The transfer window slammed shut yesterday for Premier League and Championship clubs before the Premier League season kicking off tonight with Champions of Europe, Liverpool taking on newly promoted and last season’s Championship winners Norwich City. A crazy amount of money was spent in the Premier League this window and especially in the top 6 with the likes of Harry Maguire, Nicolas Pepe and Tanguy Ndombele going for huge fees. What would be more original to celebrate the upcoming season than a graded list, this time Premier League transfer window edition. I’ll have a look through the main winners and losers of this summer’s window and why they deserve to be where they are. I’m only grading teams based on their transfer activity this summer and not how good they are full stop, even though there are some big teams in the “losers” category it’s quite obvious they’ll still have good seasons because of the quality they already have. These are just my opinions and I’m sorry if I think your club have had a poor window, I’m not trying to offend anyone it’s just the way I think the window has gone.
Arsenal: £45 million budget? Do me a favour. North London won this transfer window and Arsenal really played their part. They managed to identify weak spots in the team (most notably in defence and on the wing) and answered those problems impressively. Record signing Nicolas Pepe will be an incredible signing and playing with the likes of Mesut Ӧzil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre–Emerick Aubameyang will only get better. Arsenal have definitely one of the top 3 strongest attacks in the league. Defence needed improvement and arguably it still does. However with the additions of David Luiz and Kieran Tierney on Deadline Day and William Saliba returning from his loan from Saint Etienne next season, a young back four of Bellerin– Saliba – Holding – Tierney from next year onwards with Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles in the mix is a big improvement. I predict a good season from Arsenal finishing back in the top 4 and a desperately needed Champions League place after 3 years in Europa.
Tottenham: I said North London won the transfer window and Tottenham played as big a part in that as Arsenal. Tanguy Ndombele will most definitely strengthen the team and fill the Moussa Dembele hole in midfield that’s been quite obvious since his departure. Captures of Giovanni Lo Celso on loan from Real Betis and Ryan Sessegnon for £25 million from Fulham will only improve the team. Lo Celso will bring creativity to the squad regardless but will play an even more prominent role if Christian Eriksen leaves before the European window slams shut (I personally think he’ll end up at Real Madrid). Spurs fans will probably be disappointed they didn’t get a deal done for Paulo Dybala but honestly after the problems with personal terms with Man United earlier in the window maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that it didn’t happen. New signings added with big names such as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son should (should is the key word there, never underestimate Tottenham to make things go pear shaped.. much like Arsenal) see Spurs have a good season.
Aston Villa: Hey big spender! Where on earth did that window come from? Villa spent roughly a staggering £130 million on players and fair play to them. Tyrone Mings will bring quality and experience to the defensive line after he impressed last season for them on loan. Tom Heaton is a brilliant signing for The Villans, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper and really impressed me during his time at Burnley. I really like the captures of Matt Targett, Trezeguet and Wesley whilst signing Jota from bitter rivals Birmingham made me laugh. I enjoy signings like that, you love to see it. With their quality already there with the likes of Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Jonathan Kodjia, my prediction is a strong season for Villa and a mid-table finish.
Everton: Wow okay, I didn’t see Everton having a window as strong as they did. Signing Andre Gomes from Barcelona after his loan last season was impressive enough but the Toffees weren’t finished there. They rocked the football world by signing Juventus youngster Moise Kean on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be around the £27 million mark. And if that wasn’t enough, Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi joined after a last minute bid of around £35 million was accepted on Deadline Day. A young front 3 of Iwobi, Kean and Richarlison can cause havoc to any Premier League defences with a barrage of quality midfielders behind them. With these signings and an already quality team, this could be the year Everton break back into the top 6 and get a European spot.
Chelsea: If North London is where the Transfer Window was won then South West London is where it was lost. Yes they had a transfer ban and it’s harsh to rag on Chelsea too much when they couldn’t do anything about it but it’s not as if they really helped themselves with outgoings. Granted, they signed Mateo Kovacic making his loan deal from Real Madrid permanent (it was part of the original agreement) and Christian Pulisic is coming back from his loan at Borussia Dortmund, but outgoings made it a poor window for Chelsea. Selling star man Eden Hazard paired with the ban means they couldn’t bring in anyone of his quality as a replacement and they’ll miss him big time. The loss of Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid and David Luiz to Arsenal means they’re a striker and defender down to no response. Whilst some Chelsea fans will be happy to see the back of Morata, it’s far from ideal to lose a big name whilst serving a transfer ban. Don’t get me wrong, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham are all good strikers but they’re not quite in the category of the League’s best attackers. I still think Chelsea will have a decent season but they’ve had a less than decent transfer window.
Man United: The blue side of Manchester won big in the window, the red side not so much. It seems a bit strange putting United here after signing two certain first team starters in Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and a possible starter in Dan James, but the general consensus surrounding United is just it was a bit of a meh window. I personally don’t think it was anywhere near as bad as some have made out though. You can’t spend roughly £145 million and have a bad window, it just can’t happen, however key areas were left out and it’s making some United fans feel a bit deflated. They really needed another midfielder, especially if Pogba end up moving abroad, and Bruno Fernandes or Milinkovic–Savic (if not both) would’ve been ideal. Romelu Lukaku leaving for Inter isn’t great but a lot of United fans seem happy enough that he’s gone, but not replacing him with a big name will hurt them in my opinion. I think they’ll have an ok season, fairly similar to last year, but feeling like they could’ve done a lot more. Much like their business in the transfer window.
Norwich: Norwich were talk of the town in the championship for most of last season and rightly so. They played some great football on their way to becoming champions and winning promotion. However it doesn’t take away from the fact that in my opinion they’ve had a fairly poor window. Getting Schalke keeper Ralf Fahrmann on loan and Josip Drmic on a free from Borussia Monchengladbach are great bits of business but they’ve not done too much else. I feel as if they’re just a bit underprepared in terms of incomings and aren’t quite ready for a Premier League season. I could be completely wrong and their stars of last season could be incredible in the Premier League too but I just don’t see it happening. Their fairly poor performance in the window could begin to show with a difficult season. I hope I’m wrong because I don’t mind Norwich and I’m a big fan of Teemu Pukki and admire what Daniel Farke has done at the club, I just don’t see them doing too much this year and haven’t done enough in the window.
Burnley: All things considered, Burnley have had a poor window. Danny Drinkwater and Jay Rodriguez stand out as their best signings and they’re not bad additions. Drinkwater is a Premier League and FA Cup winner and Jay Rodriguez is a great striker who I’m a fan of but that’s the only positions where they’ve really strengthened. The problem is they’ve not added much at all to a side that struggled a bit last season. Losing Tom Heaton really won’t help as they lack depth in the goalkeeping position. Sure they’ve got Joe Hart as backup to Nick Pope but it starts to thin out a bit past Hart. For a team that struggled last season I would’ve thought they would’ve got more players in to ensure they could not only finish mid table but possibly push for a top 8 finish. Maybe they’ll perform better this season without a confidence knock from a Europa League third round qualifying exit but I see them having a similar season this year to last, staying up because there are teams worse than them but finishing in the bottom half of the table.