Summer transfer window 2014: End of term report
From the big deals to the shrewd moves, the bargain buys to the potential flops, how did your Premier League club perform in the summer transfer window? We review all the business and get the expert opinion from Charlie Nicholas. Sky Bet also provide all the odds for a definitive verdict
By Peter Fraser, Adam Bate & Tom McKeown - Graphics: Jimmy Adams & Scott Penhaligon
Last Updated: 04/09/14 11:56am
Danny Welbeck might not have been Arsenal supporters’ notion of the world-class striker that was needed but there is already a palpable sense that fans are warming to the idea. After all, this is a 23-year-old England international with UEFA Champions League experience and a Premier League winners’ medal to his name. Elsewhere, Mathieu Debuchy looks an adequate replacement for Bacary Sagna, while Calum Chambers is a player of vast potential. Perhaps if Welbeck had been acquired earlier and it was Alexis Sanchez secured on deadline day then there would be unanimous agreement this was a good window for Arsene Wenger and the club.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I am personally very happy. A striker was required, I would have liked another holding midfield player, but I think the striker position was essential. They have brought in pace, they have brought in movement. Not guaranteed goals, but I am happy with the fact Arsene Wenger went in and got another No.9.”
SKY BET SAY: Danny Welbeck for Premier League top scorer – 33/1
Many were predicting doom for Villa this summer given the ownership situation at the club and the early signings of Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson did little to change that mood – especially with Ron Vlaar seemingly set for the exit door. Instead Senderos and Vlaar have already formed a fine partnership with Paul Lambert’s men taking seven points from their first three games. With midfielder Carlos Sanchez looking like a good signing at a reasonable price and Tom Cleverley’s loan arrival coming with the hope that the Manchester United man could finally fulfil his potential, things may have worked out rather better than anticipated.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I have to say it has all been pretty good. I watched Villa when they won on the opening day of the season at Stoke. Senderos and Vlaar so far have been impressive, and the fact they have kept Vlaar through this window is a big, big plus. They are looking stronger and I think it has been a good window for them.”
Working with the smallest budget in the Premier League, Sean Dyche’s primary concern has been to add tried-and-trusted performers in order to give some depth to his squad. Experienced heads such as Matty Taylor, Steven Reid and Stephen Ward are unlikely to transform fortunes too dramatically but Dyche went to the other end of the spectrum on deadline day in bringing in loan youngsters Michael Keane from Manchester United and Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea. Although George Boyd is a more expensive acquisition from Hull, it means Dyche has got good balance to his squad while keeping long-term wage commitments in check.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “They have not lost many players and have got a really good, strong-spirited group. I quite like what they have done in this window. It does not change the way they play, and all it does is give them extra options, but if they were really going for it they would have splashed the cash a little bit more. They will still have a big fight to survive.”
SKY BET SAY: Burnley to stay up in the Premier League – 7/4
That Chelsea pretty much balanced the books in their transfer window business while getting Jose Mourinho a lot closer to the squad he wants must be regarded as a triumph. David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku appeared anything but central to his plans but were sold for vast sums, while Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have started brilliantly in Chelsea blue. With Filipe Luis covering Ashley Cole’s exit and both Didier Drogba and Loic Remy coming in as back-up forwards, Chelsea have now established themselves as firm title favourites.
CHARLIE'S VIEW: “They have got a few big earners out with Demba Ba going and Fernando Torres going. Signing Remy was clever; he will score goals coming off the bench. I do think Chelsea have probably been the club who have signed the strongest players, and in particular for me the signing of Fabregas was a master stroke.”
SKY BET SAY: Diego Costa for Premier League top scorer - 2/1
It has been a stressful summer for Palace which began with Tony Pulis making the signings and ended with Neil Warnock back in charge at the club. Pulis was fairly shrewd in his early summer work, bringing in Brede Hangeland on a free with Martin Kelly and Fraizer Campbell picked up at good prices. Warnock then spent rather more with the purchase of James McArthur and while Kevin Doyle will not excite fans much, the return of fellow loanee Wilfried Zaha will do precisely that. For all the upheaval, Palace have clearly strengthened their squad this summer while holding on to their best players as well. Far from disastrous for a club that found itself at the eye of a storm.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “James McArthur is the most important signing for them. In midfield they are looking OK; Mile Jedinak and people like that have done fine. McArthur’s a lovely, solid player, with a little bit of muscle in there. The return of Zaha on loan was another pretty inspirational move, so Palace have given themselves another very strong chance to survive again.”
