TIPS OF THE DAY
There are no points for “winning” the transfer window, but with the market rebounding from a period of depression caused by the pandemic, it has been a fascinating summer of deals. Some teams are undoubtedly stronger than they were at the end of last season, while other clubs have spent huge amounts of money without appearing to have made any real improvements. So who are the winners and losers of the 2021 Premier League transfer window? We will take a look.
Mercato 2021: the winners and the losers
The Red Devils had already had a very good transfer window, but bringing back superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is surely making contenders for the Red Devils on all fronts this season. Jadon Sancho solves the problem of the right post and Harry Maguire finally has a quality partner in World Cup winner Raphael Varane. United still have a weakness in the defensive midfield where Fred stands out like a sore thumb, but they now have world-class players in almost every position. The pressure is on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to challenge the title at Manchester City.
Chelsea weren’t as busy as United but corrected their own glaring weakness by buying Romelu Lukaku. The tall Belgian already knows the Premier League very well, but has taken his game to new levels in a title-winning spell at Inter. Saul Niguez is a crafty signing on loan from Atletico Madrid but missing main target Jules Kounde, after Sevilla refused to sell the center-back, means Thomas Tuchel didn’t get everything he wanted in the window of transfer 2021.
Respected Chelsea negotiator Marina Granovskaia also sold well as usual, moving fringe players like Kurt Zouma, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori for a hefty fee to help balance the books.
Receiving a record British £ 100million fee for Jack Grealish has kept Aston Villa aggressive in the market, with their £ 25million capture of Danny Ings from Southampton eye-catching. Replacing Grealish’s titanic impact won’t be easy, but Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey are exciting arrivals who should help cope with the loss of the club captain.
Villa could possibly become a more balanced team in the wake of the post-Grealaise era, as much as the loss of their hero hurts. If a daring attempt to get Ings’ former Saints teammate James Ward-Prowse back to work had succeeded, it would have been the icing on the cake of a great summer.
The summer of 2021 was always going to be a huge transfer window for Crystal Palace, with Roy Hodgson leaving the club and a handful of well-paying senior players at the end of their lucrative contracts. New boss Patrick Vieira saw his side take two points in three games – a modest start – but the Eagles squad are now teeming with exciting young talent after Michael Olise, Will Hughes and Marc Guehi led the entrants.
The signing of Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard is expected to improve Palace’s goal tally while Conor Gallagher – on loan from Chelsea – already shone with a brace last time around. The loss of experience of Scott Dann, Gary Cahill and Andros Townsend could be felt at some point, but Palace appear to be in good shape after spending around £ 65million on their reconstruction.
The purchase of loan star Joe Willock from Arsenal means the Newcastle United squad are in similar form to last season, when a late-season rally saw Steve Bruce’s side claim a 12th place. But the Magpies still appear to be heavily reliant on attacking stars Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, with improvements needed in various positions, but most notably in the central midfielder where Jonjo Shelvey seems to need a replacement for some time now. A long season is ahead.
Allowing Willock to leave was only one of the curious decisions made at Arsenalincluding signing Aaron Ramsdale for more money than they received for Emiliano Martinez last year. Spending £ 50million on Brighton defender Ben White is an expense he will struggle to repay and not budge as Granit Xhaka left little room for maneuver as a result. After three losses and no goals scored in three games, Mikel Arteta has everything to do to overthrow Arsenal. The heat is on the Spaniard after net spending well over £ 100million in the 2021 summer transfer window.
Brighton are one of the few teams to have made a small profit in the window, leaving Graham Potter’s side weaker overall than last season. Losing White is a big blow, even though Shane Duffy’s comeback has performed well so far this season, and the Seagulls still lack a regular scorer. Marc Cucurella, who joined Getafe on deadline day, is expected to have an impact but it’s hard to see Brighton push much further this quarter after their lackluster transfer activity in the window.
Wolves were in a similar position at Palace at the start of the summer, having to provide a new manager with a reshuffled squad following the departure of a longtime boss. But the most exciting signings at Molineux have been a pair of loans, with Hee-chan Hwang coming from RB Leipzig and Francisco Trincao signing from Barcelona on temporary deals.
Wolves demoted their goalkeeper after replacing Rui Patricio with Jose Sa, but at least they were able to keep key midfielder Ruben Neves in the face of reported late interest from Manchester United. Nevertheless, without a goal scored after three defeats out of three, Bruno Lage has a difficult task.
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