Rating the Summer Transfer Window for the Top 6 in the Premier League


(Image courtesy of techcentral.co.za)

The summer transfer window is over and the 2018/19 Premier League season is underway! It’s almost like Christmas for us football fans; we wake up on opening day and await the gifts our clubs have purchased. The real surprise is where they will line up on the pitch, and if it’s for the better or not.

With that out of the way, it’s time to see how each top 6 side fared in the summer. Before we get started though, let me get this out of the way… I support Liverpool. There I said it. Though I support the Reds, I will be approaching each club in the most unbiased manner possible. Anyways, enough of this small talk, let’s get right into it. Manchester United are the worst club in- sorry, just sudden urges there. In all seriousness, let’s grade each top 6 side on their summer transfer window.

Arsenal – 7.5/10

(Photo courtesy of standard.co.uk)

Before I can say anything, all I can think of is the 4 years of Arsenal Fan TV rants whipping through my head right now. Finally, Arsenal supporters have got their wish; a new manager. After 22 years of Arsene Wenger, it’s going to take time for Unai Emery to stamp his identity on the club.

As one of the world’s richest clubs, Arsenal fans may be disappointed that they only spent £71m on 5 players. Here’s the thing: Progress takes time. It’s not what many like to hear as their rivals push on to challenge for the league, but it’s a reality the Arsenal faithful will have to face. They’re off to a good start – Torreira is the feisty midfielder they’ve lacked the past few seasons, Leno is an upgrade from a declining Cech, and Lichtsteiner and Sokratis add much experience and leadership that will prove valuable to a side currently transitioning as much as Arsenal is right now. Sure, they could have signed another winger and midfielder, but Emery is doing the right thing in learning to walk before he can run. He needs time to evaluate where his squad is at and see how well they adapt to his style of play before making major changes to his the starting XI. Most importantly, their new additions will add an edge of competitiveness in a team that looked all too complacent last season.

In time, Arsenal’s patience will pay dividends.

Chelsea – 7/10

(Photo courtesy of talkchelsea.net)

If I’m being honest, this was an odd one.

For some time in the summer, it felt like there was going to be a mass exodus from Chelsea with the likes of Willian, Morata, Hazard, and Courtois all slated to leave. With that being said, they sure made up a lot of ground towards the end of the window.

I want to start off by saying I really liked Sarri during his tenure at Napoli. Who cares if he’s never won a trophy? He can get Chelsea playing the brilliant style of football Stamford Bridge hasn’t seen in years. The first thing he did was make sure one his star players, Jorginho, came along with him. They really made headlines after selling World Cup Golden Glove winner, Thibaut Courtois, to Real Madrid for a return of £35 million and Kovacic on a one-year loan. They then went on and broke the world record fee for a goalkeeper paying a whopping £72 million on Kepa Arrizabalaga. The only problem I have with that, is that he’s young and may need to adapt to his new setting, kind of like De Gea in his first season.

Another problem I have with Chelsea is Alvaro Morata. Diego Costa may have carried a dirty reputation, but he sure was a ruthless killer in front of goal and he always showed up in big games for Chelsea.

I’m not sure the same thing can be said about Morata.

Of course, he was playing in Conte’s very defensive system so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but he must prove to Sarri that he’s a consistent goal scorer. Their midfield is much more balanced with defensive prowess and creativity and they still have threatening attackers in Willian, Pedro, and Hazard. I think Chelsea supporters will be pleased this season.

Liverpool – 9/10

(Photo courtesy of liverpooloffside.sbnation.com)

In all respects, this passing transfer window was the best in recent memory for the Reds. For the first time in a long time, Liverpool actually addressed all their major needs from the season before.

A lot has changed since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager. This window was evident that Liverpool are not only able to attract world class talent, but can also splash the cash to get their targets. Under Brendan Rodgers, it was all too common when Liverpool’s high profile targets ended up at another club – Salah (part 1), Shaqiri (part 1), Konoplyanka, Willian, Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa, and Alexis Sanchez to name a few.

Another problem was the poor investment of money after selling a club star, like Luis Suarez. I don’t want to revisit those days *cough* Rickie Lambert *cough*. But now, it’s night and day.

