Friday, November 17, 2017

Premier League: Summer Transfer Market Winners & Losers

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The busiest month of the year is behind us with summer transfer window officially closed for (most of) the European football leagues.

The Premier League as arguably the most exciting and followed football competition on the continent – and world alike – was once again under the spotlight with 20 clubs from the English top tier spending £1.5 billion on new signings.

Plenty of names went in, out and between with drama reaching its peak with the Transfer Deadline Day which, unsurprisingly, involved plenty of action.

And as we await to see whether Barcelona, Real Madrid – and even suspended Atletico Madrid – will look to make most of their one-day extended transfer window on Friday, here is a scratch beneath the surface in an analysis of the summer transfer market winners and losers on the British Isles.

Losers:

We’ll leave it to you to pick the ultimate loser from the crop as August produced several candidates for the not so coveted title. So here are a couple on names piled up for you to arrange in order you feel is the most appropriate.

Arsenal

Many would agree the biggest losers of the summer transfer window should – again – be Arsenal. Having previously added exciting players such as striker Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac, the Gunners were firstly expected to take a firm stand with the status of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. These two remain, for now. The Chilean is said to be disappointed not to be allowed to move to City, whereas Barcelona are already making an enquiry for the later and could pounce on the Transfer Deadline Day 2. Secondly, Arsenal were widely touted to add a couple of more reinforcement to the team whereas, to the contrast, they ended up cutting the size of their squad.

Lucas Perez, Gabriel Paulista and Kieran Gibbs are among the most notable departures while Arsene Wenger attempted to make peace with the fans by trying to land AS Monaco star Thomas Leman on the final day of the market.

Chelsea

The Premier League champions had a strong transfer window. The lack of activity on the Deadline Day tends to blur vision to many football fans but the fact remains that Chelsea brought the likes of Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko, before adding the unassuming additions of Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta.

However, the Blues failed to land Romelu Lukaku earlier in the summer who ended up moving to Manchester United, just like Nemanja Matic who seems to have been sold without Antonio Conte’s blessing.

But to rub salt deeper in the wound, Blues have been rejected by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fernando Llorente and Ross Barkley in the dying stages of the market and that is certainly enough to qualify them for the losers’ category.

Newcastle United

Mike Ashley has a snake in his pocket. That’s the only explanation for the lack of expenditure over at St James’ Park from where Rafa Benitez is fuming in anger. To put things in better perspective, all Premier League clubs, bar one, have gone to break their record transfers in the past two years and you have only one guess at which the odd club out is. Yes, it’s Newcastle.

They last did it for Michael Owen even before Ashley took over the ownership of the club. Rafa Benitez was promised funds to build a competitive squad that would have no problems staying up in the top division, but the Spaniard has been left disillusioned and disappointed and is not keeping it a secret.

Individual honourable mentions (+Tottenham): Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Virgil van Dijk

Winners:

To a more positive note, the just-finished summer window produced many clubs worthy to be labelled as winners. So, to start it all off we’ll go with the least assuming ones.

West Bromwich Albion

In a highly elegant way, Tony Pulis along with his baseball cap and a wide smile on his face emerged victorious from the chaotic summer.

Not only did Pulis managed to keep hold of some of his highly coveted players such as Jonny Evans and Nacer Chadli, he also upgraded his squad significantly with several high-profile names that could make a huge difference for the Baggies in the new season. PSG’s flagship signing from last summer Grzegorz Krychowiak is considered a great coup for the club. The Pole’s elegance in movement and skill should be a huge boost for WBA’s style of play and he is undoubtedly expected to bring instant improvement.

To add it to the pile, WBA grabbed an experienced Premier League player Kieran Gibbs, one of the hottest Bundesliga properties Oliver Burke, a proven EPL striker Jay Rodriguez, Gareth Barry and Ahmed Hegzazy are all considered proper reinforcements for Pulis’ side.

Swansea City

Swans might have lost important players in Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson but Paul Clement did well to compensate with a couple of highly exciting summer additions that put them at 7/1 odds to finish the season in the top half of the Premier League table.

The man who has Carlo Ancelloti on speed dial made sure to help Swansea beat the likes of Juventus, AC Milan, Liverpool, Manchester United and many others to the signature of highly-exciting prospect Renato Sanches, who is given a chance to revive his career with a year-long loan in Wales. He might have cost quite a lot for a loan without a buy clause, but Swansea fans are nevertheless excited over the prospect of watching one of the most talented youngsters around.

What’s more, Swansea also brought Chelsea talent Tammy Abraham whereas they drew the line in the nick of time with a shrewd piece of business by wrapping up Wilfried Bony’s return from Manchester City.

Liverpool + Manchester United

The two fierce rivals are purposely put hand in hand here as they both emerged victorious from the transfer window, each in their own merit.

The Reds brought Mo Salah and Solanke, but failed in their efforts to land Virgil van Dijk and solve the burning defensive issue. Still, it was their firm stance over Philippe Coutinho that makes them a fit to this category.

As for the Red Devils and Jose Mourinho, they made some pretty smart moves in the market boosting the squad with Lindelof, Matic and Lukaku. And even though Mourinho wanted to add at least another player – preferably a wide one – Manchester United are now standing as one of the biggest favourites for the Premier League crown at the betting odds of 9/4.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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