With the International break taking its toll on many supporters including myself who are desperate to get back into the flow of club football, it is a chance to reflect on what was a hectic summer of transfers ending with plenty of big business on deadline day. As ever there will be winners and losers in the market and while nothing is defined by the names you bring in and out of the door on paper, the market is the perfect opportunity to build the tools to succeed in the campaign ahead. I give my verdict on who I think the winners and losers were this summer.
- Manchester United
Three wins from three, United look the business this season but they also recorded the same tally this time last season so are they more prepared for a better Premier League campaign? It would be hard to argue against it. They’ve added to the spine of the team in Lindelof, Matic and Lukaku and while we’re yet to see if Lindelof will add even more quality to Mourinho’s side we can be fairly positive that Matic and Lukaku will be instrumental for the Red Devils this season. Matic is a proven winner and fits the Portuguese bosses mould superbly, a giant of a midfielder, he will anchor the centre of the park allowing Pogba to roam, this will booster a key area massively I would imagine while importantly they have taken away a good player from their competitors Chelsea. Lukaku has already scored 3 from 3 and looks to again be a great fit, he is not the complete package but he’s a nightmare to defend against more often than not, you feel with another player so physically strong Old Trafford will witness a side capable of winning matches in various ways, in Mourinho style. Wayne Rooney was the notable player to leave but there was no great losses from the changing room this summer and so it’s a no brainer that United are set for a much improved season.
2. Manchester City
Unfortunately another predictable choice but it’s hard to argue that Manchester City have added well to what was already a formidable squad. It didn’t take a genius to work out they needed to bring in full backs and a goalkeeper. They’ve added Walker, Mendy and Danilo to solve that problem and that should comfortably add even greater strength to Guardiola’s squad. We can probably presume that new Goalkeeper Ederson will do a better job than Claudio Bravo and this now leaves Guardiola with a task of getting the results as the Citizens have an unreal set of options going forward with Bernardo Silva joining ranks. They lost players such as Iheanacho, Kolarov, Fernando and Zabaleta but there are no departures that should be sorely missed at the Etihad, add to the fact the likes of Gundogan and Kompany have a revitalised chance of featuring more this season and the club now have probably the strongest squad in the league. They’ve built everything needed to win it, over to you, Pep…
3. Leicester City
A difficult last pick with Bournemouth, West Brom and Watford among my thinking but I feel the Foxes have solved a lot of problems with their business this window and the future could be bright with some worthy investments. They needed to upgrade on Robert Huth and have done so with Harry Maguire, the perfect transfer for club and player even with a pricey tag attached. Kelechi Iheanacho should be a great player for the club and once again is likely to be the answer to helping Vardy find the net, a problem they’ve had despite buying numerous players in attempt to do so. These players are young and have a point to prove so should set Leicester up nicely for the coming years. They’ve kept Riyad Mahrez and with Danny Drinkwater the big departure, they actually should be stronger in this area should Adrien Silva complete his move along with Vincente Iborra arriving at the King Power. So overall Leicester have filled in the gaps nicely and now have a much stronger starting eleven, they should have a productive season under Craig Shakespeare.
- Newcastle United
Unfortunately for the Toon Army this was an easy decision. I cannot believe they haven’t learnt their lessons and have taken a monumental risk with the ingredients they’ve given to Benitez. They didn’t need to do drastic surgery but the players they’ve attracted to St James Park are second rate and now I could say they have what is probably the weakest squad in the league. Jacob Murphy was the big money signing but this isn’t enough and you are asking a lot for players like Joselu and Manquillo to suddenly step up to the plate. I’m surprised Benitez hasn’t walked and he is the only saving grace for the club, he might be able to work his magic but he is very much up against it.
2. Brighton & Hove Albion
I think Brighton have had a solid off season but I think they run the risk of it only being solid and therefore not having enough to survive. Having watched my team play 65 minutes with 10 men against them the other week, it was clear that they have frailties in the area that matters. Relying on Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray for goals is too much of a risk and my concern for the Seagulls is that they won’t be ruthless enough, like they were at Vicarage Road with a more than presentable opportunity in their hands. I looked at the team and thought they were solid but unspectacular, having the likes of Bruno at right back with Rosenior in reserve is not encouraging going into the season. They are going to be too dependant on keeping it tight at the back which I believe they are capable of but for me Chris Hughton hasn’t done enough.
3. Crystal Palace
Have the Eagles given themselves the best chance this season? You’d have to say not. They were be dead certainties in this list if they hadn’t got Mamadou Sakho back in the fold but there could be an over reliance on him and if he gets injured or suspended you feel they still haven’t got enough strength at the back to keep the ball out enough times. Three straight losses will be a concern even if it’s early days at Selhurst Park, I always thought Crystal Palace had a squad good enough squad to survive comfortably in the league and while I still think they have enough, they’ve taken too big of a risk in not adding enough depth. You would have thought they’d have learnt from last season but they better hope Zaha and Benteke step up to the plate.
Do you agree with these selections? Let us know in the comments below!