Francis Dolan takes a look at the Premier League teams on the fringes of European qualification...
Everton are another club for whom the window will be absolutely critical. Had Roberto Martinez not signed Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy late in the last summer transfer window, Everton would quite simply not have been in the hunt last year.
Two of these players could well be absent from next season's roster (and Gerard Deulofeu definitely is) so he needs to replace them before even starting to supplement the squad. Unlike the managers of the clubs above them, Martinez is not likely to have a huge transfer budget (oh how he would love to have the £49m capped budget of Man City!).
He will need to get by on shrewd permanent deals and loans as he did last year. Then Everton seemed to have a deadline day strategy and stuck to it. It must be said that before this their signings had been less impressive and rather Wigan-oriented. Arouna Kone, Antonlin Alcaraz and Joel Robles were signed for around £9m but none of them really made an impact on the season (though to be fair both Kone and Alcaraz were injured for most of it). Reproducing the late strategy rather than the early deals will be key to Everton delivering another surprise package.
Tottenham suffered last season from the loss of Gareth Bale and the expenditure of the cash they got for him (plus a bit more) was not very well thought through or executed. Seven players arrived at a cost of £105m - a massive investment that didn't really deliver much return.The two biggest signings - Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela - were the subject of criticism almost from the off and speculation about their futures has been rife.
In addition 14 players departed and there was a long list of loaned out players; so, basically, Andre Vilas-Boas went down the same road that Jose Mourinho is now taking at Chelsea. And we all know what happened next. Mauricio Pochettino is a different kettle of fish and won't have the same sort of budget anyway. If he can get as much out of the Spurs squad as he did from Southampton's much more limited resources we might well see a resurgence in Tottenham fortunes despite the excesses, extravagances and errors of recent times.
It is almost unbelievable to be thinking this, but Manchester Utd look like a club desperate for a saviour and a change in fortune. Even what looked like a key signing mid-season in Juan Mata couldn't rejuvenate their performances. David Moyes' and United's traumas in last close season's transfer market are well-documented and the club are determined that they won't endure that humiliation and frustration again. But this not a situation that is entirely within their control. Louis van Gaal won't be around until after the World Cup and some stars have already indicated an unwillingness to entertain the Old Trafford giants even though they have only had one poor season.
Long-time target Cesc Fabregas has gone to Chelsea; Luke Shaw is still at Southampton. Thomas Vermaelen looks like an attempt to be seen to be doing business which is not necessarily what the club needs. Van Gaal is an experienced and shrewd manager but Man Utd have undoubtedly been damaged in the last twelve months. it remains to be seen how much - and how long - it will take to repair them. No Champions League, a tarnished image and a squad greatly in need of a facelift won't help attract the world's best to their cause.
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