SKY BET SAY: Palace to stay up in the Premier League – 4/7
The £28million club record signing of Romelu Lukaku coupled with the free transfer of Gareth Barry ensured Everton retained two of the most important figures in their march to a best ever Premier League era points tally for the club last season. Muhamed Besic and Christian Atsu have also come in after good World Cups, while the free transfer addition of Samuel Eto’o means they surely have more firepower than last time around. Roberto Martinez probably would have liked the Tom Cleverley deal to come off to cap the ideal transfer window for the Spaniard but he will doubtless be happy with his work.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I like the strikers they have got but I think they paid way too much for Lukaku. Eto’o’s a good, experienced buy; I think he will nick a few goals for them. Gareth Barry has come in permanently but there is nothing too dramatic. I see them as strong as they were last year; nothing particularly sparkling.”
Steve Bruce has been busy once more, not only completing the deals to keep Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone at Hull after impressing on loan last year, but also strengthening once again. Tom Ince is an exciting signing and fellow winger Robert Snodgrass can be an effective player. Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire were picked up at good prices, while Shane Long left for a substantial fee. But all this early work did not prevent a hectic end to the window. Michael Dawson, Mohamed Diame and Abel Hernandez all arrived on permanent deals, while the loan signings of Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa ensure Bruce has lots of options at his disposal.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “Steve Bruce really impresses me. If you hand pick the positions that Hull went and identified as needing to strengthen, that is where he wins. He brings in decent players. Looking at the past, he brings in Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, makes a profit on Long and uses that profit to strengthen positions. George Boyd was not going to play much so they could let him go. Out of the smaller clubs, I think he has done the best business of all.”
Leicester’s biggest investment came up front with the club record signing of Leandro Ulloa and the big man from Brighton & Hove Albion has already begun to repay that investment with goals in his first two home games to secure draws against Everton and Arsenal. Elsewhere it has been a case of shrewd squad additions thanks to a mix of veterans and youngsters. Matthew Upson and Esteban Cambiasso add huge experience to the squad, while the arrivals of Jack Barmby, Nick Powell and Tom Lawrence – all from Manchester United – mean there remains an air of optimism at the King Power Stadium.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “They have got decent strength and pace at the back, but I do not think they have built a big enough squad. They have brought in some youngsters which is fine, but sometimes inexperience cannot get you out of that hole. Cambiasso will be good if he can get on the ball often enough, but I think in a lot of these games he will not get anywhere close enough to calm things down. They face an almighty fight to survive.”
How do you replace the irreplaceable? Brendan Rodgers has certainly tried his best to find a way to thrive without Luis Suarez. Bringing in Mario Balotelli looks a gamble but there have been plenty of other arrivals, too. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren – all from Southampton – add squad depth, while Spanish full-backs Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno already look an upgrade on what was there before. But perhaps it will be the signings of Emre Can and Lazar Markovic that will define Liverpool’s window in the long term – both players with massive potential.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “They have brought in a lot of players. They have had to replace absolute world-class quality in terms of the loss of Luis Suarez but I look at some of the signings and it just seems to me as if they are going to find it incredibly difficult to fit them all in. He is adding options but I think it will take a little bit of time to adjust, and I still have my doubts over Balotelli.”
SKY BET SAY: Liverpool for the Premier League title – 11/1
Much of City’s work this summer has focused on the fringes of the squad. It seems optimistic to expect a huge impact from either Frank Lampard or Bruno Zuculini, while goalkeeper Willy Caballero looks likely to warm the bench with Joe Hart staying as first choice. Bacary Sagna is also surely behind Pablo Zabaleta in the pecking order at right-back. Eliaquim Mangala is one who could have an impact in the long term but Fernando appears to be the most important signing – helping City to be more solid in midfield. In attack, Manuel Pellegrini will need his strikers to stay fit as Alvaro Negredo has been allowed to leave for Valencia without a replacement being brought in.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “Probably the quietest they have been for a long time. I think Financial Fair Play has kicked in, and they have only spent around £50m but people might say they did not need too much. They are as strong as last season, when they won the league, but the big push for them this time will be the Champions League, although the improvements by the other teams will put them under scrutiny to retain their Premier League title.”
