As in years past, the biggest clubs took most of the headlines in the summer transfer season. While they went about their business more quietly, several smaller clubs, by combining short-term loans and smart purchases, pulled off some of the best deals of the window. In particular, three clubs made the most of the Premier League transfer window. The shrewdness shown by Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, and West Bromwich Albion demonstrated that clubs need not always spend big to strengthen their teams.
Of all the promoted clubs, the Terriers showed the most ambition in the summer window. Though the last club to qualify for the current league season, Huddersfield started adding to their squad shortly after winning the Championship playoff final. The club made a loan deal for Manchester City’s Aaron Mooy permanent and added Montpellier forward Steve Mounié for a club record £11.5m, and the pair combined to score all of the team’s goals so far this campaign. Derby’s Tom Ince, Copenhagen’s Mathias Jorgensen, and Jonas Lossl from Mainz also joined preseason and went directly into the first team. Veterans Danny Williams from Reading and Leeds’ Rob Green signed on free transfers to further strengthen a team already going well in the league.
Swansea languished at the bottom of the table for much of last season, saved by a tremendous run that saw them win four of their last five matches. In order to avoid a similar fate, Paul Clement’s club have done well to add quality to the side. The losses of Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton and Fernando Llorente to Tottenham will be hard to replace. Signing Sam Clucas from Hull City and Roque Mesa from Las Palmas bolsters the midfield, while bringing Wilfried Bony back from Manchester City will offset the loss of Llorente’s goals. Two loan deals, however, best demonstrate Swansea’s transfer savvy. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, has already shown flashes of real ability during his run in the side, and the signing of Renato Sanches (albeit on loan) from Bayern Munich, where Clement was an assistant coach, may be the steal of the window.
West Bromwich Albion
Perennial mid-table side West Brom quietly had one of the best transfer windows in the league, adding quality from back-to-front. Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez and Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig bring plenty of attacking intent to a side often lacking in that department. Gareth Barry adds a veteran presence to the side, and left-back Kieran Gibbs fills a trouble spot in the back line. The Baggies also made an unexpected loan deal for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, who adds class to the steel of the West Brom midfield. Tony Pulis sides are not known for attacking ambition or playing eye-catching football. However, a strong start and positive moves in the transfer window may signal a change at the Hawthorns.