As the transfer window finishes for another season many teams aim to cast a retrospective eye on their dealings over the summer, with plenty of movement making the coming weeks a promising prospect.
The Premier League has seen a number of high profile additions, including Diego Costa’s move to Chelsea and Mario Balotelli returning with Liverpool. It was Manchester United, though, who drew the most attention. Their squad, the most expensive in the league, was deepened with the acquisitions of Daley Blind and, the surprise of deadline day, Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco reportedly for a £6 million loan fee and wages of £280000 per week. Falcao’s arrival, supplementing the exits of Javier Hernandez to Real Madrid and Danny Welbeck to Arsenal, follows the purchase of Angel Di Maria for a British transfer record-breaking £59.7 million.
Although attention is most often grabbed by the high spending of the top sides it is more frequently the work of the smaller clubs, who operate with tighter budgets and so spend with greater consideration, which provides the more interesting acquisitions. While Manchester United continued their summer of spending in an effort to regain their previous form, conversely the likes of Burnley continued their frugal and considered approach to the transfer market. Di Maria’s transfer fee totalled more than Burnley have spent for players in their entire 103-year existence, while the Clarets have combined the youthful exuberance of current players like Danny Ings with the Premier League experience of Matty Taylor and Steven Reid.
Like Manchester United, Newcastle have similarly introduced a number of new faces into their first eleven. New arrivals Emmanuel Riviere, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat, Siem de Jong and Jack Colback have all featured in Newcastle’s opening games, with Janmaat among the scorers in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace. The two teams met with wholly different transfer philosophies, with Palace by far the quieter team in the transfer market. They have, however, added to their ranks, with new arrivals including Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly, the former Liverpool defender proving a key figure in the Eagles’ back line over their opening matches. New manager Neil Warnock, who returns to Selhurst Park after four years, has also reunited with another former Palace man, with Wilfried Zaha returning on loan from Manchester United to score a late equaliser away to Newcastle. While Newcastle have shown signs of promise it may take time for the new players to integrate and learn to play together, while Palace and their new signings aim to retain the promising form shown under Tony Pulis last season.
Only two teams reach the fourth weekend of the Premier League season with a perfect record of three wins, when both Chelsea and Swansea meet with both sides keen to preserve their impressive runs. Though the Swans have bought well during preseason – pacey winger Jefferson Montero has already showed promise, while the arrival Bafetimbi Gomis will take some of the goal-scoring weight off the shoulders of Wilfried Bony – their best acquisition continues to be last season’s appointment of manager Garry Monk. The managerial newcomer, who has seamlessly transitioned from player to manager at the Welsh club, signed a three year contract in May of last year, and has overseen his side’s best start in recent memory. Building on the momentum won with an opening day victory at Manchester United, Monk has guided his club to four consecutive wins and aims to carry that good form into the coming weeks.
Elsewhere Hull were surprisingly active, bringing Adel Hernandez, Gaston Ramirez, George Boyd, Mohamed Diamé and, most surprisingly, Hatem Ben Arfa, while Harry Redknapp demonstrated his well-known flair for last minute deals with the arrivals of Niko Kranjcar and Sandro.
With plenty of movement in a record-breaking window, totalling £835 million, the Premier League appears certain to offer more of the compelling performances seen thus far, while more British players are creating a presence abroad – Ashley Cole and Micah Richards moved to Serie A, with Roma and Fiorentina respectively. Additions will be keen to affect productive change at their new clubs, indicating this season’s continued intrigue.
Which signings might help their new sides achieve their ambitions?