Transfer Deadline Day: Top Six
Arguably the winners of the transfer window, for once. Arsenal have strengthened their squad all over the pitch. With a reported £45 million to spend, the Gunners have splashed a net output of approximately £110 million (buy vs. sell). They’ve strengthened the back line considerably with the additions of David Luiz from Chelsea and Kieran Tierney from Celtic. Luiz brings an air of arrogance with a nasty side that Arsenal have needed since Patrick Viera departed Highbury. Tierney is the left-back the club desired and the crop of fullbacks currently at the Gunners, Hector Bellerin and Tierney, will compete with Liverpool’s dynamic duo of Alexander Trent-Arnold and Andy Robertson as the best in the Premier League.
In the midfield Arsenal penned the electric Nicolas Pepe from Lille and wondrous Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid. The departure of Aaron Ramsey will soon be forgotten. Pepe adds a serious threat going forward on the flank and has strength and skill to make him a handful for any defender. Ceballos will run the show for Arsenal in my opinion which makes Mesut Ozil’s role in the starting 11 at risk.
Finally, signing William Saliba is a message of intent from the Gunners in that they’re interested in the short and long term. Saliba is one of France’s top defensive prospects and has been loaned back to St. Etienne for the season to continue his development before taking the Premier League by storm next year.
I feel Arsenal’s additions were the best out of the Premier League top six but part of that is the fact that they had the most work to do aside from Manchester United. I felt that they could have added more stability at the center back position for the immediate season however, I feel the objective is to get back into the Champions League this year and begin challenging for major honors next and beyond.
Manchester City have gone and bolstered an already magnificent squad with some corking signings.
Rodri from Atletico Madrid is magnificent. He seems to be the heir apparent to Fernandinho who is entering his last year with the Citizens. Rodri’s midfield scope will allow Kevin De Bruyne to charge forward at will with the comfort of having Rodri cover ground behind him and take on some defensive responsibility.
Joao Cancelo from Juventus will immediately fill in the right-back position and fits in with Pep Guardiola’s vision of attack attack attack. He can also move up into the midfield or cover the left-back position. One of the strengths of this City side is the ability of players to play multiple positions. This makes it extremely difficult for opposition to put an effective game-plan in place prior to kick-off.
City also signed Angelino and Zack Steffen from PSV Einenhoven and Columbus Crew respectively. These are two players I don’t know much about so can’t really comment.
With the signings of Rodri and Cancelo and no major departures, I struggle to see how the Sky Blues won’t retain the Premier League crown in 2019-20
Grade A –
The Lillywhites dropped a net spend of £47 million and added strength and depth to an already excellent squad. Signing Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon is an excellent piece of business for Spurs as he shows massive promise for a 19 year-old. I see him as a full-back and may well take over the left-back position from Danny Rose.
In midfield, the signing of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon will add strength and creativity to the middle of the park and provide a platform for Delle Alli to push forward and work closer with Harry Kane.
Finally, the signing of Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis is a wild card for me. I don’t know much about him and signing a striker to play behind Harry Kane for £60 million seems odd. However, with the expertise of Mauricio Pochettino at the helm, I’m sure he’ll get the most out of Lo Celso by playing him in a front two with Kane or out wide.
I think Spurs did great business but I also feel that if they lose Christian Eriksen before the end of the European transfer window, their ins won’t have improved their major out of losing one of the best midfielders in world football through 2018-19.
Considering the success that Liverpool had last season, they didn’t really need to strengthen. In the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from ACL injury, they will have a dynamic midfielder to drive the team forward when needed. They also signed Adrian as a back-up goalkeeper to Alisson. This could be the only gap that Liverpool had last season in that they had the error prone, Simon Mignolet as a back-up. Adrian is a vast improvement but I’m always shocked when goalkeepers that could start at most clubs want to come to a top club as a back-up – they are an odd bunch, keepers.
I think Liverpool has the strength and depth to challenge to trophies again but I’m always hesitant to stagnation within bigger clubs and injecting a new face in the set-up helps mitigate the risk of players getting comfortable. Liverpool chose not to do that.
Grade: B –
I’m shocked at the lack of movement within the Manchester United squad this summer. With the upheaval at the club last season culminating in OGS taking over management responsibilities from Jose Mourinho, he will have expected more from Ed Woodward.
While I like Harry Maguire as a central defender, he doesn’t give me the same air of invincibility that Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic did. For £80 million, I feel United could have gone after one of the continents best defenders in France’s U-21 behemoth Dayot Upamecano who I actually really wanted Arsenal to get. I do like the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as a strong full-back, both defensively and in an attacking mind-set. He is young and hungry which is what OGS is going for.
Surprisingly, United sold Romelu Lukaku and didn’t replace him with a big name striker.
Overall, looking at this United squad will have their supporters underwhelmed and I feel that 2019-20 will be another challenging year for the Reds with potentially more upheaval by the end of January.
Transfer embargo 😊