The 2017 Premier League Transfer Window Review

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. Continue reading “The 2017 Premier League Transfer Window Review”

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The 2016 Premier League Summer Transfer Window Review

Another year another summer transfer window where Premier League clubs went absolutely crazy in the transfer market.  More than half of the teams in the Premier League broke their transfer fee record for a single player, and the window itself went over £1 billion for the first time ever, totally crazy. Continue reading “The 2016 Premier League Summer Transfer Window Review”

The Premier League 2015 Summer Transfer Window Review

Another year another crazy summer transfer window.  There were tears, failed transfers and Jim White in a dashing yellow tie, it had it all.  Due to a bank holiday on Monday the Premier League closed eighteen hours after their continent counterparts, and that had a major effect on the last day excitement.  Continue reading “The Premier League 2015 Summer Transfer Window Review”

What Juan Mata to Manchester United Means.

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Juan Mata completing his transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United for a reported fee of £37 million, a record fee for Utd, means many different things.  It is the biggest transfer of the January window so far and shows several things and leads to several thoughts on the matter, of which I am going to run through what the impact of this transfer will be for those involved.

 

Statement of Intent

The most glaring thing which the Juan Mata transfer shows, is a statement of intent from Manchester United going forward in the transfer market.  It isn’t every day that you go out and break your transfer record (unless you’re Man City or PSG) and it was more than five years ago when Dimitar Berbatov joined Utd from Spurs which that happened.  When you consider what the teams around Utd have done in that same time, it does seem incredible that the Berbatov record stood for so long.  The fact that Utd were willing to break their transfer record tells you that the board fully supports David Moyes and that they aren’t going to take finishing in the top four for granted.  The bigger question is where was this support for the manager in the summer?  This kind of signing was exactly what Utd needed to start the Moyes reign off in an electric fashion, but instead Utd bumbled through the transfer window with one blunder after another, ending in the signing of Fellaini for around £5 million more than they could have got him a month prior.  Maybe having such a poor transfer window followed by such a poor start to the season gave the board the shot in the arm which they clearly required, and that is why the signing of Juan Mata is a massive statement of intent of the board, of David Moyes and most important for Manchester United.

 

The Mourinho Factor

If Chelsea fans were to be honest with themselves, then they would almost all agree that they only started supporting the club after the money arrived and that Juan Mata was by far their best player.  It is classic Mourinho to come in to a club and take a big player and totally disown him, this will then lead to one of two things, either he will after months out in the cold bring the player back and make him an important part of his first team (a la David Luiz) or he will toss them aside to show the other players that nobody is safe and to keep the other players on their toes (a la Juan Mata).  It takes nuts to do this, it shows a manager who knows that he can do what he wishes and nobody will question it.  Mourinho sells his best player to one of his biggest opponents and people call it genius, if someone else did it I doubt they’d be saying the same thing.

 

Desperation?

There is no doubt that Utd were desperate for a boost, desperate for a new face in the locker room and desperate to not finish outside the top four for the first time since the inception of the Premier League, but was spending £37 million on a player in January who can’t play in one of the two competitions which you are actually left in desperation?  The answer is no.  If you had said to me in the summer that Utd would sign Juan Mata for £37 million I would have said what a great piece of business, however it is hard to ignore the fact that this season at Chelsea Mata has been very much a squad player.  Now nobody can sit and tell me that Mata isn’t an excellent player but £37 million for a reject from one of your rivals seems nothing short of desperation.  Did Utd overpay?  Yes of course they did, they needed a big signing, Mata wanted away and Chelsea wanted to get rid of him, but a fee of £30 million would have seemed more suffice given the circumstances.  When I wrote about the summer transfer window I talked about my frustrations with Utd’s lacklustre transfer dealings, and commented that sometimes you need to overpay to get the best talent; Arsenal did it with Ozil and now Utd have done it with Mata.  Desperation it is not, but rather Utd finally aligning with the current state of football’s transfer market.

 

What about Rooney?

I wrote about Rooney in one of my first ever blog posts, and I talked about Chelsea’s apparent offer of £10 million plus Mata or Luiz, which I then commented would be very hard to turn down if you offered £15 million plus Mata.  That of course puts Rooney’s valuation at around £52 million (I think it’s closer to £40 million) but he obviously won’t reach true value with only one year left on his contract.  With Mata joining Utd it could mean one of two things for Rooney, either he is on the way out and Mata is his replacement or this is the start of something special at Utd.  Rooney seems very temperamental when it comes to having two years left on his contract, and I personally don’t think that he deserves a raise and the captaincy but there is no doubting that he has given his all this season (something people seem to ignore about David Moyes) and if he is committed to the club then you will then have three quality attacking talents as well as one of the brightest young talents in world football who can only get better by playing with other star players.  If Rooney was an intelligent man (doubtful) he would realise that Old Trafford is the place he belongs and that David Moyes intends to build the team around him.  Do I think Rooney is going in the summer?  I now very much doubt it and fully expect him to sign a new contract at the club which would be another massive morale boost to the squad.

 

Did Arsenal overpay for Ozil?

At the time I said they over paid for Ozil, and the signing of Mata for £37 million shows that they clearly did.  Not only would I say that Mata is a better player than Ozil, but he also has shown that he can be one of the best players in the league something Ozil still has not.

 

What’s Next?

This is a two part question; what’s next in the transfer market and what’s next for David Moyes?  Both are answered in a similar manner, Utd have shown massive faith in David Moyes and are going to give him the chance (which most other clubs wouldn’t) to shine in his role.  Yes this season has been harder than I’m sure every Utd fan would have imagined, and yes the transfer dealings prior to the Mata signing were nothing short of embarrassing, but things are starting to look up.  Manchester United is a special club, and it is ironic that Juan Mata has come from the total opposite of what Manchester United is, in Chelsea.  Utd still need players, to be more exact they need at least a winger, a holding midfielder and a central midfielder, but the noises which are now being made and the targets which are now being targeted are the types of realistic and quality targets which should really have been aimed for in the summer.

