It is beyond us, the muppet within us all can be put to rest for a few months and finally Harry Redknapp can leave his Summer internship at the BBC as one of the transfer gossip columnists and get round to managing Spurs again.
It has been a fascinating window, one of those that has lived up to the hype and thoroughly changed the landscape of the footballing picture as we saw it.
Peculiarly, it hasn’t been about last minute deals as such, although there are always a few mega deals which inevitably slip under the radar in time, but well planned out spending and done early, in order for the new players to settle into new surroundings and provide the recieving team with a new impetus with which to attack the new season with.
Whilst this article will be concerned primarily with the in’s and outs of the Premier League this summer, an eye will also be cast on the giants of Europe and how their transfers will impact on their fortunes this season ahead. El Clasico for instance will be ram-packed full of new talent capable of adding new chapters to an already epic ever-changing narrative.
Anyway, on to the English Premiership first and a roundup of the business conducted this summer!
Arrivals: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton, £11m), Gervinho (Lille £10.7m), Chu Young Park (Monaco, £3m), Carl Jenkinson (Charlton, £1m), Joel Campbell (Deportivo Sarpissa,undisclosed), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen, undisclosed), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce, £6.2m), Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea, loan), Mikel Arteta (Everton, £10m).
Departures: Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona, £35m), Samir Nasri (Manchester City, £24m), Gael Clichy (Manchester City, £7m), Emmanuel Eboue (Galatasaray, £3m), Armand Traore (QPR, undisclosed), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Ipswich, undisclosed), Mark Randall (Chesterfield, free), Tom Cruise (released), Denilson (Sao Paulo, loan), Wellington (Levante, loan), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad, loan), Pedro Botelho (Rayo Vallecano, loan), Henri Lansbury (West Ham, loan), Joel Campbell (Lorient, loan), Nicklas Bendtner (Sunderland, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: Arsene if he had any sense, would’ve stocked up on forwards and centre-backs this summer, Ramsey and Wilshere may be inexperienced, but I’ll be damned if they’re not as good as the United duo of Anderson & Cleveley, yet one midfield is sandwiched by a world class attack & defence and the other is left completely vulnerable with no experienced, result-getting heads around them.
That said, on the last day of the window Wenger made some astute buys in Arteta and Benayoun, who should fill the midfield void left by the duo of Fabregas and Nasri, especially considering the young legs of Wilshere and Ramsey alongside them.
I’m not entirely sure about Mertesacker although he can’t be worse than Koscielny & co. Gervinho will be a hit and I’m willing to bet on Chamberlain proving a better wide player than Walcott, who needs to move into a forward position or be shipped out.
Who they should’ve brought: Gary Cahill, R. Lukaku, P. Jagielka, Sturridge (on loan)
Thoughts on their season ahead: Without those last minute buys, things were looking incredibly perilous for this Gunner’s side, but I think their only genuine threat for that top 4 finish is Liverpool and it will be a close run thing. If Vermalean & Van Persie stay fit all year, I’d back them, but that just doesn’t look likely.
The Trophy wait will continue.
Arrivals: Charles N’Zogbia (Wigan, £9.5m), Shay Given (Manchester City, £3.5m), Alan Hutton (Tottenham, undisclosed), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham, loan).
Departures: Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £20m), Ashley Young (Manchester United, £16m), Luke Young (QPR, undisclosed), Jonathan Hogg (Watford, undisclosed), Brad Friedel (Tottenham, free), Nigel Reo-Coker (Bolton, free), John Carew (West Ham, free), Robert Pires (released), Moustapha Salifou (released), Isaiah Osbourne (Hibernian, free), Andreas Weimann (Watford, loan), Jean Makoun (Olympiakos, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: After losing Barry, Milner and now Downing & Young, one can’t help but think, what should’ve been with this Villa side. A big wage bill consisting of mediocre talents, a squad which didn’t have enough of that quality across the pitch to complement these proven performers.
Out wide, they have N’Zogbia who is a big talent and a good signing to replace Downing, and with Young gone, Albrighton should step up and add some new elements to his game. Ireland will have to become more than a bit part player now to provide this industrious side with the flair it so badly lacks.
