We rate the summer transfer business of the Premier League clubs from N to W, with West Ham succeeding but Sunderland struggling in their endeavors.
With the transfer window now closed until January, the 20 Premier League clubs have submitted their squad lists for the first half of the season until January. Who has got what they need, and who is left with holes in their squad? Mark Holmes gives his verdict…
After several years of under-investment, Mike Ashley finally loosed the purse strings over the summer, with the club’s managing director Lee Charnley on Wednesday taking the unusual step of publicly revealing a net spend of £52.6million in the transfer window.
The problem is, all four of Newcastle’s major summer signings have arrived from overseas, two of them from Belgium, and the early signs are that they need time to adapt to the Premier League.
At the back, Chancel Mbemba was signed for £8.5million from Anderlecht and looks to be improving after a shaky start, while Georginio Wijnaldum, a £13.5million signing from PSV Eindhoven, already has a goal to his name but has at times struggled to affect the games to the extent he would like at No.10.
The same can be said of Florian Thauvin, a £13million capture from Marseille, while Aleksander Mitrovic has shown promise but was somewhat fortunate not to be sent off in each of his first two appearances for the club before finally seeing red in his fourth. Overall, Newcastle fans will be delighted to see the club spending money again, but this season may be a transitional one for the Magpies. Rating 6/10.
It was a surprise to see Bradley Johnson sold to Derby on transfer deadline day, but otherwise the Canaries have largely kept faith with the squad which got them promoted from the Championship.
They did, however, make two late signings in the shape of Matt Jarvis from West Ham and Dieumerci Mbokani on loan from Dynamo Kiev that Alex Neil will hope provide the quality that was perhaps lacking the last time the club was in the Premier League and has undoubtedly cost them points in the early stages of this season.
Norwich have also signed three players that were at West Brom last season, Youssouf Mulumbu, Graham Dorrans after a successful loan and Andre Wisdom, who will spend the season on loan at Carrow Road from Liverpool. Robbie Brady, signed from Hull City following their relegation, joins the trio as players who have proven themselves as more than adequate for a bottom-half Premier League club. Rating 6/10.
After seeing them thrive despite the losses of several key players in recent seasons, few expected Southampton to struggle to overcome the departures of three more – Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin and Toby Alderweireld, who instead joined Tottenham – in the summer just gone.
However, the early signs are that the latest St Mary’s departees may be even tougher to replace than those that have gone before. Cedric Soares, for example, has endured a mixed start in place of Clyne at right-back, while Jordy Clasie, the key midfield signing, has seen his start to life at the club disrupted by injuries. Virgil van Dijk, though, a deadline-day signing from Celtic, looks a sensible replacement for Alderweireld.
Maarten Stekelenburg was also signed to cover for injured goalkeeper Fraser Forster, while Oriol Romeu is an intriguing capture from Chelsea. With Juanmi, Cuco Martina and Steven Caulker, on loan from QPR, also signed, Ronald Koeman has bought well, but as things stand Saints’ still look a weaker side than last season. Rating 7/10.
Much on the focus has been on the players that Stoke have signed, but it’s worth remembering that they have lost Asmir Begovic, Steven N’Zonzi and Victor Moses, who is now at West Ham via a brief spell back at Chelsea. N’Zonzi was a runaway Player of the Season winner, while Moses would almost certainly have challenged were it not for injuries.
Throw-in an injury to Ryan Shawcross, and Stoke have four big gaps from the team which finished ninth last season. Jack Butland was an in-house replacement for Begovic, with Shay Given and Jakob Haugaard signed as back-up, but Mark Hughes decided against signing a sh0rt-term Shawcross replacement after already signing Philipp Wollscheid on a permanent basis following his loan spell last season.
Marco van Ginkel, meanwhile, was signed on loan for the season from Chelsea in a bid to fill the N’Zonzi-shaped hole in midfield, but he needs time to settle into Premier League life and is some way off his predecessor’s level as things stand. Xherdan Shaqiri, of course, was the high-profile arrival of the summer and effectively takes the place of Moses, albeit he plays on the right rather than the left.
