The international transfer window has closed and everyone is talking about who has boosted their position the most during the ‘off-season’.
After a delayed start to the season and an extra long transfer window, Premier League clubs spent over £1.2bn throughout but some clubs were far more successful than others.
At the top end of the table, both Arsenal and Chelsea seemed to fulfil most of their requirements. The Blues spent around £250million on striker Timo Werner, attacking midfielders Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, left-back Ben Chilwell and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy while they also brought in centre-backs Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr on free transfers. They were able to shift some of the spare players in their squad as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley both left on loan, joining Fulham and Aston Villa respectively. Ethan Ampadu, Michy Batshuayi, Pedro, Willian, Davide Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko also left the club and won’t be part of the side this season.
Chelsea will be delighted with their window and manager Frank Lampard has no excuses this season. He has been backed as much as he could’ve been asked to be and will now be expected to push forward with a title challenge.
Arsenal are another side who will be expected to push on this season after their dealings. The club brought in Willian on a free transfer and re-signed Dani Ceballos on loan, while turning the loans of Pablo Mari and Cedris Soares into permanent deals. They also completed the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille at centre-back before a shock deadline day move for Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. With Arteta strengthening the squad hugely, they will now look to cement a place in the Champions League positions.
The two Manchester clubs had completely differing summers. The red side of the city struggled throughout the window and while they tried to save it with four signings on deadline day, they failed to address core areas of weakness and will struggle to secure even a Top 6 position.
Guardiola’s side brought in Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres early on, before completing a late swoop for Ruben Dias from Benfica. They lost Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane from their first-team squad, while David Silva left on a free transfer. The squad looks considerably weaker on paper than it has done in recent years and their start to the season has been less than impressive. Guardiola will want to challenge on all fronts once again but it may be a very tough ask with the way Liverpool went about their business this summer.
The champions secured arguably the signing of the summer and the sale of the summer. They brought in Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Diogo Jota from Wolves, while Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas came in as cover too. They let Dejan Lovren leave to Zenit for a small fee but also allowed Rhian Brewster to join Sheffield United for £23.5m with a buy-back fee agreed and a sell-on clause too. Despite the hammering they suffered against Aston Villa last time out, I expect they will now be able to sort their issues out and cruise to a second consecutive title.
Lower down the table, Aston Villa have had a remarkable summer. After scraping survival on the final day of last season, they managed to renew captain Jack Grealish’s contract and also bring in Ollie Watkins, Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore to help support him. With the signing of Matty Cash in defence and Emiliano Martinez in goal, they’ve boosted all their weakest areas on the pitch and will look to try and push up the table.
Fulham and West Brom have struggled this summer though. Fulham managed to bring in a fair few players, but a lot of them don’t look to be of the quality required to keep them in the division past this season. With Scott Parker’s inexperience already putting them at a disadvantage, they will likely need a miracle to stay up.
West Brom themselves have failed to strengthen significantly also and after a less than impressive start to their campaign also, they will have a hard time convincing anyone they’ll be able to stay up beyond this season.
Sides such as Everton and Spurs have had great windows and with top drawer managers already at the helm, excuses will be few and far between if they don’t hit their targets come the end of the campaign.
Overall, the big winners of this window are most certainly Spurs. They brought in big upgrades at right-back and left-back, they strengthened their central midfield position, got cover for Harry Kane and secured a potentially world-class signing in Gareth Bale to add some stardust to the side. With an already impressive squad prior to that, Mourinho will look to instil a winning mentality throughout now in order to push towards a first trophy since 2008.