Now that the transfer window in Europe is completely closed, let’s take a look at how the elite clubs did with their business dealings.
First stop: European Champions Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp knew his squad was almost optimal, given the impressive results his team have produced over the last two years. He decided to keep things mostly untouched and instead opted for promising additions to the youth team.
Liverpool signed one for the future in Sepp Van Den Berg.
One could argue Liverpool could have used their status as European heavyweights to lure in a world class number ten (James rodriguez / Coutinho) or a top squad player (Nabil Fekir) but you cannot blame them for being financially cautious, especially given the recent spending to bring in Chamberlain, Keita, Alisson and Van Dijk.
Champions Manchester City stormed the Premier League for the past two seasons and barely inched Liverpool for the title in 2019. Pep Guardiola’s squad is a well-stacked, expensive assembled group of top players. Having lost captain Vincent Kompany, City failed to replace him with a central defender. They did manage to bring in Rodri, one of the best signings of the summer and Joao Cancelo, to compete with Kyle Walker.
Pep also rid himself of Delph and Danilo who were not quite up to the level of their teammates.
You could argue Aymeric Laporte was Kompany’s long term replacement when he came in for big money last year. Fernandinho has shown he can deputize at center back so City are covered. Still, a player like Harry Maguire might have been the player City needed to complete their dream team.
Spurs were third last season and came close to challenging Liverpool and City, only to falter in the league on their way to the Champions League final. They shockingly sold Kieran Trippier for a mere 20 million pounds to Atletico Madrid, while failing to replace him.
Two solid signings were Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, especially the Frenchman, who has hit the ground running in the EPL. They also brought Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham, in a deal which saw Josh Onomah go the other side, plus cash – no wonder many Spurs fans thought their team got robbed on that deal. Jack Clarke was signed from Leeds United but loaned back right away, so again another player brought in who will not be of much use right away.
They did manage to hold on to Eriksen, Vertonghen and Alderweireld but these players have not committed to Spurs yet and could leave on a free next summer. Veteran striker Llorente was allowed to leave as a free agent and no replacement was bought. Seventeen year old Parott has been drafted in the first team and will deputize for Kane.
This seems like history is repeated itself for Pochettino. He is being given shrewd signings by Levy but not players who can help them challenge for the title right away. No wonder the manager lashed out in interviews against Spurs’ recruitment policy.
Chelsea, fourth in the EPL last season and winner of the Europa League, were struck with a transfer ban and hence unable to buy new players. Luckily, they had a deal with Dortmund for Pulisic in the bag and were also able to buy Kovacic from Madrid since the Croatian midfielder was already on loan throughout last season and thus registered as a Chelsea player before the ban.
The Blues could do nothing in the case of talisman Eden Hazard who already had his heart set on a move for Madrid to play under Zidane.
Chelsea also wisely opted not to sign Gonzalo Higuain who did not show much in his short lived loan stint from Juve. Instead, they decided to rely on Abraham, Batshuayi and Giroud. Their infamous “loan army” came to the rescue. Abraham, Zouma, Mason Mount and Tomori, all promising players, some with EPL experience, have integrated the squad as new players.
Even with a transfer ban, Chelsea still pulled off a decent window and that deserves something.
Arsenal waited very, very late to conclude their affairs, leaving fans to fear for a remake of past years when the Gunners failed to sign top players due to their refusal to spend big.
Nicholas Pepe was brought in as their marquee signing to form a deadly trident alongside Aubameyang and Lacazette. Kieran Tierney was also a good deal, strengthening the left back position. David Luiz can be a bit of a Pandora’s Box but he brings in much needed experience at center back. I would have expected Emery to splash the cash on a world class center back who could be Arsenal’s defensive rock for years to come but Luiz’ ball playing style and cheap fee fit in well with the Gunners.
One deal which I cannot quite agree is Ceballos. While a top class player, the Spanish midfielder was brought in on loan, with no option to buy at the end of the season. Arsenal are essentially training him for Madrid, which is something lesser teams do. Arsenal chose the easy, short term option to replace Ramsey and they could have done better.
After a sixth place finish, Manchester United were expected to implement drastic changes to their squad. It started out very well for the Red Devils but ultimately, the transfer window brought a sense of frustration among United fans.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Maguire were much needed reinforcements to United’s defense. Theirs were two positions United had failed to strengthen over the past few years and Solskjaer made sure he fixed that problem first.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Ole went for Dan James, a young, promising player and also promoted Greenwood and Tuanzebe to the first team. So far so good. James has already shown his worth by being the most passionate player on the pitch and yielding 3 goals in his first 4 games.
Then came the questionable decisions. United let Lukaku and Sanchez leave at the very end of the transfer window, with no time to bring in replacements. This left them short in attack. While loaning out Smalling and selling Darmian was seen as well needed deadwood shifting, missing on a replacement for Ander Herrera was a major sticking point for United.
A proper box-to-box midfielder would have eased the burden on Pogba and added much creativity to a bland United midfield but it was not to be. Solskjaer admitted money was made available but the players he really wanted were not available so maybe we can expect a couple of signings in January. But will United be in position to win anything by then and will Solskjaer still be calling the shots?
Please follow The Overhead Kick for more!