The transfer window has shut for teams in England’s top flight, but of the twenty teams who did the best? Here is my ranking from worst to best with deadline day deals completed:
20. Tottenham Hotspur
Who else could it have been? The North London side were linked to a number of players, but instead the Spurs have become the first team in Premier League history to not make an addition to the squad in a summer transfer window. Although they managed to keep their manager and their players first-team players which is a huge positive, they haven’t made the squad any better. Without added competition, players may begin to feel secure as opposed to working harder to ensure they don’t lose their place to a new signing. The continuation of familiarity will also promote a feeling of comfort which is something new faces would have changed as there is a change in the dressing room and a feeling of “let’s show the new guy what we’re all about”. A team that finished third in the Premier League, were eliminated by Juventus when they were in pole position to advance, and losing to Manchester United in the semifinals of the FA Cup, will not improve without signings and if they aren’t careful they may find themselves in danger of missing out on a UEFA Champions League spot.
With only three first team signings and one for the academy, Burnley hasn’t made many changes following an impressive seventh place finish in the Premier League which gave them a place in European competition for the first time in 51 years. However, retaining or even improving on last season will be difficult, especially if they qualify for the Europa League group stages as matches on Thursday nights will be difficult to manage. Additions to the squad would’ve been a huge help, but the three signings made won’t do too much for the team. Ben Gibson adds great competition for Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, a signing I see as the only real positive the squad received this summer. Joe Hart is a stop-gap while Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are injured, but his inconsistent performances can lead to him becoming a third choice keeper. Matej Vydra has never convinced in the Premier League and will once again prove he is only good enough for the Championship.
18. Cardiff City
One of the three newly promoted sides, Cardiff City have made the kind of signings I associate with a club destined to return to the Championship. Josh Murphy in an exciting winger who can add to Cardiff’s attack and at just 23 years old, still has potential to improve. Plus, Murphy has had limited Premier League experience with Norwich. Ireland international Gregory Cunningham makes the defense a bit stronger, but doesn’t seem to be enough to make the team’s backline one of a team capable of surviving the drop. Alex Smithies appears to just be an extra set of hands as starting keeper Neil Etheridge is expected to retain his place. Bobby Reid impressed with Plymouth Argyle, but the jump to England’s top flight could be too much to ask. The final two signings were panic buys as Cardiff scrambled to find midfielders. Victor Camarasa who has come in on loan,was a squad player at Real Betis which tells me he won’t be a signing to be too happy about. However, the loan signing of Harry Arter is a great signing. A player with plenty of positive Premier League experience, he will add some much-needed quality to the midfield.
17. Crystal Palace
After losing Yohan Cabaye he was replaced by Cheick Kouyate who never made the grade at West Ham. The drop in quality could hurt the Eagles midfield who have depended on Cabaye a lot in recent times. Keeper Vicente Guaita will challenge for a starting spot, but doesn’t represent a huge upgrade on what they already have. Max Meyer in an exciting free transfer and if he can cope with the switch from Bundesliga to Premier League, he could prove a very good signing. However, I believe he came because of a lack of a better option so I can see him viewing this move as a place where he can earn a move to a bigger club.
16. AFC Bournemouth
Looking to maintain their stability in the Premier League, the Cherries have completed three signings. David Brooks is a signing for the future and will hope to get chances to show his worth on the pitch. Left-back Diego Rico will challenge for a spot in the starting eleven and will surely be a boost for the team. Potentially their best signing, Jefferson Lerma can be a big player for Bournemouth sitting in front of the defense, certainly a solid addition.
15. Manchester United
Finishing second place, embarrassingly being eliminated by Sevilla in the UCL round of 16, and losing the FA Cup final, the Red Devils haven’t made signing to convince anyone this year will be better. Diogo Dalot is a young full-back who I doubt will become a regular this season, but can become a starter in the foreseeable future. The second and last signing for Manchester United is Brazilian midfielder Fred. A target that slipped away from city rivals Manchester City, Fred could be the signing to liberate Paul Pogba and allow him to perform…but wasn’t that supposed to be what happened after Nemanja Matic came in? Sure he improves the midfield, but I can’t see this signing being the one that propels United to Premier League glory or a good run in the UCL.
