away.
David Luiz - Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain
The Brazilian regularly sees his talents hailed and derided in equal measure, but is now the game's most expensive defender after a reported £50m move to cash-rich Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, which will see him link up with compatriot and international captain Thiago Silva.
Yohan Cabaye - Newcastle United to Paris Saint-Germain
Cabaye arrived on Tyneside in 2011 and went on to immediately become a fans' favourite at St James' Park. After leading Newcastle to a fifth-place finish in his first season at the club, 2012-13 proved to be near catastrophic as Newcastle flirted with relegation. Reports of interest from Arsenal followed, but Cabaye joined the talent drain in January 2014, joining PSG.
Ashley Cole - Chelsea to Roma
Arguably the top performer of his generation in the England national team, Cole was not retained by Chelsea after his contract expired. Despite rumours of interest from Liverpool and former club Arsenal, Cole opted to extend his playing days in Serie A with Rudi Garcia's side. Also leaving Chelsea this month is Frank Lampard, who is expected to take up a contract with MLS side New York City.
Javier Mascherano - Liverpool to Barcelona
Maschaerano's introduction to the Premier League was a bizarre one as he and countryman Carlos Tevez unexpectedly arrived at West Ham in 2006, though the move was eventually found to have contravened third-party-ownership regulations. After playing just five league games for the Londoners, the midfielder was snapped up by Liverpool, where he became a key player under Rafael Benitez, helping them to the UEFA Champions League final before he was lured to Camp Nou in 2010.
Luka Modric - Tottenham to Real Madrid
Modric signed for Spurs in 2008, becoming the club's most expensive player in the process, and backed up his price tag with four years' worth of exemplary creative play in midfield. A protracted transfer saga lasted the whole of the 2012 summer transfer window, before the Croatia star eventually moved to the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet under Jose Mourinho and his successor Carlo Ancelotti.