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Transfer window: the Verdict

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rurikbird

Part of the Furniture
Honorary Member
Arsenal
In:
Alexandre Lacazette
Lyon £46m;
Sead Kolasinac Schalke free

Out:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool £35m;
Gabriel Valencia £10m;
Kieran Gibbs West Brom £7m;
Lucas Pérez Deportivo La Coruña loan

If not for the general sense of dread around the club and growing doubts about Arsene's mental health decision-making, I would say they actually had a pretty good summer of business. They added a great finisher in Lacazette and a tough no-nonsense versatile defender/midfielder in Kolasinac and held on (in a rather shambolic fashion, but nonetheless) to their star man Sanchez. Fans were screaming at them to "get some bloody signings in," but I think their main problem lies in the increasing lack of trust in Arsene's decisions (from fans and possibly now players too) – had it been Conte or Simeone in charge with exactly the same squad and with no doubts about players' motivations and committment, we would now surely be talking about them as strong contenders for the title. As it is, I think purely on the basis of their overall lack of confidence and questionable management they will lose their place in top 4 and possibly sink even lower. But on paper their squad is great! Prediction: 6th

Chelsea
In:
Álvaro Morata
Real Madrid £58m;
Tiémoué Bakayoko Monaco £39.7m;
Danny Drinkwater Leicester £35M;
Antonio Rüdiger Roma £29m;
Davide Zappacosta Torino £25.8m;
Willy Caballero Manchester City free

Out:
Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid (we'll find out tomorrow)
Nemanja Matic Manchester United £40m;
Nathan Aké Bournemouth £20m;
Asmir Begovic Bournemouth £10m;

First thing we need to acknowledge when talking about Chelsea is that as Champions they didn't need to change all that much – just pad out the squad for the added CL games. They kind of did it in defence and midfield, not so much in attack, but, similarly to Arsenal, I think the main problem has not been the signings, but the lack of trust between Conte and the club's management that's been revealed during this window – it just makes me wonder how long Conte will put up with this. The string of rejections from potential signings (even Llorente and Barkley for fuck's sake!) also has got to sting, however I'm not sure this will transfer into the season once the dust settles. The biggest problem on the pitch for them will be the loss of Diego Costa, who was one of the key drivers of their push to the title and I think much will depend on how Morata settles at the club – if he manages to replace most of Costa's goals Chelsea will be just fine in terms of making top 4 or higher. However even if Morata plays well (so far signs are pretty good) their squad looks a bit thin up top – any injury or loss of form to the likes of Hazard, Pedro or Willian will be painful. Prediction: 3-4th.

Everton
In:
Gylfi Sigurdsson
Swansea City £45m;
Jordan Pickford Sunderland £25m;
Michael Keane Burnley £25m;
Davy Klaassen Ajax £23.7m;
Nikola Vlasic Hajduk Split £8m;
Henry Onyekuru Eupen £7m;
Sandro Ramírez Málaga £5.3m;
Wayne Rooney Manchester United undisclosed;

Out:
Romelu Lukaku
Manchester United £75m;
Gerard Deulofeu Barcelona £10m;
Tom Cleverley Watford £8m;
Gareth Barry West Bromwich Albion £1m;

I always think that buying more than 3-4 first-team players in one window creates a lot of turbulence and drags the results down, then by the time manager figures it out it's usually too late. Couple this with loss of Lukaku and Koeman's stubbornness and I think Everton fans will have a rather disappointing season. Prediction: 7th

Liverpool
In:
Mohamed Salah
Roma £36.9m;
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal £35m;
Andrew Robertson Hull City £8m;
Dominic Solanke Chelsea TBD

Out:
Lucas Leiva
Lazio £5m;
Divock Origi Wolfsburg £6m loan with January recall clause
Kevin Stewart Hull City £5.4m

We finished 4th last season after flirting with the top spot until January and have undoubtedly strengthened before the season ahead. Salah looks to have provided another dimension – a player who loves running in behind the defensive line – and this has improved not only the attack but midfield as well, as Coutinho can now move into the midfield 3. Can and Henderson now look healthy after playing through injuries for most of last season, Wijnaldum is now fully settled and Ox will provide new energy and competition, so I expect some improvement in midfield compared to last season even without Keita. In defense, I think once the dust settles and pecking order emerges in both full-back positions between Moreno, new boy Robertson, Milner (if the first two fail to convince), Clyne, Trent and Gomez, we should be at least not weaker than before and we might even improve. As everyone here knows, our one real point of weakness in the squad is at CB, where we are just about OK if both Lovren and Matip are fit, but the back-up options are not very convincing. The fitness of Matip and reintegration and form of Coutinho will be key this season. Prediction: 3-4th

