Sunday 25 September 2016

How did we rate each Premier League club's window business?

Published 01/09/2016 | 20:34

Over £1bn spent, but who emerged from the window with the best deal?

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Arsenal

The early signs are that Granit Xhaka is a solid signing by Arsene Wenger and Shkodran Mustafi has the German national team on his CV so it’s to be hoped he can adapt to the Premier League.

The jury is out on Spanish striker Lucas Perez – and it is strange that it took two months to find an alternative after the failed attempt to sign Jamie Vardy. The midfield is well-stocked but it will still be strange to see Jack Wilshere in a Bournemouth shirt.

Class mark: C

Bournemouth

The door did not stop revolving at the Vitality Stadium as 10 new signings arrived with 13 players departing for pastures new.

Matt Ritchie’s £12m move to Newcastle was certainly one of the more surprising moves of the window given his form last season, but the additions of Jordon Ibe (£15m from Liverpool), Lewis Cook (£10m from Leeds) and Nathan Ake (loan from Chelsea) gives Eddie Howe an exciting young core to work with.

Oh, and they beat Roma to Jack Wilshere. Not bad at all.

Class mark: A

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Burnley

Despite spending  more than twice as much as they did before their relegation season two years ago, this most sensibly-run club did not see the television deal and get silly.

Sean Dyche will, after all, get the best out of this squad and the acquisitions of Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick are particularly astute. You just wonder whether it will be enough.

Class mark: C

Chelsea

Antonio Conte’s late arrival didn’t help transfer business at Stamford Bridge, but once he was in place the Italian didn’t hang around.

Michy Batshuayi was brought in to help share the attacking burden with Diego Costa, while they signed one of the form players of last season in N’Golo Kante.

However, the sudden move for David Luiz feels like a rash decision, given that he proved he can’t really defend during his last stint with the Blues. Conte has his work cut out.

Class mark: B-

Crystal Palace

Although Jack Wilshere would have been the “icing on the cake”, as Alan Pardew himself admitted, the Eagles should not feel disheartened having missed out on the player. Palace have enjoyed a hugely successful summer in all.

The arrivals of Loic Remy, Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend easily compensate for the loss of Yannick Bolasie, while Steve Mandanda arrives with considerable experience under his belt. Mile Jedinak’s departure could hurt the side but given the quality of their signings this summer, the Eagles have done well.

Class mark: A-

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Everton

It was a frustrating window is some ways for Everton who missed out on striker Lucas Perez when Arsenal hijacked their bid and Moussa Sissoko who would have added pace to the side, albeit at the expense of some home grown talent.

However, Idrissa Gueye looks a £7m snip from Aston Villa. John Stones was always going to leave so to have got £50m for him represents good business. But can Enner Valencia – signed on loan from West Ham – reduce the goal burden on Romelu Lukaku?

Perhaps their best bit of summer business was signing Steve Walsh as head of recruitment from Leicester.

Class Mark: C-

Hull

It says quite a lot that Hull had not made a single summer signing until last Tuesday - one day before the transfer deadline. What followed was a flurry of transfers as the club landed seven players within the space of 24 hours.

Fans will certainly welcome the sight of Tottenham’s Ryan Mason and Manchester United’s Will Keane, but whether or not they deliver remains another matter. Although Hull managed to hold onto Abel Hernandez, the club ultimately struggled to assert themselves within the transfer window.

Class mark: F

Leicester

The champions will be chuffed to have only lost N’Golo Kante over the summer.

While many predicted their title-winning team would be torn to shreds it only suffered a minor tear and that damage to morale looks like it has been patched up by club-record signing of £30m forward Islam Slimani from Sporting.

A good buy but keeping Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater et al could be just as significant.

Class mark: A-

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Liverpool

Sadio Mane is a perfect fit, Joel Matip looks like a steal and there are high hopes for Loris Karius and Marko Grujic. And yet despite those positives, the window feels like a mixed bag.

Jürgen Klopp refused to address his problem at left-back, Georginio Wijnaldum’s role is unclear and after a fire sale of damaged goods, the club committed a great sin in the eyes of many transfer-crazed supporters – they ended the window in profit.

