KAREN PATEL: a recent article in Goal.com claimed that Tottenham Hotspur were the big losers of this transfer window, but I couldn’t disagree more. Harry Redknapp now has a wealth of striking talent at his disposal – potentially more potent attacking options than most of the teams around him, and that includes the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. Rafael Van Der Vaart is the latest addition to Spurs’ healthy-looking attack and it will be interesting to see how the manager copes.
The other ‘winners’ in the transfer window could be Manchester City, but it all depends on whether their big names can bed in and play as a team, and only time will tell with that. Arsenal and Liverpool were also big winners by keeping hold of their prize assets (Fabregas for Arsenal, Gerrard and Torres for Liverpool) and also signing some notable players that could make a difference (Marouane Chamakh for Arsenal, Joe Cole for Liverpool).
Manchester United could have unearthed another gem in Javier Hernandez, who performed so well at the World Cup and has impressed so far in a red shirt. Sunderland managed to snap up Asamoah Gyan, another star of the World Cup, whilst Birmingham City got a great coup in former Arsenal man Aleksandr Hleb from Barcelona.
The losers include Aston Villa, whose only activity in the transfer window was a straight swap of Stephen Ireland for James Milner. With no manager at the time of writing and fewer attacking options than their rivals, Villa will probably struggle. West Ham and Wigan haven’t brought anyone in of note either, and with both of those teams amongst the favourites for relegation, the fans must be hoping that the signings they have made will contribute something.
Overall it hasn’t been the most eventful of transfer windows; the deadline day, when so much of the drama usually happens, was surprisingly quiet. For me, that’s because even the most mediocre of players can be sold for tens of millions and most clubs, even clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea, simply do not see the appeal in that any more.
MIKE CUMMINGS: I’m glad you brought up Arsenal, because I’m convinced they’ll end up being one of the biggest losers of this transfer market — once the season plays out. Arsene Wenger strengthened his squad in a few important spots — defense, forwards, and holding onto Cesc — but, once again, completely ignored the 800-pound gorilla in North London. Arsenal are still without a top-class goalkeeper, and as long as that’s true, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to win the title.
With that said, here’s how I saw the rest.
Biggest winners: Russian Premier League teams. Where are they getting all this money? Did Roman Abramovich use all that dirty, oily lucre of his to clone himself and send the copies to clubs throughout Russia? Just look at Goal.com’s compiled statistics. The fifth most extravagant buyer this summer? Zenit St. Petersburg! Even Rubin Kazan shelled out the big bucks this summer, probably in the hope that they’ll be known for more than that one night last year in the Camp Nou.
Spending big money makes Zenit and Rubin Kazan big winners because it shows that maybe, just maybe, they (and some others in Russia) are trying to bridge the gap between the Russian league and the rest of Europe’s heavyweights. If not a bridge, they’re at least building a road.
In England, I refuse to give the honor to Manchester City, even though they spent the most (by far). I’m just not completely convinced by some of the signings. I like Jerome Boateng and David Silva, but I really, really dislike the signings of Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli.
The big winner in England could turn out to be Chelsea, less because of who they brought in, and more because of who they let go. The Blues lost a bunch of really talented players, but a lot of those really talented players had stuck around too long. I’m pointing at you, Michael Ballack. Case in point: Joe Cole is a great signing for Liverpool (red card against Arsenal notwithstanding), but his departure could also turn out to be a good thing for Chelsea. It all depends on how the new guys play.
In Spain, it’s either Real Madrid or Barcelona, as usual. I’ll give a slight edge to Real Madrid because they recruited a couple Germans and I’m German somewhere back up the line. Özil and Khedira were, by my book, two of the better players this summer for Germany, and if they fit into the squad quickly, they’ll be great signings. I also really like the signings of Pedro Leon and Ricardo Carvalho. Those are the kind of guys who fill out title-winning sides that Mourinho just seems to know where to find lying around.
In Italy, apologies to Juventus, but I like what AC Milan is doing. Ibrahimovic and Robinho might seem a bit past their due date, but Milan are famous for knowing exactly how much a player has left in the tank. Kevin Prince Boateng was the most underrated star of Ghana’s World Cup run. He’s a stud.