Transfer Deadline Day: 10 Things We Learned About the 2011/12 Season
The transfer market officially closed today at 11 p.m GMT. Many players moved, and the Premier League has a new look after the transfers.
We have learned a lot of things about the future and the upcoming season in the league. Things have changed. Teams are better. Teams are worse.
Here are 10 things we learned about the Premier League, its teams and its players this season.
10. Newcastle Don't Know How Lucky They Are
Newcastle fans do not appear to be too excited over the signing of left-back Davide Santon, but they should be.
Santon is one of the brightest young talents in the world and has broken through at one of the world's top clubs, Inter, in the past few seasons.
He will instantly improve the team's defense and is a more than adequate replacement for the lost Jose Enrique. The 20-year-old will be a great player in the Premier League for a long time, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him blossom into a top tier, elite player in the coming years.
9. Blackburn Are Good
Blackburn made two huge signings on the last day of the transfer window, bringing in defender Scott Dann and striker Yakubu.
They address two areas that needed improvement, and it should make a big difference. Dann will shore up the defense alongside Chris Samba, and Yakubu will make the attack a lot better.
Blackburn suddenly look rather strong.
Olsson - Samba - Dann - Salgado
Pedersen - Dunn - N'Zonzi - Hoilett
Yakubu - Formica
8. Sunderland Continue to Improve
Sunderland have built a strong team from a significant rebuild this summer, and that continued today.
The big move is of course the acquisition of Nicklas Bendtner. If he can walk the walk, which he continues to talk about, he can be a big success at Sunderland.
He joins on a season-long loan from Arsenal and will create a formidable strike force alongside Asamoah Gyan.
O'Shea - Bardsley - Brown - Richardson
Gardner - Sessegnon - Cattermole - Larsson
Gyan - Bendtner
Wickham will make for a great substitute and will be allowed to grow in the shadow of the two men ahead of him.
7. Kenny Dalglish Is a Smart Man
Liverpool are on top of the footballing world. They are one of the fastest growing, most exciting clubs in the world and are attracting a lot of talent.
It would be easy for Kenny Dalglish to sign some top players to improve his squad, but instead, he has gone out and made some really clever buys these past few days.
The Craig Bellamy signing will make a big impact at Anfield. The team needed an improvement over David N'Gog at backup striker, and Bellamy should do that. He brings a great change-up to Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and should be able to score quite a few goals coming off the bench.
With Suarez, Carroll, Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt, the Anfield strike force looks very, very strong.
6. Manchester City Aren't All About Money
When a team is rich, there is always one mistake they will inevitably make: They get carried away with the money and only sign expensive superstars.
Manager Roberto Mancini appeared to be falling into that trap at City, but he proved everyone wrong today by signing former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves. Albeit oft-injured, Hargreaves is a solid central midfielder who brings a good veteran presence and a great attitude to the team.
When fit, he could squeeze his way onto the first XI alongside—or instead of—Gareth Barry.
Hargreaves arrived on a free, appearance-related contract, which also speaks volumes. City won't just make expensive buys; they will make smart ones.
It is unclear if Hargreaves is moving house.
5. Tottenham Could Be in Trouble
To be fair, Spurs did sign some big players in the last few days, but you have to ask if it is enough for them to stay up among the league's top players.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker join, but Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch, Jamie O'Hara, Robbie Keane and Jonathan Woodgate leave. The big loss is Gary Cahill, who they couldn't wrap up a deal for, and you have to ask whether or not Luka Modric will be back to his best after the damage done this season.
Tottenham haven't started well. Have they done enough to turn it around?
4. QPR Are Serious
When they entered the new season, many saw Queens Park Rangers as the weakest link among the newly-promoted teams. They certainly proved doubters wrong today.
QPR made a big splash on deadline day, bringing in three players who will make a difference. Shaun Wright-Phillips is obviously the big splash. He'll come in and immediately improve all attacking options at Loftus Road, as well as take a lot of pressure off Adel Taarabt for goal scoring.
Anton Ferdinand greatly improves the defense. He is an established Premier League player who will become a leader among the Rangers' defensive corps. And Tommaso Trani adds depth in goal.
Suddenly, QPR look like a favourite for staying in the Premier League.
3. Stoke Have Built an Elite Strike Force
With what is around £15 million pounds, Stoke have all of a sudden assembled one of the premier strike partnerships in the league.
Cameron Jerome, Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones will join forces this upcoming season; Stoke's offensive prospects look very, very strong.
The three have an average height of almost 6'4" and will be an intimidating team this season. They have a great pair of wingers and look set to become an aerial force.
It doesn't matter how many goals you give up as long as you score more. The defense isn't that weak, but the attack has the potential to compete with the best.
2. The Chelsea-Liverpool Rivalry Grows
Chelsea have done it again—they have stolen one of Liverpool's key players. First Fernando Torres, now Raul Meireles. Liverpool aren't happy; they shouldn't be.
The rivalry was significant before, but now, it will be even fiercer. Reds fans will be furious, and the Chelsea fans will respond.
The teams meet on the 17th of November. If Meireles and Torres are both in the lineup, it promises to be a great game.
The next matchup is in the penultimate game of the season on the fifth of May 2012. The teams are a lot more evenly matched than the last few seasons and that game could have massive significance.
1. Arsenal Are Back
You would say losing 8-2 to Manchester United would represent the end of an era for Arsenal, and in many ways, you would be right. Today, Arsene Wenger resurrected that era.
Lost in all the news about Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving the Emirates are the arrivals of several players that fans hope will improve the squad.
Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are great prospects for the future, while the arrivals of Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun and Park Chu-Young all drastically improve the squad immediately.
Sagna - Vermaelen - Mertesacker - Santos
Benayoun - Arteta - Wilshere
Walcott - Van Persie - Gervinho
Suddenly, the team looks strong and look able to compete with the best. We have to remember that, while it has been a disastrous start, only three games have been played—and Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League.
They look strong for the first time in many years. Greener pastures are ahead.
Follow Jacob Ware on Twitter at @jacobware95