Every single season I say that the transfer window this time has been absolutely crazy and yet again the transfer window has been absolutely crazy. The Premier League once again broke all spending records as the transfer window went to whole new levels of silliness for 2017.
Oddly enough it wasn’t the Premier League teams who went the most ridiculous this season, it was PSG. The signing of Neymar for £200m is a landmark moment for football and not in a positive way. Many people say that artificially rich clubs aren’t bad for football, yet all you have to do is look at how the market went after the Neymar transfer to know that this clearly isn’t the case. I was expecting the £100m barrier to be broke this season, for the £200m to be broke is ridiculous.
To not only sign Neymar but also sign Mbappe for £160m starts to beg the question of what is fair and what isn’t. I think you have to ask questions over whether a country funding a football team is fair, whether the tactics which PSG are using to sign players is fair and many other questions over the dubious nature they conduct themselves in. PSG already have over inflated commercial deals to combat financial fair play, with this massive outlay on transfers and wages UEFA cannot turn a blind eye any more. If PSG aren’t severely punished for their behaviour then it says very little about UEFA and the rules they put in place, it creates an unlevel playing field for those who have and those who don’t. It’s a big moment for UEFA and it’s an even bigger moment for financial fair play, if PSG receive no punishment then it very much creates the question of what the point of either of them is.
Ins: Alexandre Lacazette (£48m), Sead Kolasinac (free)
Outs: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£35m), Wojciech Szczesny (£11m), Gabriel Paulista (£10m), Kieran Gibbs (£7m), Yaya Sanogo (free), Carl Jenkinson (loan), Lucas Perez (loan), Joel Campbell (loan)
After years of finishing top four Arsenal succumbed to the pressure and finished fifth last season, you would think that this would finally be the jolt in the arm needed to push the team forward and get back on track…well bad news Arsenal fans cause instead you got more of the same. This is one of the worst transfer windows you will see from a top team and made even worse when it is a team who is struggling to keep up with the teams above them.
Lacazette is a good player but he isn’t really a £50m player, the other thing is that he isn’t a massive upgrade (you could argue he isn’t an upgrade) over Giroud. Certainly the one thing the transfer does is give Arsenal good depth up front, however when you spend that sort of money you expect something special and I’m not sure that’s what they’re getting. Kolasinac on a free is a good piece of business, he should slot in at left back in place of the ageing Monreal nicely, despite the fact that Wenger so far has thought it a better idea to play a right back there and play Kolasinac at centre back.
The sales aren’t a big deal with the exception of Ox, the others were all squad at best and they received good money for them. Ox himself isn’t that great, he is the sort of rotation player who thinks he’s better than he actually is (Welbeck esque) and gets the idea that he’s good enough to play in a position he doesn’t have the ability for, add that to the fact he is incredibly injury prone and it isn’t really a huge loss. Arsenal have duped Liverpool into giving them £35m for an average player with only a year left on his contract, it’s a great piece of business. The problem is that to sell him and not replace him will leave a gap in the squad and with so few players coming in this season it could cost them dearly.
The other big stories for Arsenal this transfer window was the running down of contract for Sanchez and Ozil. It says everything about the two players that lots of teams were looking to sign Sanchez and nobody heard a peep about someone wanting Ozil. If the reports are true and City did offer £60m for Sanchez then Arsenal have been foolish to not sell him, they’ve also been foolish to not have signed his replacement prior to this happening. Ozil is a luxury player in a team who can’t afford luxuries, they should have been actively shopping him but instead they’re stuck with a player who isn’t there when it gets hard, and times at Arsenal are about to get very hard this season. They are going to lose their two marquee players at the end of this season and have received no compensation for them, losing big names says the team has no ambition and that lack of ambition will scare other top players away. Arsenal look like they are heading down the Liverpool path of falling into mediocrity, the club needs a catalyst and as long as Wenger is the manager that will not happen.
Have Arsenal improved their squad? Yes the two players they brought in were better than what they lost, however they desperately needed to improve their first eleven and they haven’t made big enough strides to do that, they still haven’t fixed the centre of defence or bought a holding midfielder (how many years is that now?). At very best Arsenal will finish fourth this season and based on what I’ve seen so far and their business in the transfer window I just don’t see it currently.
Ins: Nathan Ake (£21m), Asmir Begovic (£11m), Jermain Defoe (free), Connor Mahoney (free)
Outs: Nothing notable
I find Bournemouth’s summer spending a tad unusual, they massively overspent on Ake, Begovic is a good signing but in a position with a low need and Defoe is an expensive player who doesn’t improve their first eleven, plus the contract is apparently three years so it will very much come back to haunt them. I applaud Bournemouth for having a not great team which performs above the sum of its parts, it’s a credit to the manager, however they clearly don’t know how to dabble in the transfer market.
