6 Premier League Clubs Most Likely to Make a Late Transfer Window Splash
The summer transfer window is well under way, and most clubs in the English Premier League have been strengthening, and strengthening well.
Take a look at Swansea City, for instance. Michael Laudrup and his team have been busy scouring Europe for a series of signings already, including the impressive £12 million club-record signing of Wilfried Bony, as confirmed by BBC Sport.
Or ambitious Norwich City, who have already signed the likes of Nathan Redmond and Ricky van Wolfswinkel and continue to be linked with ambitious swoops for established players like Fabio Quagliarella of Juventus, as reported by the Mirror.
There has been some impressive transfer activity throughout the Premier League this summer, but inevitably, there will be clubs that wait to do their business towards the end of the transfer window.
Let’s take a look at six EPL clubs who at this stage seem most likely to make a late splash towards the end of August.
Thus far, Cardiff City have made just the one signing this summer: a club-record £8.5 million transfer of Danish striker Andreas Cornelius from FC Copenhagen, as confirmed by BBC Sport.
Given the financial backing that Cardiff now enjoy—they are owned by Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan—it is clear that the Bluebirds will be trying to make a splash in their first Premier League season, evidenced by the (ultimately failed) pursuit of Blackpool winger Thomas Ince (via the Independent) and the rumors of a chase for Olympique Lyonnais striker Bafetimbi Gomis, via Daily Mail.
Elsewhere, fellow new boys Crystal Palace have also made an £8.5 million signing—that of ex-Peterborough winger Dwight Gayle, as confirmed by BBC Sport—and are right in the mix for Sevilla’s Spain U-20 star Jose Campana for just £1.7 million, according to the Mirror.
Which leaves Hull City, the third promoted club, just a little stranded on the transfer front.
The Tigers aren’t by any means the last when it comes to transfer activity. In fact, with five signings already secured in George Boyd, Maynor Figueroa, Curtis Davies, Ahmed Elmohamady and Allan McGregor, Steve Bruce has strengthened his squad in numbers.
But a quick look at Hull’s signings already shows that they are merely a case of squad strengthening and that they might not necessarily add the required quality to survive and compete at the Premier League level.
Given Cardiff’s financial muscle and Crystal Palace’s ambition—not to mention Hull’s own rumored interest in Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, according to Sky Sports—Hull are in danger of being left behind.
As they slowly realize this in the coming weeks, they risk leaving their transfer activity too little, too late and are thus our first entrant on this list.
The implication we made in the previous slide is that Hull City are in danger of being grouped as a relegation favorite before the season even starts.
Given that Newcastle United finished the season so precariously, and that they have recently had to deal with the negative publicity surrounding Joe Kinnear’s return to the club as Director of Football, the Magpies could also possess that unwanted tag.
Two summers after an encouraging transfer window that saw Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba arrive at St. James’ Park and push them into the European places—and one year after a disappointing follow-up summer window of 2012—Newcastle have only signed Olivier Kemen from Metz this transfer window.
Kemen is a 16-year-old teenage midfielder.
Given the frantic January window that saw Newcastle sign a whole contingent of French players, perhaps the relative quiet just half a year on isn’t too surprising.
Compare Newcastle’s squad with Swansea’s and Norwich’s, though, and we see the danger in the Magpies slipping out of top-half contention.
If their preseason schedule confirms that they need more, it will be another messy end to a transfer window. But the bigger worry is that preseason confirms nothing, and Newcastle are left to start the first half of the 2013-14 season short in quality.
Tottenham Hotspur are back by virtue of their recent record. It was, after all, only last year that they secured two of the most high-profile signings of the summer on transfer deadline day—Clint Dempsey and Hugo Lloris.
Go back another year, and chairman Daniel Levy confirmed the late transfers of Emmanuel Adebayor on Aug. 25, 2011 and Scott Parker once again on deadline day. And we can’t forget one of the all-time bargain signings, Rafael van der Vaart, whose own signature was confirmed just hours before the 2010 summer window slammed shut.
So Spurs—and Levy—have very good history and are perennial contenders of a late transfer window splash. Levy, meanwhile, has established a reputation as a ruthless businessman. His deals for Lloris and van der Vaart are particularly memorable, both in terms of the player’s own stature and the transfer fee involved.
That Spurs have only made one signing this summer—Paulinho’s £17 million move from Corinthians, as confirmed by BBC Sport—shows that they are back in their element.
But there’s more to Spurs’ presence on this list than purely their history during this time of year, and that other factor is none other than Welsh superstar Gareth Bale.