 

To All the Idiots Out There…

Not that this has that much to do with Juan Mata signing for Utd, but if I hear one more idiot say ‘oh I knew Moyes wouldn’t fit at Utd!’ or ‘I knew that Fellaini was a donkey!’ then I might toss my laptop across the room and kick a puppy (I don’t have a dog so I’d have to go get one and I imagine by that time I would have calmed down, so no puppies were hurt in the writing of this post).  Where were all these Moyes is no good for Utd people when he was announced as the new manager?  Where were these people when everyone wanted to sign Fellaini, including Arsenal (you know that team that likes to pass the ball about)?  Yes these all-knowing voices didn’t seem to appear until it became evident that things weren’t going well.  Now there are two kinds of people in the world; those who are honest and those who aren’t.  If people are being honest then most of them would tell you that they actually thought the David Moyes appointment made sense, the problem is that most people aren’t honest and instead feel the need to make themselves feel smart by showing how brilliantly smart they are in hindsight, but hey who am I to tell people what to do?  Yes go forth all you smart internet people and propel your thoughts which you have developed in the past few minutes and legitimise them by saying ‘I’ve said this from the start…’

 

Anyway I think Juan Mata to Utd makes a lot of sense for all parties involved and that it will more than likely turn out to be a very good piece of business.  I think the Juan Mata signing will be the catalyst to send Utd into finishing comfortably within the top four and he adds instant quality to their squad.  So what do you think of the Juan Mata signing?  Leave a comment and share your opinion.  Plus find all the latest bm23sportsreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter.

The Premier League Transfer Window Review.

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The transfer window slammed shut at 11 p.m. on Monday night (sort of) and once again somehow three months of transfer activity was left to the last minute as clubs across Europe tried to get that one extra (or several in some cases) player that would take them to the next level.

I have always been of the opinion that all the clever and savvy workers of the transfer window get their work done in June (before the window opens), July and August (before the season starts).  However as I have already said, inevitably most clubs leave it to the last minute to get their transfers in (with very few exceptions).

Nothing really changes from year to year when the transfer window is about to close; inevitably Sky Sports News will big it up to be more exciting than it actually is, some idiots will jump about behind reporters and give the camera the fingers and Jim White will get super excited over very little because he has been given a pack of Haribo Tangfastics and an espresso before going on air.  It is the same formula every year and for some reason it works.

The review is going to be pretty simple; it will break down each club in the Premier League’s signings and how that will affect their league position and whether or not the club has done good business.  So let’s get started.

 

Arsenal

When Arsenal were beaten by Villa on the first day of the season almost any who watched football would tell you that Arsenal needed to spend that money they bang on about having all the time because they are being left behind.  Since then Wenger has steadied the ship and shock horror actually managed to break Arsenal pitifully low transfer purchase record (Sylvain Wiltord for £13 million in 2000 [yes teams like Sunderland had a higher transfer fee paid record than Arsenal, not that you could tell from their league positions]).

Ins:  Yaya Sanogo (free), Mathieu Flamini (free), Emiliano Viviano (Loan) & Mesut Ozil (£42.5m)

Outs:  Gervinho (£8m), Chamakh (free), Arshavin (free), others of varying insignificance.

Arsenal didn’t lose anybody of importance; all the players that either left or were sold never managed to develop into the players Wenger was hoping for.  On the flip side, Arsenal brought in Sanogo who is very much one for the future and will have a limited impact on the first team this year, Viviano is really just there to give back-up depth in nets and Flamini who wasn’t good enough for Arsenal when they were actually good but all of a sudden after five years away, he’s good enough even though he hasn’t improved as a player (after finding himself released from AC Milan because he wasn’t good enough for them either).  Flamini very much seems like the desperation signing that everyone thought Arsenal was going to be partaking in before the window closed, and that is what he is.  I’m not saying he is an awful player, but he isn’t that good.  He does give Arsenal a holding midfield type of player that is more capable of tackling than most of their other central midfielders, but he isn’t good enough to start and should very much be a stop gap type of player.

The big signing of course was Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for an Arsenal record £42.5 million, hold on did I just say that Arsenal spent lots of money all on one player?  Surely I meant to say that they got him on a free transfer or something?  No?  Wow, who saw that coming?  I certainly didn’t.  Ozil is quality (read that again, it said QUALITY) player; he is the sort of player that Arsenal have been criticised for not being able to purchase anymore.  Ozil is in his prime, is a starter for the excellent Germans and is arguably one of the best attacking midfielders in the world.  In recent years you haven’t seen superstars move from La Liga to the Premier League (usually the other way about) but in this case he has.  It is a very good signing…..but (wait for it) they overpaid for him (by at least £12.5m), don’t they have a guy called Santi Cazorla who is pretty damn good and plays the same position? (I imagine one is being played out of position, and I get the feeling it isn’t going to be the record signings [poor Santi]), he is very inconsistent (shows up in about 1 in 5 games and is unplayable in those but it happens to rarely) and I’ve heard people say that he is the best no.10 in the world but if he were the best no.10 in the world, would Real Madrid be selling him?  The answer is no, they are selling him because they believe that he is surplus to requirements and they obviously don’t think that he has developed into the player they thought they were buying all those years ago.  It sounds like I don’t like this signing, which is not the case I do; however when a club has so many holes to fill (I wrote about it here) to use a lot of that money on a position that you are actually quite strong and not fill the gaps that are more concerning (defence and up front) is papering over the cracks.

