About three months ago I did a piece on what sort of players each club needed to survive. https://shuggiesays.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/transfer-window-who-needs-who/ here’s a link if you want to see how wrong I was. So this is my follow up piece about how each team did.
Firstly Arsenal. I said they need to go out an spend some money, on a striker and a defender. Well the spent the money, over £40 million in fact, all on one player. Now Ozil, is in my opinion, one of the best at what he does in the world which is being that creative attacking midfielder. The problem is that this is the one are Arsenal definitely didn’t need to strengthen, especially with the return of Flamini on a free as well. They already have Cazorla, Rosicky, Wilshire, Ramsey and Arteta competing for the role. Obviously Ozil is a cut above these guys, but Arsenal really needed that calibre of player up front or at centre back, which they completely failed to buy.
I thought Villa needed to achieve two things at the beginning of the summer. Hold onto Benteke, check. And add a bit of experience/strength, check, even if they’re not familiar names to Prem viewers, players like Kozak, Luna and Tonev all have decent European experience. Kudos to you Lambert. I think Villa should be comfortably mid table come the end of the season.
Cardiff went a different route to what I expected, which was Premier League experience through the spine of the team. Instead they most bought from Europe. And I think probably bought well. Cornelius and Medel will both do well in the Prem, and Caulker at the back has a lot of potential. There is also some experience from late signing Odemwinge (no jokes about waiting in car parks please), and all together I think they should have enough to survive. Especially if their performance against Man City is any indecation.
I thought Chelsea needed a new centre back and a new striker. They decided to fill one of these berths with, not as I expected a Falcao or a Cavani, but with Samuel Eto’o. Clearly a world class striker, but probably more of a short term move as he’s not getting any younger. Mourinho seems to be sticking with Luiz as a centre back, despite the feelings of many that he’s more of midfielder. Strangely Chelsea also bought Willian and Shurrle, both of whom play in the 3 behind the striker, despite the fact that they already have Hazard, Mata, Oscar and De Bruyne there. Strangely it seems that Mata is the player who’s missing out for Chelsea, despite being their best player for the last couple of years.
Crystal Palace have signed a lot of players, I believe 15 of them. The best of them are probably Chamakh up front, Bannan whose a great little creative midfielder, Marriapa who’ll add some steel to the defence, Kebe and Puncheon who adds a bit of experience and Dwight Gayle, a very exciting prospect who was playing non league football a couple of years ago. I don’t know if all this will be enough to keep them up, but with Holloway at the helm they’ll certainly give it a good go.
Everton did manage to keep a hold of Baines, but failed to keep Fellaini. Martinez did bring in four players from his old club Wigan: Kone, Alcaraz and Joel probably won’t be in the first team too much, but James McCarthy is a quality player, who’ll probably be Fellaini’s replacement. They also made good use of the loan market. They managed a great scooping in signing Lukaku for a season from Chelsea, who showed his quality last season at West Brom. Deulofeu is a great youngster from Barca. Finally Barry from Man City, I’m really not sure about this one, I always thought he was a bit of a waste of space. But with Lukaku and McCarthy they should do quite well, but I doubt they’ll be challenging for Europe.
I GOT A PREDICTION RIGHT. I’m shocked but Fulham did signed Taarabt from QPR, who’ll add some creativity and flare. Darren Bent is a proven goal scorer as well, and should allow Berbatov a bit more freedom. Their big problem is fitting all of these guys in, especially when you include Ruiz, and hopefully young Kerim Frei as well. They’ve added some solidity with Parker and Boateng in centre mid, Amorebieta in defence and Stekelenburg in goal. They should be fine if they can figure out how to fit all the attacking talent together.
Hull haven’t signed as many players as Crystal Palace, but much like CP they have bought a fair amount of much need Prem experience. McGregor is a quality keeper, Figueroa and Davis both have played quite a bit in the Prem, Elmohamady, Boyd and Huddleston is the makings of a decent midfield and Graham up front just needs some confidence that should come with game time. Much like Palace I can’t say they’ll survive, but Steve Bruce is great at keeping a team in the Prem so it’ll be interesting to see.
As I said with Liverpool, we bought Toure to replace Carra. We also bout a young cb talent in Ilori, and on top of that one of the best centre back’s around in Sakho, who went from club captain at PSG to not playing only because of Thiago Silva (who is the best) and his wish to play with Alex. Mingolet is a great goalkeeper who’ll be around for quite some time, an apt replacement for the legend that is Reina. Cissokho also adds some much needed competition for the left back berth, that’ll force Enrique to maintain a high level of performance, which he’s failed to do after bright starts the last two seasons. Moses and Aspas are two very different attacking talents, but both add depth to the squad, even if they’re not going to be first team choices. Alberto is a definite player for the future, he’s only 20 and we can’t keep expecting these kids to be world class as soon as they come in, look at Lucas and Henderson. It’s not hard to see why many are saying Liverpool did the best business in the transfer window, especially considering we managed to keep a hold out of best player in Suarez. I’m not sure if it’s enough to make the top 4, but that’s certainly going to be a great battle.
As everyone expected Pellegrini has become the new manager at City, I’m a bit shocked that he didn’t try and sign Isco/Cavani/Bale, but there’s no denying he has signed quality. Negredo is an out and out goalscorer, his presence will mean Aguero will play that roaming role in behind that suited him so well in the title winning season. There’s also plenty more competition in the attacking mid department with Navas and Jovetic signing, both of whom are quality players I’m excited to see play. Fernandinho is odd one, but I think he’s been brought in to try and get the best out of Yaya Toure, as Javi Garcia just didn’t cut it. For me it’s a straight fight between City and Chelsea for the title this year, although I think Chelsea might just edge it due to Mourinho’s Premier League experience already.
