Whether it's the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga, one thing every soccer fan can agree on is the most exciting part of the pre-season, or at least the start of the season, is the transfer market. Dozens and dozens of teams look to build their squads, whether it be giants like Real Madrid and Manchester City, or minnows like Bologna and Hertha Berlin. Players from all around the world move to different countries to try their luck at new clubs, with plenty of money on the table – including transfer fees, player wages and a whole lot of dealings. While such stars as Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Gareth Bale all broke records in previous deals, there are no rules when it comes to soccer transfers, and unlike other sports, where players are mostly traded, contracts are made to be broken when a player ventures off to play for a new club.
There have already been a number of high profile signings directly after the 2018 World Cup, and despite who plays for who, franchise names are always on the go, as anything is possible in the world of European football. However, this doesn't mean that players will shine wherever they go – some footy stars never adjust to life in other places, and more importantly, can't quite gel with their new teams which renders them flops and can ultimately ruin their careers.
Here are some players that are projected to shine at their new clubs, and a few who will not be as successful:
20 Struggle: Leonardo Bonucci - Juventus
After spending just one season with Milan, Bonucci returns to Juventus in a player swap deal, and truth be told, it's not like Juventus need to bring back Bonucci. While the team usually plays in a formation with three defenders, having guys like Alex Sandro, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini, and even Andrea Barzagli is good enough for the Black & White.
Besides, it's not like Bonucci did much for Milan, as he was one of the only stars on the club last year who could have made a difference and didn't. On top of that, Juventus fans booed him heavily before leaving.
19 Succeed: Gonzalo Higuain - AC Milan
On the flip side, the other player going the other way in the Milan-Juventus deal was Argentinian striker Higuain, who is on loan from Juventus.
Since there was no room left for him at Juventus given the amount of talent they brought in during the off-season, Higuain could make a difference for a new club.
He's a very clinical striker who can make plays and find the net out of nothing, but he's definitely going to need to bounce back from an atrocious World Cup if he wants to salvage his career. Despite a lack of star quality on Milan, Higuain should score a good amount of goals for the Black & Red squad, and get his form back on track.
18 Struggle: Santi Cazorla - Villarreal
After six season with the Gunners, Santi Cazorla will be leaving Arsenal as a free agent to join Villareal. He might have a good chance at cracking the starting 11, but Cazorla hasn't had any luck these past two years, only making 8 appearances for Arsenal in the league these past two seasons. He didn't see much of the field last year, so Cazorla made the right choice to join a club where he could get a lot of playing time. However, the Spaniard is now 33 years old and on the decline, and if he didn't feature for Arsenal at all last year, how good does his new team expect him to be?
17 Succeed: Jorginho - Chelsea
Bringing in Jorginho from Napoli, it's clear that coach Maurizio Sarri thinks highly of the midfielder, who cost the Blues almost 60 million euros. It's a move that may puzzle some, yet he will do well under his coach's tactics, mainly because Sarri will be keeping a close eye on how Jorginho performs, and he knows him well, too. Jorginho brings strength, finesse and technique to Chelsea, and he's surely going to get lots of playing time considering his coach is somewhat tied to him and knows his game well.
While Chelsea have better attacking options in the centre of the pitch, the Italian is good at breaking down the game, which is something Chelsea need to be able to topple teams like Liverpool and Manchester City.
16 Struggle: Radja Nainggolan - Inter Milan
While Nainggolan was a vital player for Roma, he may not be able to do the same for Inter, considering his inability to score more than five goals last year.
The midfielder joins a Serie A side who have dipped in form when it comes to Europe, and seem a tad desperate considering they almost paid 40 million euros for him.
Ivan Perisic is perhaps the other biggest name in midfield, and while Nainggolan may be able to perform well, he can't possibly be the Nerazzurri's top playmaker. But in the end, it really depends on how well he plays with Mauro Icardi.
15 Succeed: Arturo Vidal - Barcelona
With Andres Iniesta leaving Barcelona, this puts new addition Arturo Vidal in the hot seat as one of the key playmakers for the La Liga giant. Vidal has been at the forefront of nearly every team he has played for, and when it comes to Barcelona, he joins a potent midfield that already includes Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, Arthur, Sergio Busquets and Rafinha.
