Arsenal’s transfer window got off to a good start, with them securing the signings of wanted man Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer, and long term target Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee. However, everything went downhill from there.
In my personal opinion, they handled the Alexis Sanchez saga quite poorly. It was made abundantly clear that Sanchez wanted City, more than the other way round. He priced himself out of a move to Bayern, to PSG, and an extension at the Emirates, so to keep him against him will and staring down the barrel of losing him on a free is far from ideal.
The deadline day record breaking bid for Thomas Lemar and the unexpected subsequent rain check left them as a laughing stock. One of their most versatile players left them in Chamberlain, as did Gabriel Paulista, leaving their squad weaker than before, in a summer in which they really needed to splash the cash to get back in contention for the CL spots.
United spent some big money in Jose’s second season in charge, and it’s quite clear why. Matic was brought in to free up Paul Pogba and weaken the reigning champions at the same time. In a very shrewd acquisition, Matic balances the all guns blazing attack spearheaded by the new signing from Everton, Romelu Lukaku. Victor Lindelof was also signed to provide defensive cover. Having also welcomed back Zlatan, the stage is set for Mourinho’s tall and physical team to take the crown. The fitness of both Matic and Lukaku will make or break United’s season.
Reigning champions Chelsea too were quite active in the transfer market, most noticeably due to Diego Costa and Antonio Conte’s supposed text war. The uncertainty in the striker’s department led to the €62m arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, an excellent signing in my personal opinion.
The decision to allow Matic to leave was an extremely strange one, for Chelsea willingly strengthened the one club that looks most likely to snatch the title away from them. Bakayoko from AS Monaco was a very good acquisition, as was Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma. However, Chelsea may find themselves a little short on attacking talent if a few players end up on the treatment table simultaneously, or for an extended period.
Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater were signed on deadline day, to add to the squad depth at best, as the club prepares to go a second season under Conte, this time with the added fixtures that the Champions League brings.
Tottenham barely moved a muscle in the window other than sanctioning the sale of Kyle Walker to title rivals Manchester City. It was quite close to the end of the window that most of the money received from Walker’s departure was reinvested on Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez.
Serge Aurier was signed from PSG to provide defensive solidity and Fernando Llorente was also brought in to ease the goalscoring burden on Harry Kane, with Vincent Janssen following Roberto Soldado in the department of those who failed to adequately shoulder the same responsibility. Llorente’s arrival, coupled with that of Aurier’s may lead us to see an emphasis on ‘crossing the ball into the target man’ approach, as Spurs adapt to Wembley’s large pitch.
Liverpool’s transfer window can be considered a huge success. Salah was identified as a key target and the wheels were set in motion to acquire him early. His pace has meant Liverpool have been able to replicate the terror of Mane down the left on the right flank as well, and if the starting games are anything to go by, he will be instrumental in Liverpool’s title push this season.
Oxlade Chamberlain was another good signing by Klopp, with his versatility sure to come in handy. Andy Robertson, someone whose crossing ability I’ve always admired, showed positive signs on his debut against Palace, and his arrival should be able to free up Milner to play in central midfield. The impending arrival of Naby Kieta next season will only further add steel and charisma to an already buzzing central midfield of Henderson and Can, an exceptional passing-pressing unit.
Furthermore, being able to fend off Barcelona means Klopp can continue to build his team around Coutinho, and with Liverpool’s attack firing on all cylinders, the midfield reinforced, and the defence addressed (Although not in its entirety) should see Liverpool become genuine challengers for the title this season.
Pep Guardiola was given a blank cheque to sign whoever he desired, and he led a revolution with the players he brought in. Walker, Mendy, Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Danilo all replaced considerably older players, with Guardiola’s intent on coaching a young and mouldable squad quite plain.
Deadline day was quite underwhelming, as Sanchez was all but confirmed to end up at the Etihad, only for the Citizens to be left disappointed at the failed transfer and furious with the management for waiting till the final 2 days to make a bid for a man who had practically invited a transfer. In spite of the inability to land Sanchez, City’s squad has strengthened beyond measure, and they look all set to actively challenge for all five trophies.
The heart of defence still looks questionable in absence of skipper Kompany, with Johnny Evans’s move to the Etihad also falling through with Eliaquim Mangala rejecting several moves away for a reason known only to him. With all the money spent, City recouped close to €85m through various departures, in addition to freeing up over a million pounds in wages per week, 2 factors which should put them in a comfortable position to answer UEFA should they come knocking on the door asking questions. With the new arrivals, City have no excuses if they do indeed fail this season. None whatsoever.
Written by Ayush Verma.