Premier League winners & losers: Arsenal impress with Özil swoop
Premier League: Kieran Beckles looks at the winners and losers as the summer transfer window shut on Monday
Arsenal: Following months of speculation linking Arsène Wenger with a move for the likes of Liverpool striker Luis Suárez, Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuaín, and even Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, Arsenal finally landed their big-name signing on Monday. Mesut Özil completed his £42.5m move on deadline day, with the Gunners announcing the Germany international’s capture 30 minutes before 2300CET cut off. It was the club’s record signing and one of the biggest in British transfer history. Özil’s move goes some way to appeasing the disillusioned contingent of Arsenal supporters and gives the club’s hopes of securing their perennial fourth-place finish a boost. Wenger also ushered dead-weights off the club’s wage bill and out of the exit door of The Emirates, such as big-earners Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho. Lingering doubts remain about the durability of his squad, but Özil’s arrival means Arsenal are certainly winners in this transfer window.
Everton: Whilst the Gunners are the obvious big winners, scraping beneath the service, there’s a strong case to be argued that Everton were the real deadline-day victors. Although the departure of Marouane Fellaini is a blow, Manchester United agreed a deal which was £4m in excess of midfielder’s contract release clause, which expired a matter of weeks ago. Before the Belgian’s move was confirmed, Roberto Martínez brought in one of the Premier League’s most experienced operators in the form of Gareth Barry on loan, while adding perhaps the Championship’s best player, James McCarthy at a cost of £13m. That’s Everton’s midfield. Up front, the Toffees have sold Victor Anichebe, who scored 18 goals in nine seasons at Goodison Park, and in his place have signed Romelu Lukaku on loan after the Belgian netted 17 top-flight strikes last term. Not bad business at all.
Liverpool: What a difference a season can make. Brendan Rodgers barely had time to settle into the Anfield hot-seat before his thoughts turned to potential transfers. The Northern Irishman ended up spending £25.5m on Joe Allen and Fabio Borini, as well as Oussama Assaidi and Samed Yesil on cheap deals, while Nuri Sahin joined on loan. The quintet failed to impress, with only Allen and Yesil still at the Anfield outfit. This summer, Rodgers has been swift in his business. Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet, Kolo Touré and Aly Cissokho were all recruited in the weeks ahead of the deadline. The Reds completed their business for the summer window with almost 12 hours to spare as Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Ilori and Victor Moses all passed medicals and penned their deals on Monday morning. Crucially, Rodgers has reassuring strength in his squad to cope with the season’s demands, despite being a tad light on the striker front.
Manchester United: Fellaini will beg to differ, but the defending Premier League champions experienced a transfer window – and deadline day – to forget. With a new manager and chief executive officer at the helm, the Red Devils were unusually public in their pursuit of top targets, like Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fàbregas. Hoping to start his reign in positive fashion, David Moyes will presumably have been desperate to land a big name. The aforementioned targets were going nowhere. Next up, the Red Devils launched a “derisory” £27m joint bid for Leighton Baines and Fellaini. Emphatically rejected by Everton, who were playing hard ball, it was time for United to move efficiently and pay full price for the Belgian, by now their top target. Fellaini’s £23m clause expired and after failing to land Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera, the champions resorted to agreeing a deal worth £27.5m for the Everton midfielder. On a positive note, Wayne Rooney remains a United player – and that could be the difference come May.
West Bromwich Albion: Earlier in the summer, the Baggies appeared to have been shrewd movers in the transfer market. Perhaps the biggest coup was snapping up experienced Premier League goal-scorer Nicolas Anelka on a free transfer. However, the former France international’s start to the season has been disrupted by the death of his close friend and agent. It remains to be seen whether Matej Vydra can set the top flight alight as he did in the Championship last season, while Scott Sinclair is a player out of form. Steve Clarke was dealt a hammer blow on deadline day when Lukaku opted to join Everton ahead of West Brom, despite spending the 2012-13 campaign at The Hawthorns. Having missed out on the Belgian, Clarke splashed £6m on the less than prolific Anichebe to make up for the 17-goal deficit. The Nigerian could yet prove a hit but his record fails to inspire. With West Brom bottom of the table, it’s been a difficult start for Clarke. The club’s supporters will be hoping it’s not a case of second season syndrome for the Scot.
Newcastle United: Crystal Palace could easily have been the final loser, but Ian Holloway has at least shown ambition by securing the most signings (15) in the Premier League this summer. Whether they are quality recruits is another matter. But up north at St James’ Park, Alan Pardew, armed with a new director of football Joe Kinnear, spent a paltry £400,000 in the summer. The Magpies secured their top-flight status in less-than-unconvincing manner at the back end of the 2012-13 season as Papiss Cissé struggled to rediscover his prolific form. The Senegal international has a new strike partner to help ease the load on his shoulders after Loïc Rémy joined on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers. The Frenchman was the sole signing. Pardew must make his French revolution a success at St James’ Park or the Magpies could be facing another season fighting relegation.
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