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Overhaul or Consolidation? Winners and Losers of the Transfer Period


Another summer transfer period is over. The usual mix of clubs in meltdown and clubs quietly satisfied with their summer’s work, of unsettled regulars and inexperienced new arrivals, of owners lambasted for their unwillingness to part with significant portions of their wealth and managers praised for their manipulation of their superiors, have been left to settle down and prepare for the remainder of the season – until January, at least.

But which clubs have been the success stories of the window and who has crashed and burned under the pressure to spend to build on last season?

Manchester City
Another hugely eventful transfer season has been a complete success for City. Fringe players have been offloaded with relative ease and, despite almost incomprehensible price tags, all of the club’s primary targets, with the sole exception of Juventus’ Paul Pogba, have been brought in.
Raheem Sterling has so far gone a long way to justifying his £49 million price tag with some confident and effective performances in the first four Premier League matches of the season, capped off with a goal in their latest win against league newcomers Watford.

His linkup with David Silva has been exemplary and it will be intriguing to see whether City’s two biggest creative influences can accept a third in Kevin de Bruyne.

If Sterling came burdened with a huge amount of pressure after his acrimonious exit from former club Liverpool, de Bruyne comes with at least an equal amount. Sold by Chelsea in January last year with Jose Mourinho unimpressed with his performances and attitude, he has come back into the Premier League on the back of the best season of his career. The Bundesliga Player of the Year created more goals than anyone in Europe last year and must recreate that form to avoid the ridicule of Mourinho and his other doubters. If he can, however, he could be the inspiration behind his side’s title challenge.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has also brought in two other impressive signings in Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph, but neither has had the chance to impress yet. Otamendi will shore up a defence that played a large part in the downfall of City’s title ambitions last season and if Delph can displace Fernandinho in the starting XI, then a regular England starting berth is not beyond him.

Crystal Palace
Last season, Crystal Palace were a danger team for the top clubs, but ultimately lacked the quality to challenge the European places, particularly after a disastrous start to the season under Neil Warnock. Since Alan Pardew took over, however, the signs have only been positive and this transfer window has only reinforced the growing belief among Palace’s fans and players.

Yohan Cabaye can be considered one of the signings of the summer at a bargain price of £10 million, while the number of quality options Pardew now has in his front four shows a strength in depth worthy of a Europa League place. The club have shown great tenacity in holding on to Yannick Bolasie, despite interest from Tottenham, and the arrivals of Bakary Sako, Patrick Bamford and Connor Wickham have added firepower and skill to the front line. The fact that Bolasie is finding it difficult to hold down a starting place can only be a good omen. If the defence can hold firm all season, a top half finish is guaranteed, with the potential for more.

While Toby Alderweireld looks a good fit in defence, Spurs have not recruited well in their efforts to build on last year’s 5th place. Their summer-long pursuit of Saido Berahino ultimately ended in failure and this has left them without a realistic strike partner/back-up plan for Harry Kane. The management may claim that the signing of Son Heung-Min from Bayer Leverkusen provides exactly that, but the reality is that Son is unproven at the top level and only hit the headlines in the Bundesliga last season.

Tottenham were also unsuccessful in luring Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace and despite their potential, full-back Kieran Tripper and centre-back Kevin Wimmer are not signings who will stand out as crucial players in their efforts to break into the top four.

The only success for Spurs this summer has been in getting rid of a large number of fringe players, such as Younes Kaboul, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado, although this could leave the club incredibly short of strength in depth. If injuries strike and Harry Kane continues to be unable to find the net, this could be a long season without many positive signs for Tottenham. Rather than challenging for the Champions League places, their Europa League spot could be challenged by the likes of Crystal Palace and Swansea.

West Brom
Jeremy Peace does not usually hog the spotlight from his players, but has come to the fore for his hard-line approach to the transfer of Saido Berahino to Tottenham. At the end of it all, however, no one has come out of this farce as a winner. Spurs have come away without their most sought-after player, Tony Pulis will now have to do without one of his most promising strikers after Berahino tweeted that he would not play for the club while Peace was still chairman, Peace himself will be paying the wages of a player who will not influence his side’s league campaign, and any ambitions Berahino had of gaining an England place will be put on hold for as long as this petty feud continues.

Aside from the controversy surrounding Berahino, the rest of the transfer window hasn’t been particularly inspired either. While the signing of Salomon Rondon looks astute and he will provide at least the same number of goals as Berahino, the rest of the rebuilding job Pulis has put together looks a bit hit-and-miss. A centre-back pairing of James Chester and Jonny Evans will not fill fans with too much hope of a secure defence, particularly following the loss of Joleon Lescott to Aston Villa, and neither James McClean nor Rickie Lambert is the sort of players who can turn a season around with their skill. If the club do not recruit and recruit well in January then they will be dragged into a relegation scrap which they may not survive.

What about everyone else?
Other impressive transfer periods have been conducted by Swansea and Stoke. The free transfer of Andre Ayew from Marseille looks to be one of the best bits of business from any club this summer, while Stoke’s signings of Xherdan Shaqiri has added to an impressive number of high quality signings by the club, including Ibrahim Afellay, Marco van Ginkel and Glen Johnson.

Of the newly promoted clubs, Watford and Bournemouth have gone about their business most impressively. Watford have overhauled a large part of their squad, bringing in 15 players. While some may not prove of Premier League quality, the signings of left-back Jose Holebas, holding midfielder Etienne Capoue and attacker Jurado look particularly astute and the signings have given them as good a chance as any of surviving. Bournemouth have brought in some relatively proven players in Max Gradel, Glenn Murray and Sylvain Distin, but have also chanced their hand on the success of young players such as Tyrone Mings, Lee Tomlin and Josh King. If the new signings can gel and Eddie Howe can instil the same style of play in his team as last season, Bournemouth will believe they can stay up.


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Ian Horne
Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

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