Who has done the best business this summer?
The transfer window has slammed shut for another summer (it never closes gently, does it?), and squads have started to take shape even though we’re already four games into the new Premier League season.
As the 11pm deadline passed on Monday night, clubs were scrambling to get late business completed before locking their 25-man squads in, and it was a busy day.
But who were the ‘winners’ of the transfer window? And who must do better? We’ve ranked all 20 Premier League clubs’ deals, and we’ll start with the top of the pile.
1. Aston Villa
Signings: Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Ross Barkley (loan), Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore.
Let’s be honest, Villa needed a strong transfer window this summer. They barely scraped survival last season thanks to someone forgetting to turn on goal line technology against Sheffield United, and they’ve done just that.
They needed a goalkeeper, so spent £20m bringing in Martinez from Arsenal, which almost instantly proved good business as he saved a penalty on his debut. They also needed goals, so have brought in Ollie Watkins, who helped himself to a perfect first-half hat-trick against the reigning Premier League champions. Not a bad way to start paying off a transfer fee (£28m) that many baulked at.
Ross Barkley also brings added creativity to a side that was far too reliant on Jack Grealish last season, and Bertrand Traore and Matty Cash also bring depth to positions Villa were struggling in last season. Traore has looked bright in League Cup action, while Cash has instantly made the right-back place his own.
Their start to the season has reflected their transfer business, and it could be a great season for the Villans. They’ve ‘won the transfer window’ for us.
Signings: James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, Robin Olsen (loan), Niels Nkounkou, Ben Godfrey.
Usually, Everton are perennial winners of the transfer window before flattering to deceive when the season starts. Every year they seem like they’ve done great business, only to be struggling to crack the top seven halfway through the season.
Maybe the problem was the manager? This season, under Carlo Ancelotti, the Toffees have been able to attract a calibre of player fans could only dream of in recent years, with James Rodriguez on a FREE transfer the pick of the bunch.
Rodriguez’s creativity and threat, combined with Allan’s destructive nature in holding midfield and Doucoure’s energy has transformed Everton into a good-looking side, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagging goals for fun up front. The loan signing of Robin Olsen should put enough pressure on Jordan Pickford to make him start catching crosses and loose balls in the box, while Niels Nkounkou has looked excellent at left-back in the League Cup, and a handy backup to Lucas Digne.
Ben Godfrey is also one of England’s most promising defenders and provides top quality backup and competition for the likes of Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate.
3. Tottenham Hotspur
Signings: Giovanni Lo Celso, Matt Doherty, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Joe Hart, Gareth Bale (loan), Carlos Vinicius.
As we move into Jose Mourinho’s first full season at Spurs, he’s starting to assemble a squad with his hallmarks all over it.
Lo Celso’s permanent transfer looks good business, while Hojbjerg is showing signs of giving Spurs’ midfield some muscle as well as guile. His pass for Serge Aurier’s goal against Man United was proof of his underrated playmaking ability.
Doherty is a clear upgrade at right-back, despite his issues with giving away penalties for handball, and Sergio Reguilon on the other flank should be a long-term solution to their left-back issues, with Danny Rose heading for the exit.
Gareth Bale has something of a point to prove when he gets fit, and if he can produce the kind of form he last showed in the Premier League, Spurs could easily challenge at the top end of the table.
Carlos Vinicius scored goals for fun in Portugal last season and comes in as a backup to Harry Kane, which is much needed as Kane can’t play every game in three competitions and be expected to score the majority of the goals.
Signings: Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech, Malang Sarr
It’s safe to say Frank Lampard has made up for lost time after Chelsea’s transfer ban. £222m spent and more arrivals than Heathrow has brought huge expectations at Stamford Bridge.
If Lampard can get them to gel, the sky’s the limit for Chelsea, with Havertz, Werner and Ziyech potentially forming a potent trident for the Blues.
Last season there was weaknesses at left-back and goalkeeper, so Lampard has brought in Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy, who have both looked good so far.
Thiago Silva brings experience to defence, while Malang Sarr will head out on loan after arriving on a free.
Signings: Gabriel, Pablo Mari, Willian, Runar Alex Runarsson, Cedric Soares, Thomas Partey
Since Mikel Arteta took over at the Emirates, things have started to look positive for Arsenal.
They’ve won an FA Cup, beating Chelsea and Manchester City en route, and they’ve done some fine looking business in the transfer window this summer to back the Spaniard.