Vidal could be slotted right behind Barca's three forwards, and he's quite good when it comes to penalties and free kicks, too. But as long as Lionel Messi is around, that part of the game is covered.
14 Struggle: Wayne Rooney - DC United
Former England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has decided to move to MLS, like a lot of European stars who are looking for a big payday in the latter half of their careers. But Rooney is unfortunately on the decline, and had a poor year last season at his hometown club of Everton.
As of this writing, he's only scored once in six games, and while his quality is still there at times, Rooney has decided to move to a club that currently sits in last place in the Eastern Conference and one that has virtually no chance to make the playoffs. This should tell you about his aspirations when it comes to the future of his career.
13 Succeed: Gianluigi Buffon - PSG
Already taking home a trophy with his new club thanks to a 4-0 thrashing over Monaco, Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon moved away from Italy after what feels like an eternity in a Juventus shirt.
Claiming he's not done yet, Buffon moved to PSG and became their starting keeper.
On top of that, he gets to play with Neymar, Edison Cavani and France starlet Kylian Mbappe, as well as Marco Verratti. While Buffon's true test will be in Europe, he will get plenty of time in France between the posts, and given the difficulty level of Ligue 1, Buffon should do very well at his new club, in what feels like his last year.
12 Struggle: Pepe Reina - AC Milan
Milan fans are quite familiar with Pepe Reina. Having faced him when at Liverpool and Napoli, Reina now finds himself between the pipes for a team that looks nothing like it once was. While he only made 10 appearances for Napoli during the Serie A season last year, Milan might look to Reina when it comes to a starting role, yet the 35-year-old will also have to share duties with the young Gianluigi Donnarumma – who might be sold sooner rather than later.
Given the amount of pressure Milan faces at the back per game, Reina won't be getting much help from the mediocre defenders on the Milan squad, which means he'll have a hard time when in goal.
11 Succeed: Aleksandr Golovin - Monaco
He was one of Russia's heroes this year at the World Cup on home soil, so it's fitting that Golovin makes his way to a bigger club after a successful tournament. It'll only be a matter of time before Monaco joins the ranks as PSG and Manchester City as clubs who profited off rich owners and changed the landscape of championships to come.
Golovin was smart to snub Chelsea, and he will no doubt get a hell of a lot more playing time for his new club and avoid competition among teammates. Also, Golovin becomes Monaco's best midfielder, and someone who should play well feeding Radamel Falcao.
10 Struggle: Fabinho - Liverpool
Exiting Monaco is Fabinho, who is a defensive midfielder that finds the net more often than one does in that position. Although that's impressive, Fabinho has been shaky so far for Liverpool in his limited action, and coach Jurgen Klopp is already concerned with fans who have been giving the 43-million-euro player a rough time.
England can be very harsh to struggling players, and the Brazil international has already been feeling the wrath of Liverpool's supporters.
He may not be ready for the Premier League just yet, and it may take him a season or two to adjust to life in England.
9 Succeed: Leon Goretzka - Bayern Munich
You can say that Bayern Munich is a monopoly team when it comes to the Bundesliga. Whenever a player shines for their club, Bayern always come knocking with enough money that it makes it difficult to refuse to say no to them. We've seen it with players like Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, and now, Leon Goretzka. Having performed extremely well for Schalke, the youngster is touted to be one of the brightest stars for the future of the Bundesliga, and since he will be playing for Bayern Munich, this also helps the national team rebuild after a horrendous World Cup run this past summer. Goretzka will be the future of Bayern, there's no question about it.
8 Struggle: Joao Moutinho - Wolves
This one may be a tad unfair, given Moutinho is past his prime, but Wolves will expect big things from the midfielder. When a player of his stature joins a club, the latter expects quite a lot from that said player. Unfortunately for Moutinho, he will surely play a more defensive role for a team that will eventually sink in the Premier League.