Bannan, should also be given the patience to develop into the side’s premier midfielder, however one can’t help but wonder, why on earth has Mcleish not looked to revamp the strikeforce?
Heskey, Agbonlahor and the yet to bear fruition Delfounso; it looks lightweight, especially if Darren Bent is injured. I think they’re a Jon Carew-like striker short, as Heskey isn’t good enough. Hutton is a decent signing for the RB position, but Jenas is Mr. Invisible, he’ll be fine but not anything special.
Who they should’ve signed: Kenwyn Jones, W. Palacios
Thoughts on their season ahead: I think there are some good new talents for the Villa faithful to watch this year, especially if Bannan, N’Zogbia & Ireland get going, but the question remains, is Mcleish the one to bring the best out of these flair players? Solid but not spectacular season in store.
Arrivals: Simon Vukcevic (Sporting Lisbon, £2m), David Goodwillie (Dundee United, £2m), Myles Anderson (Aberdeen, undisclosed), Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade, undisclosed), Bruno Ribiero (Gremio Prudente, free), Scott Dann (Birmingham, £6m), Yakubu (Everton, undisclosed).
Departures: Phil Jones (Manchester United, £16.5m), Frank Fielding (Derby, undisclosed), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro, undisclosed), Jason Brown (Aberdeen, free), Aaron Doran (Inverness, free), Zurab Khizanishvili (Kayserispor, free), Benjani (Portsmouth, free), Brett Emerton (Sydney FC, free), Maceo Rigters (released), Keith Andrews (Ipswich, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: Selling Jones and buying Dann as a replacement is astute business, buying a peak form Yakubu would’ve been a terrific signing but as it stands, I can’t see it being overly successful taking into light the guys injury problems. There’s quite a few exotic under the radar signings there, whether they’ll be a success I can’t really comment but Blackburn could do with some tricky players.
Who they should’ve brought: M. Diouf, J. Carew
Thoughts on their season ahead: Their squad doesn’t look great by any means and I reckon they could struggle this season unless those new signings prove hits. Bottom half, possible relegation dogfight.
Arrivals: Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears (Burnley, joint £3m), David Ngog (Liverpool, undisclosed), Darren Pratley (Swansea, free), Nigel Reo-Coker (Aston Villa, free), Tuncay (Wolfsburg, loan), Dedryck Boyata (Man City, loan), Gael Kakuta (Chelsea, loan)
Departures: Ali Al Habsi (Wigan, £4m), Matt Taylor (West Ham, £2.2m), Danny Ward (Huddersfield, undisclosed), Johan Elmander (Galatasaray, free), Tamir Cohen (Maccabi Haifa, free), Joey O’Brien (West Ham, free), Jlloyd Samuel (released), Gavin McCann (retired).
Thoughts on their dealings: I’m a big fan of Owen Coyle, a very smart manager who can smell a bargain and likes young mobile footballers. N’Gog and Kakuta, are good signings, who might take a while to bed in but once they do, they’ll be decent players for Bolton. Reo-Coker and Tuncay, are also solid talents, premiership quality players who if they can be motivated, could prove to be first team regulars.
That said, am very surprised he let go of Elmander, who looked at home in the Premiership but Klasnic will do his best to fill his role and expect Mark Davies to keep catching the eye, very talented young footballer.
Who they should’ve brought: G. Obertan
Thoughts on their season ahead: I think they’ll do well, top ten. With Coyle there another year, I think they will soon start pushing even into top 8 but that depends on the competition too but he’d doing a fine job regardless.
