The delayed summer transfer window slammed shut at 11pm on Monday 5th October. October 5th deadline day, well t has been a crazy year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staggeringly, despite having no fans in the stadiums and having cuts to their incomes, the 20 Premier League sides were able to spend a collective staggering amount in excess of £1billion. That is crazy! Crazy at a time some clubs have used government support for wages, even making non-playing staff redundant, clubs in the lower reaches of English football are struggling
I was working on this post before the Premier League made the announcement that some games not originally selected for TV will now only be available on a pay per view basis. Let me this clear, I think it is absolutely disgusting for the Premier League to do this and for the clubs to agree to do this when in some areas, bars are unlikely to be open and will be left with no choice but to pay it the extra charge on top of tv subscriptions if they want to legally watch their team play at a time when people are also seeing wages cut and jobs lost. I think it’s shameful and hopefully, they have a rethink.
And don’t get me started on the attempted power-grab by the so-called big 6 in ‘Project Big Picture’.
But first, what were the top 10 deals from the transfer window by Premier League clubs?
- Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea) £71m
- Ruben Diaz (Benfica to Manchester City) £65m
- Ben Chilwell (Leicester City to Chelsea) £50m
- Timo Werner (RB Leipzig to Chelsea) £45m
- Diogo Jota (Wolves to Liverpool) £45m
- Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid to Arsenal) £45m
- Nathan Ake (Bournemouth to Manchester City) £41m
- Donny Van de Beek (Ajax to Manchester United) £39m
- Amad Diallo (Atalanta to Manchester United) £37.2m
- Nelson Semedo (Barcelona to Wolves) £36.8m
In the post, I will be going through the transfer activity of all 20 Premier League clubs and giving them a mark out of 10. They are presented in alphabetical order but in the order of how I would rank their business from best to worst. The transfer fees provided have come from the fees reported by Sky Sports and where they described the deal as ‘undisclosed’ a fee was obtained by looking on the players’ profiles at transfrmarket.co.uk. The body of this post was completed before some of the late deals heading to the domestic deadline of October 16th…
IN: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) Free, Allan (Napoli) £22.5m, Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) £20m, Ben Godfrey (Norwich City) £20m, Niels Nkonkou (Marseille) £250k, Robin Olsen (AS Roma) Loan. Spend: £64.75m.
OUT: Leighton Baines (Retired), Morgan Schniederlin (Lille) £2m, Kierran Dowell (Norwich Coty) £1.98m, Fraser Hornby (Reims) £1.8m, Sandro Ramirez (SD Huesca), Martin Stekelenburg (Ajax) Free, Theo Walcott (Southampton) Loan, Mosie Kean (PSG) Loan, Cucu Martini (Released), Luke Garbutt (Released). Received: £5.78m.
It was a very good window for Everton and they were certainly one of the big winners. There was a feeling that Carlo Ancelotti wanted to overhaul the squad he inherited in his comments towards the end of last season. I personally thought there would have been a more comprehensive overhaul of the squad with two or three more incomings but in truth, around 20 players left either permanently or on loan during the summer and they have recruited well.
Outgoings include promising youngster Mosie Kean who admittedly struggled in his first season in English football. PSG is a surprising destination but he is still a player with a lot of potential and maybe the year in France can help him rebuild his confidence. Other players who weren’t in Ancelotti’s plans have also been moved on such as Morgan Schniedlerlin, Sandro Ramirez often for a fraction of what Everton actually paid for them. A big departure though was the retirement of Leighton Baines. The left-back has been a faithful servant to Everton and while he hasn’t played as much in recent seasons with Luca Digne being first-choice left-back, his influence in the dressing room will still be a miss.
It is clear Everton have been more focused in their recruitment and that Ancelotti felt midfield needed refreshing. The singing of James Rodriguez is a real coup for Everton, a real statement of intent! The Colombian hasn’t had that much luck in the past few years but his quality has been there for all to see and he is clearly a player that Ancelotti rates. Allan from Napoli was another big name singing and he has added some much-needed steel to the Everton midfield defensively. These two, alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure, have gelled well and that has already had an obvious impact on the squad. It has helped bring the best out of Dominic Calvert Lewin who has had a fantastic start to the season; scoring 6 goals already this season and earned himself an England call up.
The deadline day signing of Ben Godfrey from Norwich brings a ball-playing centre back into the squad. Godfrey brings an extra level of competition and a defender along with the style that Ancelotti wants to develop at The Toffees. One area that some commentators thought Ancelotti would invest in was goalkeeper after a series of mishaps by England Number 1 Jordan Pickford. In fairness to Ancelotti, he has been supportive of Pickford and given him his backing despite starting the season with a couple of mishaps. The loan signing of Swedish International Robin Olsen will serve as much needed competition for Pickford and a reminder that he cannot keep making them.
Overall, a very good window for Everton and in my view one of the big winners of the off-season.
