The winners and losers of the transfer window
Who got it right and who got it wrong this summer?
As the fees get absurdly higher and the rumours growing increasingly weirder, it comes as a surprise that the transfer window did not slam shut yesterday evening – instead it closed with a whimper, three weeks prematurely.
Earlier this year, Premier League clubs took a unanimous decision to close the transfer window before the start of the league season, in order to avoid players becoming unsettled within the 18/19 fixture card.
With the World Cup ending on July 15th, clubs were left with just 26 days to get their business done. As we all know, the World Cup has a massive impact on the transfer market; breakthrough stars can earn their big moves, as well seasoned pros who aiming to prove they have still got enough to do it on the big stage. Clubs within England continue to smash transfer records year on year and this year meant that they had even less time to do so, some clubs were prepared and some were not – so we decided to have a look at who were the big winners and the sore losers were from the summer transfer window of 2018:
In: Fabinho (Monaco) / Naby Keita (RB Leipzig) / Xhedran Shaqiri (Stoke City) / Alisson Becker (AS Roma)
Out: Yan Dhanda (Swansea) / Ovie Ejaria (Rangers) Loan / Emre Can (Juventus) Free / Jon Flanagan (released) / Adam Bogdan (Hibernian) Loan / Harry Wilson (Derby) Loan / Danny Ward (Leicester) / Ryan Kent (Rangers) Loan / Ben Woodburn (Sheffield United) Loan / Danny Ings (Southampton) Loan
After a promising season, Liverpool fans head in to the 2018/19 season with much optimism. Klopp’s men finished the season in emphatic fashion, claiming a top four place but more importantly a spot in the Champions League final. It wasn’t to be in Kiev that night, due to one thing or another, but Liverpool look to have found the missing pieces to build on last season’s efforts.
The writing was on the wall for goalkeeper Loris Karius after his double dreadful error in the final, and even for a long time prior to that, The Reds knew they needed an upgrade in between the sticks. That upgrade comes in the form of Brazillian number one Allisson Becker. The ex-AS Roma keeper had been in scintillating form across 2017/18, culminating in an impressive World Cup campaign in Russia. Liverpool have been rumoured to have shelled out over £50m on the 25 year old, but it could be a shrewd investment to give fans a bit of confidence in their backline.
The Reds have also secured the services of midfield duo Naby Keita and Fabinho; both of whom have been enormously popular with supporters. A deal for Keita was agreed earlier in the year, with the Guniean finishing his second season with RB Leipzig before heading to Merseyside. He will be joined in midfield with the versatile Fabinho, who was purchased from Monaco for around £35m. These two will bring plenty of energy to the Liverpool midfield, with strong capabilities in both defence and attack – the arrival of the aforementioned will go a long way in healing the loss of the popular Emre Can, who joined Juventus on a free.
Lastly, the arrival Xhedran Shaqiri from Stoke has been recognised as a stellar piece of business for just under £13m. Despite the demise of the Potters last season, the Swiss international has consistently proved he is a major threat in the final third, his heroics at the World Cup did not go unnoticed either. The pocket sized rocket will provide adequate cover the fantastic front-line of Mane, Firmino and Salah. All in all, Liverpool have appeared to strengthen in the areas required, doing so in a timely manner. Jurgen Klopp will be more than happy with his squad heading in to their opener with West Ham on Sunday.
In: Richarlison (Watford) / Lucas Digne (Barcelona) / Joao Virginia (Arsenal) / Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk) / Yerry Mina (Barcelona) / Andre Gomes (Barcelona) Loan
Out: Joel Robles (Real Betis) / Jose Baxter (released) / Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal) / Wayne Rooney (D.C. United) / Luke Garbutt (Oxford United) Loan/ Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray) Loan / Davy Klaassen (Werder Bremen) / Ashley Williams (Stoke City) Loan / Antonee Robinson (Wigan) Loan / Kevin Mirallas (Fiorentina) Loan / Callum Connolly (Wigan Athletic) Loan
It has been a successful summer in Merseyside, as Everton ended the window in spectacular fashion. The Toffees began the window by terminating the contract of their manager Sam Allardyce. There were feelings around Goodison that Big Sam was not the man to take the team forward in to an assault for a top six place, and so he was duly replaced by the impressive Marco Silva, who had left Watford just six months previous.
