Tuesday 24 October 2017

Premier League transfer rankings: Who were the big winners and losers from record-breaking window?

Alexis Sanchez and (inset) Matic was a great buy for Manchester United
Alexis Sanchez and (inset) Matic was a great buy for Manchester United

During another busy transfer window, Premier League teams again broke their summer spending record, passing 2016's total of £1.18billion.

The success of their transfer policies will likely define their seasons and decide their managers' futures, so here is an analysis of whose window can be considered a success, and whose cannot.

FIVE OF THE BEST

EVERTON

Not only did they receive £75million for Romelu Lukaku, they did so early enough in the transfer window to sensibly reinvest that money and more into their squad. In Wayne Rooney they have found a suitable replacement, and in Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson they have strengthened throughout Ronald Koeman's team. Cuco Martina and Davy Klaassen also provide further options for their Europa League campaign.

WEST BROM

The loss of the influential Darren Fletcher appeared a major blow, but Gareth Barry appears as convincing a replacement as Jay Rodriguez, Kieran Gibbs, Oliver Burke, Ahmed Hegazi and Grzegorz Krychowiak do additions. Retaining Jonny Evans will likely prove equally key.

STOKE

Mark Hughes impressively replaced Marko Arnautovic, following his £23million transfer to West Ham, with the classy Jese Rodriguez on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. He had also already signed Darren Fletcher for free when he loaned Kurt Zouma and recruited Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham to strengthen his defence. In Toulouse, they also found a new home for Giannelli Imbula. They look significantly stronger overall.

MANCHESTER UNITED

There has been little subtlety to Jose Mourinho's recruitment of Nemanja Matic, from rivals Chelsea, and Romelu Lukaku but United already appear serious contenders for the title, having last season not even finished in the top four. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic further strengthens their options, even if it does little to encourage the promising Marcus Rashford, and once defender Victor Lindelof has acclimatised to English football they may prove stronger still.

TOTTENHAM

Replacing Kyle Walker with the younger, cheaper Serge Aurier Spurs' latest shrewd move. Upgrading on Vincent Janssen with Fernando Llorente, who can provide genuine convincing competition and cover for Harry Kane, was shrewder still. The promising Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth were also recruited to strengthen their options in defence, giving manager Mauricio Pochettino greater chance of competing both domestically and in Europe.

FIVE OF THE WORST

LIVERPOOL

The arrivals of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dominic Solanke, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson further strengthened Jurgen Klopp's squad, but their priority should have been a goalkeeper and central defender, and neither arrived. That their first-choice target was Southampton's Virgil van Dijk was understandable, but it makes little sense they did not appear to have alternatives. Keane and Harry Maguire respectively moved to Everton and Leicester, and both would have been more than suitable.

CHELSEA

The Premier League champions may have greater squad depth than last season, but whether they have improved their overall quality is in doubt. Alvaro Morata is no better than Diego Costa, likewise Willy Caballero with Asmir Begovic, and Tiemoue Bakayoko will likely require time to prove an upgrade on Matic, who inexplicably was allowed to join rivals Manchester United. Antonio Rudiger at least gives Antonio Conte better options in defence, but seems little consolation for a manager who missed out on both Ross Barkley and reported transfer target Fernando Llorente.

ARSENAL

Club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac both appear reasonable recruits, but Arsene Wenger's squad required further strengthening to become title contenders. It is also little secret he did not want to sell Oxlade-Chamberlain. That they received more in transfer fees than they spent has been a rare positive, if not deliberate. Alexis Sanchez was retained after they resisted Manchester City but he now looks set to leave for nothing after they could not secure a deal for replacement Thomas Lemar.

NEWCASTLE

Rafael Benitez has made no secret of his satisfaction at the transfer budget he was given, meaning Newcastle remain low on the quality required to expect to finish comfortably above the bottom three. He is regardless a fine manager, and though the arrivals of Joselu and Jacob Murphy represent risks, they could yet prove shrewd.

BOURNEMOUTH

They broke their club-record transfer, spending a reported £20million on Nathan Ake, and also funded moves for Begovic and a three-year contract for Jermain Defoe without appearing to significantly strengthen their squad. Begovic is a fine goalkeeper, but Ake spent much of last season on loan at Bournemouth, and there has so far been no obvious role for Defoe. Eddie Howe's team continues to lack quality overall.

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