IN: Rodrigo (Valencia) £27m, Diego Llorente (real Sociedad) £18m, Helder Costa (Wolves) £16m, Raphinha (rennes) £15.3m, Robin Kock (SC Freiberg) £11.7m, Illan Meslier (FC Lorient) £5.85m, Sam Greenwood (Arsenal) £1.53m, Joe Geldhardt (Wigan) £900k, Cody Dremah (Fulham) £440k. Spend: £96.68m.
OUT: Laurens de Bock (Zulte Waregem) Loan, Ryan Edmondson (Aberdeen) Loan, Kun Temenuzhkov (Real Red Union) Loan, Jordan Stevens (Swindon Town) Loan, Alfia McCalmont (Oldham) Loan, Bryce Hosannah (Bradford City) Loan. Received: £0.
Returning to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years and Leeds were very busy in the transfer window. Marcelo Bielsa knew they needed to invest if they were to have a chance of staying up and they’ve made some very good signings. Looking at the calibre of the acquisitions, just staying up is not just what Bielsa and the board at Leeds have in mind.
First off, they made two key singings first making the loan deals for Helder Costa from Wolves permanent as well as a deal for French goalkeeper Illan Meslier permanent. The goalkeeper only made 11 appearances last season, excelling in the crucial second half of the season. At only 20, he has potential and he has shown that with some impressive performances in the first few weeks of the season. At just under £6m, retaining him could be a real coup. They also crucially retained Jack Harrison on loan for a third successive season from Man City. He had such a big part in their promotion campaign that keeping him was big for keeping some continuity in that squad.
Leeds also wanted to retain Ben White. White had been on loan from Brighton and was a crucial component of the defence last season but the Yorkshire club was perhaps put off by Brighton demanding £30m for the centre-back. That will be a disappointment for Leeds. Instead, they brought in German defender Robin Koch and later in the window, in what was a surprise move, Diego Llorente. With those additions, I think that disappointment will have been forgotten about as Llorente should add quality to a defence that has already conceded 9 in 3 league games.
The headline signing was Rodrigo for a club-record fee from Valencia. It is a statement of intent from Leeds but he isn’t your 20 goal a season striker but his movement in freeing up space is his main asset. Bielsa will know how to get the best out of the forward and while the Argentine has tried to settle the forward in slowly into his system, he’s made a promising start so far. They’ve made an exciting start and that might continue with the deadline day signing of Brazilian winger Raphinha from Rennes who after a promising season in France could be another good addition for Leeds.
Other than Ben White who they could not keep, there were no big-name departures from the promotions squad. Several young players have gone out on loan but they have not lost first-team players. There is now a fair amount of depth and quality that should see Leeds away from a relegation scrap and if they could get near the top 10 then that would make this an ultimately, a very successful window.
IN: Ollie Watkins (Brentford) £33m, Bertrand Traore (Lyon) £17m, Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest) £16m, Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) £15.66m. Spend: £81.66m.
OUT: Matija Sarkic (Wolves) Free, James Chester(Stoke City) Free, James Bree (Luton) Free, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Pafos) Free, Callum O'Hare (Coventry City) Free, Mbawa Samatta (Fenerbahce) Loan, Orjan Nyland (Released). Received: £0.
Having only just stayed up in the final game of last season, it was always clear Aston Villa were going to try and strengthen in the transfer window. While like most clubs they have had players leave at the end of their contracts, they have not lost anyone who played a significant part in staying up last season and most importantly for them they kept hold of Jack Grealish who was their talismanic creative man.
The signings are interesting. Bertrand Traore was once one of the most sought after players in Europe a couple of seasons ago so it will be interesting to see how he takes to the Premier League. He certainly adds some goals to that Villa team and Dean Smith will be hoping the same is true for Ollie Watkins. Watkins was the Championship top scorer last season and scored 26 in all competitions for Brentford as they came so close to securing promotion. It will be hoped he can provide goals where last summers arrival Wesley (still out injured) struggled. Any suggestions that they played second fiddle having missed out on Calum Wilson will have been dispelled by Watkins start to life at Villa. They have also brought in Emiliano Martinez who will be hoping to cement his number 1 spot after an impressive start.
The Argentine really took his chance when he got it towards the end of last season and was rewarded with an FA Cup winners medal. He has so far rewarded Dean Smith for shelling out on him with strong performances and then there is the loan signing of Ross Barkley. He is a quality player and we saw already against Liverpool how menacing he will be for defences alongside Grealish and John McGinn in midfield. In general, they have done fairly well in the market. I am not too sure on Matty Cash provides more youthful legs at right-back than Elmohammady though I was sceptical if he could cut it in the Premier League and whether they paid too much but he seems to have adapted well so far.
On the whole, Villa have recruited well in the transfer market and I would say definitely one of the big winners.