Silva has been supported heavily in the window, but has also freed some of the wages to do so. Wayne Rooney’s second spell was cut short in order for him to uproot to Washington DC, with other ageing members of the squad such as Williams and Mirallas also allowed to leave on loan. Their incomings have arrived with a continental persuasion, perhaps allowing Silva to impose his own style which had previously been exciting to watch with Watford.
Their first capture was from Silva’s former employers, Brazilian forward Richarlison had shown enough in his first season in England to merit a big money move across the country. The 21 year old winger joins back up with Silva for around £40m and will give Everton flair and pace in areas that lacked much creativity throughout the first half of 2018. Lucas Digne was next, and the young French left-back has been lined up to replace the 33-year old Leighton Baines at Goodison Park this season. Very promising in Rome, Digne was afforded few chances at Barcelona and will be eager to hit the ground running in Merseyside.
Joining Digne are two of his former team-mates; both Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes were announced just after yesterday’s 5pm deadline. The duo travelled from Catalonia to sign for Silva and his team and both can be recognised as marquee signings. Mina, who only joined Barcelona in January, is a towering centre half at 6ft 5 inches and had impressed heavily during the World Cup with Colombia. Three goals and a string of solid performances had Mina on the radar of a number of European clubs, and Everton fans will be delighted to see him in their team’s shirt. Everton’s defence appeared to be on the decline throughout the previous campaign, with both Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka unable to reach heights they previously could. With Williams now off to Stoke, it will be a surprise if Jagielka maintains his place throughout the forthcoming season.
Andre Gomes could be the most exciting of the crop, after he signed a season long loan from the La Liga champions. The European Championship winner was captivating with Valencia prior to his move to Catalonia, and he will be keen to prove his worth in the Premier League this year. A creative midfielder with a large engine, Gomes was unable to break in to the Barcelona side but will be of massive benefit to Everton’s.
The last arrival was that of Bernard, a free transfer from Shaktar Donestk late yesterday. A creative Brazilian playmaker, Bernard arrives in the Premier League later than expected, having being tipped as a wonder kid prior to the World Cup in 2014. The 5ft 4 attacker adds a great layer of depth to an Everton side who have lacked goals since the exit of Romelu Lukaku last summer.
In: Benik Afobe (AFC Bournemouth) / Willy Boly (Porto) / Raul Jimenez (Benfica) Loan / Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon) / Leo Bonatini (Al-Hilal) / Ruben Vinagre (Monaco) / Paulo Alves (Liverpool) / Joao Moutinho (Monaco) / Jonny Castro Otto (Atletico Madrid) / Adama Traore (Middlesbrough) / John Kitolano (Odds Ballklubb) / Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht) Loan
Out: Benik Afobe (Stoke) Loan / Ben Marshall (Norwich) / Roderick Miranda (Olympiacos) Loan / Prince Oniangue (Caen) / Rafa Mir (Las Palmas) Loan / Carl Ikeme (retired) / Barry Douglas (Leeds)
What a summer to be a Wolves fan, the club are living any Football Manager players dream. The computer game-esque transfers have left fans jaw dropped up and down the country. Many of the deals, brokered by super-agent Jorge Mendes, have lead many fans to believe that a top half finish and beyond is capable for this impressive side who topped the Championship with 99 points.
The clubs ruthless approach, backed by Chinese investors, has seen some fans favourite exit this summer; namely, Barry Douglas. The Scottish full back took the Championship last term, yet was deemed surplus to requirements and sold to Leeds for just £3m. Despite this, Wolves most remarkable business has been coming in rather than out. Euros winner and Monaco midfield dynamo Joao Moutinho was acquired for just £5m, and will slot in to a dream midfield partnered by his compatriot Ruben Neves.
