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A Look at The EPL Transfer Window So Far

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A Look at The EPL Transfer Window So Far
(Photo by Getty Images for Etihad)

The most frantic part of the transfer window is drawing to a close, and the squads that are assembled now will most likely stay similar until January, with maybe a few more signings in August.

But who are the main winners and losers?

 

Manchester United

Well, let's start with the champions. United's first move was to sell Ronaldo to Madrid for £80 million. This is a world record transfer fee and in my opinion is a good move for both teams. Ronaldo had made it clear that he didn't want to stay at United last year, so Ferguson had plenty of time to prepare for his departure.

He got quite a nice price too. Many have forgotten the days when United won things without Ronaldo, and a lot of armchair critics and Internet bloggers have been quick to write them off instantly due to the loss.

However, with Ronaldo's departure, United have more positives to draw on than negatives. They have lost a player who can terrorise defences and score ridiculous shots from 40-yards on a consistent basis; fair enough. However, they now have a much more balanced team. Ronaldo had such a massive ego that he overshadowed even the talent of Wayne Rooney, which is why pretty much all of United's play for the last two seasons has revolved around giving him the ball.

Now that he is gone, United can go back to playing a good team game; something they are very good at. An already versatile, creative midfield has been further bolstered by the capture of Antonio Valencia, who looks like a more traditional right winger and will no doubt shine with his new superstar teammates.

Most surprisingly, however, they captured Owen on a free. Whilst many opposing fans scoff at this, it could well be the signing of the season. If he can stay fit and rediscover his form of old, his free transfer on (reportedly) £30,000 a week will no doubt be considered a true masterstroke. On the other hand, if he fails, it didn't really cost the Red Devils anything.

A slightly less headline-grabbing signing also came in the form of Gabriel Obertan; whilst he obviously isn't as well known as either of the above two, he has been brought to develop and no doubt has lots of potential. He is one to watch.

Altogether, Manchester United have made a large profit over the summer without spending much. They still have bags of quality and now that they have a natural striker like Owen, this could prove to be a shrewd window by Ferguson. Only time will tell.

 

Arsenal

It's been a strange summer for Arsenal. After having numerous injury woes last season, they had to scrap in the last few months for fourth (although they eventually won it comfortably), leading many to call for Arsene to spend a lot this summer.

However, his only signing was a much needed defender in Thomas Vermaelen (who incidently scored on his debut). Defence was, of course, the Gunners' main worry, but many called for further enhancement.

Instead, many were shocked to see both Adebayor and Toure leave for roughly £40 million to Manchester City, when both are considered almost essential.

However, a more in-depth look reveals that Arsene perhaps has more wisdom than onlookers perhaps realise. Adebayor was a constant disruption to the dressing room last year; he simply had to leave.

Meanwhile, Toure was not a guaranteed starter in the back four, and wasn't really producing the same performances as he did during the Invinibles' run.

On top of that, both players would have missed half the season for international duty.

Suddenly, taking £40 million off City for them looks very good business indeed.

And it is also worth remembering that a lot of Arsenal's disappointing form last season came when they had most of their key players out—Rosicky, Walcott, Almunia, Nasri, Eduardo, Van Persie—all missed portions of the season through injury (Eduardo and Rosicky practically all year) yet when these returned and Arshavin arrived, Arsenal barely went wrong except for the wobbles against Chelsea and United.

Arsene's player's already had the talent—realistically he didn't need to buy more. What he does need to do is work on what he has mentally—if they can learn to cope when things go wrong, they will be practically untouchable.

 

Manchester City

It is very hard to gauge City neutrally. On the one hand, they have acquired some good players...but on the other hand, they have failed in several key attempts and paid over the odds for others. On top of that, as much as City fan's will instantly deny it, they have only managed to sign what was convenient for others to sell.

The captures of Tevez and Adebayor for £25 million each are bizarre ones.

Tevez is certainly industrious and has boundless energy, but out of 52 performances last season he scored only 15 times. No wonder Fergie wouldn't stump up the money; for all his die-hard ethics and desire to win, Tevez simply doesn't produce the end result well enough for a centre-forward.

