Transfer window winners and losers

Slam; that’s the sound of the transfer window shutting for another six months leaving Jim White, Dharmesh Sheth, Andy Burton, David Craig and all the rest in need of a good lie down. Perhaps later they’re decide to drop their “sources” who gave out as much misleading information as a broken compass.

Anyway, after all the to-ing and fro-ing yesterday, who came out of the summer window as a winner and who a loser?

Winners

Stoke City

Brick by brick is the Stoke City mantra and, for the fourth summer in a row, Tony Pulis has added another solid layer to his project.

With the added fixtures of a Europa League campaign, squad depth was needed at the Britannia Stadium but Pulis has not bought in players for the sake of it; he has taken on experienced professionals that will fit into the mentality at the club.

Peter Crouch is a proven performer up top whilst Matt Upson and Jonathan Woodgate (assuming he stays injury free)would  add a touch of class to most defences. Perhaps a winger or two to support Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington would have been useful but that might be the next brick to be laid.

Manchester United

What do you do after a season when you win the Premier League and get to the Champions League final? Spend big of course.

Obviously it is easy to be a winner out of the transfer window when you have so much cash to splash (see Liverpool too), the key is to spend it well and Ferguson is a past master at that. Ashley Young and Phil Jones are set to get better and better while David De Gea’s potential is there for all to see.

Furthermore, clearing out the dead wood such John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Gabriel Obertan has streamlined the squad size down.

Liverpool

The Dalglish and Henry revolution continues at Liverpool with a massive twenty-four ins and outs taking place at the club over the Summer.

Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing have already proven to be wise acquisitions whilst Jose Enrique and Sebastien Coates should shore up a defence that needs to move away from a reliance on Jamie Carragher. Plus, the wildcard of Craig Bellamy could prove to be a masterstroke.

However, more important than the signings are the departures. The plethora of average or past-it players that amounted at the fag-end of the Rafael Benitez reign and during Roy Hodgson’s ill-fated stint at the club are nearly all gone, thus cutting wages whilst improving the whole squad.

 

Losers

Arsenal

The problems at the Emirates have been extensively written about it elsewhere so I shan’t linger here too long but the Gunners must certainly be considered losers this summer.

Losing arguably your two most influential players is bad enough and whilst the experience of Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun should be useful, no-one can say with a straight face that they are an improvement.

Meanwhile, the head of Per Mertesacker may be useful as he has been around the block a bit, his lack of pace could prove to be a problem.

The last day moves smack a bit of desperation on Arsene Wenger’s part who appears to have been unable to capture his long-term targets and having to settle on just whoever was available.

Everton

When a transfer window’s activity is defined by who you didn’t lose rather than who you brought in, there should be a cause for concern.

Yes, Everton have kept hold of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Jack Rodwell and Marouane Fellaini but the financial restrictions in place at Goodison Park are all too obvious to see with just the two loan signings consisting of an unknown Argentinan striker and a inconsistent, slightly mental Dutchman, although both do have the word potential liberally applied.

However, a squad already stretched so tight that youth team players filled the bench last season has been further weakened with the loss of Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu, whilst the former didn’t set the world on fire last season and the latter may be past his best, both would have been more than handy squad players in theory.

Aston Villa

The downward spiral at Villa Park since Randy Lerner’s decision to curb spending and the subsequent loss of Martin O’Neill looks set to continue.

Shay Given would walk into most Premier League team’s No. 1 shirt and Charles N’Zogbia is a great signing for a top ten side but just look at who they’re replacing. Ashely Young and Stewart Downing provided the attacking impetus to keep Villa up last year and Brad Friedel, even at the age of 40, kept things more than tight at the other end.

Gambles on Alan Hutton and Jermaine Jenas may well pay off but the squad as a whole looks a lot thinner than it did in May.

Jury’s out

Blackburn

It has been an odd summer for Blackburn, featuring the loss of some big names (Phil Jones and literally in the case of Benjani Mwaruwari and Zurab Khizanishvili), some interesting signings and one unwise advert.

Losing a player of Jones’ potential and the goal threat of Nikola Kalinic are both blows but their replacements are an interesting bunch that could go either away.

David Goodwillie (bringing yet more puns to Ewood Park) was a good goalscorer in Scotland but that doesn’t say a lot these days whilst Yakubu knows how to find the back of the net but has been on the slide these last few years. Scott Dann struggled without Roger Johnson by his side at Birmingham during the closing months of last season so question marks will be around him.

All that said, the amount spent by Blackburn shows their owners are putting their money where their mouth is to an extent.

Sunderland

A busy summer for the Black Cats concluded with self-proclaimed “best striker on the planet” Nicklas Bendtner joining on a season-long loan last night.

Jokes aside, Bendtner should provide much-needed support for Asamoah Gyan and whilst Wes Brown and John O’Shea were not good enough for Man United, they add nous to a Sunderland defence that can be leaky.

However, despite many of the incoming signings having shed-loads of top flight experience, they are probably not the kind of players who are going to push the club into challenging for Europe.

QPR

Quantity or quality? The usual Neil Warnock answer to that question is the former, particularly when it comes to forwards. However, Warnock has seemed to change as a manager recently and whilst QPR have brought in a lot of players this summer, there are all the sign that’s they could be the ones to keep them up.

Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Young and Joey Barton have all the know-how of life in the Premier League, as does Kieron Dyer if he could stay injury-free (big if mind).

However, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell are very much enigmas that both had great seasons last time out but question marks remain over consistency.

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