Transfer Deadline Day: Grading the Notable Premier League Signings
The culmination of a summer's worth of deal-brokering is finally upon us, and many recognizable faces will be turning up in some not-so-recognizable places.
Tottenham Hotspur were impressive in their economically efficient signings of Hugo Lloris and Clint Dempsey.
Swansea City broke the bank for a Spaniard. Stoke City signed a Liverpool player. Aston Villa took a risk on a tall Belgian forward. Manchester City threw money around for some pricey benchwarmers.
Here are the grades for notable Premier League-transfer-deadline signings. This article has only included transfers into Premier League clubs on transfer-deadline day. Loan deals have not been included.
Ashkan Dejagah, Right-Winger, Age: 26
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From Wolfsburg to Fulham for an undisclosed transfer fee | Grade: B
Ashkan Dejagah is a nifty dribbler who can send in dangerous crosses. He accumulated seven assists in the Bundesliga last season.
Dejagah is a decent player, but someone like Freiburg's Daniel Caligiuri would have been a better choice.
Damien Duff or Dejagah? Duff.
Charlie Adam, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 26
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From Liverpool to Stoke City for £4 million | Rating: B
Good signing from Tony Pulis given that his centre-midfield partnership is devoid of any creativity.
With Charlie Adam in the middle of the pitch, he can loft long diagonal passes to Michael Kightly and Matthew Etherington. Given that Pulis doesn't pay too much attention to ball retention, Adam won't hesitate to launch Hollywood-type passes, the same type of passes which consistently got him in trouble at Liverpool.
The main problem with Adam is what he does without possession. He moves like a 36-year-old and his tackling is as reckless as Paul Scholes.
Christian Benteke, Centre Forward, Age: 21
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From Genk to Aston Villa for £7 million | Grade: C+
Christian Benteke has a Premier League-ready body, he shields the ball well and he's strong in aerial duels.
Last season, he heavily relied on Kevin De Bruyne's creativity and selflessness. Benteke's shooting often goes awry and his body language is terrible when things don't go his way.
£7 million for a raw prospect like Benteke, who has character problems, is too risky.
Clint Dempsey, Left Winger, Age: 29
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From Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur for £6 million | Grade: A
Clint Dempsey scores as an inside-out winger, he scores from the right, he scores from central midfield and even as a deep-lying forward.
He knows where to move, he's calm and collected in one-on-one situations and he doesn't shoot blind like Luis Suárez.
It was a shock that Liverpool didn't sign the American because the club are woefully inefficient in front of goals.
Dimitar Berbatov, Centre Forward, Age: 31
From Manchester United to Fulham for £4 million | Grade: A+
In a classic transfer-window merry-go-round, the tabloids had Dimitar Berbatov as a Fiorentina player and then a Juventus player, only for unfancied Fulham to claim the Bulgarian's signature.
Bryan Ruiz, who has played quite well behind Mladen Petrić, will have to make way for Berbatov.
Having already experienced life in London and knowing what it's like to be coached by Martin Jol, Berbatov's decision to reject Juve becomes easier to digest.
With Sergio Agüero and Wayne Rooney out, signing Berbatov for your fantasy team is common sense. Before you pull the trigger, make sure Martin Jol confirms that the Bulgarian will be in the starting lineup to face West Ham United.
Gastón Ramírez, Attacking Midfielder, Age: 21
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From Bologna to Southampton for £12 million | Grade: A+
Southampton just signed one of the best up-and-coming youngsters.
Gastón Ramírez's quick feet often cause defenders to trip over themselves. His dribbling catches the eye, but his ability to thread through balls should receive more acclaim.
Last season, he created 52 shots, yet only registered four assists, which gives you an indication of Marco Di Vaio's wastefulness.
Hugo Lloris, Goalkeeper, Age: 25
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From Lyon to Tottenham Hotspur for £7.9 million | Grade: A+
Talk about pulling off a coup. Spurs' management have signed a keeper with world-class ability for just £7.9 million.
Javi Garcia, Defensive Midfielder, Age: 25
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From Benfica to Manchester City for £16 million | Grade: C
What's the point in signing Jack Rodwell?
Javi Garcia is a run-of-the-mill defensive midfielder who isn't an extraordinary tackler like Javi Fuego or anywhere near the quality of a ball-winning midfield general like Gabi.
If City just wanted another midfielder, why didn't they sign Fuego?
Kieran Richardson, Utility Player, Age: 27
From Sunderland to Fulham for £2 million | Grade: B
Playing for the Black Cats has seen him mature from a brat to a hard-working professional. He's played all over the pitch: left-back, left-winger, centre midfielder and defensive midfielder. Like Sascha Riether, Richardson's versatility enhances Martin Jol's squad.
Maicon, Right-Back, Age: 31
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From Inter Milan to Manchester City for £3 million | Grade: D
The only consolation for City supporters is that Paris Saint-Germain trumped this deal by signing the useless Gregory van der Wiel.
You sometimes wonder if the brains trust behind these wealthy organisations watch football.
Maicon's defending was always hit-and-miss, but since his incredible season under José Mourinho, the Brazilian has been on a downward spiral.
That humiliating experience against Gareth Bale encapsulated everything that has gone wrong for Maicon.
His positional discipline is nonexistent because all he wanted to do last season was attack.
Matija Nastasić, Centre-Back, Age: 19
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From Fiorentina to Manchester City for £12 million | Grade: D
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini spends £12 million on an inexperienced and unproven backup centre-back.
Pablo Hernández, Right Attacking Midfielder, Age: 27
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From Valencia to Swansea City for £5.5 million | Grade: A
Pablo's ball control is so immaculate that it creates the optical illusion of the ball being stuck to his feet, kind of like when Andrey Arshavin dribbles.
Last season, Pablo and Sofiane Feghouli vied for the right attacking midfield position. The season before last, Pablo had to bide his time behind Joaquín.
Having worked with Michael Laudrup and with the Spanish cohort at Swansea, Pablo should make a smooth transition into the Premier League.
For those who don't have Michu in their fantasy team, sign him up because Pablo will be providing smart, little-angled passes to his compatriot, who'll continue to score. Michu now has a realistic chance of netting 20 goals this season.
Scott Sinclair, Left Attacking Midfielder, Age: 23
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From Swansea City to Manchester City for £8 million | Grade: C
What a foolish career decision from Scott Sinclair. The Swans are playing some beautiful football and he would have been an integral part of the team. Instead, he prefers to warm the benches at City.
Surely, the club's scouting department can locate cheaper impact subs like Tobias Sana—too bad Ajax signed him for £270,000.
Stéphane Mbia, Centre-Back, Age: 26
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From Marseille to Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed transfer fee | Grade: B
Stéphane Mbia performs better as a defensive midfielder than a centre-back. He retains and distributes possession very well, is a good reader of the game and will help young players. He played a role in Nicolas N'Koulou's development into a solid centre-back.
Steven N'Zonzi, Defensive Midfielder, Age: 23
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From Blackburn Rovers to Stoke City for £3 million | Grade: C+
With Glenn Whelan, Geoff Cameron, Dean Whitehead and Charlie Adam, Stoke didn't need to sign Steven N'Zonzi.
He's a weak tackler, his positional discipline is Alex Song-like and the 23-year-old looks better going forward than defending.