Now that the summer transfer window has officially closed, it’s time to get down to business on the pitch for all twenty teams in the EPL. While some clubs made big moves in the transfer market, others stood pat or were left with holes that still need to be filled.
For the newly promoted sides, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City their main priority for the season is to retain their Premier League status and avoid the drop back down to the Championship. With that being the case, it’s worth investigating how the three clubs fared during the summer’s “silly season” and evaluating the results of each club’s activity or inactivity.
Of the three sides, Queens Park Rangers made the biggest splash in the market and have solidified their team with a number of veteran players with Premier League experience.
After bad boy Joey Barton was told by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley that he could leave St. James Park for free, the volatile midfielder signed a four year deal with QPR. Despite his reputation, Barton is a solid player and will bring strength and passion to Neil Warnock’s side.
Midfielder Kieron Dyer was a great pickup by QPR over the summer, with the former England international having played for both West Ham and Newcastle in the past. Despite an injury suffered in QPR’s first game, Dyer is expected back sooner than first thought.
Of the three newly promoted sides which one has the best chance to stay in the Premier League?
QPR made some great additions to their defense adding Sunderland’s Anton Ferdinand, Aston Villa’s Luke Young and Arsenal’s Armand Traore all on three year deals. Additionally, former West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon joined Rangers on a one year contract.
On the goalkeeping front, former AC Milan youth player, 17 year-old Tommaso Trani was signed for two years after being released by Milan.
QPR also strengthened their striker force significantly with the additions of former Wolves and Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd and Blackpool’s leading scorer last season D.J. Campbell.
Perhaps, QPR’s greatest acquisition, however, is the signing of England international and former Manchester City and Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips had become a forgotten man at Manchester City and his move to Loftus Road will give QPR a motivated and established Premier League veteran.
While Rangers have gotten off to a mediocre start, winning one of their first three games, the team’s activity in the summer transfer market should solidify their squad for the long season ahead.
Norwich City were pretty quite on transfer deadline day, however, they did make some moves earlier in the summer.
The Canaries biggest pick up is striker James Vaughan from Everton. The 23-year-old spent most of the past few seasons on loan with Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Derby County but did make 47 appearances with the Toffees. Vaughan has also represented England at the Under-21 level.
Manager Paul Lambert also added centre-back Daniel Ayala most recently of Liverpool and formerly of Sevilla. Ayala spent last season out on loan with both Hull and Derby County.
Also joining Norwich is former Millwall striker Steve Morison who scored 35 goals in 83 appearances for the East London club. His play with Millwall put him on Paul Lambert’s radar and he will now have the chance to play top flight football.
Although Norwich did not bring in any big names or make a lot of noise in the transfer market, Norwich fans have faith in manager Paul Lambert. Many supporters believe that Norwich is holding back funds for the January transfer window when the team will know more about where they stand in the league.
Swansea City are making their first ever appearance in the Premier League having won promotion by defeating Nottingham Forest and Reading in the Championship playoffs. They also represent the first Welsh team in the Premier League since its formation in 1992.
The Swans were pretty quite in the transfer window, but did make a few notable signings including veteran striker Leroy Lita who spent time in the Premier League with Reading.
Winger Wayne Routledge signed a three year deal from Newcastle in early August. Routledge brings EPL experience; however, he has the dubious distinction of being the only player to have played for seven different top flight clubs without ever scoring a Premier League goal.
Also joining the Swans on loan is Tottenham centre-back and England Under-21 international Steven Caulker who has yet to make an appearance for Spurs. Another centre-back loaned out to Swansea is Algerian Rafik Halliche of Fulham. While Halliche has only made one appearance for Fulham, he did play for Algeria in the 2010 World Cup.
Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm has been given the starting role for Swansea after having signed this summer from FC Utrecth.
Swansea City has a squad with very little Premier League experience. The Swans may be relegation favorites, but only time will tell which teams will be involved in the relegation battle next spring.