The transfer window has drawn to yet another enthralling conclusion, with many clubs re-engaging the market right at the death in order to strengthen further before a season of monumental importance.
Today, we will look at each of the top Premier League clubs and evaluate how successful they were in their endeavors in the transfer market.
Manchester United – 9/10
It is important to proceed with caution when discussing Manchester United’s chances of lifting the Premier League come May; they made a similar start last season, winning all three of their games before the international break in style and compiled what looked like an excellent portfolio of signings.
However, their acquisitions this season bring more balance to the team, making it hard to argue that the Red Devils don’t have the best squad in the league.
Nemanja Matic already looks like he has been wearing red all his life, balancing out the midfield perfectly and giving Paul Pogba the license to be the magnificent player we all know he is.
And while Victor Lindelof has drawn some criticism for his performances so far, his ability to defend in wide areas makes him a perfect tactical fit for a United defense stocked with the attack minded Antonio Valencia.
Lastly, their potent attack has finally found a sustainable focal point with the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku, a striker whose physicality and Premier League experience make him the perfect striker for manager Jose Mourinho’s setup.
United also have the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is likely to deputize in that role, making the Red Devils’ attack one of the most feared in the Premier League.
Everton – 9/10
When Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri arrived at Goodison Park last season, fans expecting a glut of signings were slightly disappointed. Everton quietly went about their business, building a squad just strong enough to sneak back into the Europa League.
This season, however, the Toffees have been making headlines from the first week of the window to the last.
Using the loss of Romelu Lukaku as a springboard, Everton have bought in the likes of Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Gylfi Sigurdsson among others to put themselves firmly on the radar to challenge the big boys this season.
While the majority of the signings have likely come in response to what will be a very draining Europa League campaign, this new-look Everton has the tactical versatility to dominate lesser teams while providing a tough rock for the bigger teams to break down, and their signings have been crucial to achieving that objective.
Combining the raw talent of their new acquisitions with Ronald Koeman’s coaching skills as a student of Ajax and Barcelona, Everton’s potential has grown massively due to a highly successful transfer window.
Liverpool – 8/10
This is the transfer window which Liverpool fans have been waiting for. Well, almost.
The Reds have laid the groundwork for what could be a very exciting future under Jurgen Klopp, and are building a side perfect for the German’s gegenpressing tactics.
The front three of Mane, Salah and Firmino have already proven themselves by thrashing Arsenal 4-0, and the arrival of Andy Robertson is likely to give them another dimension as well in the coming years.
The deadline day arrival of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be the perfect shot of energy for the Liverpool midfield, and could reduce the blow of a potential departure for Philippe Coutinho, whether that is this year or next. The fact that they were able to recoup a significant amount of money through selling outcast Mamadou Sakho is smart business as well.
Sealing a deal for Naby Keita to join when his release clause comes into effect as well has been a brilliant move by Liverpool, who are now only a center-back away from being a truly world class team. The only worry for the Reds is the fear of burnout, something that Klopp’s teams have been notorious for in the past. Football can change in a day, but if the Reds can continue on his current trajectory without hindrance until next summer, there is a great chance they could finally lift the Premier League trophy.
Manchester City – 7/10
Big things are expected of Pep Guardiola in Manchester this season. Viewed as a god among men during his time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the once untouchable Pep has been ‘exposed’ by the Premier League.
However, this has come due to weaknesses in his squad as opposed to any in his coaching, and the additions have certainly turned city into more of a “Pep Guardiola side.”
Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy demanded exorbitant fees, but they are crucial if Guardiola is to implement his system, providing the perfect blend of pace to get forward and physicality to play the elusive ‘inverted fullback’ role. ‘
City have also spent big to sign Bernardo Silva from Monaco to add to the wealth of creative talent going forward, as well as Benfica goalkeeper Ederson Moraes and Real Madrid fullback Danilo.
However, the Cityzens have neglected the heart of their midfield, with the ageing Fernandinho and Yaya Toure making a very unsustainable central-midfield axis.
Defensively, relying on the injury prone Vincent Kompany to be the heart of the back line may also be risky, especially when compared to the defensive solidity of some of their potential title rivals.
