Saturday, September 1, 2012

City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool: Who has done the best in the transfer window?

Manchester United

IN: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Nick Powell (Crewe), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Alexander Buttner (Vitesse), Angelo Henriquez (Universidad de Chile)
OUT: Ji-Sung Park (QPR), Michael Owen (Released), Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton), Matty James (Leicester), Ritchie de Laet (Leicester), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham), Ezekiel Fryers (Standard Liege)

Having brought in Kagawa and van Persie and having sold a handful of fringe players, Man Utd are undoubtedly stronger than last term. Kagawa will offer plenty of creativity and flair, while RVP is sure to bang a bunch of goals, provided he stays fit, though his arrival was a bit of surprise, considering his age, large transfer fee, high wages and the attacking power Man Utd has in Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck and Berbatov, who was later sold.

Other than that, Fergie decided to invest in some future products, as he always does, as he first brought in Nick Powell, talented Englishman from Crewe, after whom followed Alexander Buttner, 23 year old fullback and an 18 year old Chilean talent Angelo Henriquez.

Overall grade: B

Manchester City

IN: Richard Wright (Preston), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Maicon (Inter Milan), Matija Nastasic (Fiorentina), Javi Garcia (Benfica)
OUT: Owen Hargreaves (Released), Stuart Taylor (Reading), Nigel De Jong (AC Milan), Adam Johnson (Sunderland), Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham), Vladimir Weiss (Pescara), Stefan Savic (Fiorentina)

An unusually quite transfer window for the big spending Manchester side. English champions manager, Roberto Mancini felt his side could repeat the success of last year when they won EPL, and also challenge for the Champions League trophy. Not much is changed in starting lineup for the Citizens, though Javi Garcia is expected to make an instant impact, being paid for with £18M plus addons, Spaniard is expected to be a long-term replacement for aging Gareth Barry, who will turn 32 in February, with Jack Rodwell expected to be used in rotation.

Eyebrows sure were raised when Mancini decided to replace Adam Johnson with Scott Sinclair, and even more when he brought in Maicon on the deadline day from Inter. True, Maicon was the worlds best right back not 2 years ago, but has dropped in form drastically since and hasn't featured at Inter on regular basis.

Matija Nastasic, probably the least known name, yet almost the most expensive one, the Serbian teenager has caught the eye of many clubs after breaking into Fiorentina squad after just one season there, and Mancini decided to splash the money on yet another young ex-Partizan Belgrade defender, with hopes of this one turning out to be more successful than Stefan Savic, who was used in the deal to persuade Fiorentina to part with Nastasic.

Overall grade: C+

Chelsea FC

IN: Eden Hazard (Lille), Thorgan Hazard (Lens), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen), Oscar (Internacional), Cesar Azpilicueta (Marseille), Victor Moses (Wigan)
OUT: Salomon Kalou (Lille), Didier Drogba (Shenua), Michael Essien (Real Madrid), Jose Bosingwa (QPR), Romelu Lukaku (WBA), Kevin de Bruyne (Werder Bremen)

EPL's biggest spenders this season, as was expected after Roman Abramovich announced a summer shopping spree for Londoners. Biggest signing of the summer is Eden Hazard, 21 year old Belgian protege from Lille, who made an instant impact in the EPL. Marko Marin came from Werder Bremen for €9.8M, having snubbed Tottenham for European Champions, though he's not expected to be Di Matteo's first team choice.

After an impressive performances for Internacional and Brazilian national team, a 20 year old creative midfielder caught eye of many clubs across Europe, and opted to sign for Chelsea, but could see his chances limited this season, due to the large amount of attacking options Chelsea have.

As for Azpilicueta, he will face competition for the right-back place from Ivanovic, but after Serbs shaky performances, Azpilicueta could see first team opportunities very soon. Victor Moses, a long-term target who has been chased all summer has finally been signed and will provide depth in attack.

Overal grade: A-

Arsenal FC

IN: Olivier Giroud (Montpeiller), Lukas Podolski (Koln), Santi Cazorla (Malaga CF)
OUT: Manuel Almunia (Watford), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), Alex Song (Barcelona), Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

After a year long speculation over Robin van Persie's future, the Dutchman has left the club for rivals, Manchester United in a £24M deal, leaving Gunners significantly weaker, considering his contribution last season. Wenger signed Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as replacement for the departing striker, but fans remain sceptical over their ability to reproduce van Persie's performances. Giroud had a great season with Montpeiller, having scored 21 goals in 36 performances, but will undoubtedly face stronger defenders in the EPL.