Continually linked with Manchester United and particularly Real Madrid, Bale could be the star of a will-he-won’t-he transfer saga that lasts the entire summer, which means Levy and coach Andre Villas-Boas will be busy preparing a shortlist of replacements if the winger does leave White Hart Lane.
And if he does in the end, we can all expect that late transfer splash from Tottenham, this time with a very different goal in mind: to replace possibly the irreplaceable.
Like Tottenham, Manchester United have been here before, in dramatic fashion. Coincidentally, it was Spurs who were the other party involved, as Dimitar Berbatov moved to United in a sensational £30 million deal on transfer deadline day way back in 2008.
But this summer, United belong on this list for an entirely different reason.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement has just been made slightly more sobering, with the confirmation that Barcelona prodigy Thiago Alcantara is to join Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich, instead of their Premier League counterparts at Old Trafford, for a reported £21.6 million fee, according to BBC Sport.
Now that David Moyes and Co. have lost out on perhaps their top transfer target, they will have to turn their glances at other potential signings, starting with fellow Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is once again being rumored for a return to England, as reported by the Telegraph.
So far this summer, only Guillermo Varela has signed for the Red Devils, a parting gift from Ferguson that had already been confirmed prior to Moyes’ arrival in the United hot seat.
Which means Moyes has work to do. And he has already been given implicit pressure from his board, who have claimed in public that the new manager will have the funds to finance a superstar signing, according to ESPN.
A large part of Moyes’ summer work, however, may rest on Wayne Rooney’s as-yet undetermined future, with Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly interested in the United No. 10, according to the Daily Star.
Just like Bale’s, Rooney’s situation could turn into an unwanted event that drags all summer.
It has been weeks since Arsenal have been linked with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, but it is telling that Arsene Wenger’s only signing this summer is Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from AJ Auxerre.
Not surprising from an Arsenal point of view, given their historic frugality in the transfer market—so much so that midfielder Mikel Arteta has recently gone on record to call for big signings, via the Guardian—but other rumors might shed more light on their current situation.
Starting with the Wayne Rooney link, as mentioned in the previous slide. A further alternative to Higuain is Liverpool’s star striker, Luis Suarez, who is reported to be the subject of a renewed £35 million bid from the Gunners, according to the Daily Mail.
A bid that would shatter the Arsenal transfer record by some distance. Their current transfer record was set in the summer of 2000, a whole 13 years ago, by Sylvain Wiltord, who made a £13 million switch from Bordeaux to north London.
Still smarting from the loss of Robin van Persie, who transferred his prolific goal-scoring form to Manchester United, and fearing the prospect of another ex-captain Cesc Fabregas moving to Old Trafford as well, Arsenal’s rumors look ambitious enough.
But without concrete action in the transfer market, this could yet turn into a long and frustrating summer for Gunners fans, who could be forgiven for dreading a case of déjà vu.
An 8-2 away loss to Manchester United prompted an all-too-belated move for Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos and Arteta on deadline day in 2011, but the damage had already been done.
Given that Liverpool have already signed smartly this summer—they had confirmed the transfers of Kolo Toure, Simon Mignolet, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas before the window even opened—perhaps it is a slight anomaly that they appear on this list.
But with Luis Suarez the center of negative attention surrounding the Reds, as usual, it could be a sizeable transfer bid that forces the hand of Brendan Rodgers and his backroom team to let go of a volatile member of the squad.
The problem, as it always is with Suarez, is that the No. 7 is perhaps the most important player in the Liverpool side. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho allayed some of the responsibility on Suarez’s shoulders, and they filled in to great effect during Suarez’s end-of-season ban, but the impact that Suarez has on his team is undeniable.
And Rodgers’ efforts to sign players to potentially replace Suarez has suddenly come to a dramatic stop as well.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Armenian midfielder who starred so impressively for Shakhtar Donetsk and was rumored to be Liverpool’s top target, has ended up at Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund, as confirmed by BBC Sport, throwing a considerable spanner in the Liverpool transfer works.
As the Reds continue to dither over a long-rumored move for Ajax Amsterdam’s Christian Eriksen, and have yet to turn their long-standing interest in defenders Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Toby Alderweireld into concrete moves, via Liverpool Echo, this is a slightly dampening second phase of the summer so far.
Liverpool’s last-gasp transfer moves have not sat well with their fans recently. Last summer, they were left to play the first half of their season with Suarez as their only striking option after Andy Carroll left without a replacement, and of course, it was Carroll who replaced Fernando Torres—ultimately quite inadequately—on that fateful deadline day of January 2011.
They appear to have learned from past lessons with their early business this summer, but when they do finally get enough of Suarez, what will happen then?