Have Arsenal improved their squad?  Yes they have, Flamini gives them more depth in midfield and Ozil is a quality player that will instantly make them a better team, I see 4th on the horizon.

 

Aston Villa

Ins:  Libor Kozak (£5m), Jores Okore (£4m), Leandro Bacune (£3m), Aleksander Tonev (£2.5m), Nicklas Jensen (£2m) & Antonio Luna (£2m)

Outs:  Nobody of significance (squad players at best) although Bent (Loan) left….yeah nobody of significance

Hm…..I don’t really think I am educated to give my opinion on any of these players because to be honest I don’t know very much about them and have never seen any of them play (outside of sparingly since they joined Villa).  I will say this however, Villa didn’t lose any of their side from last season (mainly Benteke) and it was a young side.  This season is setting up to be a marked improvement on last year, and with a number of cheap additions to the squad I expect Villa to do well in Lambert’s second year.

Have Villa improved their squad?  Yes I think they have, they have more depth and that is vital (and was a major issue last year) if they are to push on from last season.

 

Cardiff City

Ins:  Gary Medel (£9.5m), Steven Caulker (£8m), Andreas Cornelius (£7.5m), Peter Odemwingie (£2.5m), Kevin Theophile-Catherine (£2.1m) & John Brayford (£1.5m)

Outs:  Nobody of significance

Cardiff were the best equipped (in my mind) of the promoted clubs this season, and they have also had the best (of those clubs) dealings in the transfer market.  Gary Medel is surely too good for Cardiff if it weren’t for the fact that he was a total lunatic (there’s a reason he’s nicknamed pitbull).  Steven Caulker is an England international and has good potential (possibly future of centre back position with Phil Jones) and I really don’t understand why Spurs sold him in the first place.  Cornelius is only 20 but Cardiff obviously saw enough potential in him to pay £7.5m for the Danish hot prospect, and he will get plenty of chances in a Cardiff side that lacks a standout striker (sorry Fraizer).  Odemwingie is a weird one, because if you get the Odemwingie that was making standout appearances for WBA then you have signed a very good player, although then again you might get the odd Odemwingie who takes drives to London try and leave you club.  Is he worth £2.5m?  Not based on his conduct at WBA but then again I guess it is relatively low risk when you might receive a good player who is proven in the league in return.  Good window for a club that I see doing very well in their first season ever in the Premier League.

Have Cardiff improved their squad?  Obviously yes, they have added at least two first team players who are going to contribute straight away and also added some other nice pieces.

 

Chelsea

Chelsea’s biggest signing during the transfer window was Jose Mourinho who made his long awaited comeback to the team that he ‘supposedly’ loves……

Ins:   Willian (£30m), Andre Schurrle (£18m), Marco van Ginkel (£9m), Christian Atsu (£3.5m), Mark Schwarzer (free) & Samuel Eto’o (free)

Outs:  Courtois (Loan), Marin (Loan), Romeu (Loan), Atsu (Loan), Moses (Loan), Lukaku (Loan) and many others who are insignificant.

If you had broken down the Chelsea team at the end of last season, you would have commented that they had a wealth of attacking midfielders but were weak in defence and up front.  Naturally you would then assume that most of Chelsea’s transfer activity would relate to and fix those areas; well if you did then you were wrong.

First off I’d like to say that I love the signing of Mark Schwarzer, a player who is still good enough to start in the league and will make an excellent back up to Cech.  Atsu was clearly signed for the future (hence why he was sent out on loan directly after signing), van Ginkel is also one for the future but will have more of an impact on the first team.  I like the signing of Schurrle, because he gives Chelsea width (something they lack) and is also a very good player, who was an established veteran of the Bundesliga in a very good Bayer Leverkusen side.  Paying £18m for him is an absolute bargain and was a great get for Chelsea.  However that is where it ends for me in praising Chelsea’s transfer dealings (here we go, you ready for this?).

Why did Chelsea sign Willian?  A player that plays in a position that in no way did they need to fill, fix or improve depth.  Chelsea now has six players (Willian, Mata, de Bruyne, Hazard, Schurrle and Oscar) who are all vying for three positions in the starting line-up, plus they let Moses (who had a very good year last season) go on loan to Liverpool because there was too much competition.  So why in the hell did they sign Willian?  Was it just to piss off Spurs?  Because it sort of feels like it was, because he was in no way needed by Chelsea.  I think Willian is a good player (not a £30m player though) but he was a luxury in a team that still lacks so much up front (hello Man Utd game, 4-6-0 WTF?) and has serious question marks defensively.  Anyway Chelsea managed to fulfil their silly transfer dealings by signing a player that has been sitting in insignificance in Russia for the past number of years, because he would rather receive a big pay cheque than gain prestige (sounds like a nice guy).  Yes Eto’o has once again found himself at a big club (who knows why).  What does Eto’o bring to the club?  Well he brings attitude issues, dressing room disharmony and your brightest young striker being loaned out to Everton (so good for his amazing season, ay Chelsea fans).  What are the positives about Eto’o?  Well he was free…..hm……the last time he was good (Inter Milan) Mourinho was his manager, but then again that was three years ago and this is not the same player as then.  Regardless of the fact that I think this is a bad signing, if there is one manager who can get the best out of an old player that is past his best, it is Jose Mourinho, and he is going to have to hope he does because Chelsea have only three recognised strikers (Torres, Ba and Eto’o), and they all suck (good luck with that).

Have Chelsea improved their squad?  The answer is yes, but if the question was have Chelsea improved their first team?  The answer would be no because the players they have signed aren’t better than the players they already had in these positions.  They have however improved the manager, because Benitez sucks and Mourinho doesn’t.  Third all the way bayby!!!!!

