Which Teams were this Transfer Window’s Winners?

Eric Toth

Now that the transfer window has slammed shut and players will soon be arriving from their international duty to meet their new teammates, we thought it would be a good time to review the summer transfer window winners in the Premier League.

Manchester United

Ins:
Jose Mourinho – Manager
Eric Bailly – CB – Villareal – Undisclosed
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – ST – PSG – Free
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – RW – Borussia Dortmund – Undisclosed
Paul Pogba – CM – Juventus – Undisclosed 

Major Outs:
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Victor Valdes – GK – Middlesborough – Free
Paddy McNair – CB – Sunderland – £5.5m
Adnan Januzaj – LM – Sunderland – Loan
James Wilson – ST – Derby County – Loan
Will Keane – ST – Hull City – Undisclosed

The Red Devils came into this summer window with glaring issues in their side, but the most glaring issue was their manager. They sorted out this problem by bringing in one of the most divisive managers in the game, Jose Mourinho, after a dragged out “will he, won’t he” saga. Mourinho went about his business in the summer quickly and decisively.  Jose identified his players that he wanted and they were brought in without any messing about from the Woodward, something that I’m sure LVG is jealous of. The four signings that have come into Old Trafford have brought with them the prestige that the club has lacked since the departure of Ferguson.

Eric Bailly promises to form a solid long-term partnership at the back with Chris Smalling after the latter’s impressive ‘15/’16 campaign. The 22 year old Ivory Coast international showed enough in defense for the Yellow Submarines last season to earn himself a big move to Manchester and was Mourinho’s first signing. Henrik Mkhitarayan provides the club with a versatile playmaker, who can play across the band of three behind the striker. Mkitarayan and Bailly are two very solid signings for United, but they pale in comparison to the two juggernauts that joined the Manchester club this summer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. Ibrahimovic was signed for free, but his wages will cost the club a pretty penny, a price I’m sure United fans won’t mind spending after seeing the maverick forward scoring for fun in the opening matches. Pogba comes at a much higher price, however, returning for a world record fee after leaving the club for Juventus on a Bosman deal. This was one of the most talked about deals of the year and for good reason, Pogba joins United as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in world football and is only 23 years old!

Manchester United managed to make big signings that will impact the squad in major ways without a complete squad overhaul that can be detrimental to clubs. They worked the window very well, by identifying targets, pursuing and (eventually) purchasing them. The club also avoided losing key players after a disappointing season that resulting in a Europa League stint.

Manchester City

Ins:
Pep Guardiola – Manager – Bayern Munich
Ilkay Gundogan – CM – Borussia Dortmund – Undisclosed
Nolito – LW – Celta Vigo – Undisclosed
Oleksandr Zinchenko – CAM – FC Ufa – Undisclosed
Aaron Mooy – CM – Melbourne City – Undisclosed
Leroy Sane – RM – Schalke – Undisclosed
Gabriel Jesus – ST – Palmeiras – Undisclosed
Marlos Moreno – ST – Atletico Nacional – Undisclosed
John Stones – CB – Everton – Undisclosed
Claudio Bravo – GK – Barcelona – Undisclosed

Major Outs:
Martin Demichelis – CB – Released
Joe Hart – GK – Torino – Loan
Wilfried Bony – ST – Stoke City – Loan
Samir Nasri – LM – Sevilla – Loan
Eliaquim Mangala – CB – Valencia – Loan  

From the red side of Manchester, to the sky blue side, we have another winner of the transfer window in Manchester City. Similar to their fierce rivals, an argument could be made that the most important signing for the Citizens is their new manager, Pep Guardiola. Guardiola has come in and has not been shy in dropping players that don’t fit what he wants to do. The ex-Bayern and Barca man has gotten the Manchester side firing in their first few matches and back to looking like one of the toughest squads in the league after a rocky ending to the previous campaign.

It seemed as though City had taken a different approach to this transfer window under Pep, but in the end they showed their true colors, spending an exorbitant amount to bring in the likes of Leroy Sane from Schalke and John Stones from Everton. The two youngsters have extremely high ceilings and, once fit in Sane’s case, the two are capable of making immediate impacts on the team. Sane is an electric attacker with a massive upside, the German has shown what he can do in the Bundesliga, now he must translate that ability to the Premier League. Stones is more of a known quantity, the center half has displayed his talent to play out of the back under Roberto Martinez, a famously stubborn attack-minded manager, as well as on the international stage for England. That ability to play the ball out of the back is something that Pep will have looked at, and a main reason as to why he identified the England international as a main target.