It’s no secret their defence needed sorting out, so Gabriel signing from Lille was a good start to the window, and with William Saliba returning from a loan spell and Pablo Mari signing permanently, Arteta now has options at the back.
Reports about Runarsson haven’t been glowing, but the backup Icelandic goalkeeper won’t play much and is there to provide cover for Bernd Leno.
The deadline day signing of Thomas Partey is a fantastic piece of business though, and should give the Gunners the energy and bite in midfield they’ve lacked for some years.
6. Leeds United
Signings: Robin Koch, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Diego Llorente, Helder Costa, Illan Meslier, Jack Harrison (loan), Joe Gelhardt
Despite their style and tactics under Marcelo Bielsa, it was always going to be the case that Leeds needed to add quality to their squad this season, and that’s what they’ve done in the transfer market.
Splashing £30m on Rodrigo was a signal of intent, with another raid on Spain for Diego Llorente also likely to add further quality at the back. Robin Koch has had a mixed start to life in England but looks capable, while the loan extension of Jack Harrison from Manchester City for a third year looks like great business.
Illan Meslier, despite looking like a 12-year-old that’s lost his mother in a supermarket, has impressed so far since making his move from Lorient permanent, and Helder Costa has started brightly, scoring twice already.
Raphinha must adapt quickly to pay off his £20m fee, but with Bielsa-ball in full swing, that’s entirely possible as Leeds continue their bright start.
7. Manchester City
Signings: Ferran Torres, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias
After finishing way off the pace last season, City needed a summer of investment to bridge the gap.
Defensive reinforcements were paramount, and Ake and Dias signing for a combined fee of just over £100m should do the trick. Ake can also cover left-back as Pep Guardiola continues to search for a long-term solution for that position.
Despite possibly needing one, a striker never arrived at the Etihad and an injury to Gabriel Jesus is a problem with Sergio Aguero still sidelined. However, signing a striker isn’t easy when those two are lurking in the background, hence Guardiola’s decision to stick with what he’s got and promote Liam Delap to the first team squad.
Ferran Torres replaces the outgoing Leroy Sane and should be a valuable addition once he properly settles. Overall, it’s a decent window for the former back-to-back Premier League winners.
Signings: Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara
It looked for a long time like Liverpool were at an impasse in their summer spending, with Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards struggling to find players to join a successful squad without paying huge sums.
Then all of a sudden their window exploded, with Diogo Jota and Thiago signing within the space of a weekend. Negotiations with Thiago dragged on forever, before the Premier League champions finally agreed a price and signed the midfielder from Bayern, which looks like fine business.
His signature could go down as the moment they became clear favourites for the title once again, and even though Jota seems overpriced at £40m, there is now more quality to Liverpool’s attacking depth. Tsimikas is little more than a squad player, but still provides cover at left-back for Andy Robertson.
9. Leicester City
Signings: Timothy Castagne, Wesley Fofana, Cengiz Under (loan)
It hasn’t been a busy transfer window for the Foxes, but they’ve brought in quality. Castagne already looks like a top signing after scoring and assisting in his first four games, and with the sale of Ben Chilwell, Leicester’s transfer business comes in at under £10m net spend.
That includes the £30m signing of Fofana from St. Etienne, as the highly rated teenager comes with a big reputation. He could be part of a Leicester back three going forward, or a replacement for Caglar Soyuncu if he is sold in the next 12 months.
Cengiz Under is a smart signing on a temporary basis, bringing more firepower to an attack that features an evergreen Jamie Vardy and new England international Harvey Barnes.
10. Newcastle United
Signings: Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick, Jamal Lewis, Mark Gillespie
Newcastle are never the most logical in the transfer market, but this summer it seems like they’ve made some sensible signings.
Callum Wilson guarantees goals, and even though he doesn’t fit the usual Newcastle policy of being under 26 with sell-on value, he’s well worth the £20m outlay, as four goals in four games has proven.
Fraser and Hendrick on free transfers is typical bargain hunting by Mike Ashley and his board, but Jamal Lewis is a smart investment at left-back. The Northern Ireland international was Liverpool’s first choice defensive target before a move broke down over doubts about game time. He’s already looking promising linking with Allan Saint-Maximin on Steve Bruce’s left wing.
Signings: Fabio Silva, Nelson Semedo, Marcal, Vitinha (loan), Rayan Ait-Nouri (loan), Ki-Jana Hoever, Matija Serkic.