 

Crystal Palace

Ins:  Lots and lots and lots and lots (aka too many for me to be bothered listing)

Outs: Wilfried Zaha, Nothing of significance

It doesn’t really matter who Palace signed because they are going to get relegated regardless of what they do (unless they signed amazing players……which they didn’t).  Gayle looks like he has potential but £6m was a steep price to pay.  Bannan is a good passer and will fit beautifully into the Palace first team, excellent passer and set piece taker (bit like a thin Charlie Adam).  Chamakh is rubbish and he will fit in well with the other Palace players because they also on the main are shit as well (for this level).  Look all you crazy Palace fans that came and gave me lots of abuse for saying you sucked, well you do suck and when you are signing players who played for Reading (the worst squad in the league last season) and they’re some of your biggest signings, you have relegation written all over yourself.

Have Palace improved their squad?  Hard to tell because they weren’t very good to begin with and they still aren’t very good; so I’d say maybe marginally but not noticeably (doesn’t help when you sell your best player, Zaha).  20th is calling and Palace is singing the tune, enjoy the Championship next year guys!

 

Everton

Ins:  James McCarthy (£13m), Arouna Kone (£6m), Joel Robles (£2m), Antolin Alcaraz (free), Gerard Deulofeu (Loan), Gareth Barry (Loan) & Romelu Lukaku (Loan)

Outs:  Marouane Fellaini (£27.5m) & Victor Anichebe (£6m)

Wow Man Utd should take note and listen to Everton on how to handle the last day of the transfer window, because they aced it.  Prior to the window closing they had signed Kone and Alcaraz from Wigan as well as Deulofeu (really hard name to spell), nothing to get excited about.  However throughout the window speculation had been rife about them losing their two best players (Baines and Fellaini) to Man Utd, and if they were to lose these two players their squad would not be anywhere near good enough.  Going into the last day of the window they stood firm over Baines (poor Baines, Utd were never going to pay £20m for a 28 year old left back regardless of how good he is) and were willing to let Fellaini go for the right price (£27.5m apparently).  Well Utd came in with the sufficient bid for Fellaini and Everton didn’t faff about and went straight out and got their man in James McCarthy (the best Scottish talent in 20 years, that doesn’t represent Scotland internationally….).  Now they overpaid for McCarthy but did so because they really wanted the player and were willing to pay that little bit over the odds because of that (are you watching Utd).  This was then followed up with the excellent loan signings of Barry from City (although not good enough for City, he could have an excellent impact at Everton) and Lukaku from Chelsea (just look what he did at WBA last season, and then look at how well Everton’s strikers played last year, great signing).  Put on top of that, somehow Everton were able to get £6m for that big lump Anichebe and you get the perfect formula (the Heisenberg formula) for a transfer deadline day success (ARE YOU WATCHING UTD!?!?!?!?!?).

Have Everton improved their squad?  Yes they have; despite losing arguably their best player (I would say Baines is their best) they have also improved their first team.  McCarthy is a better scheme fit (to Martinez) than Fellaini, Barry will be a good anchor and Kone and especially Lukaku will give Everton some much needed striker goals.  I think they are set for a big year.

 

Fulham

Ins:  Maarten Stekelenburg (£4.76m), Scott Parker (£2m), Darren Bent (Loan), Adel Taarabt (Loan) & others.

Outs:  Schwarzer (free), a bunch of ordinary

I still am not sure how Fulham managed to sign Stekelenburg, why weren’t Arsenal in for him? (why is Julio Cesar still at QPR?  So many questions, not enough sensible answers).  Parker, Bent and Taarabt all add quality to the Fulham first team and are all good signings, but Fulham haven’t done enough.  After looking like they were going to have no problem staying up this season, I am beginning to doubt that.  The squad is too old, and although that means you have lots of experience, it also mean that you don’t have that youthful exuberance that only young players possess.  The perfect mix for a team like Fulham is half youth and half players past their best that can still do a job; just now Fulham only have the second half, and that is very worrying when they are contesting a long season.

Have Fulham improved their squad?  Yes they have, but they are ignoring the long term future by signing players who are past their best and this will come back and haunt them in the long run if not by this season.

 

Hull……something

Ins:  Tom Huddlestone (£5m), Ahmed Elmohamady (£2m), Allan McGregor (£1.8m), Curtis Davies (£2.25m), George Boyd (free), Yannick Sagbo (£1.5m), Maynor Figueroa (free), Danny Graham (Loan) & Jake Livermore (Loan)

Outs:  Corry Evans (£750k), lots of others

Unlike their other highly likely fellow relegation candidates (Palace), Hull have managed to make (for them) quality signings.  Boyd and Elmohamady were at the club  last season (on loan) but the real improvements have come with Hull’s other signings; Huddlestone is way too good to be playing at a relegation struggler (should be at a mid-table side), McGregor has already shown his worth so far this season and is a bargain at £1.8m, and Hull have also done very well in the loan market, picking up Livermore (who will compliment Huddlestone nicely) and Graham (who showed capabilities in Swansea’s first season in the league).  When you consider the additions that Hull has made, plus the fact they lost none of their significant players, it is a good transfer window.

Have Hull improved their squad?  Yes they have because they added quality that wasn’t there last season and have added maybe four starters to their first team.  Although Hull have gotten better, I still don’t see them really doing anything but getting relegated (at least you’re better than Palace).