Have Bournemouth improve their squad? Yes, but there’s a lot of money wasted here, they added two solid players but haven’t done enough in my mind to make them take the next step. I think they will probably be safe from relegation but they do have a large number of ordinary players and that hasn’t changed with this window.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Ins: Jose Izquiredo (£14m), Davy Propper (£12m), Matt Ryan (£6m), Markus Suttner (£4m), Ezequiel Schelotto (£3m), Pascal Gros (£3m), Ales Mateju (£2m), Soufyan Ahannach (£500k), Tim Krul (loan), Isaiah Brown (loan)
Outs: Nothing notable
Brighton have certainly signed a lot of players this summer and I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t see the point in sitting here and pretending like I know who half of these guys are because quite simply I don’t. What I have seen of Brighton so far doesn’t look good, they look totally out of their depth and seem like the worst team in the league. They’ve had a go and spent a good chunk of money, hopefully that doesn’t hurt them in the long run because I don’t see them being in the league next season.
Have Brighton improved their squad? Yeah they must have done, it doesn’t look like they’ve lost anyone and they’ve spent a good chunk of money bringing in players, probably not enough, it will depend how quickly these players adapt to the league and how quickly they settle in.
Ins: Chris Wood (£15m), Jack Cork (£8m), Nahki Wells (£5m), Jonathan Walters (£2m), Phil Bardsley (£750k), Charlie Taylor (free)
Outs: Michael Keane (£26m), Andre Gray (£19m), others
Burnley did well to get £26m for Keane (although could probably have got more after things got super silly) and £19m for Gray, however that is two of their best players from last season gone. They brought in two strikers to replace Gray but it’s a big risk taking two guys who look like Championship players and hoping they make it in the Premier League. Walters and Cork are two signings which are by no means glamorous but seem like Burnley sort of players, shit footballers good workers.
Have Burnley improved their squad? They haven’t, they lost their best player in Keane and haven’t replaced him, Gray is a loss too but at least they have brought players in to cover that loss. This window and the signings are incredibly uninspiring, sort of like Burnley the team really.
Ins: Alvaro Morata (£56m), Tiemoune Bakayoko (£36m), Antonio Rudiger (£32m), Davide Zappacosta (£25m), Will Caballero (free), Danny Drinkwater (£35m)
Outs: Nemanja Matic (£40m), Nathan Ake (£21m), Juan Cuadrado (£18m), Asmir Begovic (£11m), Bertrand Traore (£9m), Christian Atsu (£7m), Nathaniel Chalobah (£6m), John Terry (free), Loic Remy (free), Kurt Zouma (loan), so many loans
It was a weird summer for Chelsea, who seemed to really struggle to sign any of their targets and then ended up with the also rans. Things like Lukaku choosing Utd, Ox choosing Liverpool, Llorente choosing Spurs, Barkely deciding last minute to not go and the whole Diego Costa saga, it really wasn’t what you’d call a good summer.
Chelsea’s signings weren’t what I’d call ideal, Morata is a good pick up but is a downgrade on Diego Costa, Bakayoko will likely become a good player but is also a downgrade on Matic, Rudiger is a player who should slide into the defence well enough probably taking Cahill’s slot and at worst will offer better depth than was there before, Zappacosta should offer competition to Moses and Drinkwater…well Drinkwater is an all time classic panic buy and to pay £35m for him is an absolute farce.
Chelsea had either the best or second best first eleven in the Premier League last season, so what this summer should have been about was adding depth because quite frankly Chelsea’s depth is terrible. The problem is Chelsea have inexplicably sold Matic to a direct rival, who had a massive hole at that position which strengthens them massively and then Conte decided to fall out with Costa. That’s two of your first eleven from last season gone, they then replaced them with players who aren’t as good to boot.
Drinkwater is one of the worst transfers of the summer, he’s bang average and that’s me being generous. The hope would be that him and Kante could replicate their Leicester title winning form, however it stinks of ‘we haven’t got our targets so we’ll just sign this guy cause he’s available’. To be fair that’s exactly what Llorente and Barkley would have been to and I feel they’ve dodged the bullet with not getting those players, Barkley in particular really has nothing to offer at this level.
Chelsea did do great business selling their players once again this season, although I think selling Matic is a mistake getting £40m for him is good business. The other players they sold weren’t needed or had never made it, so to get as much back for them as they did is a positive. I do think that some of the loans are questionable due to the lack of squad depth Chelsea have, but it is clearly the model they are running the club to.