It’s been a busy window from Nuno Santo and co, with half of Portugal arriving at Molineux.
Selling Matt Doherty and signing Barcelona’s right-back sounds like great business, even though many believe Semedo was never good enough to make it at the Camp Nou.
Fabio Silva arrives with a huge price tag and lots of hype to live up to, while the rest of Wolves’ arrivals are all unproven in the Premier League, hence why they’re in mid-table on this list. Vitinha, Ait-Nouri and Hoever could all go on to be top players, but right now there’s no guarantees. Losing Jota could also affect them if no one steps up, but Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto look more than capable.
12. Manchester United
Signings: Donny Van de Beek, Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles
If we’d wrote this list yesterday before 5pm, Man United would have been in the bottom three. At the last minute, they finally completed a deal for Alex Telles that has been sat on the table for a month, and then announced Edinson Cavani who they could have signed six weeks ago.
It all screams panic for United, but the players they have signed this summer are undoubtedly quality players, hence their position on this list. They needed more for sure, but the ones they’ve got should be good enough to plug some of the gaps in their squad.
Telles should easily displace Luke Shaw, while Cavani’s experience could be a valuable asset for a young attack, if they can get him fit after seven months without a game.
Van de Beek should be fuming after not making the starting XI for a league game since his arrival, especially as we’re seeing the worst of Paul Pogba, rather than his best.
Some of the deadwood at Old Trafford has been cleared as Andreas Pereira and Chris Smalling left for opposite halves of Rome with Lazio and Roma, but there’s more to be done if United are to move forwards properly.
Sergio Romero wanted a move and didn’t get one, while Phil Jones and Brandon Williams may get temporary domestic moves before the England-only window shuts.
Overall, it could and should have been a lot better for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Ed Woodward and the board are the ones to blame.
13. Sheffield United
Signings: Rhian Brewster, Aaron Ramsdale, Max Lowe, Jaden Bogle, Oli Burke, Ethan Ampadu (loan), Wes Foderingham, Ismaila Coulibaly
The problem Sheffield United had last season was scoring goals, and they’ve addressed that by signing Liverpool’s highly-rated Rhian Brewster for over £20m. It’s a gamble that needs to pay off for Chris Wilder after four straight defeats at the start of the season.
The rest of his signings are as you’d expect – young, British and relatively cheap (with the exception of Aaron Ramsdale, who was almost £20m). The problem is none are really first team starters except Ramsdale, who is decent enough but nowhere near Dean Henderson’s level.
Lowe and Bogle will mostly be backups for Sam Baldock and Enda Stevens, while Ethan Ampadu sits on the bench unless Chris Basham, John Egan or Jack O’Connell get injured or suspended. Coulibaly simply won’t play many league minutes, while Foderingham is a backup goalkeeper. Burke has started quite brightly, but has never shown Premier League quality during his career yet.
Wilder needs to capture the spirit and quality of last season if the Blades are to consolidate this year.
Signings: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (loan), Ola Aina (loan), Alphonse Areola (loan), Joachim Andersen (loan), Ademola Lookman (loan), Mario Lemina (loan), Tosin Adarabioyo, Harrison Reed, Anthony Knockaert, Kenny Tete, Antonee Robinson
Christ, more loans than Blockbuster. And Fulham could be out of business soon, too.
It’s clear from the first four games that Fulham desperately needed quality quickly, so transfer deadline day was busy for them. They finally confirmed Loftus-Cheek past midnight, and they need him to produce for them ASAP.
Despite all their business, none of them are guaranteed quality that you need to stay in the Premier League. Last time they came up from the Championship, they spent £100m and went back down, this time they’ve spent barely a third of that, but the same fate will likely await.
The problem with too many loans is do they care enough to roll up their sleeves and fight for you? Andersen might well go back to Lyon and forget he ever played for Fulham, Loftus-Cheek’s long-term future is still at Chelsea, Lookman will use Craven Cottage as a platform to get a permanent move back to England, and Areola is at the club purely to ensure he goes to Euro 2021 with France.
The players they’ve brought in aren’t bad at all, but you still worry about creating enough for Aleksandar Mitrovic up front and building a brand new defence that can gel and keep the goals out.
15. Crystal Palace
Signings: Eberechi Eze, Nathan Ferguson, Michy Batshuayi (loan)
Palace’s problem is that despite their business being shrewd, there’s just not that much of it.
