Stan Collymore's Premier League Transfer Window Grades for the Biggest Clubs

Stan Collymore@@StanCollymoreFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2014

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Results mean nothing in preseason. You can go into the first game having walloped everyone 6-0, but if you lose the opener it counts for nothing.

It's all about preparation and making sure your players are as fresh as possible—that and who your club has managed to buy in the transfer window, of course.

Here are my transfer window grades for the five clubs with realistic ambitions of winning the Premier League title. 


Arsenal: B+

The Gunners are in good shape. Mesut Ozil returns as a World Cup winner and will have benefitted hugely from his experience in Brazil. His second Premier League season could deliver what we all know he's capable of.

New signing Alexis Sanchez, another who had a great World Cup, will take time to adjust. It may take until January before he's playing at his best.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal in action with Geoffrey Kondogbia of Monaco during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and AS Monaco at the Emirates Stadium on August 3, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Im
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Arsenal have Theo Walcott coming back, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit and ready and they are in a very good position to do what they do every single August until around January or February.

The problem is what happens from there.

Arsenal's biggest weakness is in defensive midfield. Mathieu Flamini is a solid player, but he's not to the standard of Nemanja Matic or Yaya Toure.

My sources tell me Arsenal wanted Sami Khedira badly. They're also being linked to William Carvalho, as per talkSPORT. As of now, that's the area that will be their undoing.


Chelsea: B+

Cesc Fabregas obviously knows the Premier League well. He's a wonderfully creative talent, and playing as one of three behind a striker will suit him perfectly at Chelsea. Oscar played some of his best football on the right for Brazil at the World Cup—could he do the same again for Chelsea?

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - JULY 27: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrate the scoring the goal with Cesc Fabregas (TOP) during the Pre Season Friendly  match between FC Olimpija Ljubljana and Chelsea at Stozice stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Sunday, July 27, 201
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

New signing Diego Costa will score goals, but the one thing I worry about with Chelsea is that they can be a little too pragmatic at times. They shut up shop when they should be trying to put four, five or six past a team.

It's all about getting Costa as much service as possible.

Didier Drogba is a legend at Chelsea. He's not the alpha striker he once was, but he'll add something like Samuel Eto'o did last season.

That said, I still don't think Jose Mourinho's team have the magic bullet to make them nailed-on title winners. I think they'll fall short, which shows they haven't added that something truly special this summer.


Liverpool: B

The question for the Anfield faithful is a simple one: Can they replace Luis Suarez?

Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert are both good buys, but I'm not convinced they'll deliver regularly in their first seasons at Anfield. Emre Can has impressed, but he's not the quick solution either.

PRESTON, LANCASHIRE - JULY 19: Rickie Lambert of Liverpool gestures during the pre season friendly match between Preston North End and Liverpool at Deepdale on July 19, 2014 in Preston, Lancashire.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The two key players for Liverpool will be Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho. If those two can play to the level they're capable of and provide Daniel Sturridge with bullets, Liverpool will do well.

Coutinho can be a global star, but he still needs to fill out a bit and produce more consistently.

That said, I'm not convinced Liverpool have enough depth to finish inside the top four and achieve Champions League football again.


Manchester City: B

None of City's four new men—Bacary Sagna, Fernando, Willy Caballero and Frank Lampard—are premium-grade, wow-factor buys, but they're all steady players and will add to City's depth.

I have City to win the league because they've got the strongest squad of the contenders. Manuel Pellegrini knows how to get it done and has the eye of the tiger now.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 18: Fernando of Manchester city before the pre-season friendly at Tynecastle Stadium on July 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)
Richard Sellers/Getty Images

City might not as be pretty, dynamic and flashly as Arsenal in the opening months, but they'll grind you down in January, February and March and get it done.

Pellegrini's team are so strong in midfield with the likes of Toure and Fernandinho. They have creativity in abundance with Samir Nasri, David Silva and even James Milner offering service. And they have one of the best central defenders in the world in Vincent Kompany.

They will also have a fully fit Sergio Aguero back. 


Manchester United: A

From the disaster that was David Moyes, United made a decision to go with a man of experience who has the power and will to influence.

The way Louis van Gaal dealt with new signing Luke Shaw, telling him he wasn't fit enough, was excellent and just what was needed.

There are still major doubts about United's defence, however. I think Van Gaal goes with three at the back because he doesn't trust two of them enough to do the job on their own.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 04: (L) Jose Enrique #3 of Liverpool is challenged by (R) Ander Herrera #21 of Manchester United  in the Guinness International Champions Cup 2014 Final at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Over the course of the season, however, he's going to have to play a four and also add attacking width—especially at Old Trafford. That's where they'll get found out.

Ander Herrera is good but not great yet. There may be movement to come also, with Chicharito potentially making way for another striker and perhaps Arturo Vidal arriving from Juventus.

United get their "A" mainly for employing Van Gaal. I think they'll make the top four because their away record was great last season; all the new manager needs to do is win more games at Old Trafford.


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