SKY BET SAY: Liverpool for the Premier League title – 11/4
After a slow start to the window as new boss Louis van Gaal assessed his inherited squad, United grabbed all the headlines in the closing days with the British record-breaking arrival of Angel di Maria followed by the deadline day business of Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao. The earlier signings of Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera included meant United were the biggest spenders of the window. After making his decisions, Van Gaal also did not mess around in moving on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez on deadline day. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Shinji Kagawa were among the big-name departures earlier in the window.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “It was the ‘wow’ factor in terms of how crazy you are prepared to go to prove a point. I know Falcao’s a fantastic striker with lots to admire, but if you are having to splash £20m for a potential one-year loan, plus paying those wages, it is a big risk. Manchester United need more passers in the team to supply; that is why Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have been so quiet. For Manchester United to move forward and get the best benefits from these signings, they have to change their formation.”
SKY BET SAY: Radamel Falcao for Premier League top scorer - 12/1
Quantity or quality is always a debate among football but there is no question manager Alan Pardew was busy in the summer transfer window. Jack Colback’s move from derby rivals Sunderland caused a stir, while Ayoze Perez was another early arrival. Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and full-back Daryl Janmaat also arrived at St James’ Park with attacking intent and Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles are ones for the future after being bought and loaned back to Nottingham Forest. Hatem Ben Arfa’s loan exit, might disappoint fans along with cult hero Shola Ameobi and Mathieu Debuchy as the other standout departures.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “They brought in quite a few players early on. They have some good signings, like Cabella, who are interesting to watch but they need a goalscorer. I do not see one in there. Sometimes you have got to break the bank or get rid of one or two to bring in a pot of money that can finance that.”
QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Loic Remy’s move to Chelsea came somewhat out of the blue in the closing days of the window but the Frenchman was not the only player to leave Loftus Road. Danny Simpson, Gary O’Neil, Esteban Granero, Stephane Mbia and Gary O’Neil also left as boss Harry Redknapp aimed to refresh a squad who had made a poor start to their return to the Premier League. Redknapp aimed to improve his defence with the signings of veteran Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker while Jordon Mutch, Sandro and former player Niko Kranjcar came in to midfield. Eduardo Vargas and Isla were signed on loan, with long-term interest in Jack Robinson and Alex McCarthy also being completed. It was a typically busy few months for Redknapp.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “You always knew Harry would be sitting in the little melting pot on deadline day, thinking, ‘I am going to take this to the wire again’. I like Sandro; you know he is there, and I think he has added a bit of steel and energy into their midfield which I do not think they had. I do think out of the three that came up QPR have the best chance of staying up.”
SKY BET SAY: QPR to stay up in the Premier League – 4/9
After seeing his squad decimated early in the summer, new Southampton manager Ronald Koeman’s chances of success had been written off largely before he had even started. But the St Mary’s club sit eighth in the Premier League at the time of writing, despite losing former captain Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Callum Chambers. The £12million signing of Shane Long raised a few eyebrows but money has also been reinvested in Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos. The deadline loan signing of Toby Alderweireld has the potential to be a bit of a coup, while Sadio Mane also arrived before the window shut as Gaston Ramirez left.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I think they are the most intriguing club of all. Koeman had to accept he had no choice, he was not in control of it, that all these players were leaving. They brought in the cash, and when I looked up what he was bringing in, he is basically saying, ‘What positions do I need?’. They played really well at Liverpool and got nothing. They were not particularly impressive at home but overall I think they will be fine. They still have some fine young talent and Koeman can be pretty pleased with who he has brought in.”
Following what seemed like a summer of debating, Oussama Assaidi was re-signed on loan but the capture of Bojan Krkic from Barcelona came as much more interesting. Long-term target Mame Biram Diouf also arrived along with Phil Bardsley, Steve Sidwell and Dionatan Teixeira. Matthew Etherington, Michael Kightly and Cameron Jerome were among those who left the Britannia Stadium as Mark Hughes aims to continue his evolution.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “Bojan will take time. He is technically good but he is not technically brilliant. When he gets the ball, he needs midfield runners; he needs Stephen Ireland to go, other people to go. They do not have quite enough of that type of runner. With the likes of Bojan and Assaidi coming in, it is a solid bunch but I still feel they need to play Peter Crouch. If they can link off him the others will get more from it.”
