The glorious Pablo kicks off our 3 day, 3 part transfer extravaganza where we list every deal in the bloody league and give our two cents on what the business will mean for the season ahead.
INS: Lukas Podolski (£11m, FC Köln), Olivier Giroud (£13m, Montpellier), Santi Cazorla (£16m, Malaga).
OUTS: Rhys Joe Campbell (loan, Real Betis), Denilson (loan, Sao Paulo), Manuel Almunia (free, Watford), Benik Afobe (loan, Bolton), Carlos Vela (undiscl, Real Sociedad), Ryo Miyaichi (loan, Wigan), Wellington Silva (loan, Ponferrada), Robin van Persie (£24m, Manchester United), Alex Song, (£15m, Barcelona), Henri Lansbury (£1m, Nottingham Forest), Ju Young Park, (loan, Celta Vigo), Nicklas Bendtner (loan, Juventus)
Had Arsenal kept Robin “the little boy inside me” Van Persie you’d have to say they had improved their squad significantly with more midfield guile in the form of Santi Cazorla, and more attacking threat up top in the form of Giroud and Podolski. The only problem was RVP let “the little boy inside me” do all his talking and as we all know, it’s hard to convince “little boys” to do anything productive when they start to whinge like bitches. Noticeable “outs” apart from the Dutchman with a child inside him is Alex Song, primed for a midfield ‘enforcer’ role the Cameroonian actually played quite well in dribs and drabs last season and may be missed in the middle until Wilshere (who is an actual “little boy”) gets back anyway. In other good news Bendtner left. In other bad news the ‘Moroccan Bendtner’ Marouane Chamakh stayed.
INS: Brett Holman (free, AZ Alkmaar), Karim El Ahmadi (undiscl, Feyenoord), Matthew Lowton (undiscl., Sheffield United), Ron Vlaar (£3million, Feyenoord), Joe Bennett (undiscl, Middlesbrough), Jordan Bowery (£500,000, Chesterfield), Ashley Westwood (£2m, Crewe), Christian Benteke (£7m, Genk)
OUTS: Emile Heskey (released), Carlos Cuellar (free, Sunderland), James Collins (undiscl., West Ham), Nathan Delfouneso (loan, Blackpool)
Anyone remember David O’Leary’s “babies”? A lot has been said recently about Aston Villa’s squad (or lack there-of), and blame for last seasons 16th place finish was laid at the feet of one Alex McLeish but some of the blame must lie with the owner, Randy Lerner. Martin O’Neil did a runner when he was told there was no money left. Since then, Houllier, McLeish and now Paul Lambert have been there to pick up the pieces of a dilapidated squad made up of youngsters and players who are cheaper options than the Youngs, Downings and Milners of this world. For all his good work at Norwich, Lambert has his work cut out, and will be judged on his summer signings. The rather large Belgian Christian Benteke will hopefully offer a bit of force to a threadbare front line. El Ahmadi and Ashley Westwood signed to give the midfield a bit of competition (although no experience whatsoever). Ron Vlaar may need time to settle in the side but seems to have the qualities needed to adapt to life in the Premier League (as long as he puts his Euro 2012 wobbles behind him).
INS: Marko Marin (£6million, Werder Bremen), Eden Hazard (£32million, Lille), Thorgan Hazard (undisclosed, Lens), Oscar (£25million, Internacional), Cesar Azpilicueta (£7million, Marseille), Victor Moses (£9million, Wigan).
OUTS: Jose Bosingwa (free, QPR), Didier Drogba (free, Shanghai Shenhua), Thibault Courtois (loan, Atletico Madrid), Salomon Kalou (free, Lille), Kevin de Bruyne (loan, Werder Bremen), Romelu Lukaku (loan, West Brom), Josh McEachran (loan, Middlesbrough), Thorgan Hazard (loan, Zulte Waregem), Gael Kakuta (loan, Vitesse Arnhem), Michael Essien (loan, Real Madrid), Yossi Benayoun (loan, West Ham)
Well, it’s been a while since Chelsea have splashed this sort of cash… Marin, Oscar, Hazard and Moses have been drafted in to provide yet more bullets for the epically bipolar Fernando Torres. After last season’s Drogba led charge in Europe and the FA cup, it seems this is Di Matteo’s platform to push on and create a side capable of doing the thing Roman Abramovich has wanted all along, the ability to play “actual football”. Midfield has been bolstered with attacking options but the #9 position still seems quite vacant with only Torres realistically able to occupy it. They were linked with Hulk, Falcao and some dude called Shirley from Schalke, but nothing materialized. Meanwhile Roman Lukaku off to get experience on loan at WBA and Michael Essien has taken a year out to visit Real Madrid for a season (Quite why that loan deal happened is a mystery). Right back has also had some cover provided for by the highly rated *clears throat, “ATH-PILLY-QOO-WETA” moving in, in place of the divine eyebrow José Boswinga. Paulo Ferriera continues to still pick up a wage despite doing nothing.
INS: Steven Naismith (free, Rangers), Steven Pienaar (£4.5million, Tottenham), Kevin Mirallas (£6m, Olympiakos), Bryan Oviedo (undisc, FC Copenhagen), Matthew Kennedy (nominal, Kilmarnock).