 

Liverpool

Ins:  Mamadou Sakho (£18m), Iago Aspas (£9m), Simon Mignolet (£9m), Luis Alberto (£6.8m), Tiago Ilori (£7m), Kolo Toure (free), Aly Cissokho (Loan) & Victor Moses (Loan)

Outs:  Andy Carroll (£15.5m), Stewart Downing (£6m), Jonjo Shelvey (£5m), Pepe Reina (Loan), Fabio Borini (Loan) & Jamie Carragher (Retired)

It hurts me so much to say it (because I’m a Utd fan) but what a transfer window Liverpool have had.  It isn’t even about the players they brought in (I’ll get to that in a minute) but also the ones they got rid of; dumping the deadwood of Carroll, Downing, Borini, Reina and Carragher (sorry Liverpool fans he was well past his best [now we have to put up with the worst accent in football every Monday night….yippee….]).  The only player that Liverpool sold that I could questions is Shelvey, who I though looked like a good player and definitely had a future at the club.

It is a clear sign of how well you have done when they go to your stadium/training ground with two hours to go and everyone at the club has left (just in case you didn’t know, it means you’ve done pretty well).  Sakho is a French internationalist (capped 14 times) and is only 23 who only found himself surplus to requirements at PSG because they throw money at everyone and Sakho needed first team football to be called up for the upcoming World Cup; he could be the rock in the heart of Liverpool’s defence for the next 10 years, great signing for the future and for now.  Mignolet was arguably the best keeper in the league last year (he wasn’t, it was De Gea, Mignolet was second though), to pick a quality keeper like Mignolet up for £9m is a bargain and is another quality signing for now and the future.  Ilori and Alberto are good signings for the future and I doubt will have that much of an impact on the first team squad this season.  I don’t think Aspas is that great a player, but £9m in this market is buttons, so even if he does fail it isn’t that big a deal.  I have never been a fan of fatty….sorry Kolo Toure, and I don’t really understand why Liverpool signed him.  Oh well you can’t win them all, and to be fair he has started the season well, but even shit players play well sometimes (just ask anyone that plays for Crystal Palace).  I’m not quite sure what the point of signing Cissokho was (Jose Enrique is a better player) but Victor Moses is a really nice pick up, and if they have an option to buy clause then it is another piece of excellent business.  Oh yeah, they also managed to hold onto their best player, not bad indeed.

Have Liverpool improved their squad?  Yes they have, quite considerably; it isn’t just that they have improved the squad, but they have also added players that have the potential to contribute for the next 10 years, that’s called forward thinking and it is how you are supposed to run a football club.

 

Manchester City

Ins:  Fernandinho (£30m), Stevan Jovetic (£22m), Jesus Navas (£17m), Alvaro Negredo (£16.4m) & Martin Demichelis (£3.5m)

Outs:  Tevez (£10m), Maicon (£3m), Barry (Loan), Santa Cruz (free), Bridge (free) & Kolo Toure (free)

Similar to Liverpool, City got rid of a lot of deadwood this season (so many players that never played but had big wages and bigger egos [I’m looking at you Tevez]).  City smartly did most of their business early on in the window and picked up four players before adding Demichelis later on (after recognising they had a lack of central defensive cover).  The Demichelis signings is clearly a squad signing (because he is slow and past his best) but he plugs a gap in an area of concern and is a smart signing.  Jesus Navas is a nice pick up for £17m and will give City the width they were severely lacking last season (although there are questions about his size, lack of versatility and homesickness).  Alvaro Negredo was a bit of an odd signing because he is almost the exact same player as Dzeko, and you can’t really see them playing together because they do the exact same thing (so far this year he looks better than Dzeko, let’s see how it develops).  Stevan Jovetic was another odd signing because I don’t see him currently being able to start for City and contribute to an acceptable level; if he was signed to play a squad role then he is a very good signing, but if that is not the case he is not a great signing (then again I am probably being harsh because he is only 23 and could develop nicely if given the chance, but will he be given that chance to develop?  I guess we will wait and see, currently I doubt it).  Fernandinho is the worst of the signings; not because I think he is a bad player (before this season I had barely seen him play at all) but because a guy that is 28, played the majority of his career in Ukraine and has only been capped 5 times for Brazil, doesn’t scream £30m player.  He still has time to prove that his transfer fee is legitimate and he is that good, but I have seen him play three times and each time I have thought to myself that ‘this doesn’t look like a £30m player’, in fact he doesn’t look like a £15m player.  Maybe it is too quick to judge him, but when you have such a big transfer fee you are always going to be scrutinised to a greater degree.

Have City improved their squad?  Yes they have, they are a much better team, with a much better manager and with much less baggage than they did last year.  Things are looking up at City and the club is beginning to be run in a more professional manner.

 

Manchester United

Ins:  Marouane Fellaini (£27.5m) & Guillermo Varela (£2.4m)

Outs:  Nothing

Let me sum up to you in one word Utd’s transfer window conduct, embarrassing.  How about another word?  Shambles.  Another one?  Pathetic.  Yes the once savvy transfer kings Manchester United had a transfer window that everyone connected to the club will want to forget.  Utd wanted Thiago, and then they didn’t as he was signed by Bayern.  Utd wanted Fabregas, but he never wanted to move in the first place.  Utd teased signing Ronaldo and Bale, but in the end never came close to do either.  Utd were all set to sign Herrera but weren’t willing to pay a measly extra €6m (approximately £4.5m) so the deal fell through, but not after three men who may or may not be connected to the club (who knows based on how Utd have conducted themselves throughout the window) made a further mockery of Utd.  I know what you’re thinking ‘surely there wasn’t more stupidity?’ well you would be wrong, because Utd with seconds left of the window seemed to have gotten Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid with an option to buy,  you are now thinking ‘wow great business, he is one of the best left backs in world football, great signing!  What’s that?  You didn’t get the paperwork through in time?  Jesus Christ you guys are fucking idiots, how did you get to run a football club?’  To be honest you could also add the whole Baines thing in here but to be fair to Utd a 28 year old left back isn’t worth £20m regardless of how good he is.

