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Aug 10, 2011

Top Ten European transfers

While there have been plenty of deals in the English Premier League, the rest of Europe has also been busy this summer strengthening their squads.

Here ESPNsoccernet picks out some of the top European transfers so far this summer.

Javier Pastore - Palermo to PSG: €43m

The PSG machine, helped by their 'petro-dollars', landed the signing of the summer so far when they beat off competition from Chelsea to bring in the Argentine. With a host of players including Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Kevin Gameiro arriving in Paris, Pastore is not the only new face, but is by far the most accomplished. Having set Serie A alight since his arrival in 2009, the gifted playmaker will be the creative hub of the side and his passing, vision and goalscoring exploits should ensure that the French side are title challengers this season.

Fabio Coentrao - Benfica to Real Madrid: €30m

Madrid's single problem position - left-back - saw Jose Mourinho splash some serious cash on a fellow Portuguese to ensure that it was cured. Coentrao may have only been on the radar of Europe's elite since an impressive 2010 World Cup campaign with Portugal, but his performances for Benfica have been slowly making him into a star. Starting his footballing life as a midfielder, he has honed his defensive skills, but is still at his best as a flying wideman who can use his pace and stamina to good effect. Pre-season suggests he will be 'Mr Versatile' for Jose and an important component of his side.

Alexis Sanchez - Udinese to Barcelona: €26m

The Chilean winger completed a protracted move to the European champions after his side's shock exit from the Copa America at the hands of Venezuela. The tricky winger did not set the world alight with his performances at the tournament, but has shown more than enough during his time in Italy that he could be one of the world's best. Fast, skilful and with an eye for goal, his style has seen comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo; Barca will have got themselves a bargain if he turns out to be anywhere near as good although could end up playing another €12 million in add-ons.

Santi Cazorla - Villarreal to Malaga: €20m

Another side who are getting used to the prospect of having cash to spend, Malaga have built their squad with a view to challenging at the top of the Spanish league: Bringing in Dutch duo Ruud van Nistelrooy and Joris Mathijsen, along with France defender Jeremy Toulalan and Spain winger Joaquin. But, while many of these stars have their better days behind them, the 26-year-old Cazorla is a real steal. Able to play on either wing, the pacy Spaniard will bring real bite to the Malaga attack and shunned the interest of some of Europe's elite to stay in Spain with the ambitious southerners.

Manuel Neuer - Schalke to Bayern Munich: €18m

Some of the Bayern fans (and Oliver Kahn) may not have reacted well to the news that the club were signing Neuer, but almost everyone else considers it to be an excellent signing. With only one year left on his contract, the fee can be debated, but the goalkeeper remains one of the best in his position in Europe. A starring performance against Manchester United in the Champions League showcased his agility, bravery and reflexes and the German No. 1 is sure to cement his place in the side for both club and country if he can recover from an opening-day blip.

Ricardo Alvarez - Velez to Inter Milan: €12m

Sneaking the Argentine out from under the noses of Arsenal, Inter took a bit of a gamble on a youngster who had not been a regular for Velez until this season. An incredibly versatile player, Alvarez can play in any of the attacking positions with ease and boasts an excellent touch, along with a style that has seen comparisons with Kaka. With pace that sees him also at home on the wings, Alvarez should have little trouble adapting to the Italian game and could be real impact signing in Inter's bid to wrest the title back from neighbours Milan.

Erik Lamela - River Plate to Roma: €12m

A season that saw River relegated for the first time in their 110-year history ended even worse as they were forced to let their young gem leave for Italy. As a 12-year-old, Lamela was courted by Barcelona, but chose to remain in his home country and was given his debut for River at an early age. Slipping effortlessly into the trequarista role, his technical skill and incisive passing marked him out against his peers and his set-piece delivery is among the best in the world already. With Francesco 'The King of Rome' Totti coming to the end of a glittering career, Roma have a replacement waiting in the wings for their new-look side.

Nuri Sahin - Dortmund to Real Madrid: €10m

Arguably the signing of the summer as Madrid swooped to take advantage of a clause in the Turkey international's contract that allowed him to be sold on the cheap to a foreign-based club. Tipped for the top for many years, Sahin has finally come of age in Dortmund's title winning season and has shown the watching world that he is worth all the hype. A defensive midfielder with vision that puts him alongside Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger in terms of ability, the left-footed Sahin will slot alongside Xabi Alonso in the Madrid side to bring balance and guile to the midfield. He may also prove a competitor to Ronaldo for his new side's free-kicks.

Cristian Zapata - Udinese to Villarreal: €7.5m

With Gokhan Inler joining Napoli and Sanchez heading to Barcelona, Udinese have played a big part in this transfer window, but may come to regret letting Zapata leave for Spain as well. The Colombian defender made himself a fans' favourite at the club with his commanding performances at the back and bounced back well from a spell of poor form that threatened to derail his young career. Strong and good in the air, he has improved his touch on the ball and could prove to be an astute purchase for the Yellow Submarines as they push for Europe again this season.

Axel Witsel - Standard Liege to Benfica: €7.5m

Having previously been on the verge of a move to Milan, some may see Witsel's decision to move to Portugal as a step down. However, the winger has been one of the best players in Belgium over the past few years and, despite a reputation for losing his cool, he can certainly cement his place in the side if he can stay on the right side of the law. Tall and quick, with a decent scoring record for a midfielder, Witsel will be keen to show that he is worthy of being talked about in the same terms as much as the rest of Belgium's burgeoning talent.

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