Class mark: B

Manchester City

City have made an encouraging start to the season – especially during the first half against West Ham last weekend – and £14m winger Nolito has settled in very nicely, adding pace, intelligence and a final pass (Jesus Navas only ticks the first of those boxes).

Whether John Stones can mend the rickety defence remains to be seen: Pep Guardiola was less than complimentary about him earlier this week.

Leroy Sane adds another dimension in attack but we'll have to wait to find out how the new goalkeeper Claudio Bravo copes with the English game.

Class mark: B+

Manchester United

Target key areas that need strengthening, identify the best players available in those positions and have all of them signed on the dotted line before the season starts.

Sure, it helps when you can break the world transfer record, but Jose Mourinho and the Old Trafford  hierarchy showed the rest of football how the summer window should be done.

Class mark: A

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Middlesbrough

If their transfer business is anything to go by, they should have more than enough to stay up.

Aitor Karanka brought in experience in Victor Valdes, Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez, while Boror will hope to get the best out of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers.

The addition of Adama Traore on deadline day gives them another option, and Karanka has already talked up his abilities.

Class mark: C

Southampton

For Southampton, it was another window of disappointing departures but decent acquisitions. Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Sofiane Boufal, in particular, represent coups for the south coast club.

The big question, however, will be whether Claude Puel can fill the shoes of Ronald Koeman, who left for Everton in June. It's early days, but most regulars at St Mary’s are yet to be convinced.

Class mark: C

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Stoke

The Potters finished the transfer window in style, adding Wilfried Bony and Bruno Martins Indi to their ranks.

Bony will bring a genuine attacking threat to Stoke’s frontline while Holland’s Martins Indi, with 32 international caps to his name, should help to tighten up the side’s central defence. With newcomer Joe Allen in midfield too, Mark Hughes has constructed a very solid central spine indeed.

Class mark: B

Sunderland

It could be a long season. Sunderland did sign the highly promising midfielder Didier Ndong from Lorient for £13.5m and Adnan Januzaj on loan from Manchester United but missed out on other targets including Yann M’Vila and Ryan Mason.

Not that these two would have exactly set pulses racing at the Stadium of Light. As it is, the pressure will once again be on Jermain Defoe to score the goals to keep the club afloat.

Class mark: D -

Swansea

Ashley Williams’ departure will hit the Swans hard. Alfie Mawson, who joins from Barnsley, certainly has a lot to live up to.

Leroy Fer has made an encouraging start, admittedly, scoring two from three, but the record-signing Borja Baston continues to languish on the bench with a minor thigh injury.

To make matters worse, Swansea missed the opportunity to re-sign both Joe Allen and Wilfried Bony. A disappointing summer for the Swans.

Class mark: D

Tottenham

Compared to their rivals, Tottenham have failed to add any players who will drastically improve the side. Given the young age of Mauricio Pochettino’s side, the emphasis would always be on grooming and improving that youth. But with clubs such as Manchester City and Manchester United bringing in the likes of Paul Pogba and John Stones, Pochettino needed to add at least one marquee signing.

He hasn’t. If he can replicate the form of Euro 2016, Moussa Sissoko would offer some consolation.  

Class mark: C-

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Watford

Another season of upheaval at Watford with a new manager and 10 new signings.

The club record move for Isaac Success could prove a big risk, although keeping hold of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney looks to have been the Hornets’ best business of the summer.

Class mark: C-

West Bromwich Albion

Saido Berahino remains a West Brom player – somehow – and he’s now joined by Wales striker Hal Robson-Kanu, who arrived in a deadline day free transfer.

The £13m move for Nacer Chadli could reap rewards if he can find his form from 2014/15, while Matty Phillips should relish the fresh start after leaving QPR.

All five of their signings should feature in the first team, although they looked one or two short of convincing in the market.

Class mark: C-

West Ham

The success of West Ham’s window will largely depend upon the fortunes of their two biggest signings. Simone Zaza has many excited, yet we must wait to see the best of the injured Andre Ayew.

Elsewhere, there are early signs of promise. Arthur Masuaku has started well, Manuel Lanzini has joined permanently and Alvaro Arbeloa’s arrival will, at the very least, mean no more Michail Antonio at right-back.

Class mark: B-

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