Despite making no secret of his interest, Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was not able to re-sign his No.1 target, Fabio Borini, however, he did do deadline day season-long loans for Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates. Jack Rodwell’s arrival earlier in the window was an intriguing one, with Costel Pantilimon also moving from Manchester City. Big things are expected from Will Buckley from Poyet’s former club, Brighton, and Patrick van Aanholt, Billy Jones and Jordi Gomez were also brought in. Losing Jack Colback to neighbours Newcastle will have hurt but less so the exits of Craig Gardner, Phil Bardsley, Andrea Dossena and Carlos Cuellar.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I like Coates. There was talk that they were going to go for Virgil van Dijk at Celtic but that never materialised and I thought they would be weak defensively. Coates is a very strong and I think he will be determined to make a good impression. I do not think Martin Skrtel is that much better than Coates. Overall, I see them in the bottom half but they won’t go down.”
Swansea have surprised a few people with their start to the season and that is thanks in part to their business in the transfer window. Keeping hold of leading striker Wilfried Bony was a huge positive and brining in Bafetimbi Gomis to offer support looked another shrewd move. Lukasz Fabianski, the returns of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Marvin Emnes and the signing of Jefferson Monteiro meant all was encouraging at the Liberty Stadium even before the deadline day deal for Modou Barrow. Federico Fernandez and Tom Carroll were other signings. Chico Flores and Pablo Hernandez both moving to Qatar was a bit of a shock, as Ben Davies and Michel Vorm both went to Tottenham before Jose Canas joined Espanyol on deadline day.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “When I sat and looked at Garry Monk, and the way things were going - Davies left, and there was talk Bony might leave, and Ashley Williams had not yet signed a new contract – I thought they could lose five or six. But the ones they have sold are the ones they could afford to, and I think Monk’s been very clever with who he has brought in. The fact they kept Ki Sung-yueng was important; he is a very steady player. I just wonder if they are prepared to go for it a little bit more now they have started the season well.”
Eric Dier has been earning some excellent reviews since his arrival at White Hart Lane and centre-back Federico Fazio looks another good move to improve Tottenham’s defence. Ben Davies and Michel Vorm had been signed from Swansea earlier in the window as newly-appointed manager Mauricio Pochettino set about strengthening his options in his rear guard while Benjamin Stambouli will also protect Spurs’ defence from midfield after he was signed on deadline day. Michael Dawson and Gylfi Sigurdsson were two men who did not feature in Pochettino’s plans and Zeki Fryers, Jake Livermore and Heurelho Gomes also departed.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “Pochettino is a very fine coach and I like what he tries to do – the problem for Spurs is whether they got enough cover up front. I do not think so. Harry Kane is a decent player but is he prepared to drop Emmanuel Adebayor and put him in that kind of position, or will he go with Roberto Soldado, who is a penalty-box player? The sale of Dawson could leave them a bit exposed, because I thought he was Mr Consistency, so they are no stronger this season.”
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
West Brom appeared intent on overhauling their squad after last season’s struggles and new manager Alan Irvine was allowed to spend big, particularly on Brown Ideye. Elsewhere, Silvestre Varela and Sebastian Blanco were signed to follow a remodelling job which has included the arrivals of Jason Davidson, Cristian Gamboa, Craig Gardner, Joleon Lescott, Sebastien Pocognoli, Giorgos Samaras and Andre Wisdom. Zoltan Gera, Billy Jones, Diego Lugano, Steven Reid, Liam Ridgewell and George Thorne all left.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “I feel West Brom are pretty short as a squad; they will rely an awful lot on their goalkeeper and their defence, and I think that can take its toll. Also, with a new coach coming in – who is a genuinely good coach – the fans might not like what they see going forward, and they will look at the coach and say they do not like what he has bought. I can see it being a real struggle for them, because they do not make enough chances.”
WEST HAM UNITED
Big money was spent on Enner Valencia and he could be the signing upon which Sam Allardyce is judged. Former Arsenal and Barcelona man Alex Song was also a headline signing for West Ham and brings proven Premier League experience. At the same time, Carl Jenkinson was signed on loan to join the captures of Mauro Zarate, Diego Poyet, Morgan Amalfitano, Cheikou Kouyate, Diafra Sakho and Aaron Cresswell. To make room for those deals, manager Allardyce set about reshaping his squad with a bit more creativity by letting Modibo Maiga, Joe Cole, Jack Collison, George McCartney and Matthew Taylor leave.
CHARLIE’S VIEW: “Song is a very good signing but I just hope he turns up to training on time and avoids getting fined by Sam. He is not a great timekeeper but he is a very good holding midfield player. With Kouyate in there as well I think they could have a pretty strong partnership, so they have not been bad signings at all.”