Have Chelsea improved their squad? I’m going to say slightly but their first eleven is looking weaker. Costa is still technically at the club, however if he had officially left I would probably edge towards the squad not being as good. Chelsea have added much needed depth, however I do think they are woefully short of what is required if they are to challenge for the league and in Europe but ultimately it will depend on how busy their schedule is at the end of the season and on injuries. If I were a Chelsea fan I wouldn’t be happy with the summer transfer window and would be concerned with where the team is going and why they are struggling to sign their targets.
Ins: Mamadou Sakho (£26m), Jairo Riedewald (£8m), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (loan), Tim Fosu-Mensah (loan)
Outs: Steve Mandanda (£3m), nothing of note
Palace almost got relegated last season, lost their manager in the summer and decided that signing three young inexperienced players (two of which on loan) were enough to get by in the league, which based on their start clearly isn’t the case. Sakho is a panic buy and they’ve paid way over the odds for a player who wasn’t wanted by his old club, however he is a fantastic addition to the first eleven. The problem Palace may find is that they have talent in many positions but the team seems to struggle with consistency and gelling.
Have Palace improved their squad? They have, however questions have to be asked about the lack of investment in the team and the lack of long term signings this summer. Sakho is a great addition and the young players should do well, however you have to question why youth players from top teams are getting starts over actual Palace players, it doesn’t say much about their quality.
Ins: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£45m), Michael Keane (£26m), Jordan Pickford (£26m), Davy Klaassen (£25m), Nikola Vlasic (£10m), Henry Onyekuru (£7m), Sandro Ramirez (£5m), Cuco Martina (free), Wayne Rooney (free)
Outs: Romelu Lukaku (£76m), Gerard Deulofeu (£11m), Tom Cleverley (£8m), Gareth Barry (£1m), Aiden McGeady (£250k), Arouna Kone (free), others
A fantastic window for Everton, who got great value for Lukaku and used that money to strengthen the team in every area. Pickford is a big upgrade at goalkeeper, Keane is a great pick up at centre back, Klaassen will offer class in the middle and Sigurdsson is that special player who can change games. They’ve signed players who can help the team instantly, all of whom are young and have potential to contribute for years or be sold on for a higher fee.
The one odd transfer of the summer for Everton was the signing of Wayne Rooney. I get that it was on a free, however Rooney really isn’t up to playing at this level any more. I think Rooney would struggle to succeed at a low Premier League team, never mind one at the other end of the table. I’m not sure he’s the great dressing room guy that he’s portrayed as being, however that’s irrelevant if he performs on the pitch, the problem being that physically he isn’t up to playing at this level any more and his technique is pure jobby. I guess he came on a free so it isn’t the worst transfer imaginable, however I really don’t understand why Everton thought this was a good idea, yes symbolically it’s a nice end to his career circle but Everton could have done better and invested his vast wages in a player with more potential and more ability, wouldn’t have been that tough either. They did Man Utd a huge favour.
As much as I loved Everton’s transfer window I do think the loss of Lukaku could be massive for them. Prior to Lukaku moving they had a tendency of being a good team but struggled to score, Lukaku changed that. His loss without a direct replacement makes them very weak up top and although I do think the players behind the striker will contribute heavily they could really have done with an extra player as a focal point up top, then they could have been very dangerous.
Have Everton improved their squad? They most definitely have, despite losing their best player they’ve improved at every position excluding striker. Everton’s spine looks very solid, they’ve added some young flair players and Sigurdsson could take them to the next level. I do think the lack of a striker will hold them back this season but I don’t see why Everton couldn’t make a legitimate Europa League challenge this season if they wanted. They have the tiniest of outside chances of a top four position, however to get it they’d have to have the perfect season and I don’t think it will happen.
Ins: Steve Mounie (£12m), Aaron Mooy (£8m), Tom Ince (£8m), Laurent Depoitre (£4m), Scott Malone (£4m), Zanka (£2.5m), Abdelhamid Sabiri (£1.5m), Elias Kachunga (£1m), Danny Williams (free), Rob Green (free), Jonas Lossl (loan), Florent Hadergjonaj (loan), Kasey Palmer (loan)
Outs: Nahki Wells (£5m), others
Huddersfield have went for the sign a bunch of players and hope one of them sticks strategy in the transfer window. Mounie looks like a solid buy and Mooy was Huddersfield’s best player last season so signing him permanently is good for the team. The rest of the players I don’t overly know, although Tom Ince isn’t good enough for this level. I do find it odd that Wells was let go to Burnley, but maybe I am unaware of a situation.
Have Huddersfield improved their squad? Yes when you sign the amount of players that they have then some are bound to do something. I do generally think such a large turnover of players is a negative thing for a team and it doesn’t help chemistry building and that is something you’d think they would struggle with, although their start says otherwise.