Well onto the positives; Utd didn’t lose any of the players from their 11 point margin championship winning side (even Rooney stayed somehow).  Surely this is a positive?  Well no it isn’t; guys like Bebe (who got loaned out), Macheda and to a lesser extent Anderson and Nani (because Utd didn’t get anyone to replace them) were all deadwood and were supposed to be sold, yet all are still at the club.  Utd got Fellaini though, surely that is a positive?  Well no not really when you consider that a month ago you could have gotten Fellaini for £23.5m but instead Utd ended up paying £27.5m……good business guys.  Now consider that, not only does it clearly show that Fellaini was at best choice five, it also makes you scream into your hands and pull out what is left of your hair (not much after this transfer window and the last two games) as you question ‘so you’re willing to go an extra £4m for Fellaini because of your own stupidity, but aren’t willing to go an extra £4.5m for Herrara?’  It really begs belief, because with such stupidity you have to question what is going on at Utd and what is the future going to be like?  All very worrying.

What makes this worse is that all these idiots are blaming David Moyes for this, read my words (or lips if you can imagine me saying this) David Moyes is not the man who puts in bids or negotiates contracts, the man who does that is Ed Woodward and he has shown his blatant inexperience for this role.  David Moyes tells this man what players he would like to add to his squad and Woodward is supposed to oblige and go out and get them.  I personally don’t see this faffing about being allowed to happen if Fergie was still in charge, but he has more clout than Moyes (not really Moyes’ fault).  The loss of David Gill (a man that used to receive a large amount of abuse from the Utd fans) seems to have had a larger effect than it really should have (wasn’t Woodward shadowing Gill all these years?).  When you look at this, is it really a surprise that Fergie just happened to go at the exact same time as Gill?  I don’t think it is.  Woodward is going to have to learn very quickly, because this kind of conduct is not acceptable at Manchester United, and to be honest he should be a candidate for the sack if this farcical behaviour continues.

Have Utd improved their squad?  It is so ironic but the answer is yes.  Utd didn’t lose any players and added Fellaini (who is a good player, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned) who will give them that nastiness in midfield that they have been sorely lacking.  However Utd really needed a midfielder who could pass the ball in the middle of the pitch (a Herrera type…..why wasn’t he signed?) and somehow still managed to not sign anyone.  I thought all Utd needed was one big signing and they would be deserved favourites for the title, Fellaini isn’t a big enough signing for this to be the case.  Fellaini and Coentrao, Baines or Herrara would have been, but it seems that would have required Utd to have been competent.

 

Newcastle United

Ins:  Loic Remy (Loan)

Outs:  Perch (750k) & lots of mediocrity

If it weren’t for Newcastle, Utd would have had the most shambolic transfer window, but thanks to good old Joe Kinnear (who makes Ed Woodward look competent) Newcastle managed to have another stinker start to the season, not exactly what Alan Pardew needed.  They didn’t really lose anyone but the only player they added was a player that didn’t want to join the club 6 months ago but is stuck joining them now because nobody else wants him (good business Joe).

Have Newcastle improved their squad?  I guess, but barely.  You almost get the feeling that Kinnear has went out his way to not sign anyone so that Pardew gets the sack and he can take over, dark days ahead for Newcastle fans.

 

Norwich City

Ins:  Ricky van Wolfswinkel (£8.5m), Leroy Fer (£7m), Gary Hooper (£5m), Martin Olsson (£2.5m), Nathan Redmond (£2.2m), Javier Garrido (£1.275m), Carlo Nash (free) & Johan Elmander (Loan)

Outs:  Holt (£2m), Vaughan (£1m), Barnett (£500k), others

Norwich are one of many teams who broke their transfer record fee this season, with the signing of van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon.  With the signing of van Wolfswinkel and Hooper, Norwich now have a legitimate striking force that will strike fear (although probably not) into opposition defences.  No longer will Norwich have to rely on the labouring runs of Grant Holt (a man who looks like he would run faster to the chip van than he does into an oppositions defence), and instead they have players who are good goal scorers.  The signing of Leroy Fer is also a very clever signing and it will give Norwich a stud in the middle of the pitch (have to wonder why nobody else wanted him).

Have Norwich improved their squad?  Yes they have by dramatically improving their strike force with three new players, as well as adding an excellent player into their central midfield, they will be easily safe this season.

 

Southampton

Ins:  Pablo Osvaldo (£15m), Victor Wanyama (£12.5m) & Dejan Lovren (£8.5m)

Outs:  Nothing really to talk about.

Southampton only signed three players this transfer window, but they managed to sign three players that will instantly make their first team better.  They probably overpaid for all three players, but if you want to add quality to your team you need to overpay sometimes.  When you consider that Southampton also didn’t lose any of their players from last season, overall a very good transfer window.

Have Southampton improved their squad?  Yes (fell like I’ve said that a lot), they have added three first team players that will make them a better side instantly.

 

Stoke City

Ins:  Erik Pieters (£3m), Marko Aranutovic (£2m), Marc Muniesa (free), Oussame Assaidi  (free), Stephen Ireland (Loan) & others

Outs:  Nothing of significance.

When you are serious candidates for relegation, you need to have a belter of a transfer window to take yourself a couple of steps higher to safety; however these are the hardest steps to take.  Stoke haven’t spent much money (especially in comparison to previous years) this transfer window but have brought in a number of players that could have a positive effect on the team this season.  The biggest problem for me about Stoke and their transfer window is that they needed a striker that could score 15+ a season, they didn’t get that, they also could have done with signing a midfielder who could pass the ball and although Ireland has joined he can never stay fit.

Have Stoke improved their squad?  I think they have, but not to the extent that would make me feel comfortable if I was a Stoke City fan.

 

Sunderland

Ins:  Jozy Altidore (£6.5m), Emanuele Giaccherini (£6.5m), Charis Mavaris (£3m) & so many other players that I can’t be bothered listing them.

