GMS Academy member Jonathan Mitchell looks at how each team got on in the summer transfer market.
The signing of the utterly brilliant Mesut Ozil should not hide the fact that this has still been a very frustrating summer for Arsene Wenger.
Creative midfielders are not Arsenal’s main problem, and the shaky defence that has let them down so often in the past remains relatively untouched. Also afters months of being linked to the world’s top names, no striker has joined. Oliver Giroud has started well, but is well short of having the class that strikers at the clubs around Arsenal have in abundance.
For Aston Villa, the summer was all about Christian Benteke. Nothing they have done this summer matches up to their persuasion of turning the head of the towering Belgian. But to be fair to Villa they’ve given it a go.
Jores Okore and Antonio Luna look to be superb finds. It is difficult to see the space for deadline day signing Libor Kozak however, but he does bring with him an impressive Europa League record. Murmurs of a top half finish around Birmingham, and I don’t see why not.
Of the three promoted clubs, Cardiff City have by far been the most ambitious in their signings, spending easily over £30 million. Fortunately they haven’t been wasteful.
The addition of Stephen Caulker is a particularly good signing, and will bring not only ability but also experience to a defence that will find itself under the cosh at times next season. Gary Medel is already making his mark, being awarded man of the match against Manchester City.
Things look good for Malky Mackay, and this injection of class could be the difference come the end of the season.
An extremely mixed bag for the return of ‘the Special One’. The potentially excellent signings of Andre Schrulle and Willian have been accompanied by some truly bizarre pieces of business.
Samuel Et’o is a shadow of his former self and his arrival will instil little confidence in Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.
Frankly, Lukaku should have stayed, and may now easily outscore all three while plying his trade at Everton. Anyhow, Jose Mourinho considers his team so good Juan Mata can’t even get a game, so he must be doing something right.
It was always going to be a difficult summer for Palace. They effectively lost their best player in Wilfred Zaha before the window even opened; meanwhile money to replace him was in relatively short supply.
There have been a couple of promising additions, particularly on deadline day with Adrian Marriappa offering Premier League experience to an extremely inexperienced back four.
In reality though, the problems are up top. Marouane Chamakh, Cameron Jerome and Dwight Gale will struggle to strike fear into any defender, and it’s difficult to see where any of the class or fight required to stay up will come from other than the manager. Kevin Phillips can’t do it forever.
A score that would be very different if it wasn’t for September 2nd. While Evertonians have raised concerns over Roberto Martinez’s cherry picking from ex-club Wigan Athletic, they will not over the signing of James McCarthy, a player with serious potential.
Alongside on-loan Gareth Barry, Marouane Felliani’s absence should not be felt too greatly, and the capture of Romelu Lukaku for a year looks an absolute steal. The greatest success? Leighton Baines is still there.
Mid-table obscurity has become the norm for Fulham, rarely ascending above but consistently avoiding the relegation battles also. You can expect more of the same this season, with their summer business reasonable, yet hardly a statement of intent. Scott Parker was always an overrated footballer, but will do a job in the centre for Fulham, probably consisting of his favourite pastime of kicking anything that moves. However if Adel Taarabat can work past his inconsistency of last season he will be an excellent buy, and only time will tell if Darren Bent will recover from his disastrous spell at Villa.
The answer to Premier League survival according to Hull City is players, lots of them. There are 11 new names at Hull this season, but as Sunderland will discover there needs to be some serious quality control with this tactic. Hull on the other hand, look to have got it right. Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone and Maynor Figueroa stand out in particular as decent footballers acquired for extremely low prices.
Meanwhile Danny Graham will spend the season doing what he does best, scoring goals, and will prove vital in the relegation battle. Whether they survive remains to be seen, but Steve Bruce has certainly gave them a fighting chance.
Liverpool’s best piece of business came in the form of ‘persuading’ main man Luis Suarez to stay at the club, which could prove pivotal for a top four push.
On top of this they were able flesh out a defence mourning the loss of Jamie Carragher with some decent additions, Mamadou Sahko in particular, and a very good shot-stopper in Simon Mingolet. The marquee signing Brendan Rodgers pursued late on however simply did not come.
It’s been more of the same for Manchester City; a relentless influx of top class forwards and midfielders.
There is a valid argument against endless ‘Football Manager signings’, and only time will tell if it will be too many cooks spoil the broth and Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic and Fernandino can establish themselves in an already immensely talented squad.
But they did their business early and hardly missed a target. Overall, an excellent summer.
A difficult one for David Moyes; reuniting with Fellaini but missing out on numerous big summer targets such as Cesc Fabregas and Leighton Baines.