Guardiola has implemented a possession-based system in which every player on the pitch must be able to play with the ball at their feet – even the goalkeeper. Unfortunately for John Stones’ international teammate, Joe Hart, this meant the axe. Hart is a fantastic shot stopper, but his distribution can leave much to be desired. In the end, this meant Hart being loaned out and the club bringing in 34 year-old Barcelona ‘keeper, Claudio Bravo.

The other two main signings to start off Pep’s reign at City were Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito. With the infamous dislike between Guardiola and Yaya Toure, the citizens looked a bit light in midfield, so in came Gundogan. Gundogan is regarded as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the game, but his career has been littered with niggling injuries. Keeping the German fit will be a tough task, but when he plays, he is one of the best at his position. The signing of Nolito has been overshadowed by the big signings City have made, but he can prove to be just as crucial as any in this window. Nolito offers great depth with his ability to cover any position across the front four. The Spaniard has started off his City career with a bang, already tallying 2 goals and 1 assist in his first 3 games for the Sky Blues.

There’s no doubt that this is Pep’s biggest test yet. He has been tasked to revive a tired, old City side that looked disinterested under Pellegrini, but undoubtedly has some stars in Aguero, de Bruyne, Silva and Kompany. Now, Guardiola has got his team together and they look to be back to their best in the first few matches. This window has certainly been a successful start to life under Guardiola for City, let’s see if this campaign can follow suit.

Leicester City

Ins:
Ron-Robert Zieler – GK – Hannover 96 – Undisclosed
Luis Hernandez – CB – Sporting Gijon – Free
Raul Uche Rubio – ST – Rayo Vallecano – Undisclosed
Nampalys Mendy – CDM – Nice – Undisclosed
Ahmed Musa – ST – CSKA Moscow – Undisclosed
Bartosz Kapustka – LW – KS Cracovia – Undisclosed
Islam Slimani – ST – Sporting – Undisclosed

Major Outs:
N’Golo Kante – CDM – Chelsea – Undisclosed
Andrej Kramaric – ST – Hoffenheim – Undisclosed
Mark Schwarzer – GK – Released
Ritchie De Laet – RB – Aston Villa – Undisclosed
Gokhan Inler – CDM – Besiktas – Undisclosed

Despite all of Leicester City’s successes last season, I felt pretty cynical about their chances of holding onto their key players going into this window. I expected at least two of Vardy, Mahrez and Kante to go, maybe even all three! However, that wasn’t the case for the Foxes. They managed to hold onto their attackers, but lost their key man that made things tick in N’Golo Kante. Kante will definitely be missed at the King Power Stadium and his boots will be tough to fill. Mendy has been brought in to replace him, and there are some similarities between the two, they’re both slight, run about a lot, from Ligue 1 and relatively unkown before joining Leicester, but that’s about where the comparisons stop. Lightning doesn’t tend to strike twice and it seems that is what Leicester were going for here. That said, Mendy could prove to be a decent signing for the club, but if you’re expecting Kante part two, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Right so, how has it been a positive window for the club if they lost their key player? They’ve held on to the rest of the title winning squad and added some very talented pieces with much needed experience. The likes of Ahmed Musa and Islam Slimani both offer some coveted European experience to the Foxes and, while their styles are just about as opposite as you can get, could form a great alternative partnership to the one that won the title for Leicester last season in Okazaki and Vardy. The Signing of German ‘keeper Zieler offers quality depth and competition for Schmeichel with the more demanding fixture list of the new season.

Chelsea

Ins:
Antonio Conte – Manager – Italy
Michy Batshuayi – ST – Marseille – Undisclosed
N’Golo Kante – CDM – Leicester City – Undisclosed
Eduardo – GK – Dinamo Zagreb – Undisclosed
Marcos Alonso – LB – Fiorentina – Undisclosed
David Luiz – CB – PSG – Undisclosed 

Major Outs:
38 (THIRTY-EIGHT!) players out on loan

Yet another club who’s most important summer signing has been their manager. Antonio Conte promises to bring Chelsea back to their best after an utterly terrible campaign. Conte will bring back the rigid defense that made Chelsea so hard to play against. Conte has seemingly made Chelsea fans forget their disappointing campaign and filled them with hope after their start. It’s irrefutable that the club has the players to top the league once again and they’ve only strengthened their chances with their summer additions.

