5th – Leeds United – £99m
Having narrowly avoided the drop in 21/22, Leeds set about a summer revamp which was almost entirely funded by the departure of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha – undoubtedly Leeds’ two best players. But by taking a couple of big steps back, Jesse Marsch appears to be leaping several smaller steps forwards.
The American wants to play high tempo, high-energy football and to facilitate this he’s signed some of his old Red Bull boys; Brendan Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Rasmus Kristensen have joined from either Leipzig or Salzburg – with the first two adding huge amounts of energy and dynamism to breathe new life into United’s engine room.
Marc Roca – a once highly rated midfielder at Espanyol – has been rescued from the doldrums of Bayern Munich to anchor the midfield and make Leeds better in possession, while Luis Sinisterra is stepping into the Raphinha-shaped shoes in attack. Deadline day arrival Wilfried Gnonto is an 18-year-old forward who scored eight goals in Switzerland last term and is certainly one to keep an eye on, too.
The early signs for all are promising; injuries played a massive part last term but this squad feels far stronger and more suited to the way Marsch wants his team to play which is a massive credit to the powers that be at Elland Road.
Could they have done more? Cody Gakpo would have been a sensational addition but perhaps they’ll go back in January, while not bringing in a new left-back feels like an oversight to an otherwise top drawer window.
4th – Arsenal – £118m
Looking at their transfer spending this summer, you might have been mistaken for believing that Arsenal did indeed land a top four spot last term – with £118m going into a squad that was already fairly pricey to begin with.
Gabriel Jesus is the star arrival, with The Gunners splashing £47m on the Manchester City forward to bolster their frontline – an ingenious move for a player who is set to explode at this level and for a relatively healthy fee.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is in a similar situation; looking to evolve his career by taking a step down to, potentially, return to the top as a more essential cog of a new machine with his technical ability and mentality already shining at The Emirates.
The biggest question mark comes with Fábio Vieira; a 22-year-old coming off the back of an exceptional season with Porto where he was involved in 20 goals from 27 Liga Nos games – but injuries have derailed his early season.
We’re yet to truly see how he will dovetail with the very similar Martin Ødegaard in what is already a stacked Gunners midfield, but the initial signs point towards another exciting piece to Mikel Arteta’s jigsaw. You can’t say Arsenal aren’t backing their manager – but this has to be the season in which they return to the promised land.
Could they have done more? Central midfield is a little light as shown by their deadline-day pursuit of Douglas Luiz, but Granit Xhaka’s injury record is pretty good and may not cause the issues some Gunners fans worry it might.
3rd – West Ham United – £163m
Last year was magical for West Ham; they reached a first European semi-final since 1976, took 7th place in the Premier League to ensure another continental quest and defeated a host of big names both at home and abroad – but a big summer was needed to back up David Moyes’ good work.
They have certainly received that. Despite a slow start to the league campaign, Moyes has been able to call upon Gianluca Scamacca for an initial £32.5m up front along with Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet. Flynn Downes has added depth in the midfield amid a failed pursuit of Lille’s Amadou Onana, while Thilo Kehrer, Emerson and Nayef Aguerd have bolstered the backline for a combined £56m.
Alphonse Areola’s loan move from Paris Saint-Germain was made permanent for £8m, but the posterboy for their summer spending spree has been Lucas Paquetá – a £38.6m arrival from Lyon who brings genuine Champions League quality to the London Stadium.
With a Conference League campaign to contend with, West Ham have spent over £160m to remain competitive and sit third in the overall spending by Premier League clubs this window – with plenty of value for money on show.
Could they have done more? Not really. They will be disappointed in missing out on Onana to Everton, but they’re strengthened all over the pitch.
2nd – Tottenham Hotspur – £152m
Under Antonio Conte, Spurs looked terrific at the backend of 21/22 and rounded off an excellent mid-season turnaround by returning to the Champions League. But with those riches mean that the pressure and expectations are ramped up; Tottenham had to spend – which is just what they have done.
Ivan Perišić and Clément Lenglet joined for free and on loan respectively, while Yves Bissouma will bolster the Italian’s options in central midfield. Plenty is spoken of Conte failing to build for the future and signing for short-term gain, but Djed Spece and Destiny Udogie’s arrival certainly suggest he’s instilling some faith in youth – albeit with the latter returning to Udinese on loan.
Richarlison was the big money arrival – joining from Everton for £52m to add versatility and depth to the Londoners’ frontline and has already won over the Tottenham faithful with his all-out dedication to not only the badge but to carnage and quality.
They’ve brought in around £35m on Steven Bergwijn and Cameron Carter-Vickers, while also loaning out the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilón and Harry Winks to relieve the strain on the wage bill – rounding off what has been a terrific transfer window for the Lilywhites.
Could they have done more? Left-sided centre-back.. Tick. Wing-back improvements.. Tick. Depth in midfield and up front.. Tick. I don’t believe much more could have improved this window.
1st – Manchester City – £125m
After winning yet another Premier League title without utilising an out-and-out centre-forward for much of the campaign, Pep Guardiola has finally decided now is the time to sign a main striker – with Erling Haaland chosen as that man.
One of the most fearsome forwards in all of the game, some thought Haaland would take some time to get going following an injury-ridden 2021/22, but he’s taken to England like a duck to water – smashing home ten (yes, ten) goals from his opening six games of the season as he continues to gobble up goals like they’re going out of fashion. The man is, simply put, a freak.
The Leeds links don’t end there, however, as Kalvin Phillips also joined in a deal worth £44m – a pricey fee for a rotation option, but one which could potentially aid City in their quest to finally win the Champions League as the games will come thick and fast either side of the World Cup. Sergio Gómez isn’t quite Marc Cucurella, but added depth at left-back was a must in what was the only problem position left in this City squad, adding to Julián Álvarez’s arrival from River Plate.
Raheem Sterling’s departure represents a loss for City but also terrific business, while it gives even more scope for the likes of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to flourish. They are, without question, the team to beat again this year.
Could they have done more? I really don’t think so – what a team.
By: James Pendleton / @jpends_
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Marcelo Endelli / Getty Images