I’ve really not been impressed with how United went about their transfer dealings. They made it know that they wanted both Fellaini and Baines from Moyes’ old club, Everton. Surely Moyes would’ve been better sitting down the chairmen Bill Kenwright and coming to an agreement, not going in with a bid in the public that he must have known the club wouldn’t even consider. In the end they have signed Fellaini, but after attempting to sign Thiago, Fabregas and Herrera, a bit of a step down. I know Moyes worked with Fellaini at Everton, but he was never really the creative type there, and thats what Man U need, a creative midfielder. Anyone who saw their games against Chelsea and Liverpool will know that they looked completely unable to break a good team down. I think this’ll rule Man U out of the title race, but with the quality up front I’d still back them to make the top 4.
Newcastle have successfully held onto their top players, but they still have the problems of last season, a pretty thread bare squad. Their only signing of any note was Remy on loan from QPR, a decent player, but they still look short at the back and in midfield. I don’t think they’ll go down, but I wouldn’t be expecting them to pull up any trees either.
I think Norwich have done some great business this transfer window. Hooper and the Wolf should be a good partnership up front that’ll get them goals. And Fer, Redmond and Olsson will all add creativity, that apart from Snodgrass they were lacking. Redmond in particular is very exciting as a young, raw, british talent with a lot of potential. They should be fine this year, potentially even challenging for the top half.
Southampton may have only signed three players, but they are three quality players. Certainly when I said they needed a centre back I didn’t dream they’d get someone anywhere near as good as Lovren, he could certainly be playing for a much better team than Southampton. Wanyama and Osvaldo are also a step above what else they’ve got in the midfield, which improves the first team, and adds strength in depth. Much like Norwich the Saints could be challenging for the top half.
I fear a little for Stoke. They’ve signed a couple of good players, Pieters and Arnautovic, but the majority of the team is the same as was left by Pulis. And with Hughes’ desire to try and play passing football they’ve looked a little toothless in attack until they start going the long ball route. I’m not sure about their loan signings, Ireland hasn’t played much football in the last few years, although his best spell was with Hughes at Man City, and Assaidi failed to impress in his first year at Liverpool and so didn’t get to play much, although some game time could improve him. Many people see Stoke as one of the favourites for relegation, and I agree. They’ll be in a real dog fight this year.
Sunderland have signed a lot of players, quite a few of whom I must admit I know nothing about. Altidore does look a much better player than when he played for Hull a few years back and could get goals for them. I’m not sure if Dossena will have improved from his Liverpool days, so I doubt he’ll be a great signing. Borini could be a good loan signing, he’s a young player (he’s only just moved out of the Italy U21s) who needs game time to recover from two serious injuries. Ki is a very competent player in centre mid, although he won’t be the kind of player to turn the tide of a game. Finally Giaccherini is a top class signing, I think he’ll be a fairly straight replacement for Sessegnon. I think the loss of Mingolet could hurt them. But Sunderland’s biggest problem is how quickly can they get all these new players playing well together? The quicker they do that the easier their season will be, and if it takes too long they could be a relegation candidate. But whatever happens with Di Canio in charge it’ll be fun.
I think Swansea did some good business in the window. They kept hold of their big players, most crucially Michu. They’ve also added some good depth to the squad. Bony is also their big name signing and I’d think he’ll do well. Canas, on a free, and Shelvey are good players in the midfield. Last season’s loan success de Guzman has returned for another year. Amat adds competition for places at centre back. I’m also quite excited about Pozuelo, he’s a young player who I think looks quite exciting. I’m not too sure how much they can improve from last year, but they should be around mid table/top half again.
Spurs in the least surprising, but most boringly drawn out, transfer saga of the summer sold Gareth Bale for a world record transfer fee. Spurs also set about spending money before he left, and spending well. They completely replaced their midfield/attack. They brought in Capoue and Paulinho as the new sitting mids and I think they’ll be a good partnership, their games suit each other with Capoue as a destructive player and Paulinho as the engine room. The attacking three are Chadli, Eriksen and Lamela. Chadli doesn’t have a classic winger physique, he’s very tall and strong, but he has plenty of skill. Lamela and Eriksen are very exciting prospects, both are very skillful and creative players, but who can chip in with a few goals. Soldado up front doesn’t have a lot of aspects to his game, but what he does is score goals, and plenty of them, he won’t be creating many chances of his own so will be reliant on his midfield. I think they should make the top four this year as they have the best squad out of them, Liverpool, Arsenal and Man U. The only problem for them is getting the brand new front six able to play together, but once that happens they should be a very strong team.
West Brom have had an interesting window, they let quite a few strikers go, and would’ve let star man Shane Long leave as well, but the deal wasn’t done in time. They did bring in three new one Anelka, Vydra and Anichebe. However Anelka is quite old now so I’m not sure how many games he’ll be able to play. Vydra has had some success, but mostly in the Championship so it’s unsure how he’ll fair at a higher level. Anichebe isn’t much of a goalscorer and that’s what they need especially with them failing to land Lukaku back on loan. Amalfitano, Sinclair and Sessegnon will definitely add a lot of flair to midfield. I think they’ll stay up, but they won’t be making the strides up the table they’ll have hoped.
We all knew West Ham wanted to get Carroll on a permanent deal, which they have. I also said that they’d want a top quality winger, but apparently the only winger available was Stuart Downing. He’s not a bad player, but he doesn’t do what Sam Allerdyce would want from a winger, which is to put a lot of dangerous crosses into the box for the strikers to attack, but anyone whose seen his performances in the last few years will know he’s not really been doing that. Overall West Ham will have a classic big Sam season of mid tabled mediocrity.
That’s my thoughts on the outcome of the transfer window. I’m probably wrong and feel free to let me know if you think I am.