Adebayor, meanwhile, is almost a Berba figure on the field—talented, creative, effective, an absolute genius, yet always looks lazy. However there is a large difference off the field—whilst Berbatov spent more or less all year being criticized he kept his head down and played his football. On the other hand, when things go wrong for Adebayor he moans and whinges, which was probably Arsene's main desire to sell.

If you then consider that City have other strikers in Bellamy, Robinho and Santa Cruz, suddenly you wonder if all these moves have been wise; Tevez complained about lack of playing time last year when he was one of United's most regular squad picks and none of the other players will like being bench warmers, especially when City have only 38 games in the league and however long their cup runs last. Hughes may have bought some real quality but he will struggle to keep his strikers happy.

Meanwhile the City saga has seen as many flops as successes. They were practically the first team to sniff at Eto'o when it became apparent that he wanted to be just about anywhere but Barcelona and yet he went to Inter. They spent months trying for Terry only for him to say no. They persist with Lescott despite the fact that Moyes has said time and time again he won't sell, and now they face the possibility that Moyes will go to the FA, in which case there is a chance they will face some form of punishment. Leeds rejected their Delph bid because they felt that City had acted unprofessionally.

The signing of Barry for £12 million is perhaps their best to mention; once he gets playing no doubt he will shine, although once again £12 million for a player who only had one year left on his contract and is perhaps starting to wind down due to age is a lot.

Altogether, it is very hard to judge this team's bizarre summer window. They have signed players of quality for stupendous amounts of money, but they must now ensure that those players meet the standards to justify them. If they have a good season and finish in the top six, which they now have the players to do, all is well and in future we have a real contender to break the top four.

Sadly, however, I just can't see it. Mark Hughes has gone crazy with money and not really used it effectively; he has tried to bully other teams such as Everton only to fail, and bought only players such as Tevez and Adebayor which other teams were either resigned to losing or wanted to get rid of.

With another manager in charge, City could do amazing things in the Premiership, but I feel City fans may have to wait two or three seasons before it happens.

Although, it is probably inevitable that it will happen, sorry United and Chelsea fans...

 

Liverpool

There isn't a lot to say here really. Liverpool discovered to their horror at the start of the summer that their owners were sinking into debt; as a result, they probably wouldn't get much spending money.

However, despite this, they bought Glen Johnson for £18 million—a good deal for a great player. Johnson has shown time and time again that he is class so he should bolster Liverpool both with his forward play and his defensive capability.

The flip side of this was the loss of Arbeloa, however I doubt his presence will be missed too much with the acquisition of Johnson.

The main two talking points for Liverpool are probably Alonso and Aquilani.

Alonso, of course, went to Real Madrid for £30 million. As a replacement, Rafa bough Aquilani.

This is a very dubious deal.

Alonso was vital to Liverpool last year. He dominated the midfield, he tracked back, he chipped in with a few goals when needed and was just generally superb. To all intents and purposes, he was Liverpool's Spanish version of a younger Paul Scholes. However, after Benitez's poor treatment of him last year, when Real came knocking he instantly said he wanted to leave...what a surprise. And leave he did, taking a lot of midfield creativity with him.

Aquilani was supposed to be the solution, but this is a strange deal; he is very injury prone and already out until October. He never quite lived up to expectations for Roma, so how he will cope with the fast-paced brutality of the Premier League is going to be interesting.

We have already seen that Lucas and Mascherano can't really pair up at centre-midfield; they are both great defensive midfielders but don't offer any real attacking threat. If the ex-Roma man fails to live up to expectation, Liverpool have a real worry.

 

Portsmouth

This is a club in real trouble. Stuck in limbo during a protracted takeover bid, Portsmouth have sold almost all their quality over the last few months without really bringing in anything; Johnson, Defoe, Crouch just to name a few have all gone. Paul Hart has a very unenviable job here and I personally think this summer has been dreadful for them.

Those are the teams that I think had the most profound changes. Obviously, Tottenham are worth a mention with their big money spending since January, but I don't have the time or patience to write in depth about anyone else.

It's shaping up to be an interesting season...

Feel free to tell me I'm talking rubbish; everyone has their own opinion! But try to be constructive please...

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