With almost all transfer activity now wrapped up until January, it’s time to reflect and examine who were the real winners of this transfer window.
One of the busiest transfer windows of all time, there are plenty of candidates for the top spot, but I have narrowed it down to the top three teams in the market this summer, prepare for controversy…..
In at 3rd, and many (and I mean many) will disagree with me, I have Arsenal. Although most would consider their summer disastrous, and I would agree, up until the very last day of the window. Most would agree that it was inevitable that Cesc Fabregas would leave this summer, and then once he left, Samir Nasri’s move to Manchester City became a mere formality.
Given this knowledge, it is surprising, and somewhat disappointing, that Arsene Wenger did not strengthen his team before the start of the season, however, he more than redeemed himself on the final day of the window.
The arrivals of Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, and Yossi Benayoun have most likely saved Arsenal’s season. While it may still be a disappointing campaign for Arsenal fans, it is unlikely they will face again the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Manchester United in their 8-2 loss. Benayoun and Park, along with fellow new boy Gervinho, will help salvage some of the creativity lost when Fabregas and Nasri left, and Santos and Mertesacker should provide defensive strength that has been lacking at Arsenal of late.
Arguably their most important signing however, is Arteta. The Spaniard will sit in the middle, deployed as a play-maker, with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey playing off of him. Although he is no Fabregas, he will go a long way to making up for the loss.
Coming runner up I have a team which has strengthened considerably this summer, and have made a good start to the new season. Liverpool have spent big this summer and brought in several key new faces, most of whom will be pivotal in their push to return to Champions League football. Following a disappointing couple of seasons, there is no question over the fact that new arrivals were needed, and both Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli can be more than satisfied with their work this summer.
Liverpool’s list of acquisitions consists of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Alexander Doni, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Sebastian Coates, and Craig Bellamy, as well as several young players signed who have joined either the academy or reserve squads.
Henderson, Adam, Downing and Enrique have already made significant impacts at Anfield, and helped the club to an undefeated start to the season. All four have settled in immediately, making a seamless transition into first-team football for the Reds. They have helped create a real competitiveness for first-team places at Liverpool, something which has been lacking in recent seasons.
Throw into the mix the potential of Coates as the long-term replacement for Jamie Carragher, and both Bellamy and Doni provide quality back-up in their respective positions. In addition to this, Dalglish has also done well to offload several players who have failed to live up to their potential at Liverpool such as Paul Konchesky, Christian Poulsen, David N’gog, and Milan Jovanovic, and has therefore helped to balance the books. Although Liverpool are not yet ready to challenge for the title again, they now have a squad which should be capable of securing Champions League football once again.
And finally, the side I believe have made the most of this transfer window, Manchester….United. Although not as prolific in the market as the previous two teams mentioned, or even their close neighbours, Manchester City, Sir Alex Ferguson has spent his money extremely well.
Having spent over £50M on just three players, there is a certain level of expectation on these new arrivals to make an instant impact, and so far they have succeeded in these aims. Phil Jones, although a first-team regular at Blackburn, was not expected to be shouldering the same duties at United right form the beginning, but unfortunate injuries to both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have caused the young centre-half to rise in the pecking order. He has been solid so far, and helped fellow youngster David De Gea settle into his new role as first-team goalkeeper.
The Spaniard looked somewhat shaky in the Charity Shield, but his confidence seems to grow with each game and he looks set to be part of the United first-team for years to come.
Perhaps their best signing however has been Ashley Young. A standout performer for Aston Villa in the last few season, he has made a sensational start to his United career. An integral part of the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal, where he scored to magnificent goals, as well as being the hub for almost all of United’s creativity.
Despite not being a player in the same mold as Paul Scholes, he looks as if he is a more than adequate replacement for the United legend, and has made a great start to his career at Old Trafford, endearing himself to the United faithful. We’ve these new additions, and the United youngsters performing well beyond what was expected of them, it is hard to look beyond them as they attempt to defender their Premier League title.