Last summer was always going to be one of the toughest transfer windows ever for all clubs. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both affecting travel and indeed buying players given certain clubs having serious financial losses.
Nevertheless, clubs were still under severe pressure to get big deals done, most notably to try and catch Liverpool, who ran away with the league last season or avoid the drop. I’m going to have a look at each club’s purchases from last summer and give a general overview on their performances thus far.
FA Cup winners from 2020, but still not a satisfactory season for Mikel Arteta’s men, it was essential that the Gunners’ summer signings hit the ground running. Without a doubt, their biggest signing was Ghanaian powerhouse Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. Partey had been compared to Patrick Vieira by some Arsenal fans after a promising start, but after an injury sustained against rivals Tottenham, it’s fair to say Partey’s form has been up and down.
Probably one of the worst transfers of the window has to be Willian, a free transfer from Chelsea. The decision to sign him on a £250k a week contract might even go down as one of the worst deals in Premier League history. The Brazilian has a shot accuracy of 18% with only three assists to his name in the Premier League.
As for the other signings, the good outweighs the bad (Runarsson). The defenders they’ve brought in have improved the team, which couldn’t have been said in previous seasons. Both Gabriel and Pablo Mari have performed well especially in recent weeks.
Dean Smith’s men just avoided the drop last season, so it was imperative that they had a good window, and oh what a window. The main signing was Brentford striker Ollie Watkins for £28 Million, who has scored eight goals thus far, already beating Wesley and Samatta’s tally from last season.
Emiliano Martinez was signed from Arsenal, another position where the Birmingham club struggled last season. He’s averaged almost 4 saves a match, which tells its own story. Matty Cash has been an underrated acquisition at right-back, arguably being in Team of the Season thus far.
Add solid signings, Bertrand Traore and Ross Barkley, making up a superb bit of business from the Villa.
Brighton and Hove Albion
For a club who weren’t too impressive last season under Graham Potter, one might’ve thought Brighton would’ve done more than three signings. Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck have been decent signings when they have played. See that’s just it, IF they play.
Joel Veltman has been okay at the back but what Brighton needed was a proven fit striker. They didn’t get that and now they could pay the heavy price.
The Clarets signed two first-team players in Dale Stephens and Will Norris and it’s fair to say they were very Burnley like signings at the time. Neither had any expectation and frankly neither has excelled.
Sean Dyche is finally going to be backed soon by American investors but right now it’s all about staying up.
Without a doubt, the club that had the most exciting window in the league. Now though, the excitement has been forgotten about with Frank Lampard getting the sack at the halfway stage.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were promising signings that have failed to live up to the hype, Havertz with 3 goal involvements so far. Both Thiago Silva and Hakim Zieych have been hit and miss.
A few positives would be the emergence of both Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell who have been competent signings for the Blues. Overall though it’s been very disappointing from Chelsea, who are now hoping Thomas Tuchel can get the most out of these underperforming players.
Palace’s transfer was about one man really and it still is in Eberechi Eze, who in many ways has helped Wilf Zaha in carrying a potent attacking threat.
Michy Batshuayi has been poor in his second loan spell at the club while Jack Butland hasn’t played regularly. Nathaniel Clyne has somewhat rebuilt his career at Selhurst Park which is good for both club and player. Decent business.
At the start of the season, it looked as if the Toffees did shrewd business, which might have dried up a small bit but still there are solid performances from their signings. The midfield trio of James Rodriguez, Allan and most notably Abdoulaye Doucoure has brought new life into the team.
Ben Godfrey has been a very good backup for Keane and Mina, and even when called upon has done a decent job. Robin Olsen has stepped in well when Jordan Pickford is rested.
All in all, a decent summer’s work for Ancelotti’s men who now stand a real chance of Champions League football next season.
This has been an improved window for the Cottagers, whose lucrative spending didn’t work last time they were in the top-flight. Scott Parker chose to buy players that are relegation battle-ready, and it has worked to an extent so far.
Full Backs Antonee Robinson and Ola Aina have been excellent acquisitions, while Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo have added steel to the defence. Ademola Lookman has added creativity from the wing while Harrison Reed and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been solid additions.
The main problem for the Cottagers though has been their lack of goals. Mitrovic has been off form while their leading marksman Bobby Reid has only 4 goals this campaign. The failure to buy a top striker may cost them.
Back for the first time since 2004, Leeds needed to make a big splash if they wanted to compete for top 10, and in some ways they have. Raphinha has been excellent for Bielsa’s men, as has Jack Harrison. The two wingers have 7 goals and 7 assists between them.
Rodrigo has been a good signing too, he might have only three goals to his name, but he now usually plays off the striker, allowing Patrick Bamford to get the goals. Meslier has made on average 4 saves a match since signing permanently, which is impressive.
However, a high amount of saves usually means a high amount of goals conceded, 35 in this case, second-worst in the league and the centre backs they bought haven’t done them any favours. Diego Llorente is injury prone and Robin Koch has conceded almost two fouls a game and has been largely erratic, to say the least.
This is the Bielsa way, however, so the attacking transfers can be regarded as a success.