The signing of N’Golo Kante has proved its worth in only the first three matches. The Frenchman’s stock has skyrocketed after the vital role he played in Leicester’s campaign last season and his role in the French National Team. Kante is the engine of Conte’s midfield, he’s been deployed next to a more traditional defensive midfielder in Matic and been allowed to put himself about, breaking up play and initiating attacks.

The signings of David Luiz and Michy Batshuayi should challenge John Terry and Diego Costa respectively. Luiz will look to earn a spot in the heart of Chelsea’s defense as Conte has made it clear he sees the Brazilian as a center half, not a defensive midfielder. Luiz certainly has ability, but he can be reckless and a liability at times, the signing is not my favorite, but depth at CB was a necessity for the Blues.  Batshuayi is one who I’m excited to see in the English game. The ex-Marseille forward is yet another young Belgian striker with all the tools to succeed. He has the technical ability to finish half-chances and create chances for others and the physical tools to cope with the toughness of the Premier League. Batshuayi can cause selection problems for Conte and may force the Italian to switch his formation to fit both Costa and Batshuayi in.

Marcos Alonso comes to Stamford Bridge after a successful spell at Fiorentina.  The departure of the left back has apparently made Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa consider resigning from his position as he was such a crucial player for the Viola. Although he is a very talented player, the most important thing he may bring to Chelsea is allowing Azpilicueta to get back to his natural right back position. Azpilicueta has been an automatic selection for all Chelsea managers since his arrival at the Bridge, but he’s been forced to play on the left due to a lack of natural LBs in the squad, with the arrival of Alonso, he may be able to overtake Ivanovic and get back to the right side and be even more effective.

Middlesbrough

Ins:
Viktor Fischer – LW – Ajax – Undisclosed
Bernardo Espinosa – CB – Sporting Gijon – Undisclosed
Marten De Roon – CDM – Atalanta – Undisclosed
Jordan McGhee – RB – Hearts – Loan
Victor Valdes – GK – Manchester United – Free
Antonio Barragan – CB – Valencia – Undisclosed
Alvaro Negredo – ST – Valencia – Loan
Gaston Ramirez – CAM – Southampton – Undisclosed
Brad Guzan – GK – Aston Villa – Undisclosed
Fabio Da Silva – LB – Cardiff City – Undisclosed
Calum Chambers – RB – Arsenal – Loan
Adama Traore – RW – Aston Villa – Undisclosed

Major Outs:
Jonathan Woodgate – CB – Released

Wow. What a wild ride it must be to support Middlesborough. Imagine just getting promoted and signing Barcelona’s former number one, Victor Valdes, a highly rated youth products from Ajax and Barcelona, Viktor Fischer and Adama Traore respectively, and former Real Madrid and Premier League winning Manchester City striker, Negredo (on loan) Middlesborough’s lineup is one that you’d expect to see in the middle of the Premier League table, not one of a newly promoted side.

Boro look very solid defensively, carrying on their form from their last season in the Championship. The signings of Valdes, Guzan, Barragan, Espinosa, Fabio and loan signing of Chambers promises to make that defense even more intimidating to go up against. Valdes and Guzan have not had the best of times recently, but there’s no doubt they are both good choices for many clubs in the Premier League, especially in Valdes’ case. The loan signing of Chambers will provide a versatile option in defense with the Englishman able to cover CB or RB. Fabio comes with the ability to get forward from the left back position, while Barragan and Espinosa will look to solidify the middle of defense.

The exciting signings for Boro are further up the pitch in Gaston Ramirez, Negredo and Fischer. Negredo and Ramirez have hit the ground running, with Negredo registering one goal and two assists and Ramirez assisting once in their first three matches. Ramirez provides creativity and someone to link up with Negredo and allow the Spaniard to play off of him. Negredo is a pure goalscorer and a very physical player, he was regarded as “the beast” during his stint with Manchester City. Fischer has yet to be able to get into the starting eleven, but with a little bit of time, the Dane will surely get his chance and given his talent, I’d bet he’ll take his shot and run with it.

Middlesbrough have an impressive squad and could make a splash in their return to the top fight. This window has been a big win for the club, now they must capitalize on it and take their chance to solidify their place in the Premier League.

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Author: Thrive Nation

Amateur sports journalism blog, primarily posting about the latest happenings in EPL, MLB, NFL, and Boxing.

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