Arrivals: Juan Mata (Valencia, £29m), Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht, £20m), Thibaud Courtois (Genk, £5m), Oriol Romeu (Barcelona, £4.4m), Lucas Piazon (Sao Paulo, undisclosed), Ulises
Davila (Chivas Guadalajara, undisclosed), Raul Meireles (Liverpool, undisclosed)
Departures: Michael Mancienne (Hamburg, £3m), Slobodan Rajkovic (Hamburg, £1.8m), Yury Zhirkov (Anzhi, undisclosed), Nemanja Matic (Benfica, undisclosed), Fabio Borini (Parma, undisclosed), Michael Woods (released), Thibaud Courtois (Atletico Madrid, loan), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, loan), Ulises Davila (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Wigan, loan), Gael Kakuta (Bolton, loan), Yossi Benayoun (Arsenal, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: Mata & Lukaku will be hits at the Bridge, good signings IMO but Modric was a key asset who Roman should’ve bust a bollock to acquire. Getting rid of some deadwood was smart by AVB but one can’t help but think a few of their first team contains players living off past glories.
Who they should’ve brought: Modric, Sneijder, Neymar, Doni
Thoughts on their season ahead: So far not so good on the Chelsea front, whilst Drogba on the sideline has looked like a break with the past, it is not enough and there is a stale stench about Chelsea in their few outings so far. They are still lifeless in central midfield and unless the likes of Sturridge and McEachren are integrated into the side, I can’t evisage a big season from the Chelsea lads.
Arrivals: Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, loan), Denis Stracqualursi (Tigre, loan), Royston Drenthe (Real Madrid, loan).
Departures: Mikel Arteta (Arsenal, £10m), Jermaine Beckford (Leicester, £4m), James Vaughan (Norwich, £2.5m), Iain Turner (Preston, free), Kieran Agard (Yeovil, free), Hope Akpan (Crawley, free), Nathan Craig (released), Shane Duffy (Scunthorpe, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: Well one can’t really fault Everton’s dealings, as they’ve hardly done any. Losing Arteta and Beckford will significantly reduce their goal threat for the season ahead, but one could also argue that both players were not fantastic the season just gone. Ross Barkley will be a tremendous asset for them regardless and they’ll have to keep Saha fit for the entire season.
Who they should’ve brought: S. Long
Thoughts on their season ahead: They finished a respectable 7th last year, they’ll be round about there or just below this season. Don’t expect big things, this season will be all about keeping the ship steady.
Arrivals: Pajtim Kasami (Palermo, £4m), John Arne Riise (Roma, £2.4m), Marcel Gecov (Slovan Liberec, undisclosed), Dan Burn (Darlington, undisclosed), Csaba Somogyi (Rakospalotai, free), Zdenek Grygera (Juventus, free), Bryan Ruiz (Twente, £10.6m), Orlando Sa (Porto, free).
Departures: Jonathan Greening (Nottingham Forest, £670,000), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, undisclosed), Zoltan Gera (West Brom, free), Diomansy Kamara (Eskisehirspor, free), John Paintsil (Leicester, free), Eddie Johnson (released), Pascal Zuberbuhler (released). David Stockdale (Ipswich, loan), Lauri Dalla Valle (Dundee United, loan), Carlos Salcido (Tigres, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: The signings of Ruiz and Kasami, will go under the radar but will prove to be good buys. Jol has got rid of alot of deadwood, but I do question getting rid of Panstil, one of the League’s more eye-catching full-backs. Overall a good summer for FFC fans, Riise will prove to be a solid acquisition too.
Who they should’ve brought: G. Kakuta, D. Sturridge
Thoughts on their season ahead: I reckon they’ll do pretty well, if not same as last season then a minor improvement for sure. I reckon Ruiz will use Fulham as a platform for a bigger move, similar to L. Saha, possibly to Spurs or a club of that ilk.
Arrivals: Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £20m), Jordan Henderson (Sunderland, £16m), Charlie Adam (£9m), Jose Enrique (Newcastle, £6m), Alexander Doni (Roma, free), Sebastian Coates (Nacional, undisclosed), Craig Bellamy (Manchester City, free), Villyan Bijev (California Odyssey, undisclosed).
Departures: Joe Cole (Lille, loan) Christian Poulsen (Evian, undisclosed) Alberto Aquilani (AC Milan, loan), Paul Konchesky (Leicester, £1.5m), Emiliano Insua (Sporting Lisbon, undisclosed), Daniel Ayala (Norwich, undisclosed), Milan Jovanovic (Anderlecht, free), Sotirios Kyrgiakos (Wolfsburg, free), Tom Ince (Blackpool, free), Stephen Darby (Rochdale, loan), Daniel Pacheco (Atletico Madrid, loan), Christian Poulsen (Evian, undisclosed), David Ngog (Bolton, undisclosed), Raul Meireles (Chelsea, undisclosed), Villyan Bijev (Fortuna Dusseldorf, loan), Philipp Degen (released).