He only scored once in Ligue 1 last year, and despite not being much of a goalscorer himself, this feels as if Moutinho is trying to rebuild himself to be summoned in the Portugal squad once again, or at least get more playing time – which is something he wasn't going to get in Monaco considering their new signing.
7 Succeed: Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Arsenal
After a spell at Manchester United, Mkhitaryan might not have been the player Jose Mourinho really needed when it came to his formation and expectations. United's loss becomes Arsenal's game, and already in the pre-season, you can tell that Mkhitaryan is finding his way along the flank.
Unai Emery will expect something big from him, and the player is already delivering by being one of the most creative forwards in the Premier League.
He is able to cross the ball well and find his teammates easily, which is something that is needed in the Arsenal attack. Plus, he should be able to score a good amount of goals, too.
6 Struggle: Jack Wilshere - West Ham
At 26 years old, Jack Wilshere is starting to look like a bust. Once hailed as a big part of England's next generation of stars, his fitness has been a big problem over the years, and it showed when he couldn't complete any 90-minute games in any of West Ham's five pre-season friendlies. Maybe Manuel Pellegrini is being cautious, yet Wilshere – who comes from Arsenal on a free transfer – is questionable when it comes to being a regular in the starting lineup, hasn't turned many heads over the years. He was also left out of England's World Cup team this past summer. Maybe his brighter days are behind him.
5 Succeed: Riyad Mahrez - Manchester City
Year after year, Manchester City buy a plethora of forwards and you'd think they have no idea what to do with them, or that they'll be warming the bench more often than not. Somehow, City has a way of fitting their players in and getting the best out of them, and that should be no different for Mahrez. A huge reason why Leicester City was as successful as they were these past couple of years, Mahrez, who scored 42 goals for that club, has an itch for finding the net and now that he has joined a club that reeks of quality, he will be able to move more freely and create more chances now that he doesn't have so much pressure on him. Expect him to be a pivotal force for the Manchester side.
4 Struggle: Fred - Manchester United
The young man didn't get much playing time for Brazil at the World Cup, and under Jose Mourinho, who knows what he'll be able to do.
Unfortunately, while Fred is a great player, he's not the man United need up front when it comes to size and brute force.
He's not the strongest when it comes to physique, yet he can definitely score goals. Fred should be able to do well with time at United, and if he has someone to play with that has more experience, like a veteran of the game, Fred should be able to find his footing in the near future.
3 Succeed: Malcolm - Barcelona
It seems as if Barcelona hijacked Malcolm's move to Roma, and it's going to pay off for them. Malcolm, who may not be a world class player just yet, is a young forward who possesses speed and versatile footwork when needed. Barcelona will benefit from this player since he could be played as a winger, alongside centre forward Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the opposite side.
While players do have to compete for a place on the starting team when it comes to a powerhouse like the La Liga side, Malcolm should see a fair amount of playing time, and just like Pedro before him, will shine when playing alongside some of the best players in the world.
2 Struggle: Lucas Torreira - Arsenal
This one may be an unpopular opinion. The midfielder was one of Sampdoria's finest players, but when it comes to England, it's a whole other beast. The youngster will definitely adjust to the style of play within time, but a lot of players who come from Italy's Serie A are shocked to find out that fouls don't come so easy in England.
The defensive midfielder should find a place in the starting squad, but he may not be ready to shine just yet.
It's always tricky when a great player from a small team joins a European team with so much talent – they could easily be lost in the shuffle. And while Torreira showed with Sampdoria and Uruguay that the quality is there, he may lack consistency this year as Arsenal tried to rebuild itself to the powerhouse it once was.
1 Succeed: Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus
We all know what Ronaldo is capable of. He's won Champions League trophies with Manchester United and Real Madrid, and surely, Juventus' pursuit of Ronaldo, which cost them over 100 million euros, has to do with wanting to triumph in Europe.
We all saw what Ronaldo could do in the World Cup, as he was truly the sole reason as to why Portugal was as successful as they were.
He's a one man team, and this has to scare some clubs in Serie A considering Juventus has been almost untouchable in the league for nearly half a decade. Maybe Juve will need to do some reshuffling, but you can count on Ronaldo being outstanding.