Biggest addition to Arsenal squad is undoubtedly Spanish playmaker, Santi Cazorla, signed from Malaga for just £15M, tricky Spaniard made an instant impact on his debut against Sunderland and produced another great performance against Stoke, but unfortunately, neither were enough for 3 points.

Arsenal are hopeful of securing 4th spot at the very least, but keeping in mind that Spurs have became arguably stronger during the transfer window, while Arsenal are inarguably weaker, getting 4th spot could prove difficult.

Overall grade: C-

Tottenham Hotspur

IN: Jan Vertonghen (Ajax), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim), Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City), Moussa Dembele (Fulham), Hugo Lloris (Lyon)
OUT: Steven Pienaar (Everton), Ledley King (Retired), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kyev), Ryan Nelsen (QPR), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Giovani dos Santos (Mallorca), Sebastien Bassong (Norwich), Rafael van der Vaart (HSV)

After missing out on Champions League, despite finishing 4th in the league, an exodus of players was expected at White Hart Lane, but that didn't prove to be the case.

Their first signing was Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim, having spent a loan at Swansea last season, Iceland international impressed Andre Villas-Boas as he managed to hijack a deal for the attacking midfielder from Liverpool, who seemed destined to sign him. They also signed Belgian defender, Jan Vertonghen. Versatile defender was long linked to Spurs and finally made a move this summer.

Truth be told, their arguably best player has left them for Real Madrid, but they found a replacement for Modric in Dembele, who didn't wait a long time to justify his price tag, having scored a beauty against Norwich earlier today, though it wasn't enough to earn the first victory for his side and his coach.

Tottenham were linked to numerous players during the summer, but have failed to sign most of their primary targets. Leandro Damiao, a long term target didn't arrive, as Levy failed to agree fee with Internacional. It is believed that a fee has been agreed with Athletic Bilbao for powerful striker, Fernando Llorente, though his wage demands of £150k a week weren't matched by Tottenham. Instead, Tottenham have signed Emmanuel Adebayor from Man City, having previously spent a season at London-based club, he's no stranger to their play and will have no problems adapting to the game.

On the deadline day, they were linked to several players, most notably Joao Moutinho, playmaker of Porto. Having agreed the fee with Porto, believed to be £22M, player seemed destined to rejoin his old coach at White Hart Lane, but there were problems with personal terms, and transfer was called off, which resulted in Spurs picking up yet another player under Liverpool's noses, Clint Demspey of Fulham. They've also signed French captain, Hugo Lloris, highly rated goalkeeper has made his switch after Spurs finally agreed a fee with Lyon.

Overall grade: B-

Liverpool FC

IN: Fabio Borini (Roma), Joe Allen (Swansea), Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen), Nuri Sahin (Real Madrid), Samed Yesil (Bayer Leverkusen)
OUT: Maxi Rodriguez (Newell's), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff), Andy Carroll (West Ham), Charlie Adam (Stoke), Jay Spearking (Bolton)

Definitely the biggest underachievers last several terms would have to be Liverpool. It sure has been a while since they were at the top, challenging for silverware and Anfield side is looking to get back into top, though competition looks very stiff. Goal for this term is 4th spot which leads to Champions League, but after fairly quiet transfer window, it doesn't look very bright for Reds.

Liverpool went for the younger players this season and managed to acquire few of them, most notably Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin. Borini came from Roma after an impressive season in the Serie A to try out his luck in EPL yet again, so he is no stranger to the league. Same goes for young Welshman, Joe Allen, a £15M signing from Swansea, who previously worked with Brendan Rodgers and helped Swansea finish 11th in the season, something almost no one saw coming.

Nuri Sahin was a target for Arsenal and Tottenham, and actually came close to joining Arsenal, but Liverpool managed to hijack a deal for the Turkish-born German and bring him to the Anfield for a season-long loan. His last season is one to forget, having spend majority of the time on the sidelines or on the bench at Madrid, Sahin will try his luck in the Premier League.

Other than that, Liverpool brought in Oussama Assaidi, highly rated Moroccan offensive winger and he will surely be given a chance to impress in the coming matches. Signing of Samed Yesil from Leverkusen is one for the future, considering he's only 18 years old.

Liverpool have also been linked with numerous players, but failed to bring in many of their targets, missing out on Sigurdsson and Demspey, who both signed for Tottenham Hotspur.

Overall grade: D-

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