Outs: Mignolet (£9m), Sessegnon (£6m), McClean (£1m) & others.

Here’s the thing about Sunderland and their transfer window, it doesn’t really matter what they do (and they needed to do a lot) because they have a lunatic managing the team.  Essentially what I am saying is that Di Canio doesn’t know what he is doing and it amazes me that he would be allowed to have a job never mind manage a football club.  Sunderland lost probably their best player in Mignolet and their only players with something a bit special in Sessegnon and McClean (who I know didn’t have a great year last year).  It also doesn’t help when so many other players who didn’t leave the club are clamouring to get out of the club because they realise that there is a crazy man in charge who keeps saluting at them inappropriately.  Did Sunderland bring in good player though?  It isn’t that they brought in bad players, it is more that they brought in ordinary players, and for a team that needs better than ordinary to avoid relegation, that isn’t good enough.  For instance there is no way that Altidore is a £6.5m player, because he just isn’t that good and has shown that previously in this league.  Another concerning sign for Sunderland fans will be the fact that Sunderland signed so many player, not only because it means your squad can’t be that good but it also means that 16 (or that’s how many I counted) players have to gel with the players already at the club as well as amongst themselves, something that is no easy feat.

Have Sunderland improved their squad?  No they have not (first time I’ve actually wrote that); they have lost their best player and have added regular players to their squad.  It is usually a sign of desperation when so many players are signed in one window, and in this case it is a sign of desperation.  If Sunderland were a ship they would be shooting off their flare guns with reckless abandonment because the ship is going down…..to the Championship.

 

Swansea City

Ins:  Wilfried Bony (£12m), Jonjo Shelvey (£5m), Jordi Amat (£2.5m), Jonathan de Guzman (Loan) & others.

Outs:  Ki Sung-Yeung (Loan) & others

I loved what Swansea were able to do in the summer; they picked up Bony who can link up perfectly with Michu to make a deadly strike force and they made the great signing of England international Jonjo Shelvey for a paltry £5m (which in the football market is like a packet of Smarties to you and me).  Laudrup has improved his first team with these two signings and has made further additions to help the squad get through the tough European calendar.  They didn’t really lose anyone either, with Ki clearly being surplus to requirements.

Have Swansea improved their squad?  Yes they have with two excellent signings which will allow them to push on from another solid season in the Premier League.

 

Tottenham Hotspur

Ins:  Erik Lamela (£30m), Roberto Soldado (£26m), Paulinho (£17m), Christian Eriksen (£11.5m), Vlad Chirrices (£8.5m), Nacer Chadli (£7m) & Etienne Capoue (£9m)

Outs:  (some guy called) Gareth Bale (£86m), Caulker (£8m), Dempsey (£6m), Huddlestone (£5m), Parker (£2m), Assou-Ekotto (Loan) & others.

Well, well, well, well, well (not a Motherwell song).  Spurs were just a bit busy in the transfer window, weren’t they?  Nobody spent more than they did, and nobody brought in more than they did, remarkably almost breaking even for their transfers overall (go figure).  First I will deal with the players Spurs sold; how they managed to get £86m for Bale is beyond me.  It isn’t like Bale isn’t a good player (he’s one of the best in the world) but you can’t honestly tell me that he is worth more money than Ronaldo when he left Utd and went to Madrid (he isn’t, at that time Ronaldo was the best player in the world, Bale is not).  If I were to evaluate Bale and give him a price that I think he is worth, I would say around £50m, £36m less than Madrid paid.  You have to applaud Daniel Levy who has once again shown that he is one tight bastard and knows how to eek every penny out.  I don’t really understand the selling of Caulker when Spurs don’t really have that much depth at central defence.

On to the big stuff, the signings and oh god was there lots of them.  There is good signings, bad signings and ugly signings…..actually there are only good signings (damn Spurs work their stuff well).  Let’s break it down by saying that Soldado was exactly what Spurs have lacked the last few seasons, Paulinho looks like a steal at £17m, Eriksen is an absolute steal at £11.5m (why weren’t Arsenal and Utd in for him?) and Chadli and Capoue also look like good value for money (haven’t seen Chirrices play but even if he does suck, it isn’t like he cost much).  The only blot on the Spurs copy book is Lamela, who they have paid well over the odds for (probably Bale’s fault) but he does give them another striker and makes them a better rounded team.  Spurs have not only gotten better at a number of positions, they have also gotten younger, which in the long run is vital if they are going to push on and possibly challenge for the league in future seasons.  The AVB revolution continues.

Have Spurs improved their squad?  Incredibly after selling by far their best player they have gotten better.  They have improved their squad vastly (more than any other team) and this will help them not only challenge in the Europa League (which I think they will win) but also for fourth position.  The biggest criticism I can have of Spurs is that they lost a player that was truly special, one who could do something out of nothing, and have not really been able to replace him.  However eight very good players is better than having one outstanding player.

 

West Bromwich Albion

Ins:  Stephane Sessegnon (£6m), Victor Anichebe (£6m), Nicolas Anelka (free), Diego Lugano (free), Matej Vydra (Loan), Scott Sinclair (Loan), Goran Popov (Loan), Lee Camp (free) & Morgan Amalfitano (Loan)

Outs:  Odemwingie (£2.5m), Fortune (free) & others

Can’t help but feel WBA have failed to add to the success they had last season; missing out on the loan signing of Lukaku was just the tip of the iceberg.  Sessegnon is a good signing because he adds creativity and quality to the WBA attack, however beyond that I just don’t get the signings.  Vydra is a stab in the dark (he did well in the Championship but that means very little), they signed a bunch of players on loan which is useless for the long term future of the club (none of who will be starters either), they vastly overpaid for Anichebe (£6m? what were they thinking?) and why the hell did they think Anelka was a good signing?  The only thing Anelka brings is selfishness and chaos (the guy was set to retire on a whim before the season started); very odd signings from WBA, at least they didn’t lose anyone (other than Lukaku of course, who they never actually had).

