The season kicked off on Friday night with Liverpool’s thumping 4-1 v Norwich, followed by big wins for Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City on Saturday. Then on Sunday Arsenal won 1-0 v Newcastle before Manchester United battered Chelsea 4-0. So let’s now take a look back at the recently closed summer transfer window and see who the biggest winners and losers from the Premier League top 6 were.
After winning the Premier League for the second year in a row Manchester City used this summer window to reinforce their already stacked squad.
Firstly, they brought in world class defensive midfielder Rodri for £63 million from Atletico Madrid. With the timeless Fernandinho now 34 years old and more injury prone than ever and with Manchester City struggling in key games he missed through injury last season this signing was definitely needed. With Rodri’s acquisiton this gives Manchester City another world class option in the defensive midfield position which means they will be able to cope much better this season when Fernandinho is unavailable.
Alongside this signing Manchester City also strengthened in both full back positions. They brought in elite right back Joao Cancelo for £60 million from Juventus with back-up right back Danilo shipped to Turin for £34.1 million. This is a great piece of business for Manchester City as they now have two world class right back options; Kyle Walker being the better defensive right back with his recovery speed and Cancelo the better attacking right back with his wonderful dribbling ability, crossing and passing. On the other side Manchester City exercised a buy back clause to resign Angelino from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven for £5.3 million. This will give them extra depth in the left back position with first choice left back Benjamin Mendy, seemingly permanently on the treatment table, and Oleksandr Zinchenko, a recently converted left back, the mainstay in that position last season.
Manchester City did not strengthen in the centre back position after captain Vincent Kompany’s departure which may leave them a little bit exposed when they come up against the finest teams in Europe. But in the Premier League John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are more than capable of deputising in that position throughout the season.
Overall, Manchester City have had an almost perfect transfer window and one which should see them back at the top of the Premier League come May 2020.
After a thrilling 2018/2019 season in which Tottenham rivalled the big two in the first half of the season but fell away to a poor fourth place finish yet reached the Champions League final in remarkable circumstances, it was clear they needed new signings to take the next step to sustain a title challenge.
Tottenham acted quickly to snap up the highly coveted young French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for a fee of £63 million. Ndombele is a superb signing for them. He has it all as a midfielder; he can create chances, dribble past players and win tackles. This was a huge upgrade on their current midfield options and a statement of intent from them. They further enhanced their midfield options by signing Argentinian attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso on loan with an option to buy from Spanish club Real Betis. Lo Celso who only made a permanent transfer to Betis from Paris Saint-Germain this summer for £21 million, starred for Betis last season in an attacking midfield role. He bagged 16 goals in all competitions with 9 coming in La Liga. He will add extra quality and depth in the attacking midfield position and will be vying with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli for a place in the first 11.
Also, Tottenham paid Fulham £25 million for its 19 year old left back cum left winger: Ryan Sessegnon. With Danny Rose nearing thirty and with little time left on his contract and Ben Davies a good back-up option but not of the quality required to be starting for a top 6 side, this was a well timed and very strategic signing. Sessegnon has an excellent engine, is good technically and has an eye for goal so with Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino being renowned for developing young players, under his guidance, Sessegnon should develop into one of the world’s premier left back over the next few years.
The only slight concern for Tottenham was their inability to bring in a new right back to replace Kieran Trippier who was sold to Atletico Madrid for £21 million. However they do have the capable Serge Aurier who is a good right back despite being prone to a lack of concentration and making rash challenges.
As a whole, Tottenham have had a very good transfer window and should be confident that the acquisitions made give them a good platform for a guaranteed top 4 finish and a potential title challenge.
Following a desperately disappointing end to last season in which Arsenal missed out on the top 4 and got hammered 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final, this was a crucial transfer window if they had any hopes of getting back into the top 4 this season.
Arsenal showed confidence and vigour during the transfer window in bringing in a total of six players, five of whom are part of the first team squad for this season and the other William Saliba, a huge prospect, who was signed for £27 million and immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for this season.
Arsenal started their transfer business with the £6 million signing of 18 year old Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli. A young forward capable of playing across the front line. He adds extra depth in these positions and if his YouTube clips are anything to go by he should contribute somewhat this season and significantly in the coming seasons.
Arsenal then strengthened their midfield with the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid. The Spanish midfielder, has an abundance of quality and will likely start ahead of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the attacking midfield position. With youth on his side and Emery wanting to marry quality with a high intensity style Ceballos should fit nicely and provide some magical moments throughout the season. On top of this they signed the hugely sought after Nicolas Pepe for £72 million from French Ligue 1 runners up Lille. He had a remarkable season last year scoring 22 and assisting 11 in Ligue 1. Based on his performances for Lille he should add pace, dribbling ability and finishing from wide areas, something Arsenal have lacked for years.
