Ah, the transfer window. Silly season. The time of year where some claim to be In the Know (ITK) and fool others into thinking they have insider information on the comings and goings of their respective clubs. The time where supporters lament their team’s transfer business or lack thereof (looking at you, Daniel Levy).
With the top-flight of English football growing ever prosperous by the year, the Premier League awards each team with a massive transfer kitty. The teams that get promoted to the Premier League from the EFL Championship aren’t left out either. Clubs making their way up from the second tier can make up to 200 million. With no shortage of money, there is a host of players moving around. Let’s take a look at the Premier League clubs and their most significant incomings and outgoings and how successful of a window it was.
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus)
Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Dortmund)
Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)
Matteo Guendouzi (Lorient)
Per Mertesacker (retired)
Santi Cazorla (released)
Jack Wilshere (West Ham)
Calum Chambers (Fulham) Loan
Lucas Perez (West Ham)
Window Rating: 6/10
With new manager Unai Emery taking over from the legendary Arsène Wenger, there was bound to be several changes to the existing squad. Due to the combination of Per Mertesacker retiring and Laurent Koscielny’s long-term injury, the centreback options were thin. Calum Chambers signed a 5-year contract and looked solid in pre-season. However, Emery decided to loan him out to Fulham.
Jack Wilshere left on a free to West Ham, with Lucas Perez following him. Wilshere had an average 2017/18 season, and he didn’t do enough to prove to Emery that he was worthy of a spot in the starting 11. Perez had a similar story, as he was average in his first and only full season with the North Londoners. Cazorla left to Villareal on a free, with injury problems plaguing him for the last two years.
With Stephan Lichsteiner on a free, Arsenal finally has a competent backup to Héctor Bellerín. The veteran Swiss fullback brings a wealth of experience at 34 years of age. Bellerín’s form has been shaky over the past couple of season; he can expect to learn and grow from Lichsteiner.
Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos both come to the club from the German Bundesliga. Leno, for a goalkeeper, is quite young at 26 years of age. Capable on the ball, Leno will adapt to Emery’s style of play immediately. Sokratis comes in with a bit more experience than the German. The Greek international is dominant in the air, quick, and crisp on the ball as well. He has to hit the ground running with the first two games at home to Manchester City and away to Chelsea.
Lastly, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira have come to bolster the midfield. Guendouzi has impressed mightily in Arsenal’s pre-season. Confident on the ball, he dictates play from deep. Torreira, on the other hand, is about cleaning up and distributing. Aaron Ramsey, whose contract expires in the summer of 2019, still hasn’t decided whether he will stay or go. Retaining Ramsey is crucial to a successful season.
Arsenal had a reasonably strong window, but with it being Emery’s first season at the helm, look short of competing for the title. Add on top of that the uncertainty surrounding Aaron Ramsey; it seems like another turbulent season at The Emirates. Expect them to do well in cup competitions.
David Brooks (Sheff Utd)
Diego Rico (Leganes)
Jefferson Lerma (Levante)
Benik Afobe (Wolves)
Max Gradel (Toulouse)
Lewis Grabban (Nott’m Forest)
Harry Arter (Cardiff City) Loan
Window rating: 8/10
The Cherries, led by the talented Eddie Howe, had a solid transfer window. Along with shipping out rarely-used players such as Afobe, Gradel, and Grabban and loaning out the safe and unspectacular Arter, they smashed their record transfer fee when bringing in Jefferson Lerma for a whopping £25m.
Formerly of Levante in La Liga, the 23-year-old central midfielder looks to be an astute signing. Howe, using a variety of formations in the 2016-17 season, mainly deployed either a 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-3. With the Cherries’ boss penchant for attacking football, Lerma will be a vital cog in the midfield. The Colombian often looks to receive the ball on the half turn and spray passes from deep. Joshua King, Jordan Ibe, Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas, and Lys Mousset like to receive the ball into space rather than to their feet; the link-up between Lerma and the forward-thinking players could pay dividends and help the Cherries best their highest Premier League finish of 9th in the 2016-17 season.
Another midfielder brought to the south coast club is 21-year-old, David Brooks. Since their promotion to the Premier League in 2015, Bournemouth has lacked an out-and-out #10 leading to Joshua King, Dan Gosling, and Lys Mousset (amongst others) filling in. Although the listed players are not naturally playmakers, Howe didn’t have a choice. With the arrival or Brooks, however, this should bring more creativity to the side. A midfield trio of Cook-Lerma-Brooks has the potential to be one of the youngest and most exciting midfield trios in the Premier League this season. Brooks is an excellent technical dribbler, has a burst of pace on the ball, and most importantly, he looks to advance play and isn’t afraid to play the risky pass. With Lerma and Cook cleaning up behind him, Brooks will have the freedom to orchestrate proceedings. No stranger to playing out-wide, Cherries fans can expect the attacking players to interchange positions based on their opponents.
Finally, Charlie Daniels has competition at left fullback with the signing of Spaniard Diego Rico. Nathan Ake can fill in there, but Daniels was the first choice. Rico, at 25 years of age, comes into this side off a solid season at Leganés. Playing 12 fewer games than Daniels, he won 37 tackles, played 21 key passes, and created 23 chances. His eye for a pass, both short and long, will allow him to dovetail nicely with any left winger. His reading of the game is his strongest point. He completed 64 interceptions in 22 appearances in La Liga. For comparison, Marcelo made 28 (25 games played) while Alba made 61 (29 games played).
In 2017-18, Bournemouth scored 45 goals, conceded 61 and ended the season with a -16 goal difference. With Lerma strengthening the central areas, Rico taking over from 31-year-old Charlie Daniels, and Brooks providing the creative spark, the Cherries should have more than enough to avoid the drop and finish in the top half of the table.
By: Raul Krishna
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images