Brendan Rodgers completed only three signings in the window, but all have been shrewd. They didn’t buy for the sake of buying, they strengthened in key areas.
Wesley Fofana has been one of the purchases of the season, filling in for Calagar Soyuncu brilliantly and ultimately taking his spot, while Timothy Castagne has already made the fans forget about Ben Chilwell, with James Justin moving over to left-back.
Cengiz Under hasn’t played much, mostly played in the Europa League for squad depth, but if anything has made Harvey Barnes play better. The whole team in fact have played better because of these purchases. Excellent Summer for The Foxes.
Disappointing is an understatement for the Reds season thus far. The main regret for Jurgen Klopp would have been the failure to buy a centre back to replace Dejan Lovren, resulting in an injury crisis.
Without a doubt, their best signing so far is Diogo Jota (Pictured), who is now arguably more valuable than the famous front three at the moment. However, he is injured and they have struggled for goals without him in a lot of games, which tells the whole story.
Thiago, despite showing signs of promise, only got his first Premier League win in a Liverpool shirt last night. The other signing, Tsimakas, is only a backup.
It seems now that Ruben Dias and Ferran Torres have now settled in well at the Etihad, with Dias potentially Player of the Season by the end of the season. The Portuguese defender has been apart of a brilliant partnership with John Stones, conceding only 7 goals since the Leicester game (week 2) in the league.
Torres, a winger by trade, has been often forced to deputise at striker for Aguero and Jesus and has done a solid job in an unnatural position. Nathan Ake, another expensive new defender, was part of that 5-2 drubbing against Leicester and hasn’t featured regularly since.
That signing has brought the rating down.
Despite the title challenge, United’s signings haven’t really excelled, with the exception of Edinson Cavani
. The Uruguayan has popped with crucial goals for them, and for a free transfer, seems a good deal.
Donny Van de Beek has only played 259 minutes of league football, averaging about 3 full 90-minute matches.
Then you have Alex Telles who if anything has pushed Luke Shaw on. His general play has been average.
The Magpies are in huge relegation trouble, and their summer spending hasn’t helped matters. Apart from Callum Wilson, who has saved them on many occasions, there hasn’t been a shining light.
Ryan Fraser is injury prone, Jeff Hendrick hasn’t kicked on after a promising start, and Jamel Lewis’ form has dried up in recent weeks.
Major work needed in January.
Possibly on course to being one of the worst teams the league has ever seen, it’s not been a pleasant season for the Blades. They signed two strikers, Rhian Brewster (Pictured) and Oliver Burke, scoring a combined 1 goal in 20 games.
Aaron Ramsdale hasn’t improved on Dean Henderson, while Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle have barely played. While Ethan Ampadu has been promising, he is only on loan. Very poor summer.
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s signings are tailored towards the future, looking at both Ibrahima Diallo and Mohammed Salisu, who are both u21 internationals. Diallo in particular has shown signs of promise in the last few weeks.
The experience of Theo Walcott has been key in propelling the Saints up the table, while Kyle Walker-Peters has been an absolute bargain at £12 million. All in all, a solid showing in the summer.
Spurs’ transfer business was dominated in large part by Gareth Bale, who really hasn’t lived up to the hype. It seems his enthusiasm for the game has gone and he is a shadow of the man scoring 2 in a Champions League Final just 3 seasons ago.
Pierre Emile Hojberg, however, has been an astute signing for Mourinho and seems the perfect midfield partner for Ndombele. They also provided sufficient backup in Joe Hart, Carlos Vinicius and Joe Rodon.
Two full backs came in too with Matt Doherty struggling to hold down a starting spot so far, while Sergio Reguilon has excelled in North London. Real Madrid have a buy-back clause of roughly £40 million for the Spaniard however, which could see him move back after just one year.
Decent window for Mourinho.
West Bromwich Albion
Not the best summer for the Baggies. They have the worst defence in the league conceding 43 goals so far. Neither Branislav Ivanovic (Pictured) nor Cedric Kipre have done well. The three loans they made permanent, Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, have done okay, but certainly haven’t set the world alight.
Karlan Grant was brought in to score goals to keep them up, he’s scored one goal in 13 games. Conor Gallagher, a loanee from Chelsea, has been a bright spark, but not enough to save an otherwise poor summer.
West Ham United
The best summer for the Hammers in a long while. Czech players and three-time club teammates Vladamir Coufal and especially Tomas Soucek, who was on loan last season, have brought solidity and an added threat respectively to the side. Craig Dawson has been a solid backup option in defence too.
Said Benrahama has shown promise and has recently signed a permanent deal with the club capping off a fantastic window.
A very indifferent window for Nuno’s men. 18-year-old Fabio Silva (Pictured) came to England with a big reputation, costing £36 million, and has scored 2 goals in 14 games. Not exactly encouraging figures given the long-term absence of Raul Jimenez.
That signing aside, the players brought in have been promising, in the form of Ait-Nouri and Vitinha, while both Fernando Marcal and Nelson Semedo have done well so far. Not the best transfer window, not the worst either.