Ins: Kelechi Iheanacho (£25m), Vicente Iborra (£12m), Harry Maguire (£13m), Eldin Japukovic (£2m), Aleksander Dragovic (loan)
Outs: Danny Drinkwater (£35m), Tom Lawrence (£5m), Ron Robert Zieler (£4m), Bartosz Kapustka (loan), Nampalys Mendy (loan)
I have to say that I’m amazed that for the second summer in a row Leicester have been able to hold onto Mahrez, he wasn’t great last season but you’d think someone would have taken a punt on him. I’m even more amazed that Leicester managed to find someone stupid enough to pay £35m for Drinkwater. Zieler managed to culminate the worlds oddest career move by moving back to the Bundesliga and they somehow got £5m for Lawrence.
Leicester’s signings can be summer up as great additions in Maguire, Iborra and Dragovic who will fit into what Leicester do very well and one very odd signing in Iheanacho who hasn’t shown he is a £25m player and worse than that they accepted a buy back from City, which I find very odd when they’ve paid so much for him. Iheanacho also doesn’t really seem to fit into the style of play Leicester utilise and it begs the question of what Slimani’s place in the team now is.
Have Leicester improved their squad? They definitely have, Drinkwater isn’t much of a loss and the additions of Dragovic, Maguire and Iborra should be able to contribute to the first team straight away. Iheanacho is a big punt for that sort of money, however he’s still young and if he can get a good run of games then he may turn into the player City were hoping.
Ins: Mohamed Salah (£38m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£35m), Andy Robertson (£8m), Dominic Solanke (free)
Outs: Mamadou Sakho (£25m), Divock Origi (loan), Lucas (£5m), Kevin Stewart (£4m), Andre Wisdom (£2m), Sheyji Ojo (loan)
What can only be called a poor transfer window for Liverpool, they’ve added Salah who will bring dynamism to their side with his pace but at £38m you’d want a more consistent threat. Ox for £35m is an absolute steal…for Arsenal because he isn’t worth anywhere near that and even worse he only had a year left on his contract, they’ve blatantly overpaid for a player who isn’t going to be a starter if everyone is fit. Robertson at £8m is a great bargain for a young exciting fullback with Premier League experience, Solanke on a free (tribunal fee set later) is a low risk transfer also which could work out. They also managed to offload Sakho for really good money which is quite remarkable for a player the club had openly stated they no longer wanted.
The problem Liverpool have is that they have one of the weakest squads of the top teams, they scraped 4th last season but this year they have European football on top of the league and those extra games are going to stretch a weak squad to the limits. It also doesn’t help that Klopp’s style of football isn’t conducive to lots of games in a season and the two seasons he has been at Liverpool has seen a severe drop off in quality towards the end of the year. The amount of players who either turned Liverpool down or Liverpool couldn’t sign because they arsed up the transfer should be very concerning for Liverpool fans, it’s not a sign of a well run attractive club, something is clearly not right at the board level.
Have Liverpool improved their squad? They have, however the defence is still a complete mess, the goalkeeping situation is weak and their central midfield is lacking quality. They have great attackers and tons of pace, something which Salah will add to, but I’m not sure he’s the player you’d want to have a must finish chance. I guess the question for Liverpool is what are their ambitions this season? This team is nowhere near good enough to win the league and I doubt they’ll make top four as well, there are too many holes and not enough depth and this hasn’t been addressed at all in the summer.
Ins: Benjamin Mendy (£52m), Kyle Walker (£46m), Bernardo Silva (£45m), Ederson (£36m), Danilo (£27m), Douglas Luiz (£11m), Olarenwaju Kayode (£4m)
Outs: Kelechi Iheanacho (£25m), Enes Unal (£13m), Wilfried Bony (£12m), Aaron Mooy (£8m), Nolito (£8m), Fernando (£5m), Olivier Nitcham (£4.5m), Aleksander Kolarov (£4.5m), Samir Nasri (£3m), Joe Hart (loan), Ruben Sobrino (£2m), Jason Denayer (loan), Bacary Sagna (free), Pablo Zabaleta (free), Jesus Navas (free), Willy Caballero (free), Gael Clichy (free)
A very interesting window for City and it’s the sort of window I thought they would have had last season, primarily because I felt that most of the City team which Guardiola took over didn’t suit his style of play and was also at the higher end of age. With the selling and clearing out of oldies and those not good enough for this level City raised a good chunk of money and cleared a large amount of dead weight from the wage bill, generally good business.
