Mere days remain in between now and the early closure of the transfer window for the Premier League. Jose Mourinho continues to blame everybody but himself for Manchester United’s slow business. Liverpool have made statement moves as they look to build upon last season’s Champions League Final as they look to catch the defending league champions, Manchester City. Arsenal and Chelsea start new eras with the arrivals of Unai Emry and Maurizio Sarri respectively. Here’s a breakdown of the transfer window for the top six Premier League clubs and what they still need in the closing days of the window.
Pep Guardiola was already best with championship squad that has the best balance between age and experience. The list of names for him were short. In fact, he only has two major names in mind. Riyad Mahrez and Jorge Luiz Frello Filho – who is better known as Jorghino – were the two star players that Pep felt would elevate his squad to contend for a European crown. City got Mahrez though Jorghino was snatched away by their rivals, Chelsea. City broke their club record for a meagre £60 million. Leicester City had slapped a massive price tag on their star player which was just south of £100 million. City made a smart business decision not break the Premier League transfer record to acquire player who is not a guaranteed starter in their squad. Waiting to allow the rift between Mahrez and Leicester fester, ultimately forcing the Foxes into folding. They did miss out on Jorghino which might end up biting them in the back.
City boost one of the deepest squads in Europe. The likes of Bernando Silva and Gabriel Jesus who normally come in as substitutes can grace any other team as bona fide starters. City are still in the hunt for a holding midfielder, a veteran player who can fill in should Fernandinho ever be unavailable to play. Mateo Kovacic has been linked with a move to the Premier League though the City ownership did not want to splurge out the money that they spent on Mahrez for a player who would hardly grace the field. Pep Guardiola has done an excellent job of keeping his core players intact. Yaya Touré was the sole player to leave the reigning Premier League champions though at this stage he was a fringe player at best. Touré ends his Man City tenure as a club legend. Joe Hart is also looking for an exit strategy as he will not be given the opportunity to warm the benches.
Window Rating: 7/10 – They bolstered their squad without losing any of their key players. Nonetheless a quiet but solid window.
Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant are all competent signings unless you are Jose Mourinho. He’s vividly expressed his displeasure with the lack of transfer activity and risks taken by the Manchester United board and executive vice-chairman of the club, Ed Woodward. He’s probably the only man alive who can spend a week in California and look red – not because of the sun but because he appears to be losing it. With Michael Carrick retiring there was hole that was left in the middle of the park. A deal for Fred has been in the works since that start of the calendar with the Brazilian midfielder agreeing to terms on the first week of June. During his tenure with Shakhtar Donetsk to be a commanding presence in the middle of the park.
The Portuguese manager dubbed as “The Special One” as revealed that he has a list of five players that he handed his employers and only expects one to join them before the closing of the transfer window on the 10th of August. The two biggest chasms in his squad exist at center back and the winger positions. Harry Maguire and Toby Alderweireld have both been linked with a big money move to Old Trafford with Jerome Boateng’s name also entering the mix. Anthony’ Martial long-term future is in doubt given the growing rift between his camp and Jose Mourinho. He cannot be offloaded to another Premier League club after Thursday though he could come into play for a swap deal with one of the other European giants.
Window Rating: 6/10 – I just hope nobody asks for Jose’s opinion on his clubs’ transfer success this offseason.
The North London club are yet to buy or sell any of first team players. It must be part of their tradition to only sign players on the last day of the summer transfer window. They instead focused on constructing their new stadium and secured the futures of the core of their squad. Mauricio Pochettino penned a five year contract at the start of the summer with Harry Kane, Erik Lamela, Harry Kane, and Davidson Sanchez among other who agreed to contract extensions. All that may be well and good though there are some discontent players that they need to move on from within the next few days. Else, they might risk an implosion of their squad. Alderweireld, Danny Rose, and Mouse Dembele could all leave by the 10th. All there were once part of the spine of the Spurs but injuries and falling-out with Pochettino has left them on the fringes of the squad. Tottenham simply does not have the depth to replace them at a moment’s notice. They will struggle to even tread water should all three leave, let alone improve on last season’s performances.
Window rating: 4/10 – Their most important assets are all here to stay for the long-term with no major departures. They have not really dipped their toes into the market, yet. Should some of their unfancied players leave, the might struggle to make the top 4.
By far the busiest club of the summer, they Merseyside team have spared no expense to build on their appearance in the Champions League final and give Man City a real push for the title. The early summer acquisitions of Keita and Fabinho were eclipsed by the breaking the transfer record for a goalkeeper to sign Alisson from Roma. Ever since the slump of Pepe Reina, Liverpool have struggled for reliable Number 1 between the posts. It was a glaring weakness though £65 million signing should do the trick for Jurgen Klopp. They made a statement to Manchester City and the other big European clubs that they have the financial muscle to outbid anyone.
Signing former Champions League winner Xherdan Shaqiri gave them depth in the forward department though some supporters still feel as though they still lack a player with the cutting edge and clinical touch in the final third. Fekir was said to be that man before negotiations fell apart. Daniel Sturridge has surprised everyone with some solid performances during the preseason and it is possible that he finally has earned the confidence of Klopp.
Window Rating: 9/10 – Their big money spending started at the beginning of the calendar year by recruiting Virgil van Dijk. They have since broken the bank on marquee players and filled any and all gaps that they had in their squad without losing any of their veteran players, namely Mohammed Salah.
With Conte’s press conference charades finally over, the Blues can finally start a new (and hopefully less chaotic) chapter under Sarri. With Jorginho joining him in England’s capital, the pair should provide some stability in an otherwise turbulent Stamford Bridge. They bolstered their midfield and snagged away an impact player that would have definitely reinforced Pep Guardiola’s side. Chelsea spent the first month of the transfer window waiting out the storm that was Conte’s future at the club. They now seem more settled and eager to start to season and could definitely do without any of their best players leaving. Thibaut Courtois has been amongst the upper echelon on goalkeepers over the past few seasons. With only a year left on his contract, he holds all the chips with a move to Real Madrid seeming inevitable. Chelsea do have a firmer grip over Hazard though both Belgian players seem fervent in leaving London to don the all-white of the Los Blancos.
The Chelsea Board and Bruce Buck have massive decisions to make in regards to the futures of Courtois, Hazard, and Willian. All there have expressed the desire to move on from Stamford Bridge through their representatives. The Blues are at a crossroad and the wrong move could set back for years. For a club that has prided themselves on title contention, they seem satisfied for being in the hunt for a top four berth.
Window Rating: 5/10 – They have not done but the very idea that they may lose their best players is alarming
The Era of Arsene Wenger is over with Unai Emery now at the helm of the Gunners. By early July, the added five new players to a relatively thin squad. This kind of business is unheard of given how the Stan Kroenke has been reluctant to match the spending of his Premier League rivals. Lucas Torreria is going to have the biggest immediate impact on the club. The North London club finally have a defensive minded midfielder who can also win the ball. He’s good with this feet and proven to be crucial for Uruguay’s devastating counter attacks. Unai Emery hopes that this same skill will smoothly transition into his Arsenal side. Sokratis and Stephen Lichtsteiner provide veteran stability to a porous backline. In Bernd Leno, Emery has a competent shot stopper who can also play out the back. Arsenal had next to no chance of acquiring the likes of Mbappe or any other superstar player. Nevertheless, the additions of experienced players is promising sign to show that this club is trending in the right direction. The only point of concern as Emery makes his Premier League managerial debut is regarding Aaron Ramsey. He is yet to sign a new deal and some suggestions that he is eyeing a move for greener pasture.
Window Rating: 7.5/10 - Arsenal are finally trending in the right direction.