The transfer window has now slammed shut (note to reader: it never closes gently, it ALWAYS slams). No longer will clubs be able to purchase players, and until January, they will have to make do with the squads already at their disposal.
There was a flurry of activity on deadline day, as clubs worked hard to bring in the bodies they needed, with some shocking and intriguing moves being made across the board. Now that day has drawn to a close, it seems appropriate for us to review this summer’s window and ask the question: who’s done well and who hasn’t?
Without a doubt, Jose Mourinho’s men look to be the victors of the transfer window. Not only have they significantly strengthened, but they also managed to do all their major business before the season had even began; allowing them to hit the ground running with a haul of nine points from their opening three fixtures.
Their purchase of Diego Costa now looks to be a masterstroke, with the Spanish international taking to the Premier League like a duck to water. Centre forward was a position of serious weakness for the Blues last season, but the addition of Costa – as well as highly-rated Frenchman Loic Remy – has certainly bolstered their firepower.
In addition to their striking options, Chelsea also splashed the cash for Cesc Fabregas, a move that looks like a winner with every passing fixture. The Spaniard provides a creativity and composure on the ball that was lacking a little last season, and with Fabregas pulling the strings behind Costa, WIllian et al, the future’s bright at Stamford Bridge.
The big-spenders of the window, it remains to be seen if United have had a good summer of spending or not. Luke Shaw was the first to arrive (for a monumental fee) and was swiftly followed by Ander Herrera, but the two players are currently on the treatment table and it is therefore difficult to assess the success of these purchases.
After a long lull, United then headed back into the transfer market and broke a British record in the process, signing Angel Di Maria for £59.7 million. Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind followed, while United waited until the 11th hour to seal a season-long loan for Monaco striker Radamel Falcao.
Whilst United have invested significantly, there still remains a lingering doubt over the balance of the team. Clearly Louis van Gaal has an abundance of attacking talent at his disposal, but there are definite question marks over his defensive options; particularly if he persists with a 3-5-2 formation that requires three centre backs and two wing backs.
Arsenal is perhaps the club that elicits the biggest sense of déjà vu whenever they are discussed. It seems as if every season is virtually the same for North London’s premier side, with hope and optimism giving way to collapse with alarming regularity.
Not immune from this sense of déjà vu is their transfer policy. For many years, Wenger was particularly frugal in the transfer market, and it was difficult to blame him – after all, the club had to pay for Emirates Stadium somehow. But now that the stadium debt has been paid back, Wenger has been slightly looser with the purse strings; but not loose enough for some fans.
The purchase of Mesut Ozil last season was supplemented by the arrival of Alexis Sanchez this summer; and with big money being spent on both these players, fans were optimistic that the age of austerity was over and that Wenger would be prepared to spend big on the players they needed to mount a genuine title challenge.
Then he bought Danny Welbeck on deadline day.
Don’t get me wrong, Welbeck is a solid player, but it very much remains to be seen whether the English striker has what it takes to be able to lead the line for a side that has genuine pretensions to the title.
Had Wenger spent double the price of the Welbeck transfer fee, Arsenal could be looking at a player of Diego Costa’s ilk; but instead they have inherited a player that Man United (the seventh-best team in England) no longer wants.
It was obvious that things would need to change at Anfield after the departure of Luis Suarez, and Brendan Rodgers didn’t rest on his laurels following the Uruguayan’s move to Barcelona.
Liverpool owners FSG have allowed Rodgers to invest heavily in his squad, with Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Alberto Moreno, Javier Manquillo and Laza Markovic coming in.
The question now for Rodgers will be whether he can get all of these new players adjusted to his game plan and settled in. Andre Villas-Boas and Tottenham failed in a similar task last season, and it will be interesting to see whether Rodgers approaches things differently. Liverpool’s 3-0 win at White Hart Lane on Sunday indicated that whatever he’s been doing so far, it’s been working.
After a solid first season back in the Premier League, Steve Bruce’s side are now looking to establish themselves as a top-flight club and their deadline day activity highlighted the fact that they are now looking to move beyond being merely a defensively-tight team. Gaston Ramirez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Abel Hernandez all arrived at KC Stadium on deadline day, and Hull fans will now be licking their lips in anticipation as they wait to see how this attacking trio can impact on their club’s fortunes.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!