Manchester City
In:
Benjamin Mendy
Monaco £52m;
Kyle Walker Tottenham Hotspur £50m;
Bernardo Silva Monaco £43.6m;
Ederson Benfica £34.9m;
Danilo Real Madrid £26.5m;

Out:
Kelechi Iheanacho
Leicester City £25m;
Nolito Sevilla £7.9m;
Fernando Galatasaray £5.5m;
Aleksandar Kolarov Roma £4.5m;
Pablo Zabaleta West Ham released;
Gaël Clichy released;
Jesús Navas released;
Willy Caballero Chelsea free;
Bacary Sagna released;

City has spent eye-watering £130M upgrading their full-back positions and also improved at GK. Bernardo Silva will add another option in an already crowded attacking midfield. Is that enough? I will go against popular opinion and suggest that big improvement at full-back and a bit more depth at other positions might not necessarily be enough to jump from distant 3rd place to Champions. Like us, they are short of quality at the CB with aging and injury-prone Kompany the only truly reliable defender and they are even more stretched in defensive midfield with Fernandinho pretty much all alone covering for the whole team of attacking midfielders (OK, they also have Delph, but the point stands). I can see them blowing many teams away, but they won't dominate with the consistency of Barca or Bayern. Prediction: 2nd

Manchester United
In:
Romelu Lukaku
Everton £75m;
Nemanja Matic Chelsea £40m;
Victor Lindelof Benfica £31m;
Zlatan Ibrahimovic free agent

Out:
Wayne Rooney
Everton undisclosed

Last season I predicted that United would struggle to integrate Pogba and Mkhitaryan and that Mourinho had an an unenviable choice between using a tactical formation he distrusts and shoehorning key players into less-than-ideal positions. Unfortunately midway through last season he has already managed to find a working model and then used this summer to fill the 2 key missing spots in that new system with quality players: Lukaku and Matic. Lindelof so far seems like a dud, but Mourinho's defense will be strong regardless; in his defensive system individual qualities of defenders don't matter as much, they just need to be good at following instructions. This United side has a clear model of play, a strong spine and top-class quality in key positions: GK, CM, #10, CF. They are one great winger short of a fully mature Mourinho side and many people were surprised they didn't go for Mahrez on the deadline day – but I think this is because Mourinho has another player in mind to sign in the future and with Mkhiatryan nominally starting on another wing and roaming all over he needs a more conventional winger who will stay on the outside and hug the touchline – like Perisic or Bale, when he plays on the left. Mourinho still has some kinks to work out, but I have to say United look very strong. Prediction: 1st

Spurs
In:
Davinson Sánchez
Ajax £42m;
Serge Aurier Paris Saint-Germain £23m;
Fernando Llorente Swansea City £12m;
Juan Foyth Estudiantes £8m;

Out:
Kyle Walker
Manchester City £50m;
Kevin Wimmer Stoke City £18m;
Nabil Bentaleb Schalke £16.8m;

For Spurs any improvement was always going to come from the development of their young players rather than transfers. Daniel Levy is as always playing a long-term game and he was not about to open a checkbook in a hurry to "capitalize" on last years title-chasing run, nor has Pochettino demanded that he did by all accounts. They kept their core, shuffled around some defenders and back-ups and that's about it. The only unpredictable factor is the Wembley move, which – despite Pochettino going out of his way to insist otherwise – does seem to have an effect, potentially robbing Spurs of their key strength of home advantage. They will probably lose some points compared to last season because of that, but they also will never fall far away from the pack. Prediction: 4-5th
 
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I agree entirely mate. Very good summary.
Add Sakho out for 26 mill though.
 
I agree entirely mate. Very good summary.
Add Sakho out for 26 mill though.

Oh, that's right – thanks.

Edit: actually no, I won't add him because the departures for all clubs only list players who were actually in the team last year. This summary is about the actual team's evolution, not financial assets.
 
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Oh, that's right – thanks.

Edit: actually no, I won't add him because the departures for all clubs only list players who were actually in the team last year. This summary is about the actual team's evolution, not financial assets.

Fair enough. 🙂

Some might say that adding him as our 5th CB until January would have given us greater depth. But that was never gonna happen.
 