We needed a goalkeeper? We got Alisson. We needed a defensive midfielder? We got Fabinho. Cover for Salah? Welcome Shaqiri. Another creative midfielder? In comes Naby Keita. Let’s not forget when they needed a centre back and snagged Virgil van Dijk, who has massively improved their defence. These are players who, at any point, could walk into the starting XI and make and instant impact. Other supporters may be looking back negatively at the Fekir situation, but the way I see it, he would be a luxury signing. Sure, any team would love a Fekir and I would have been ecstatic if we got him, but the midfield is already balanced and talented enough to control games.

Liverpool may have been the highest spending club this summer in this list, but they invested smartly and are looking to take it to Manchester City this season. Go on Reds.

Manchester City – 8/10

(Photo courtesy of sportingnews.com)

Did they really need anyone?

They ran away with the league and have a world class player at every position. What do they do? Sign superstar Riyad Mahrez.

I don’t blame them for it; they want to make sure they put up a formidable title defence and steal him from any other clubs who could have done with his talents. I know I would have loved him at Liverpool.

I don’t think I can give them higher than an 8 after only signing one player, but damn is he ever a good signing. Let’s not forget they get Benjamin Mendy back from injury, who will be a welcomed replacement to Delph at left back.

Nothing more really needs to be said for City. They were clear favourites before Mahrez and now he takes them over the top. Barring a miracle, they’re going to win the league and make a run at the Champions League.

Manchester United – 6/10

(Photo courtesy of standard.co.uk)

When I look back on United’s window, I feel like they could have (or even should have) done better. I know many United supporters (yes, I befriend all football fans) who will agree with me. It’s all a bit unclear the situation at the club right now; is it Woodward not signing Mourinho’s targets, is it Mourinho not being ambitious enough? Nonetheless, it was a disappointment.

Coming off the back of last season, the glaring issue at United was the defence. Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are aging at fullback, deadwood like: Darmian, Jones, Smalling, and Rojo are still on the wage books, and the centre-backs are a bit shaky.

I like the signing of Fred, I think he’s a player who can form a unique dynamic with Paul Pogba that can elevate the games of both players.

But, United are such a top-heavy team so you still have to think, why didn’t they sign a top quality centre-back? I’m a little more critical of United’s lack of activity compared to Spurs because they are Manchester United. They’re the biggest bloody club in England, and that’s coming from a Liverpool supporter! Many people forget they finished second last season and if it wasn’t for Manchester City’s historic season, they would have been challenging for the title. They have the pedigree and the manager to attract the world’s best defenders to help them challenge City and they made nothing of it.

United supporters have all the right to be confident in their team, they still have a great squad, but for this season at least, it seems like Manchester will remain Blue.

Tottenham Hotspur – 5/10

(Photo courtesy of tumbleweedhldgs.com)

You’re probably thinking…5/10, really? They didn’t sign anyone, they should get a 0. In fact, they are the first Premier League club in decades to go a whole summer and not sign anyone. So, how have they improved?

First things first, they were able to hold on to their key players from last season. With Real Madrid sniffing around for Harry Kane and Manchester United trying a last-ditch deal for Toby Alderweireld, Spurs fans will be happy to have the same starting XI as last season.

They have a solid squad with talented players and a brilliant manager who have shown they can go toe-to-toe with the best (Real Madrid). Yes, I know, they went trophyless last season, again, but if Spurs have decided to go down this route, where they believe their squad is good enough to compete on all fronts, good on them for have the confidence to do so.

They could have done with a few more additions to come off the bench and make a difference when things go sour, but they’ve shown they can succeed otherwise. The peculiar thing about Tottenham is that without significant departures, their squad has grown together over the past 3 seasons and it shows when they play. They are so fine-tuned and all on the same wavelength that they can perform against anyone.

With midweek Champions League games to keep in mind, Pochettino may find it hard to rotate his squad. Spurs are taking a big risk but I’ll respect them for it. They’re acknowledging that winning the league is a little out of their depth and are focusing on remaining competitive in the top 4. However, if things take a turn for the worst, many Spurs faithful will be looking to Daniel Levy for answers.

Luckily for them, Chelsea and Arsenal are going through transition periods and may falter along the way; that is where Spurs' stability and cohesiveness will see them through to a place in the top 4.

Predictions

Taking these ratings into account, here is my top 6 prediction for the 2018/19 Premier League season:

1) Manchester City

2) Liverpool

3) Tottenham Hotspur

4) Chelsea

5) Manchester United

6) Arsenal