The club have also secured the services of Portuguese number one Rui Patricio, who joins on a free after a dispute with his former club Sporting Lisbo. Patricio will be protected by another fan favourite in Willy Bolly, who makes his loan move permanent, and the well-sought after Leander Dendocker from Anderlecht. Dendocker, a young versatile Belgian, has been tipped for moves at the very top of the game and will provide great cover for Wolves in both defence and midfield.
Mendes has also been key to brining in international talents such as Mexican striker Raul Jiminez as well as the explosive talents of Spanish winger Adama Traore from Middlesborough. Manager Nuno Esprito Santo had the Midlands club playing in dazzling fashion throughout the title winning campaign, and he will be hoping the new additions can take well to his popular 3-4-3 formation in order for Wolves to beat the drop this season.
Many fans were aware of the spending power Wolves had going in to this window, but imagining the calibre of player they could attract is another thing. Surviving the drop in 2018/19 should be the bare minimum for this entertaining team.
In: Diogo Dalot (Porto) / Fred (Shakhtar) / Lee Grant (Stoke)
Out: Michael Carrick (retired) / Joe Riley (Bradford) / Dean Henderson (Sheff Utd) Loan / Sam Johnstone (West Brom) / Daley Blind (Ajax) / Matty Willock (St Mirren) Loan / Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Scunthorpe) / Joel Pereira (Vitoria Setubal) Loan / Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa) Loan / Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Fulham) Loan
Unlike many transfer windows before, Manchester United's business will be widely recognised as disappoitning over the past few months.
The club was in dire need of beefing up their defence, and were heavily linked with a move for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld. The move for the Belgian never quite materialised, with Daniel Levy pricing the club out of the deal – in typical fashion. Jose has been critical of it himself; he knows that the club have fallen short in the market. The manager has often been outspoken towards the likes of Chirs Smalling, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian – yet all remain at the club, with the manager left with little option than including them in match day squads. There has also been a dearth of right wingers, with Rashford, Sanchez, Martial and Mata all often occupying the left hand side.
The clubs only business came in the form of Brazilian midfielder Fred, young full-back Diogo Dalot and third-choice keeper Lee Grant. Fred can be viewed as good business, a powerful midfielder who seemed Man City bound earlier in the year. He arrived from Shaktar Donetsk for around £35m and will be expected to slot in alongside World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
We know very little of ex-Porto right back Diogo Dalot and he may be seen as someone for the future, with captain Antonio Valencia regularly occupying the right hand side of defence. Lee Grant has been brought in as emergency cover, and we will be surprised if he features at all over the course of the season.
With Mourinho growing increasingly pragmatic, and the fans becoming slightly more aggrieved by the day – United are not where they wanted to be going in the opening day of the season. The squad still has more than enough quality to mount a title challenge, but they have failed to repair issues in their side where their rivals have done so efficiently. Tick tock for Jose?
Out: Keanan Bennetts (Borussia Monchengladbach) / Anton Walkes (Portsmouth)
It is nothing short of astonishing that a Premier League club has failed to secure a single signing in this day in age, even more so when it is one of the Champions League clubs. With Spurs bound to moving in to their new flash stadium, Daniel Levy has tightened his funds on the playing squad. The club have a number of top talents, and it is commendable that they have quickly tied so many down to long-term contracts, yet there is discontent in North London as manager Mauricio Pochetinno puts on a brave face to salute his board.
Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Heung Min Son; the club have done well to keep hold of all of their top performers, but that doesn’t deserve much more than a pat on the back. As their rivals continue to spend where needed, Spurs often labour when it comes to bringing in the right players to their squad. Recognised as a stern negotiator, chairman Daniel Levy has not shied away from the fact that he works to a particular budget; but that will only work for so long if he wants to keep Tottenham at the top.
Their plethora of attacking talents and a top manager in Pochetinno means that Spurs are still seen as a strong force in the league, but to really challenge for the league , like they hoped to in 2015/16 and 2016/17 - they are heading in the wrong direction.