Stoke also signed former Barcelona player Ibrahim Afellay, who can play in midfield or in any of the positions behind the striker, while Glen Johnson was a less eye-catching but arguably more important signing as a right-back that further adds to the Potters’ attacking options. Former Real Madrid striker Joselu was also signed from Hannover. A little like Southampton, Stoke have bought well and look to have a stronger squad, but it may take some time before the same can be said of their starting XI. Rating 7/10.
Having been convinced to delay his retirement by a year by a Sunderland board promising a decent transfer budget, there must have been times since when Dick Advocaat has regretted his decision, with the Black Cats struggling to get players through the door and failing to win any of their opening four Premier League games.
The late signings of DeAndre Yedlin and, in particular, Fabio Borini have strengthened Van Gaal’s hand, while Yann M’Vila and Jeremain Lens of his earlier signings have already shown good signs. M’Vila scored a fine free-kick in the draw at Aston Villa last weekend, while Lens has already registered two goals and assists in his four appearances.
Defensively, however, Sunderland still look vulnerable despite signing Sebastian Coates on a permanent basis from Celtic, Adam Matthews from Celtic and Younes Kaboul from Tottenham. The latter looks to have quickly joined the Comedy Club which has been the Black Cats’ back four for several seasons. Rating 5/10.
Despite finishing eighth last season, Swansea held on to all of their key players, affording Garry Monk something of a stress-free summer relative to many of his counterparts.
In Andre Ayew, Monk looks to have made one of the best signings of the window – the Swans’ No.10 has contributed three goals and an assist already – and otherwise he has simply focused on strengthening his back-up options, with Eder and Franck Tabanou among those signed. Rating 7/10.
Still smarting from that summer, Tottenham’s focus has appeared to be on moving on players not part of Mauricio Pochettino’s plans. They have been successful in doing it too, with Paulinho, Lewis Holtby, Etienne Capoue, Younes Kaboul, Benjamin Stambouli, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado all sold. Apart from Emmanuel Adebayor and Erik Lamela, it was a clean sweep.
The focus, however, has been on their failure to sign an out-and-out centre-forward to compete with and back up the overworked Harry Kane. Despite Pochettino’s insistence that he is happy with his strike options, it is a failure which is almost certain to cost them, particularly with Adebayor left out of their 25-man Premier League squad.
Still, Spurs have strengthened their defence with Toby Alderweireld – Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer were also signed as back-up – while Clinton N’Jie and Son Heung-min increase their options in the wide areas. The general consensus is that Spurs may have overpaid for N’Jie, but in Son they may have signed a gem. Rating 6/10.
“We have how many new players? Too many.” When your own manager admits too many new signings have been made, you are justified to feel a little concerned. Watford have signed some good players this summer, not least Etienne Capoue, but they have surely signed too many. Ironically, Quique Flores made those comments before making three more signings – Obbi Oulare from Club Brugge, midfielder Adlene Guedioura from Crystal Palace, and forward Victor Ibarbo – on deadline day.
Allan Nyom, Sebastian Prodl, Jose Holebas, Capoue, Valon Behrami and Jose Manuel Jurado all started the Hornets’ last match, suggesting Flores has not simply bought players to make up the numbers, but it will be interesting to see whether he can keep all of his players happy over the course of the season. Rating 6/10.
While West Brom fans and their chairman, Jeremy Peace, will have been delighted to see the transfer window close with Saido Berahino still at The Hawthorns, Tony Pulis was apparently left frustrated after eyeing up the cash from his sale of the England Under-21 striker to fund moves for QPR pair Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips.
Pulis had typically lined up several targets going into deadline day but, unusually for the Albion boss, he failed to get any business done. He had already made some good signings in the shape of Anders Lindegaard, Jonny Evans, James Chester, James McClean, Sergie Gnabry, Rickie Lambert and Salomon Rondon, who has impressed since his record move, but the club’s early performances suggested they needed some more bolstering to avoid a season of fighting relegation. Rating 6/10.
After two brilliant wins but two disappointing defeats in their opening four games, it was hard to know what to make of West Ham or their transfer business going into deadline day.
However, the signings of Alex Song, Victor Moses, Nikica Jelavic and Michail Antonio on the final day of the window made the Hammers one of the biggest winners of the summer. All four players were needed, while the earlier signing of Dimitri Payet was already looking like a masterstroke.
Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang on Carl Jenkinson on another season-long loan were among the other players signed by a likely extremely happy Slaven Bilic. Rating 9/10.