Have WBA improved their squad?  Not really, when you look at it they had Lukaku last year and now have Anichebe, not what I’d call an upgrade.  The only signing that has improved the first is Sessegnon, and that is not enough to say that the squad has improved.

 

West Ham United

Ins:  Andy Carroll (£15.5m), Stewart Downing (£6m), Adrian (free) & Razvan Rat (free)

Outs:  Nobody of significance, unless you think Carlton Cole is good, which if you do then….I don’t know what to say.

God this is a long list and it is finally finishing (thank god, for me and you); West Ham brought in Carroll (who was there last season) and Downing as their two big signings (Liverpool rejects).  I like both the signings and think that the step down will be good for both of their careers and they should both do well under Allardyce (because of the style he plays).  However that doesn’t take away from the fact that West Ham grossly overpaid for both players,  Liverpool were just wanting both guys off the books and you can’t honestly tell me Andy Carroll is a £15.5m player (some idiots paid £35m for him once, hahahaha).  That is the major concern for West Ham that they blew their entire transfer kitty on two players that they could probably have gotten for half the price, I doubt it will come back to bite them in the arse but you never know.

Have West Ham improved their squad?  Yes but not as much as they should have.  Really only the signing of Downing is a major new addition to the squad, in a squad that is lacking good depth.

 

Overall

It is interesting to note that the only teams that I would say lost players of importance were Spurs, Sunderland and Everton (and sort of Palace although Zaha left last January technically).  Spurs and Everton have become better teams because of the money they received from the players they lost (Sunderland didn’t), but I am pointing this out more because it shows a trend that Premier League players aren’t that desirable (even the English clubs weren’t really buying from each other).  It also shows that English players/Premier League players are massively over-priced, and then the FA wonder why youth players aren’t being developed, that’s why, because they are too expensive (well that and too many old dumplin’s that are well past their best [I’m looking at you Fulham]).  It shows a worrying trend for the Premier League (and England), who are now lacking quality players (after losing Bale) and not really developing home grown talent.

 

Top 5 signings.

  1. Eriksen (Spurs)
  2. Shelvey (Swansea)
  3. Stekelenburg (Fulham)
  4. Mignolet (Liverpool)
  5. Fer (Norwich)

 

Worst 5 signings.

  1. Altidore (Sunderland)
  2. Fernandinho (Man City)
  3. Anichebe (WBA)
  4. Carroll (West Ham)
  5. McCarthy (Everton)

 

Top 5 transfer window teams.

  1. Liverpool
  2. Spurs
  3. Norwich
  4. Hull
  5. Southampton

 

Worst 5 transfer window teams.

  1. Newcastle
  2. Sunderland
  3. Palace
  4. Man Utd
  5. WBA

 

So now that the transfer window is closed (and I’ve seen the teams play a few games), here is what I think the league will look like in comparison to my prediction in the preview.

 

1st— Man City                            0

2nd— Man Utd                           0

3rd—Chelsea                              0

4th—Arsenal                              +1

5th—Spurs                                 -1

6th—Liverpool                         +2

7th—Everton                           -1

8th—Swansea                         -1

9th—West Ham                      +1

10th—Villa                              +3

11th—Southampton             +5

12th—Cardiff                         +2

13th—Norwich                      +2

14th—WBA                            -5

15th—Newcastle                -3

16th—Fulham                       -5

17th—Stoke                          +1

18th—Sunderland                -1

19th—Hull                              0

20th—Palace                         0

 

As I’m sure you can see, I have changed my mind with all but five of the positions (although to be fair I have always thought Arsenal would finish above a Baleless Spurs but wrote this about their current squads and at the time Bale was at Spurs, so I’m counting it as seven).  The amount of changes I have made isn’t really surprising because it is so hard to predict the mid-table that often it is just a guessing game (might as well through a dart at a wall with your eyes closed [this is not recommended for children and should only be partaken when intoxicated]).

I said that all Utd needed was to make one big signing to be my favourites, but Fellaini isn’t that big signing that was required (although Fellaini- Coentrao or Baines would have been enough).  I have decided that Stoke will finish above Sunderland after they have had a good start to the season, and I further realise that Sunderland under Di Canio is a total mess and are going nowhere fast.  I think Liverpool are deservedly higher up (2 positions higher) because they have started the season well (although not 9/9 points well) and I really like some of their signings (especially Sakho [beast], Mignolet and Moses).  Villa and Southampton have both impressed me so far this season and I feel once their new signings settle in (especially at Southampton) it will reflect on their league position.  WBA have plummeted down the table because I have become seriously concerned about who is going to score their goals (Anichebe signing didn’t allay my fears).  Fulham are beginning to look older and older to me and that has also become a serious concern of mine, even though I like their signings I fear that near the end of the year if they are in trouble, the old guys might not have the energy or desire to get them out of it.  Newcastle have dropped down for obvious reasons; one because they didn’t sign any players and two because the club is an utter shambles and there is a good chance of Joe Kinnear taking over (shame they have good players).

 

Teams who raised the most.

  1. Southampton +5
  2. Villa +3
  3. Liverpool, Norwich & Cardiff +2

 

Teams who fell the most.

  1. WBA & Fulham -5

3 .   Newcastle -3

 

 

So there you have it the long winded and hard to read without crying Premier League transfer window review.  What did you think of the transfer window?  How do you think it will affect the league table?  Let me know and leave a comment.  I am going to bath my fingers in ice because man is not meant to type so much for such a long period of time.