City decided it was time to go big or go home when it came to buying players and they certainly went big…with their bids… Paying almost £100m for two full backs is quite simply silly, I know it is an area of desperate need for City but they’ve been taken to the cleaners. Neither are bad players by any means, however to be worth £50m you need to be a game changer and neither is that. I can’t understand why they bought Bernardo Silva, he’s a great little player but City are absolutely stacked in the front four and this investment could have been much better used elsewhere. Ederson for £36m is a terrible price, he also looks like your stereotypical Latin goalkeeper, very much a flapper and hasn’t impressed at all so far. Danilo for £27m is an odd one, it’s a lot for a starting full back so to pay that for a back up seems obscene, yes he plays both full back positions but he isn’t that good at either and Real Madrid’s willingness to let him go says a hell of a lot.
I don’t really think this was a good window for City, however the sheer amount of turnover in the squad always meant they were going to struggle to fill the gaps which were created. Their desperation for full backs meant they got taken to the cleaners for Walker and Mendy, however both should be good starters for the team and give them something they didn’t have last season, full backs with an engine. They’ve taken another risk at goalkeeper and it really doesn’t feel like Pep learned his lesson from last season. The other issue which City fans must be really concerned about is the complete lack of quality and depth in some positions which hasn’t been addressed at all. They have three centre backs going into the season (five should be the minimum in my opinion), one of which is incapable of staying fit and the other two are often headless chickens, they only have three full backs and the drop off from the starters is massive and their central midfield looks very lightweight with little to no depth.
Have City improved their squad? Yes they definitely have, especially the full back position where they added two good starters, however for the amount of money they spent they really should have got more for their money. The team lacks depth in defence and in central midfield, there are still massive questions over the goalkeeping situation, if City didn’t have the best front four in the league they would be nowhere near challenging for the league, however because they have such a deadly attack and a good first eleven they definitely should be. The question for City will be how fit their players will be able to keep, an injury to a Sterling or Sane won’t cost them because they have such good depth in attacking positions, an injury to a Kompany, Walker or Fernandinho could have massive consequences for their success this season. I’ve always been of the opinion that Guardiola doesn’t know how to build a defence, this window hasn’t changed that opinion.
Ins: Romelu Lukaku (£76m), Nemanja Matic (£40m), Victor Lindelof (£32m)
Outs: Adnan Januzaj (£8m), Wayne Rooney (free), Tim Fosu-Mensah (loan), Andreas Pereira (loan)
Utd had a fantastic window, not losing any players of note and adding two massive additions to the first eleven. Lukaku will give Utd strength and pace up front added to his goal scoring ability and you have a good striker which fits what Mourinho wants to do. My issue with Lukaku is that his link up play isn’t strong enough, his hold up play needs work and he can go missing in games. Lukaku has started well against some of the mid to small teams in the league, the question will be how he performs when it comes to the big games when Utd will have their backs against the wall, that’s the real test of a quality striker. Utd like many teams this summer overpaid for their top target, however that will all be forgotten if he bangs in the goals on a consistent basis. If he can stay fit I expect him to get 25+ in the league this year.
£40m for Matic is too much money, especially at his age, however what he brings to Utd is something which has sorely been missing since the days of Roy Keane, a genuine enforcer. Matic is one of the leagues best holding midfielders and his signing should allow for the more talented players in front of him to express themselves freely without concern about defensive duties. I do find it incredibly odd that Chelsea would sell one of their best players to a direct rival even if it was for a good price, especially when it is in a position of dire need and trust me when I say Utd direly needed a quality holding midfielder.
Lindelof hasn’t impressed so far, the club looks to big for him and when you pay that sort of money for a centre back you expect them to be able to make the step accordingly. I wouldn’t judge him too much on this season as he is still young and there will be an adjusting period, however if he isn’t up to scratch by the start of next season he will be an expensive flop. He’ll need game time and with the injury tendencies of Utd’s centre backs I’m sure he’ll get it, he needs to step up when the chance arrives and show why he deserves to be at this level.
Januzaj was sold for £8m finishing the rise and fall of such a bright prospect, it’s funny to think that only a few years ago PSG reportedly bid £40m for him. Loans for good prospects in Fosu and Pereira should be good for their development and you’d think next season they will have bigger parts to play. The big exit this season was the departure of Rooney who after numerous disappointing season finally put everyone out of their misery and left. Everton have done Utd a huge favour by taking him because he was dead weight (figuratively and literally) and his wages were ridiculous for what he contributed. Not a loss in any way whatsoever.
Have Utd improved their squad? Yes considerably, they haven’t lost anyone important from last season and have added two big starters. The resigning of Ibra will give good depth in January when he returns (although they will have to be careful to not derail Lukaku in favour of Ibra) and Lindelof adds depth to the centre back position. Utd could still have done with more cover at full back, an extra central midfielder to rotate and a winger who was a genuine winger, however Utd certainly can’t complain with the work they have done in this window, there is absolutely no excuse for no title challenge now.