A team that flirted with relegation last season, Southampton have brought in players that could potentially be busts or good signings. Start Armstrong was a rotation player at Celtic doesn’t seem like he will add much. Mohamed Elyounoussi could potentially be the Premier League’s next breakout star as he impressed at former club Basel. It is up to him to adapt to the Premier League and continue to show his quality. Goalkeeper Angus Gunn will provide competition and nothing more aside from the occasional game in the cups maybe. Jannik Vestergaard will be of great help to a defense that struggled so much last season and could provide the steel that was missing. Danny Ings will look to rejuvenate his career at his boyhood club, but he could either be a hit or a failure. Southampton will hope his injury issues don’t make them regret bringing him in. One major issue for me was the lack of a replacement for Dusan Tadic and Sofiane Boufal. Their creativity and technical ability will be a loss and can hurt the team moving forward.
A similar story to Southampton, Watford have made signings for the future, a few decent looking gambles, and a failure to replace a player. 18-year-old Ben Wilmot is one for the future, but Domingos Quina is the young player to look out for as a potential star. Gerard Deulofeu returns from his loan on a permanent basis and has already shown his ability to be a threat going forward so more of the same will be expected. Both Marc Navarro and Adam Mesina might be great defensive signings if they can avoid being overwhelmed by the Premier League. At 23 and 24 respectively, they even have the potential to improve and be key players for seasons to come. Ken Sema comes from Sweden and might be a surprisingly good player as the winger will hope to use his strength to bully the opposition. Ben Foster comes in to replace Costel Pantilimon and is a strong shout to be starter this upcoming season. However, I feel the Hornets haven’t replaced Richarlison which they could live to regret. He couldn’t produce his top from for a majority of the season, but the potential he has could have really benefitted Watford had they had a little more patience.
The Blues have had many issues in the off-season and the transfer window reflected that. Owner Roman Abramovich had issues with his visa, plans for a new stadium have been placed on hold, and the transition from Antonio Conte to Maurizio Sarri wasn’t well handled at all. With Sarri being appointed later than he should’ve, there was less time to set transfer targets and to go out and purchase them. With possession based football coming in place of the counter attacking style of Conte and Jose Mourinho, new players are a necessity. Jorginho, a player Sarri had at Napoli, will be central the new coach’s plans and seems to be quite the footballer. Rob Green came in on a free and will replace fellow goalkeeper Eduardo who departed the club. One of the world’s best goalkeepers and the keeper of the World Cup, Thibaut Courtois has forced a move to Real Madrid and in his place is Kepa Arrizabalaga. Kepa is better suited for playing out of the back, but doesn’t have the quality of Courtois who has proven himself to be a world-class keeper and isn’t as strong as the Belgian for dealing with crosses. However, at just 23 years old, the Spaniard has great potential to kick on and enter Europe’s elite. As part of the Courtois deal, Mateo Kovacic has come in on loan and is a more than welcome addition to Chelsea. With Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko falling out of favor and Cesc Fabregas being too similar to Jorginho, Kovacic has a strong chance to be a regular starter. The issue is that more signings would have been preferred to ease the transition to possession football and Chelsea may struggle to adapt. After missing out on a top four finish last season, this transfer window doesn’t look like a return to the UCL is on the cards bar a Europa League victory.
Huddersfield will hope to stave off relegation once again and have made some signings that should help them do just that. Florent Hadergjonaj, Jonas Lossl, and Terence Kongolo have all returned to the club on permanent deals. Ramadan Sobhi didn’t impress at Stoke City last season, but with a season of Premier League experience under his belt and being just 21 years old, maybe the Egyptian winger can yet be a star in England. Ben Hamer came on a free and will be a decent back-up keeper. Juninho Bacuna is a 21-year-old attacker who did reasonably well in Holland and will seek to add to Huddersfield offense next season as an impact sub. A great buy in the form of World Cup winner Erik Durm, the defender is an upgrade to what was already available and with experience with a team like Borussia Dortmund and Germany, he will surely be a help in the dressing room. Adama Diakhaby, similar to some other signings is a young attacker this time aged 22. Signed from Monaco, who have a tendency for producing very talented French attackers, he can also be seen as a potential attacking threat. Isaac Mbenza is another exciting attacking talent (see the trend here yet?) aged 22 from Belgium. Out of all the attackers brought into the club, Mbenza carries the most hype and will hope to display why that is in the coming weeks. The only faults might be overdoing it on wingers as the club perhaps felt the need to after losing Tom Ince and failing to get a reliable number nine to score goals.