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The summer transfer season in Europe makes for great Internet and newspaper rumor fodder. Sadly though, what the transfer season routinely becomes is just talk with no action. And while some big clubs (AC Milan, Juventus, and Arsenal) haven’t splashed the cash around, the influx of big dollars to the English Premier League, along with other world heavyweights spending the dough, has already offered up some sizeable transfers. With a little more than a month left before the transfer window closes here is a breakdown of the top five winners thus far. Please remember these rankings will be updated at the end of the summer to tally the final verdict.

1. Manchester United: The Red Devils didn’t even wait for the transfer window to open before they made their big splash. Bringing in Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich seemed all but done last summer, so the British international’s arrival at Old Trafford was no big surprise. But what took everybody’s breath away was the double coup of Nani and Anderson during a shopping spree in Portugal. The winger and attacking midfielder give Man U plenty of young talent as they learn from veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. With the possible arrival of Carlos Tevez to partner with Wayne Rooney, United is not resting after winning the Premier League.

2. Barcelona: After a turbulent season that saw it finish second in La Liga, Barcelona is making amends by spending big and bringing in plenty of talent. After stealing Thierry Henry from Arsenal for $32 million, Barca continued to spend by bringing in attacking midfielder Yaya Toure. Add in central defender Gabriel Milito Real Zaragoza and French fullback Erick Abidal, Barcelona seem to have learned that it will take more than their scary attacking ability to climb back to the top of La Liga and the Champions League.

3. Bayern Munich: Like Manchester United, Munich got its shopping done early. After finishing fourth in the German Bundesliga and failing to qualify for the Champions League, the German giants brought in Italian striker Luca Toni and French winger Franck Ribery. Munich have also added German striker Miroslav Klose and brought back Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto. Even with the losses of Claudio Pizarro and Roy Makaay, Munich have made a statement that winning the Bundesliga and the UEFA Cup are at the forefront of their priorities while reestablishing their place at the top of German football.

4. Liverpool: Rafa Benitez finally has his world-class striker in Fernando Torres. Long linked with Man U, Benitez went to Spain and wouldn’t leave without his man and splashed out $44 million. Benitez also added striker Andriy Voronin who scored twice in his preseason debut. Add in Liverpool’s capture of 20-year-old Dutch winger Ryan Babel, who seemed destined for Arsenal, and Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun and it has been a good summer for the Reds so far. Now all they have to do is pass United and Chelsea in the EPL standings.

5. Chelsea: Speaking of the Blues, they have done most of their talking this summer without opening up the checkbook and that in itself is a victory. Bringing in midfielder Steve Sidwell from Reading, defender Tal Ben Haim from Bolton and Pizarro from Munich were all steals. Another free transfer, Alex from PSV, may also make his way to Stamford Bridge before the summer ends. Add in the capture of highly sought after French winger Florent Malouda, to replace the likely departed Arjen Robben (who seems destined for Real Madrid) and the Blues are looking stronger and deeper than ever. Chelsea is also being rumored to bring in Dutch youngster Royston Drenthe, who starred for Holland during the European Under-21 Championship in June.

As there always is, there are also losers, and the top five of the summer so far will be detailed later this week.


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