Despite the midfield signings, many had concerns about Arsenal’s porous defence and they have done some business to try and rectify this. They signed Celtic left back Kieran Tierney for £25 million. The young Scotsman established himself as Celtic’s best player in recent seasons and produced a number of wonderful performances both in the Scottish Premiership as well as in Europe. His signing will present a significant upgrade on their current left back options. Added to this they signed experienced Brazilian defender David Luiz from Chelsea for £8 million. He will provide leadership and experience to their back four but like their current defenders is prone to mistakes.
However Arsenal were unable to offload a number of players that were surplus to requirements including Shkodran Mustafi and Mohammed Elneny.
In consideration of the signings Arsenal have made, they have been a big winner from the transfer window.
In the wake of a second placed finish in the Premier League with a record points haul of 97 points and winning the Champions League, Liverpool had an opportunity to enhance their squad in the summer transfer window.
Unfortunately for Liverpool fans around the world this opportunity was not taken. They only signed a back up goalkeeper in Adrian on a free transfer and two highly touted youngsters in 17 year old Sepp Van Den Berg from PEC Zwolle for £1.3 million and 16 year year old Harvey Elliott from Fulham for an undisclosed fee.
It was clear going into this transfer window that there were a number of areas that Liverpool could have improved upon. They have one of the best attacking triumvirates in the world in Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino but their back up’s are nowhere near world class so they could have done with an extra option in attack.
Additionally Liverpool did draw a number of games last season and this generally happened against the weaker sides who parked 10 men behind the ball. They then struggled to break these teams down. So to overcome these tactics they could have looked to sign a creative attacking midfielder. Again they chose not to.
Defensively Liverpool were unbelievable last season, but they do lack depth at left back in particular. Alberto Moreno’s departure means they do not have an established left back to cover for Andy Robertson. If he was to get injured that could be a big problem for them. The last thing they want to do is have to play James Milner there.
Altogether, this was a hugely disappointing transfer window for Liverpool and it is hard to see them, without making any key additions, keeping up with Manchester City this season.
Chelsea ended last season on a high securing third sport in the Premier League and dominating Arsenal on route to a 4-1 win in the Europa League final.
However Chelsea had a transfer ban that was imposed for this window. Therefore the only signing they were able to make was that of Mateo Kovacic whose loan from Real Madrid last season included a option to buy for £4o million; which they activated. He does add some depth to Chelsea’s midfield but is no improvement on the players they have and at £40 million seems relatively expensive.
The transfer ban was compounded by the fact Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s talisman over the past five seasons, was sold to Real Madrid for a fee potentially rising to £122 million. This left Chelsea in a miserable position where they lost their best player but could not sign anyone to replace him.
Added to this Chelsea agreed for Alvaro Morata to remain on loan at Atletico Madrid for this season without being able to bring in a new striker. So they only have an ageing ex-Arsenal target man Olivier Giroud and young striker Tammy Abraham, who has never started a Premier League game for them and who has spent two of the last three season on loan in the Championship, as their choices upfront.
To put it bluntly this has been a disastrous transfer window for Chelsea and with their competitors for the top 4 improving areas of their squads, a very tough season lies ahead for Chelsea under new manager, Frank Lampard.
Big Winner and Big Loser
You would have noticed Manchester United are not included above. This is because they were big winners and big losers from this window. They improved their defense markedly with the excellent acquisitions of Harry Maguire, one of England’s best centre backs for a world record fee of £80 million and prodigious young right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a hefty £50 million.
However Manchester United lost the combative and big game midfielder Ander Herrera, who was somewhat of a cult hero among Manchester United fans, on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and failed to sign a replacement. They also failed to sign a desperately needed new right sided winger/midfielder. Leaving them with a couple of big holes in the midfield department.
Whilst further forward the lack of depth in Manchester United’s attacking options was compounded by the sale of Romelu Lukaku for £75 million to Inter Milan. Though a good price for an unwanted forward, he still outscored both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford last season, who they will be relying on this season to provide the goals for a top 4 finish. What was inexplicable about this sale, is that no replacement was brought in with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying he was happy with his attacking options and confidently asserting that the untried yet high-rated 17 year old Mason Greenwood, was ready to replace Lukaku in the first team squad. We will see whether that huge call from Solskjaer was incredibly naive or on the money, come seasons end.