Ultimately, while City have taken steps to build a side that their renowned coach can work with, they are far from the completed package and may find it hard to compete when it comes to the business end of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur 7/10
Given purely the names Tottenham have signed, giving them only a 7 might seem a little bit harsh.
Davinson Sanchez may come at a steep price, but he has all of the tools to become a mighty player under the coaching of Mauricio Pochettino.
Fernando Llorente provides the reliable backup to Harry Kane that Spurs fans have been clamouring for.
Serge Aurier is an excellent replacement for Kyle Walker, being three years younger than him and coming in at half the price Spurs received for the England right-back.
And lastly, Juan Foyth’s highlight reels make him look like a bargain at £9 million.
However, where Tottenham lose points is the fact that they have abandoned some principles.
After proudly coming out and declaring that they were above the maddening transfer market, their decision to engage it after a turbulent start looks like something of a defeat in both moral and practical terms.
Apart from Fernando Llorente, most of the transfers Spurs have made are likely to detract from chances given to their young players, which is something they pledged they would not do.
Furthermore, it gives more credence to the idea that Spurs lack of transfer activity is not ideological, but forced by the funding of the new stadium, revealing a vulnerability that their rivals can capitalise upon.
That being said, the signings themselves are excellent, and undoubtedly make Spurs a stronger side than they were at the beginning of the window.
They just need to take this as a lesson that they are not yet above the pitfalls of the modern football club.
Chelsea – 7/10
It might be slightly optimistic to claim that Chelsea are on par with Manchester City in terms of how they have strengthened this season, but in terms of uplifting themselves given the negativity that surrounded them mere weeks ago, the Blues have excelled.
Looking beyond the fact they paid £35 million for a 27-year-old in Danny Drinkwater, their deadline day signings (the other being Torino right back Davide Zappacosta) certainly improve their squad, making the goal of a top three finish and an appearance in the Champions League quarter-final far more likely given the additional depth these signings bring.
More important is to look where the signings have come from – Rudiger from Roma, Bakayoko from Monaco, Drinkwater from Leicester and Zappacosta from Torino.
For all of these players, Chelsea represents the high-point in their career, making them more likely to commit themselves than the team that capitulated in their last title defense two years ago.
Even Alvaro Morata – joining Chelsea after being a backup at Real Madrid for the past season – has a lot to prove and has shown ample hunger and desire since arriving at the club.
However, the largest mark against Chelsea remains the fact that the club are sliding into an era of reduced spending in a remarkably inefficient manner.
Selling Nathan Ake only to sign Antonio Rudiger for a slightly higher price was an ineffective use of monetary resources, since the difference in quality between the two has seemed negligible so far.
Their decision to thin their squad by loaning out a ridiculously high number of players, only to habitually make panic singings near the end of the window is becoming an infuriating sight for Blues fans.
Arsenal – 5/10
Yet another window of frustration for Arsenal, ahead of another year of Arsene Wenger’s ageing approach to football.
The North Londoners have become something of a farce, and despite the early promise, the window has underwhelmed once again.
The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee was what Gunners’ fans have been crying out for, and Sead Kolasinac represented smart business as he arrived on a free from Schalke after a brilliant season the Bundesliga.
However, regardless of their talent, Arsenal has become a poisoned chalice and there is very little that these new arrivals can do to mitigate the issues that plague the club.
Losing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a slap in the face for the club, especially since he turned the club down a new contract over a lack of ambition.
He will be earning less at Liverpool than if he had stayed in North London, but his actions send the clearest message yet that Arsenal are falling behind teams they were once comfortably superior to.
However, Arsenal did manage to hold on to Alexis Sanchez, but is undercut by the fact that the player will leave on a free next summer, most likely to another rival in the form of Manchester City.
The only hope for the Gunners is if their star man is motivated to prove himself before the move next summer and puts in yet more stellar performances, but once again it is unlikely that he can save their season on his own.
Arsenal get a low ranking not because they have made particularly bad transfers, but simply because they aren’t any closer to solving their issues now than they were in June.