Arsenal
In:
Alexandre Lacazette
Lyon £46m;
Sead Kolasinac Schalke free

Out:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool £35m;
Gabriel Valencia £10m;
Kieran Gibbs West Brom £7m;
Lucas Pérez Deportivo La Coruña loan

If not for the general sense of dread around the club and growing doubts about Arsene's mental health decision-making, I would say they actually had a pretty good summer of business. They added a great finisher in Lacazette and a tough no-nonsense versatile defender/midfielder in Kolasinac and held on (in a rather shambolic fashion, but nonetheless) to their star man Sanchez. Fans were screaming at them to "get some bloody signings in," but I think their main problem lies in the increasing lack of trust in Arsene's decisions (from fans and possibly now players too) – had it been Conte or Simeone in charge with exactly the same squad and with no doubts about players' motivations and committment, we would now surely be talking about them as strong contenders for the title. As it is, I think purely on the basis of their overall lack of confidence and questionable management they will lose their place in top 4 and possibly sink even lower. But on paper their squad is great! Prediction: 6th

Apparently the outlay inc. wages for the Kolasinac and Lacazette deals took out a large portion of their budget. The impact of not being involved in CL is quite big since they probably budgeted for it having qualified for ~n years in a row.

If they fail to qualify for another season... 🙄
 
Oh, that's right – thanks.

Edit: actually no, I won't add him because the departures for all clubs only list players who were actually in the team last year. This summary is about the actual team's evolution, not financial assets.
Youve got Nathan Ake, Keiren Gibbs, Nolito, Perez, Wimmer, Benteleb, Cabellero and a whole host of other players who barely got near their first team squads all season.

I dont know what point you are trying to make by leaving him out but its not a very good one.
 
Youve got Nathan Ake, Keiren Gibbs, Nolito, Perez, Wimmer, Benteleb, Cabellero and a whole host of other players who barely got near their first team squads all season.

I dont know what point you are trying to make by leaving him out but its not a very good one.

I'm not trying to make any point, just needed to have some consistent rule. If you noticed, the actual list of departures for every club is a lot longer, Chelsea alone sold or loaned out a dozen players – so I decided the criteria will be, did they play for their club in any official games last season? If not, then they won't be counted.

Oh, I noticed Joe Hart also doesn't fit the criteria – removed.
 
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Then why put money next to it at all?

Hmm, good question. It's not very consistent, it's true.

Still, if I erase the money figures, I don't think it will make it more informative while if I start adding loan players from all clubs who were sold or loaned out again, it will just unnecessarily clog the space. I guess I could add the likes of Sakho and Joe Hart back, I have no problem with that, except that it then becomes a judgement call about which loan player is "important."
 
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In summary this is the table I expect:

1 - City (Sanchez to join in Jan - £35m)
2 - Utd
3 - Us
4 - Chelsea
5 - Spurs
6 - Everton
7 - Arsenal

I expect the top 3 will pull away from the rest, but our lack of a solid back 5 will ultimately prove our undoing.

I hope i'm wrong.
 
In summary this is the table I expect:

1 - City (Sanchez to join in Jan - £35m)
2 - Utd
3 - Us
4 - Chelsea
5 - Spurs
6 - Everton
7 - Arsenal

I expect the top 3 will pull away from the rest, but our lack of a solid back 5 will ultimately prove our undoing.

I hope i'm wrong.

Top 3 will represent a decent season for us.

It's pretty important that we don't slip out of the CL places and back into obscurity if we wish to attract good players next summer... I suspect we'll need to.
 
In summary this is the table I expect:

1 - City (Sanchez to join in Jan - £35m)
2 - Utd
3 - Us
4 - Chelsea
5 - Spurs
6 - Everton
7 - Arsenal

I expect the top 3 will pull away from the rest, but our lack of a solid back 5 will ultimately prove our undoing.

I hope i'm wrong.
It's entirely possible that January could be quite fun in regards to incomings. 😉
 
Oh, that's right – thanks.

Edit: actually no, I won't add him because the departures for all clubs only list players who were actually in the team last year. This summary is about the actual team's evolution, not financial assets.
Then you should perhaps add Andreas Christensen to Chelsea's squad mate.

Great read and summary, even though I don't fully agree with the predictions.
 
£1.4b spent in the premier league and not a single world class player was purchased ?


Mental.
 
No CB and DM, a disaster for us. We may score goals in abundance against attacking teams and I am sure we will ship in plenty too. 4th is the best we can hope for again. Just wanna be proved wrong.
 
Nice work Rurik.