Ins: Jacob Murphy (£10m), Florian Lejeune (£9m), Christian Atsu (£7m), Joselu (£5m), Javier Manquillo (£4.5m), Mikel Merino (loan)
Outs: Florian Thauvin (£10m), Grant Hanley (£3.5m), Daryl Murphy (£2m), Siem de Jong (£2m), Sammy Ameobi (free), Vernon Anita (free), Haris Vuckic (free), Yoan Gouffran (free), Tim Krul (loan)
I would have expected Newcastle to have been a little more adventurous in the transfer market than they were this summer because despite just being promoted they are most definitely a Premier League team. Their lack of spending is a touch unusual especially after last season and spending to make sure they got back into the league. The team they have left themselves with isn’t the best but I don’t think they’ll get relegated. I do think you’d want more if you were a Newcastle fan than players who have struggled in the Premier League previously and players who are Championship level.
Have Newcastle improved their squad? Yes they haven’t really lost anything of note and have added solid if not spectacular players. I would have hoped for more if I was a Newcastle fan, maybe a couple of signings which showed their intent, instead they did the newly promoted a touch out of their depth signings of sign a bunch of people for no more than £10m and hope they show up, pretty disappointing.
Ins: Mario Lemina (£15m), Wesley Hoedt (£15m), Jan Bednarek (£5.5m), Jack Rose (free)
Outs: Jay Rodriguez (£12m), Cuco Martina (free), Paulo Gazzaniga (undis), Jordy Clasie (loan), Harrison Reed (loan), Martin Caceres (free)
A non spectacular window for Southampton for once, they managed to go an entire window without selling any of their top players! Other teams did do their best when it came to signing Van Dijk but despite getting offers over £50m they decided that they’d rather keep the disgruntled player. I found this very unusual behaviour from Southampton as Van Dijk isn’t worth that sort of money and they are very much a selling club. The sale of Van Dijk could have propelled the club into being able to be more adventurous in the transfer market, instead.
The two big signings of the summer for Southampton are both at that sort of age where they are ready to take a step into the first eleven and contribute straight away. They are two very solid signings and it’s the sort of thing which Southampton will have been looking for this summer. Not silly money but an amount which allows the team to make money off of them if they succeed but also not take too much of a hit if they don’t, clever business.
Have Southampton improved their squad? Yes they’ve added two likely starters and kept everyone from their first eleven for the first time since they’ve been in the league. I do have to wonder why they didn’t sell Van Dijk and use that to fund other transfers, however maybe they have ambitions beyond finishing 8th, I don’t think they can realistically finish top four but I can only assume they think they have an outside chance or maybe they are just fed up of being a feeder club to the top Premier League teams.
Ins: Kevin Wimmer (£18m), Bruno Martins Indi (£7m), Eric Choupo-Moting (free), Josh Tymon (free), Darren Fletcher (free), Kurt Zouma (loan), Jese (loan)
Outs: Marko Arnautovic (£20m), Joselu (£5m), Jonathan Walters (£2m), Glenn Whelan (£1.5m), Phil Bardsley (£750k), Marc Muniesa (loan), Gianneli Imbula (loan), Philipp Wollscheid (undis), Bojan (loan)
I always find with Stoke that they spend a lot of money but then always end up relying on the same old players because their big money signings haven’t worked out. This summer they didn’t really spend any money at all and then threw £18m at Wimmer on the last day, which in itself is pretty inexplicable. Fletcher on a free is a great piece of business, Jese on loan could bring them something special (although I said exactly that about Shaqiri) and they’ve signed a host of new centre backs so one is bound to work out next to Shawcross. Arnautovic for £20m is great money and getting rid of those Pulis workers is a step forward for the club.
Have Stoke improved their squad? For this season the answer is yes, however most of their transfer success is built on loans and an old player. This is not a transfer window for the future for Stoke, it’s one for the now and I’m not sure where the long term strategy is and with those old worker players started to be moved out you do have to wonder who Stoke are going to rely on when another big money transfer flops. There is a major issue with this teams scouting department.