Eze looks bright but you don’t get the feeling Roy Hodgson is enough of an attacking coach to start them both regularly.
Ferguson is promising but injured, while Batshuayi hasn’t yet started a game since joining on loan for the season from Chelsea.
The biggest own goal was letting Alexander Sorloth go though, as the Eagles allowed him to join Trabzonspor last summer on a two-year loan with no recall option, before watching him smack 30+ goals and move to RB Leipzig this summer.
The £18m they got for the Norwegian had already been spent on Eze, meaning Palace ended the window with a profit from their business. That essentially means they’ve spent nothing this summer, which isn’t cause for high hopes despite their decent start to the season.
Signings: Adam Lallana, Joel Veltman, Jan Paul van Hecke, Michal Karbownik, Andi Zeqiri, Jakub Moder
Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of four of those signings, because we haven’t either.
Moder, Karbownik and van Hecke have all gone back on loan to their previous clubs and are seen as future prospects, which doesn’t help the Seagulls this season.
Brighton’s summer business started well with Adam Lallana joining for free, but then you remember he gets injured a lot and the fact he hasn’t made it through 90 minutes in the league yet backs that up.
Veltman for under £1m is also good business but he’s not a first-choice defender, with the trio of Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk and Ben White picking themselves when fit.
Still, Brighton should have more than enough to enjoy a comfortable season, but their summer business can’t be regarded as a massive success.
Signings: Mohamed Salisu, Kyle Walker-Peters, Ibrahima Diallo, Theo Walcott (loan)
Quite a quiet one for Saints this summer, but still over £30m spent. They’ve ranked low on this list purely because Salisu and Diallo are completely unproven and haven’t came from massive clubs (Real Valladolid and Stade Brest), so their quality is hard to measure.
Walker-Peters looks a solid enough signing, but you feel Southampton could have done more to build on a good end to last season. Theo Walcott is a risk-free loan that could provide some valuable experience.
Overall, losing Hojbjerg could be massive, and it’s down to Saints to prove they can thrive without him.
18. West Bromwich Albion
Signings: Branislav Ivanovic, Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira, Cedric Kipre, David Button, Callum Robinson, Conor Gallagher (loan), Filip Krovinovic (loan)
Other than making last season’s loans permanent, the Baggies have been pretty quiet in the market. Signing a 36-year-old Ivanovic doesn’t send out the message that you’re not worrying about shipping goals either.
Diangana and Pereira are good players no doubt, but their consistency at Premier League level is unproven, despite some signs of promise early on.
Their defence still looks weak and a lack of goals up front is a concern, and it could be a long season for Slaven Bilic and co.
19. West Ham United
Signings: Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal
It’s been a disaster this summer for the Hammers, as they made more money from sales than they spent on arrivals.
Grady Diangana joining West Brom annoyed everyone, and prompted an angry tweet from Mark Noble, and no one was brought in to replace him.
Other than making Soucek a permanent singing at the end of last season, only Coufal arrived late in the window from Slavia Prague.
David Gold reportedly paid for the right-back out of his own money, coughing up £5.5m for a player Soucek undoubtedly told them about.
They’ve also took a hit by letting Jack Wilshere leave by mutual consent, while Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez were also released for free. Promising youngster Josh Cullen was allowed to go to Anderlecht, while not so promising Albian Ajeti joined Celtic.
Considering West Ham barely survived last season, it seems like they needed to spend more this summer to make this season more comfortable.
Signings: Dale Stephens, Will Norris
Poor old Burnley. It’s almost like their style of football doesn’t attract many players.
Sean Dyche has welcomed barely anyone to Turf Moor this summer, and considering Burnley have lost all of their first three games this season, it seems like new arrivals are desperately needed.
I highly doubt many Clarets fans erupted with excitement when Dale Stephens signed from Brighton, and the fact Dyche described him as a “good, solid pro” kind of tells you everything about the midfielder. Third choice goalkeeper Will Norris didn’t provide much fanfare either.
James Tarkowski decided to stay, which could be massive, and Burnley don’t seem to have many youth prospects coming through to bridge the gap left by a lack of spending.
It feels like Dyche has ran his course at the club, and it would be no surprise to see them part ways during or after this season. Burnley’s owner Mike Garlick needed to back a manager that once got his club playing European football (for about two weeks, but still), but instead he’s given him pocket change, spending just £990k.