Can't agree with all but then nobody is 100% with anyone on everything Liverpool related.

1 - City (They've done enough to cover their weakest areas and have added even more depth/strength).
2 - Chelsea - Champions and have strengthened overall with Hazard, Pedro and Willian to return. Will run City close.
3 - Utd (filled two major weaknesses but still lack pace out wide. Are going to have to rely on Martial and Rashford again. Ibra will probably be an irrelevance, out until January and then with reintegration and fitness levels the season will likely have nearly finished before he can hit last season's form). I had them down as clear leaders before they meet us simply because they have by far the easiest schedule to start the season. They'll be hauled in but likely finish Top 3. Expect their results to tail off when Mourinho puts everything into the CL.
4 - Liverpool - if we get VVD in January we could go close. Otherwise silly dropped points will cost us a run at the PL. We'll probably have a brilliant CL, quarters or semis depending on the draw.
5 - Spurs - if you don't move forward you regress. Spurs have regressed and have some unhappy players. Expect to see a serious drop off in form from last season when a lot went their way. CL wlil tax them and they may end up in the EL.
6 - Arsenal - in disarray and with a very unhappy Sanchez. Regressed over the Summer although Lacazette is a great signing their midfield and defence stinks. EL will end up as their main target as per United last season.
7 - Everton - won't have enough quality to challenge Top 6 come the end of the season. EL will keep them occupied.
 
Surprisingly, Diego Costa is still a Chelsea player and he has been included in the 25-man EPL squad they submitted yesterday. Personally I think this a terrible sign for Conte; the club clearly thinks the coach might be more expendable than a star player, so they keep the player expressly against the manager's wishes. I think it's likely that unless Chelsea's results are outstanding beyond expectations, Conte won't survive this season.
 
You would say that though.

No I wouldn't if I didn't think they were.

Spurs are struggling at Wembley and didn't strengthen.

Chelsea look to be all over the place

City missed out on Sanchez

We didn't sign any proper defenders

And obviously there is the Mourinho 2nd season effect.
 
I think Utd are clear favourites. They'll play typically pragmatic Mourinho football but have players that can prise defences open and take chances on difficult days.
 
Surprisingly, Diego Costa is still a Chelsea player and he has been included in the 25-man EPL squad they submitted yesterday. Personally I think this a terrible sign for Conte; the club clearly thinks the coach might be more expendable than a star player, so they keep the player expressly against the manager's wishes. I think it's likely that unless Chelsea's results are outstanding beyond expectations, Conte won't survive this season.
Personally don't see that at all. He obviously couldn't move to AM before January (when he will) so why not keep him in the squad as a back up (CF isn't their most endowed position). Unless they did a 'Sakho' on him, bit of a waste though and Costa will want to keep his fitness up.
 
No I wouldn't if I didn't think they were.

Spurs are struggling at Wembley and didn't strengthen.

Chelsea look to be all over the place

City missed out on Sanchez

We didn't sign any proper defenders

And obviously there is the Mourinho 2nd season effect.
City missing out on Sanchez is your reason they won't win the PL ? Aguero, Jesus, De Bruyne, David Silva, Gundogan, Sane, B Silva, Sterling etc isn't enough attacking power (to say nothing of the excellent job they've done rebuilding their weak FB and GK positions ?
 
City missing out on Sanchez is your reason they won't win the PL ? Aguero, Jesus, De Bruyne, David Silva, Gundogan, Sane, B Silva, Sterling etc isn't enough attacking power (to say nothing of the excellent job they've done rebuilding their weak FB and GK positions ?

Come now ... it's @StevieM's wardrobe boy.
 
Personally don't see that at all. He obviously couldn't move to AM before January (when he will) so why not keep him in the squad as a back up (CF isn't their most endowed position). Unless they did a 'Sakho' on him, bit of a waste though and Costa will want to keep his fitness up.

Keep him as a back-up, are you serious? He won't be anywhere near the team as long as Conte is in charge, they fell out publicly, traded nasty accusations against each other in the press – there is no way back. Imagine is LFC kept Sakho against Klopp's wishes (even after he publicly criticized the manager – Sakho didn't, but Costa did repeatedly) – Klopp would never stand for it and if anything Conte is even more sensitive to challenges to his authority, that's probably why he fell out with Costa in the first place. No, I can't read it any other way than severely undermining the manager.
 
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That's really poor.

I don't think you need to come up with some silly skewed list to show us that Pep and Mourinho spend mad money.
 
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