Now that the rumor mill is silent and the deals are done, Premier League clubs will have to make do with what they have—at least until January. As a whole, the league has spent more than £1.4 billion on transfers since June. Some clubs opened their wallets early and often, while others left it to the last minute. As per usual, the title contenders made the most noise. With the window now closed, it is time to take stock of which of the top six made the most of the opportunity, and which are left wondering what went wrong:
The Gunners brought in just two players, Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for a club record £46m and Sead Kolasinac from Schalke on a free transfer. After much talk, Alexis Sánchez stayed at the club, despite his desire to rejoin Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, as the Gunners ran out of time to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a replacement. How this will impact the Chilean’s play will go a long way to determining the outcome of Arsenal’s season. Most notable among a host of departures was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In a move indicative of the current state of Arsenal Football Club, the Ox took a significant pay cut to facilitate his transfer to Liverpool.
The champions brought in several quality players this summer; Álvaro Morata, Tiémoué Bakayoko, and Antonio Rüdiger all joining the club. However, the buys failed to please Antonio Conte. With the loss of Nemanja Matic and the sidelining of Diego Costa, these moves did little to strengthen last year’s side. With Champions League play now a factor, Conte hoped to add depth to a team that showed a frightening lack thereof last season. Overpaying for Torino fullback Davide Zappacosta was likely not what the Blues had in mind. Chelsea also made a concerted effort to add English players to the squad, but only Danny Drinkwater from Leicester made the move, after deals for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Everton’s Ross Barkley broke down.
Liverpool added strength and depth to their squad with the signings of Mohamed Salah from Roma, Oxlade-Chamberlain from the Gunners, and Hull’s Andrew Robertson. The Reds also secured the signature of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keïta, a long-standing target, though he will not join until next season. Keeping Philippe Coutinho despite Barcelona’s many attempts to prise him away may be seen as a success around Anfield, but reintegrating him into the side will be tricky. The club’s inability to sign a top class central defender, Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk their desired option, remains a concern.
After the much anticipated clear-out, City spent upwards of £200m to reinforce their side. Three new fullbacks, Kyle Walker from Spurs, Benjamin Mendy from Monaco, and Real Madrid’s Danilo, as well as Benfica goalkeeper Ederson, bolster a shaky defense. Another Monaco product, playmaker Bernardo Silva, joins a quality midfield. Despite the hefty outlay, Pep Guardiola’s club never managed to reach a deal for Alexis Sánchez, a primary target, and still seem very light in central defense.
The Red Devils completed their business early, splashing out £146m for just three players. Bringing in Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, and Victor Lindelof does, however, add strength to all of United’s problem areas. Lindelof is yet to feature, but Lukaku and Matic slotted in seamlessly and are already showing their worth at this early stage. José Mourinho made it known he wanted more signings, but will need to make do with the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will not play until the new year due to injury. Among several outgoing transfers, Wayne Rooney’s return to Everton leaves Michael Carrick as the only player left from the side that won the Champions League in 2008.
Spurs’ primary concern throughout the window was to retain their top players. With the exception of Kyle Walker, they managed the feat. Tottenham also added Davinson Sánchez from Ajax, Estudiantes’ Juan Foyth, and Serge Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain to further strengthen an already solid defensive unit. A late deal nabbed Fernando Llorente from Swansea as much-needed cover for Harry Kane. It is very much as you were for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who hope consistency and stability, rather than lavish spending, will yield success.