The transfer window has now slammed shut, but which teams did the best, and the worst, summer business? We took a look and graded the Premier League teams from 20th down to 1st.
When considering each ranking, a bulk of the thought went on incomings with only major sales really factored in, while it is important to remember most teams did good deals and the majority of these teams were a player short of challenging three or four slots higher. Bar the bottom, it was very tight! Without further ado..
20th – Leicester City – £15.3m
We’re so used to Leicester being one of those clubs; buy low, sell high, reinvest, rebuild, restrategise and go again with a better crop of players than the year before – but it hasn’t happened like that this time around.
Despite eventually parting ways with Wesley Fofana for a £69.5m fee (ensuring a £38m profit), that came in an area of the pitch where the Foxes were already weak – with Daniel Amartey and Wilfred Ndidi deputising at centre-back throughout 2021/22 and at the start of 22/23. Wout Faes has been chosen as his replacement, with the 24-year-old arriving from Stade de Reims for £15.3m – but his immediate ability at this level is dubious.
The only other arrival was Alex Smithies due to the sale of club captain Kasper Schmeichel to Nice (leaving Danny Ward with a starting berth), while Hamza Choudhury and Ademola Lookman have also departed from their 21/22 squad.
They may well have kept James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, but they have massively downgraded in goal and central defence, have already lost Ricardo Pereira to injury and suddenly have a relatively thin squad which has an ageing core and a handful of injury-prone players. Their overall quality should mean they are well clear of any danger, but this summer has been a disaster at the King Power.
Could they have done more? They needed at least one centre-back but broken even, upgrading Kasper Schmeichel should also have been a priority but instead, they did the opposite.
19th – Bournemouth – £24.2m
Following two tricky years in England’s second tier, the Cherries are back amongst the big boys after finishing as runners-up in the Championship last season – but Scott Parker couldn’t enjoy it for long. As the dismissal ‘wasn’t results based’, one wonders if the Englishman’s frustration towards the club’s dealings has played a part.
A hat-trick of freebies has bulked out the squad as Neto has arrived to initially be Mark Travers’ understudy in goal, Ryan Fredericks will add competition at right-back and Joe Rothwell is strengthening the engine room – but the two Englishman missed the start of this season amid niggling injury issues.
Marcus Tavernier was involved in ten goals last season for Middlesbrough at a cost of £10m, but is yet to get going at Dean Court following the move. Marcos Senesi – a Europa Conference League finalist with Feyenoord last season – saw his new defence concede 11 unanswered goals from his first 145 Premier League minutes, but adapting to a new league and formation is going to take time for the Argentinian.
They’ve negotiated a tough start relatively well and took seven points from the three games you would expect them to, even if their goal difference did take a battering in the other three. But despite this, their transfer business has undoubtedly been one of the weakest in the division.
Could they have done more? Most definitely. In terms of depth, the squad is in decent shape, but the overall quality of the squad is severely lacking. An overhaul would have been too far, but three or four additions to boost the squad was necessary.
18th – Brighton and Hove Albion – £43m
Brighton do the transfer window arguably as good as anybody: buying low, selling high, rinsing and repeating to build a genuinely good Premier League squad with one of the division’s top managers at the helm. But this time, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed.
They have waved goodbye to Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma and Neal Maupay – the latter two pillars of their time in the Premier League and the former a revolutionary signing – to the tune of £95m, landing a net profit of £51m on the trio.
Incomings have been scarce, however, with Levi Colwill joining on a season-long loan with Billy Gilmour following him for £9m, Pervis Estupiñań replacing Cucurella at left back, with youngsters Simon Adingra and Julio Enciso arriving for a combined £17m.
The former has joined Tony Bloom’s Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium on loan for the season while Enciso is yet to taste a minute of league football so far. Deniz Undav – who was signed in January but loan straight back to USG – has arrived with the first team, but has himself found minutes hard to come by in the big time.
Brighton have so many good players and arguably didn’t necessarily need to replace Maupay as he had already been somewhat muscled out of the starting XI, but if they were looking to push on this summer, then it has been somewhat of a disappointment not to strike while the iron is hot.
Could they have done more? They definitely could have done more, but should they have done more? Maybe. Up front they’re a little light, especially when considering Danny Welbeck’s injury trouble, while full-back always feels a bit thin. But the squad is always in capable hands with Graham Potter – 18th is harsh, but it’s purely based on the window.
17th – Crystal Palace – £31m
Following the Roy Hodgson reign, Dougie Freedman was acutely aware that a massive rebuilding job had to take place at Selhurst Park. Too many players over the age of 30 who were on the decline, and not enough young blood in a team which saw just two U-21 players in it during 2020/21, and nine players depart for free at season’s end. Under the direction of Patrick Vieira, the Eagles bought well last summer to bring the average age down to just 25.9 – with more of the same coming this window.
Cheick Doucouré was a smart pick-up from Lens having developed nicely in the north of France over the past three seasons, while Chris Richards’ £10.8m move helps bring the average age of the squad down even further and provides valuable cover at the heart of the Eagles’ rearguard.
Sam Johnstone on a free transfer is shrewd as well as the arrival of Malcolm Ebowibei from Derby, with the 18-year-old too arriving on a free transfer initially. With bags of potential, the winger has already appeared twice for Vieria’s side this season and looks set to star at the South London club.
Palace have to be careful, though, as losing so many players – with Christian Benteke and Cheikhou Kouyaté departing – means this squad is relatively bare. Vieira wanted further additions but his pleas fell on deaf ears, with Palace now praying for good luck with injuries.
Could they have done more? They probably needed another addition at right-back, in central midfield and a versatile forward, leaving the Palace faithful somewhat underwhelmed despite their solid additions.
16th – Aston Villa – £63m
It is common knowledge by now that Aston Villa like to conduct their transfer business succinctly and under the radar – with 22/23 proving no different. The loan deals which saw Philippe Coutinho and Robin Olsen arrive last term were made permanent to the tune of £18m and £3.1m respectively, while Ludwig Augustinsson has arrived temporarily from Sevilla to provide cover for Lucas Digne at left-back.
But the two big deals of the window proved to be their £28m swoop for Diego Carlos, and the free transfer acquisition of Marseille star Boubacar Kamara. Both players certainly add quality to Villa’s side – as well as their other additions – but they follow a slightly worrying trend. Around £120m was spent last year at Villa Park, but none of their four main signings caught the eye, ensuring the likes of Leon Bailey and Emi Buendía will have to improve this time around.
The addition of Carlos – while strengthening their defensive options – came at great expense for a player approaching 30, especially considering that Digne, Coutinho and Danny Ings are all turning – or are that age – in the next year, despite arriving for a combined £100m over the previous twelve months. Kamara feels like a major coup for the Villains, but his reported £150,000-per-week means it’s not as risk-free as it seems.
Leander Dendoncker adds cover in both defence and midfield but still has plenty to prove at this level, while Jan Bednarek is OK if not remarkable. There is big pressure on Steven Gerrard and his arrivals to succeed in the short-term, if Villa are to reap any long-term rewards – but the ruptured Achilles tendon injury suffered by Carlos is far from the ideal start.
Could they have done more? Their summer strategy lacked cohesion; Ismaila Sarr’s move fell through, which stopped their pursuit for any winger. The squad is fairly bloated and isn’t getting any young, as their once-promising summer rather tailed off.
By: James Pendleton / @Jpends_
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images