IN: Sergio Reguilon (Real Madrid) £32m, Matt Doherty (Wolves) £15.12m, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton) £14.94m, Joe Hart (Burnley) Free, Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) Loan, Carlos Vicinius (Benfica) Loan. Spend: £62.06m.
OUT: Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton) £12m, Jan Vertonghen (Benfica) Free, Michel Vorm (Released), Troy Parrott (Millwall) Loan, Oliver Skipp (Norwich City) Loan, Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim) Loan, Juan Foyth (Villareal) Loan. Received: £12m.
Jose Mourinho can be pretty happy with the business Spurs got done in this window. There was a feeling where Spurs needed to strengthen; a right-back, a backup left-back to compete with Ben Davies given there does not appear to be a Spurs future for Danny Rose, a defensive midfielder and a back up to Harry Kane.
Pierre-Emile Hjobjerg coming in from Southampton is the defensive midfielder that Mourinho wanted and he has quickly settled into the Spurs midfield. Matt Doherty from Wolves for just under £15m is great value and will be a great option for Mourinho to compete with the sometimes inconsistent Serge Aurier on the right flank of defence. On the other side of defence, in came Sergio Reguilon which is a fantastic deal! The Spanish international was named best left-back in La Liga last season and is a step in the right direction.
He came alongside Gareth Bale. The Welshman returning to his former club is another coup for Spurs but it is questionable just how much of an impact he will make. The Welshman has had a tumultuous time in Madrid of late and fallen foul of Zinedine Zidane; perhaps not helped by his comments he would rather play golf than play for Real. He is still receiving treatment for an ankle injury so will have to wait for his second Spurs debut but what impact will he have? He’s played twice since February and he may not be as sharp as he was at his best but it is still a headline move.
Then, there is the question that has hovered over Spurs for a couple years now; getting cover for Harry Kane. It is a problem that has prevented high calibre names in recent years from joining Spurs as who would want to go there knowing they’d be playing second fiddle. Instead of having Alvaro Morata a few years ago, they had to settle for Fernando Llorente. Mourinho was able to bring in Carlos Vicinius on loan from Benfica. The Brazilian scored 24 goals in Portugal last season and with Europa League football along with the tight schedule of fixtures this season, he should get sufficient game time and is an exciting addition too.
Mourinho will be happy with the options he has across the pitch. One area he will be concerned will be in central defence. Jan Vertonghen left after7 seasons with the end of his contract. They now have only three central-defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Davison Sanchez and Eric Dier as first-team options in that position. I suspect he would’ve liked to have had an additional option in that area but it was in truth, a good window for Spurs.
IN: Ruben Diaz (Benfica) £65m, Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) £41m, Ferran Torres (Valencia) £20.7m, Pablo Moreno (Juventus) £9m, Ya Couto (Coritiba FC) £5.4m, Issa Kaboure (KV Mechelen) £4.05m, Scott Carson (Derby County) Loan. Spend: £145.15m
OUT: Leroy sane (Bayern Munich), £54.8m, Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica) £13.5m, Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham) £1.49m, David Silva (Teal Sociedad) Free, Aleix Garcia (Dinamo Bucharest) Free, Claudio Bravo (Released), Jack Harrison (Leeds) Loan, Issa Kavoure (KV Mechelen) Loan.Received: £69.79m
When Vincent Kompany left last summer, I totally underestimated just how much of a void he would leave in the Man City defence. It was brutally exposed last season as they conceded 35 goals compared to 23 the season prior and failed to really challenge for the title. It is little surprise that this is where Pep Guardiola looked to strengthen most this window.
The singing of Nathan Ake was a surprise. Arriving from Bournemouth, there were certainly questions around the fee; £41m for a defender who was relegated last season in a defence that conceded 65 goals. Ake, a Dutch International wasn’t phased by the challenge and was confident he can cut it at Man City, competing for titles and in the Champions League. After their 5-2 defeat to Leicester, Guardiola acted again and brought in Ruban Diaz from Benfica in a whopping £65m deal. The 23-year-old came through the ranks and Benfica and captained them at every age level, including the first team so he is perhaps the more natural leader to fill the void left by Kompany.
In terms of departure, Nicolas Otamendi went the other way. He has served Man City well but it is clear that they have more than enough depth at central-defence judging by the fact they were open to negotiations with Barcelona for Eric Garcia on deadline day. That did not happen but Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich did. A cruciate ligament injury meant he missed pretty much of all last season but he was electric in the two seasons Guardiola won the title. He could be a big miss.
Almost certain to be a big miss will be David Silva. The veteran midfielder left at the end of the season having spent 10 years at Man City. Like Kompany, he is undoubtedly a club legend and even though he’s 34, still contributed towards 17 goals. Having been more of a winger when he signed in 2010, Silva moved more centrally in recent years. Plenty of clubs were looking at Ferran Torres from Valencia so it is almost poignant that he followed the same path as Silva. He had a good season in Spain but the question will be if he can fill the Sane void but will Phil Foden be able to fill the gap left by Silva.