FOOTBALL: Transfer Window round up
As the transfer window slammed shut at precisely 11pm last night (except for loans of course, but we’ll gloss over them), English Premier League clubs could reflect on a grand total of £130 million spent, 35 new faces to be welcomed into the squads, and the usual hyperbolic amount of drama and tension as ‘Deadline Day’ reached its climax. So which signings caused the biggest stir, and which could yet be the most vital?
Chelsea made the most expensive and possibly the most high profile deal, signing Columbian winger Juan Cuadrado from Italian club Fiorentina. Unbelievably, the Blues still actually managed to make a hefty profit during the window, as they offloaded Ryan Bertrand to Southampton and Andre Schurrle to Wolfsburg. Both in terms of keeping to Financial Fair Play, and adding to the squad, Mourinho will be well pleased with how the month has gone.
Manchester City also took the plunge on an expensive new signing, forking out £28.5 million for Wilfried Bony, the Ivory Coast striker who had made such an impression during his 1 1/2 years previously at Swansea. He will be expected to complement Sergio Aguero as Pellegrini looks to augment his already-formidable strikeforce.
Arsenal made an interesting addition to their squad as well, with Gabriel Paulista joining from Villarreal. The Brasilian defender can play either as a full back or in the centre of the defence, and has had an extremely promising two years in Spain. Arsene Wenger will no doubt have noted this versatility, which given Arsenals record of recent defensive injuries could be very useful indeed.
In terms of sides at the summit of the league, Southampton should be very pleased with their transfer window. Signing Champions League winner and England left back Ryan Bertrand on a permanent deal from Chelsea (after having him on loan for the first half of the season), as well as adding several other players with European experience from around the continent, will surely give Saints fans even more reasons for optimism.
Moving down the table, Liverpool and Manchester United chose not to make any serious additions to their squads, with the Red Devils choosing to wait for the summer before no doubt going on another spending spree.
While these signings at the higher end of the league are naturally the ones that catch the eye, it’s the clubs looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone for whom the window could be decisive. Leicester have essentially pinned quite a lot of their survival hopes on Andrej Kramaric, an Austrian striker with an excellent record in his native league, and paid £9 million (their record purchase), in the hope that he can repay that fee by helping keep them in the Premier League.
While Burnley have been characteristically frugal this month, preferring to rely on the players who got them here in the first place, the other clubs at the wrong end of the table have not been so circumspect. Sunderland have reunited Jermain Defoe with the English game after the poacher spent a year in Canada with Toronto FC. And while there’s been no wheeling and dealing from Harry Redknapp (Niko Kranjcar is already at QPR after all), West Brom, Crystal Palace and Hull have all been active.
The Baggies have made a very good signing in Darren Fletcher, the Manchester United stalwart who had been frozen out slightly under Van Gaal, Hull have bought Senegalese international striker Dame N’Doye, and Palace have bought no fewer than eight players (making them the busiest Premier League club), including Yaya Sanogo on loan from Arsenal, Wilfried Zaha rejoining his boyhood team after a couple of unproductive years at Old Trafford, and Shola Ameobi after the veteran forward had been released by Newcastle in the summer.
In the end then, while the window was perhaps not as dramatic and extravagant as those in recent years, it seems as though most teams at the top and bottom of the Premier League will be happy with the work they have done.
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