Thoughts on their dealings: One of the criticisms of Benitez was that he spent alot of money on average players and the genuine nuggets, your Torres’ and Alonso’s were few and far between. Well the same could be said about Kenny, although fair play to him he’s also shifting players at a fast rate if they’re not up to it. Downing and Enrique already look very comfortable, capable of hurting big teams and Coates/Bellamy will provide abit of bite and aggression, not to mention quality in important area’s of the pitch. Its the duo of Henderson and Adam, I’m more concerned with, they plug a gap in the midfield, both are they really of the quality of say Wilshere/Ramsey of Arsenal? Well not really but I guess its the fact they’re managed by Dalglish which will prove the telling factor.
Who they should’ve brought: N’Zogbia, Forlan, G. Cahill, E. Banega
Thoughts on their season ahead: Challenging Arsenal for the top 4 position will be their one and only aim, the League is beyond them. One aim at a time seems to be Kenny’s way of doing things. I reckon they can do it as tactically, they’re a superior team to the Gunners, despite not being as talented.
Arrivals: Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, £38m), Samir Nasri (Arsenal, £24m), Gael Clichy (Arsenal, £7m), Stefan Savic (Partizan Belgrade, £6m), Costel Pantilimon (Poli Timisoara, undisclosed), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United, free).
Departures: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich, £10m), Shay Given (Aston Villa, £3.5m), Felipe Caicedo (Levante, £880,000), Jo (Internacional, undisclosed), Shaleum Logan (Brentford, free), Javan Vidal (released), Patrick Vieira (retired), Abdisalam Ibrahim (NEC Nijmegen, loan), Michael Johnson (Leicester, loan), Ben Mee (Burnley, loan), Ryan McGivern (Bristol City, loan), Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham, loan), Dedryck Boyata (Bolton, loan), Roque Santa Cruz (Real Betis, loan), Vladimir Weiss (Espanyol, loan), John Guidetti (Feyenoord, loan), Shaun Wright-Phillips (QPR, undisclosed), Craig Bellamy (Liverpool, free).
Thoughts on their dealings: Some serious heavyweight quality brought in, the likes of Aguero and Nasri will be excellent signings. Funnily enough, its at the back where I think they could be doing alot better; for a defence-minded manager, he doesn’t really sign quality defenders with Kompany remaining their one quality defender across the back four.
Who they should’ve brought: T. Vermalean, F. Contreaeo, Lucio, P. Jones
Thoughts on their season ahead: I think they’ll end up in the CL semi’s if the draw goes easy on them, capable of a few upsets along the way too. I reckon they’ll finish runners up, with the defence being revamped next season.
Arrivals: David De Gea (Atletico Madrid, £17.8m), Phil Jones (Blackburn, £16.5m), Ashley Young (Aston Villa, £16m).
Departures: Gabriel Obertan (Newcastle, £3.25m), Wes Brown (Sunderland, £1m), John O’Shea (Sunderland, undisclosed), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester City, free), Paul Scholes (retired), Edwin van der Sar (retired), Bebe (Besiktas, loan), Ritchie de Laet (Norwich, loan).
Thoughts on their dealings: Well two of the signings have been instant hits, the goalkeeper is looking like a slow burner although at this moment it is more Taibi than Van Der Sar. I think he’ll come good once he polishes his game technically. The lack of a midfielder is a gaping hole, which I’m still in disbelief they haven’t seeked to rectify, especially considering the injury prone nature of Anderson.
Who they should’ve brought: Tiote, Kagawa, Modric
Thoughts on their season ahead: I think the Premiership is United’s to lose, they possess a fantastic defence and strikeforce.. but I think in the CL, unless the right players are fully fit, United could be found wanting. Semi-finalists or losing finalists once again.