Ins: Sam Clucas (£15m), Wilfried Bony (£12m), Roque Mesa (£12m), Renato Sanches (loan), Erwin Mulder (free), Tammy Abraham (loan)
Outs: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£45m), Fernando Llorente (£14m), Jack Cork (£8m), Bafetimbi Gomis (£2m), Modou Barrow (£1.5m), Jefferson Montero (loan), Jordi Amat (loan), Stephen Kingsley (undis), Borja Baston (loan)
The loss of Sigurdsson will be massive for Swansea, it’s really hard for any team to lose easily their best player and expect to improve as a team. Losing Llorente is also a big hit for the team as although I wouldn’t say he was wonderful he did score some important goals and that is very hard to replace. To be fair to Swansea despite losing two massive players they’ve given it a right good go at replacing them with Bony (who they’ll be hoping can repeat his old Swansea form, which could be doubtful after a number of nothing seasons) and Renato Sanches (who you don’t really know what you’re going to get but is a massive prospect). Roque Mesa is a really nice pick up and should add quality in the middle, I don’t really understand the Clucas signing but after dumping a few wingers they did have a hole there and Abraham looks like he has something but I’m assuming he won’t be a starter now Bony is here so I don’t see the benefit in developing another teams player.
Have Swansea improved their squad? Probably not, the question will be whether Sanches and Bony will be able to replace Llorente and Sigurdsson and the answer will likely be no. The positives for Swansea is that they are in better shape this season than they were last, they also have a manager who is actually competent, so they should be fine but it will depend how quickly they can get these guys to contribute.
Ins: Davinson Sanchez (£36m), Serge Aurier (£22.5m), Fernando Llorente (£14m), Juan Foyth (£8m), Paulo Gazzaniga (undis)
Outs: Kyle Walker (£46m), Kevin Wimmer (£18m), Nabil Bentaleb (£17m), Clinton N’Jie (£6m), Federico Fazio (£3m),
It was a weird window for Spurs who seemed to forget that there was a transfer window open until the last week and then made a flurry of signings prior to it closing. I can only imagine the reason for this was they were struggling to sing players due to their wage structure and very settled first eleven. Sanchez for £36m is a lot of money, I assume he will slot into the back three and I imagine he will do well because he has the attributes to be a top centre back and in the back three he will be more protected. Aurier is one of the pick ups of the window, a top right back for only £22m is an absolute steal, especially when you consider they sold Walker who isn’t as good for double that. The only problem with Aurier is that he is an idiot, that’s why the price was so low for his talent, he’s immature off the pitch and that may cause problems, Spurs will need to keep a tight leash. Llorente is a good back up signing behind Kane, should be better than Janssen, not that it would be difficult.
Spurs did an unreal job getting £46m for Walker. Spurs did an unreal job getting £18m for Wimmer. Spurs did an unreal job getting £17m for Bentaleb. There is a bit of a trend here, essentially Spurs were stealing other teams money by massively over charging for their players, two of which they didn’t even want. Quite the transfer window for making money.
It all sounds great on paper, however Spurs fans must be questioning the whole situation, the club is clearly making a lot of money from the television rights and made another net profit in transfers, so why is the team not taking it to the next level? The wage structure at Spurs is so tight that you are starting to hear murmurings from the camp about players being unsatisfied with their pay, that’s not a good thing for a squad, especially one as talented as Spurs. The problem is quite simple as well, they only need to look at mediocre players like Oxlade-Chamberlain getting offered double their wages to be a squad player and why wouldn’t they get annoyed at that? Spurs are making a shit ton of cash, so there is really no excuse for why their players aren’t being fairly compensated, it is made even worse when guys like Defoe are getting the wages they receive, it’s a farce really. Spurs need to get their house in order because their current wage structure isn’t sustainable in the long term and as soon as their very talented side become disgruntled the other teams will come picking and it will not be easy to rebuild whatsoever.
Have Spurs improved their squad? Yes they definitely have, they lost their best right back and replaced him with a better player for half the money, they also got great money for players who were no longer needed and added a young prospect at the back and some much needed depth up front. They left it late but they ended up doing well in this window.
Ins: Andre Gray (£19m), Richarlison (£11m), Tom Cleverley (£8m), Will Hughes (£8m), Nathaniel Chalobah (£6m), Marvin Zeegelaar (£3m), Andre Carrillo (loan), Kiko Femenia (free), Daniel Bachmann (free), Orestis Karnezis (loan), Molla Wague (loan), Dimitri Foulquier (undis)
Outs: Sven Kums (£6m), Steven Berghuis (£6m), Uche Agbo (£2m), Valon Behrami (undis), Nordin Amrabat (loan), Costel Pantilimon (loan), others
One of the best signings Watford made this season was Marco Silva, he did really well at Hull before ultimately falling short, he should do a good job. They have also signed a lot of young talented players who they will hope can produce. Richarlison could be a special player for them, as could Chalobah and Hughes finally got his chance to have a go at the Premier League. The thing is that when you sign young talented players it is often hit and miss, but all three are good prospects and at small fees they are relatively small risks. Andre Gray for £19m is way over priced, however Watford are missing a striker and should be looking to move on from Deeney. I do find it odd how much of a player turnover Watford have every single season and this season is no different, I wasn’t even aware of some of the players they sold being at the club and it does seem that they sign players who never see the light of day. It’s not something which I think breeds success but they seem to be doing well enough with this method so why stop I guess.