OUTS: Marcus Hahnemann, James McFadden (released), Tim Cahill (nominal, New York Red Bulls), Joseph Yobo (£2.5m, Fenerbache), Jack Rodwell (£15m, Man City)
Everton find themselves in a strange position this season, they have a settled team. Last year saw just 2 loan arrivals in Stretch Armstrong (Denis Stracqualursi) and the new Andy Van Der Meyde (Roysten Drenthe, who also loves a drink or 10, the reason for him being shipped out early). This year the Toffees have spent money foolishly thrown at them from Man City for perma-sub Jack Rodwell pretty wisely. Pienaar came back for good, the busy and industrious Naismith signed on a free from a third division team in Scotchland. Bryan Oviedo should offer some more attacking threats and Kevin Mirallas signed from Olympiakos has goals in him, as well as a few assists. Best of all for the Bluenoses, Baines, Jagielka, Jelavic and “Vinny Jones with an afrocomb” all stayed true for the blues.
INS: Mladen Petric (free, Hamburg), Sascha Riether (loan, Cologne), Hugo Rodallega (free, Wigan), Kieran Richardson (£2m, Sunderland), Dimitar Berbatov (£4m, Manchester United), Ashkan Dejagah (undiscl, Wolfsburg)
OUTS: Andrew Johnson (free, QPR), Danny Murphy (free, Blackburn), Pavel Pogrebnyak (free, Reading), Bjorn Helge Riise, Zdenek Grygera (released), Dickson Etuhu (£1million, Blackburn), Moussa Dembele (£15m, Tottenham), Clint Dempsey (£6m, Tottenham)
Had you of told Fulham fans they’d lose Murphy, Dembele and Dempsey in the window before the season started they’d probably slap you upside the head with a Michael Jackson statue, chamone… Alas, all have departed, along with Dickson Etuhu and that cue-ball they had up front. Martin Jol has however been quite prudent with his signings. Two former colleagues in Dimitar Berbatov (a steal for 4m if you ask me) and Mladen Petric have joined the ranks, as well as curly haired utility man Keiren Richardson and some lovely free Columbian product in Hugo Rodallega. Iranian Ashkan Dejagah was a deadline day arrival from Wolfsburg whose YouTube videos are probably getting a right beating at the moment from curious Fulham fans. Jol will also be hoping that no-one smokes Reither at right full back this season. A late deal for yet another attacker in the form of Chris David from FC Twente failed at the last minute due to him not liking Example or something.
INS: Fabio Borini (£7.8million, Roma), Joe Allen (£15m, Swansea), Oussama Assaidi (£3m, Heerenveen), Nuri Sahin (loan, Real Madrid), Samed Yesil (£1m, Bayer Leverkusen).
OUTS: Fabio Aurelio (free, Gremio), Dirk Kuyt (£880,000, Fenerbahce), Maxi Rodriguez (undisc, Newell’s Old Boys), Alberto Aquilani (undiscl, Fiorentina), Craig Bellamy (free, Cardiff City), Jay Spearing (loan, Bolton), Andy Carroll (loan, West Ham), Charlie Adam (£4m, Stoke)
The one thing Liverpool were lacking last season was goals. Their lowly position (by their standards) gave a slightly unfair indication of the way they played last year. They weren’t a bad side, they just struggled to score. Summer 2012 rolled around, yep, we all know what they need then, yeah, good! A Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll exodus later they were left with 2 recognized forwards in Borini and Suarez. Terrifying to think but Liverpool are an injury away from playing Joe Cole as a striker. This summer was an exercise in counting the cost of expensive failures by Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish the summer before. Henderson was almost offloaded to Fulham for Dempsey (plus cash!) and Downing has a new position as a £20m left back. In the middle of the park however there were minor victories in offloading the 8bit styling’s of Adam and Spearing for the “HD ready” Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin. Agger and Skrtel both stayed which is good news for Liverpool Tattoo parlours and hopefully enough of the wage bill was slashed to be able to afford a goal getter in January. Anyone got Michael Owens number handy?
INS: Jack Rodwell (£15m, Everton) Richard Wright (free, Preston), Scott Sinclair (£6.2m, Swansea), Maicon (£3m, Inter Milan), Matija Nastasic (£10m plus Stefan Savic, Fiorentina), Javi Garcia (£16m, Benfica)
OUTS: Owen Hargreaves (released), Wayne Bridge (loan, Brighton), Stuart Taylor (free, Reading), Emmanuel Adebayor (£5m, Tottenham), Adam Johnson (undiscl., Sunderland), Nigel de Jong (undiscl., AC Milan), Dedryck Boyata (loan, FC Twente), Roque Santa Cruz (loan, Malaga), Stefan Savic (swap deal, Fiorentina)
RICHARD WRIGHT!? Man City’s summer transfers started with Bobby Mancini having a right old pop at boardroom suit and cheque writer Brian Marwood for the lack of transfer action. It’s hard to see if City have improved on their squad of last year as their neighbours have. They lost out on Hazard, Robin Van Persie and allegedly Javi Martinez and Stevan Jovetic. Before the window opened they needed; a centre half, a ball playing midfielder and possibly a winger. All of which were checked off the list, although how many of these were first choice we don’t know. Rodwell seems a baffling transfer as Jermaine Jenas and Jordan Henderson were both available to fill that “won’t set the world alight but happen to be English” midfield role. Maicon is also a confusing signing. Yes he’s good, but a little past his best and I can’t see him displacing Richards or Zabaletta at right back. Javi Garcia replaces the outgoing “leg break waiting to happen” Nigel De Jong and in defence Matija Nastasic comes in from Fiorentina, with Scott Sinclair filling that Shaun Wright-Phillips/Adam Johnson “won’t set the world alight but happen to be English” wing role. Their best signing is probably a fit and happy Carlos Tevez. You’d have to say that if they’d had him for all of last season they would’ve won the league much more comfortably, rather than with the last kick of the game against QPR. Balotelli is still there too, which will keep the newspapers happy.
“Part 2: Manchester United > Stoke”: carefully written by part time Moby lookalike, full time gentleman @tom7p up tomorrow
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