Yet another transfer window has come and gone, and with the post-battle heat slowly settling we can stop and analyse the circus that is the silly season. Who brought in the best signing in the Premier League? Who didn’t do such good business?
Good Business: Tottenham Hotspur
One of the most dragged-out sagas in the history of the silly season finally came to an end, even before the much anticipated deadline day. Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £85m, and with Tottenham having already completed their shopping to replace the 24 year-old Welshman, the White Hart Lane outfit had an unusually quiet deadline day.
Even though they were forced to sell their magician, you cannot say that Spurs had a bad stint in the transfer window. Daniel Levy surely pulled off one of the signings of the window by appointing Franco Baldini as the club’s technical director. With Baldini in place, Spurs smashed their transfer record three times in the same window by bringing in Paulinho for £17m, Roberto Soldado for £26m and Erik Lamela for £30m. With additional signings like Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiricheș and Étienne Capoue, Tottenham are out to assure the world that they can cope without Gareth Bale. Most observers seem to agree that the Spurs have carried out good business in the window and invested the funds gained from Gareth Bale’s transfer wisely. Such a large amount of new signings will however take time to integrate into the squad and create chemistry on the pitch.
Good Business: Everton
People may suggest that the Toffees had a bad deadline day after losing Marouane Fellaini in the last minute to Manchester United, but I would suggest differently. Everton aren’t usually known for making too much noise in the transfer window, and they didn’t this time either, but still got away with some pretty good deals. The deadline day alone saw them signing Wigan midfielder James McCarthy and completing loan deals for Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry. All three will certainly be excellent candidates to succeeding the big-haired Fellaini.
Manager Roberto Martínez will be looking to transform Everton’s style of play to match the style that served him well at Swansea and Wigan, and it can be said that receiving a large fee for a player not perfectly adapted to his philosophy in Marouane Fellaini represents good business for the club. In Gareth Barry, Martinez has signed an experienced defensive midfielder, and fighting off interest from numerous other clubs for Romelu Lukaku gains Everton one of the best young strikers in the league, if only for the coming season.
Good Business: Manchester City
When you are one of the richest football clubs in the world, I don’t think there’s anything called a bad transfer window in your dictionary. Manchester City got to work early and signed Fernandinho from Shaktar Donetsk and kept following up with strong deals for Sevilla duo Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas. Finally let’s not forget about Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetić, who moved to the Eastlands after being rumoured to have attracted interest from both Juventus and AC Milan. New manager Manuel Pellegrini’s shopping has a clear statement in it – City are aiming to take back the Premier League crown, and with this much improved offensive power, doing so looks very likely.
Neutral Business: Manchester United
Now let’s move across to the red part of Manchester. The Old Trafford outfit didn’t have such a great transfer window under new manager David Moyes, and the Scotsman fell under pressure instantly with striker Wayne Rooney reportedly wanting to leave. Much of the rumours surrounding the England international didn’t overshadow United’s attempts to sign Cesc Fàbregas, Luka Modrić and Thiago Alcântara, and the Red Devils were ridiculed for their failures to tie-up an early deal for a central midfielder. Many in the media even started to state that Moyes was already losing his head! But, they managed to pull off one signing just at the closing stages of the window, but saying that Marouane Fellaini is a good signing for £27m is a bold statement – we will have to wait and see.
Add all that to the (admittedly not United’s fault) debacle surrounding reports of United’s interest in Ander Herrera and you would have to say it was a strange transfer window for United. Still, Manchester United are the current champions with a squad full of international players, and holding on to Wayne Rooney is a very positive development.
Bad Business: Newcastle United
After only just securing their Premier League status at the end of last season, Newcastle United looked poised to spend big this summer. But we raised our eyebrows immediately when owner Mike Ashley appointed Joe Kinnear as their new director of sports. So did manager Alan Pardew, as reports emerged that the Englishman was close to quitting the Tyneside club following Kinnear’s appointment.
At the end of the transfer window, Newcastle were left with nothing to boast about as they had only brought in two new players in 16 year old Metz midfielder Olivier Kemen and Loïc Rémy (another Frenchman), the latter one on loan from Queens Park Rangers. One positive for Newcastle would have to be that Papiss Cissé stayed, after threatening to leave earlier in the summer.
Bad Business: Stoke City
Stoke manager Tony Pulis left the Britannia Stadium at the end of last season, but the Potters quickly found a replacement for him by appointing Mark Hughes as manager. Already by that point it seemed like Stoke was doomed to fail in the market this summer, and when Stoke stepped out onto the pitch of Anfield on the first day of the season, they were left with pretty much the same side as they ended the 2012-2013 season with. Dutch left back Erik Pieters was the club’s only new signing by then but deadline day brought in three new players to the side. Loan deals for Stephen Ireland and Oussama Assaidi, and a new striker in Werder Bremen’s Marko Arnautović. Mark Hughes isn’t doomed to fail just yet, but there is much doubt in how much quality these new signings can bring him this season as he looks to transform a side built for strength and physicality by Tony Pulis into a better footballing side.