The final few hours of deadline day felt just a little desperate for United which will understandably worry fans, who also would have like to have signed a more creative midfielder than the rugged Fellaini.
Fabio Coentrao would have been an excellent player, but holding on to Wayne Rooney not only ensures that they have kept a world class forward, but also that Chelsea have not gained one.
Maybe he was too busy plotting the downfall of Alan Pardew, but farcical director of football Joe Kinnear failed to spend a single penny on a permanent deal at Newcastle United this summer.
On loan Loic Remy will add something, but Newcastle fans have every right to express some early displeasure towards the most hated man on Tyneside.
However, somehow they were able to deter the big boys from Hatem Ben Arfa and resisted an approach from Arsenal for Yohan Cabaye.
Club captain Fabricio Coloccini was also persuaded to stay by Pardew. The importance of keeping these three players must not be underestimated.
Despite his transfer requests, Grant Holt was somewhat of hero at Carrow Road, winning the player of the season award 3 years running. Now that he has moved on to Wigan (yes, I don’t know why either), Norwich have splashed the cash on Ricky Van Wolfswinkel.
If you believe the hype it’s a fantastic addition, but of all the big summer signings this is the one to be unsure of.
Regardless of his goals, the statistic of a total of seven completed passes on the opening day is the stat of a player who models his game on Dimitar Berbatov rather than Robin van Persie like he claims.
The additions behind him look uninspired also, and even Gary Hooper is a risk given his Scottish background. A relegation dogfight beckons.
Southampton have surprised everyone this summer by splashing the cash nobody really knew they had. Signing 3 players totalling to around £33 million, it’s quality over quantity at St. Mary’s.
Powerful striker Pablo Osvaldo is the obvious highlight, while expectations remain high for former Celtic man Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren.
Such acquisitions have completed an good looking squad for the new campaign, which sees an impressive 13 of its players called up for international duty this week. Simply a team that looks like improving year after year.
While Mark Hughes hopes to lead Stoke City into a new era in regards to style and performance, he is bizarrely looking to do it with mostly the same personnel. Of the new signings, Erik Pieters boasts international caps, but at the end of the day is a left back and hardly a revolutionary choice.
Marko Arnautovic has raw talent, even enjoying a brief spell at Inter Milan, but was dubbed ‘Arrogantovic’ by his former club’s fans for his bad attitude. Stephen Ireland’s arrival yesterday sums up what has been an overall unexciting summer for them.
I discovered at the pub last night that Sunderland could comfortably field a side made up of completely new signings, then realised once sober that they would still be utterly hopeless.
There are a couple of big names in there (well, big-ish), such as Jozy Altidore. However the squad now mostly consists of players snatched from the lower leagues here and abroad as well as the odd Premier League reject.
They’ve also lost a very good goalkeeper in Mingolet and the allowance of the departure of Stephan Sessegnon is baffling. Sorry lads, it’s going to be a long, long season.
Another team whose transfer success this year comes down to who they kept rather than bought.
Supposed interest from Arsenal for Michu and Ashley Williams never materialised and Swansea fans can look forward to their prolific striker for another season at least. Support has arrived for the Spaniard through record signing Wilfred Bony while there is some raw potential in Jonjo Shelvey.
The total nine additions also ensures the squad also now has the depth to cope with those dreaded Thursday night Europa League kick offs.
Embroiled in the biggest transfer saga of the summer which ended with an extremely large cheque coming their way, action was inevitable at Tottenham.
But it wasn’t just about filling the Gareth Bale void through players such as Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Paulinho; they also solved a longstanding striker problem in Roberto Soldado.
Have had the best summer of any of the big clubs, and may find themselves asking the question ‘Gareth Who?’ come the end of the season.
West Bromwich Albion
Steve Clarke’s side last year were a joy to behold and one of the surprise packages of the season. However this was partly down to Lukaku, and replacing him has proved tricky.
Nicolas Anelka is a natural finisher, but only when he wants to be and will frustrate the Baggies as often as he amazes. Deadline day signing Stephane Sessegnon is an excellent transfer and Scott Sinclair was a good player before his career stalling spell at City. All in all, a decent window.
West Ham United
Whipped in by Stewart Downing, headed home by Andy Carroll. That was the idea for Liverpool anyway, but it never happened. Sam Allardyce now fancies giving it a go, although it must be said at a fraction of the cost, and it’s a relationship that may well flourish under him.
The squad still looks thin though, and a late push for Fabio Quagliarella on loan came to nothing, rumoured to be because of being unable finance the move. A couple more were needed.
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