Have Watford improved their squad? Yes they’ve had a solid transfer window shifting some dead weight and adding some young talented players as well as a striker who can come in straight away to replace Deeney and score goals. It’s been a very strong window for Watford in my opinion.
West Bromwich Albion
Ins: Oliver Burke (£14m), Jay Rodriguez (£13m), Kieran Gibbs (£7m), Yuning Zhang (£7m), Gareth Barry (£1m), Ahmed Hegazy (loan), Grzegorz Krychowiak (loan)
Outs: Craig Gardner (£1.5m), Yuning Zhang (loan), Darren Fletcher (free), Callum McManaman (free), Sebastien Pocognoli (free)
Actually a very strong window for West Brom who added an exciting young prospect in Burke (who apparently wasn’t intelligent enough for Leipzig, so should be perfect for West Brom where intelligence isn’t required), a good player in Rodriguez (who if he can get back to some sort of fitness will be a great pick up), a solid left back in Gibbs (not good enough for Arsenal but this drop in level should be more suited to him), added the experience they lost when Fletcher left with Barry and added a genuinely quality midfielder in Krychowiak (who I’m surprised couldn’t do better but should be great in this team).
Have West Brom improved their squad? They most definitely have, they only really lost Fletcher (who I think is a big loss) and I would genuinely say that they have hit on at least five of these transfers and in doing so have vastly improved their first eleven and depth, a brilliant window for Pulis.
West Ham United
Ins: Marko Arnautovic (£20m), Javier Hernandez (£16m), Sead Haksabanovic (£3m), Joe Hart (loan), Pablo Zabaleta (free)
Outs: Havard Nordtveit (£7m), Ashley Fletcher (£7m), Darren Randolph (£5m), Sofiane Feghouli (£4m), Stephen Hendrie (free), Reece Oxford (loan), Enner Valencia (undis), Robert Snodgrass (loan), Alvaro Arbeloa (retired)
Near that start of the window West Ham were one of the winners, picking up guys like Hernandez and Hart was really good business and instantly improved their first eleven, then nothing seemed to happen afterwards despite them probably needing a little bit more. I don’t understand why they would pay so much money for Arnautovic who is a good player but is incredibly inconsistent and is a nutter, there’s a reason Stoke were happy to let him go. Zabaleta feels like one of those transfers which West Ham make a lot of a free older player who used to play at the top level but no longer has the legs and looks incredibly exposed, Arbeloa for instance. They haven’t lost anything in the window although you have to ask the question of what the point of signing Snodgrass was last January?
Have West Ham improved their squad? They have, they’ve added three first team players but haven’t fixed enough of their problems to call this an overly successful window, they never seemed to push on from a good start. Despite the horrible start I do think they will be fine and Hart will turn into a good loan, but at the moment they aren’t gelling as a team and that should be a concern for West Ham fans as this is too talented a team to be in a relegation battle.
It was a weird window with teams throwing money about everywhere and that showed with the amount of average players who went for way over their actual value. It seems to have been an odd theme of the big teams struggling to buy their targets, not something I can remember as being quite as prominent in the past. The Neymar transfer fucked everything up and that made the final month a complete mess with teams unsettling players and bidding ridiculous amounts. It will be interesting to see if this trend will continue next season or if it will calm down, hopefully for the good of the game it will be the latter as I don’t see this seasons window as being sustainable.
Best 5 Signings
Hernandez (West Ham)
Worst 5 Signings
Top 5 Transfer Window Teams
Worst 5 Transfer Window Teams
Here is my updated league predictions for the season, the ones which I consider to be my official predictions…although based on some of my previous attempts maybe I shouldn’t be saying that.
1st- Man Utd 0
2nd- Man City 0
3rd- Spurs 0
4th- Chelsea +1
5th- Arsenal -1
6th- Everton 0
7th- Liverpool 0
8th- Southampton +1
9th- Stoke +1
10th- West Brom +2
11th- Leicester 0
12th- West Ham -4
13th- Watford +3
14th- Swansea +3
15th- Bournemouth -2
16th- Newcastle -1
17th- Palace -3
18th- Burnley +1
19th- Huddersfield +1
20th- Brighton -2
The chances of even half of these coming right are incredibly small, however I think this is more or less where each team will finish. I do think the title will be going back to Manchester as I think they are the two strongest teams in the league currently. The relegation battle is very tough to call due to a number of teams who are underperforming for the squad they possess and a number of teams over performing for the squad they have, so it should be fun.
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