Read through our analysis of the 2016-17 Premier League summer transfer window and see the verdict – did the squad improve or decline in quality.
Leicester City (1st in 2015-16 BPL)
The Foxes lost N’Golo Kante to Chelsea for £30m but retained almost everyone else, and brought in forward Ahmed Musa, 23, from CSKA Moscow for £16.50m and defensive midfielder Nampalys Mendy, 23, from Nice for £13m. Despite only losing one key player, the momentum from last season seems to be lost and the champions need to reinvent themselves for this season if they want to stay in the league. Will be difficult without Steve Walsh who created this team and who got nicked by Everton in July.
Arsene Wenger didn’t want to play with the big boys and was reluctant to sign a star player. But he found two quality young players who could be the staple of the club in the years to come – Granit Xhaka, 23, and Shkodran Mustafi, 24. Didn’t sign a striker though (we think Lucas Perez is a Joel Campbell) so the Gunners fans can expect yet another season of frustration. It’s groundhog day at Emirates.
The Spurs only lost left winger Nacer Chadli who transferred to West Brom, and brought in two good players Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama, paying £31m for the pair. But the addition of Janssen seems to have unsettled Harry Kane as Mauricio Pochettino started playing his key forward as a number 10. This could be a season-long problem. Moussa Sissoko signed on deadline day and he’s a quality player, but why do that if you already got Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama? How many can play at the same time?
Manchester City (4)
Most notably, Manchester City brought in Pep Guardiola. The new manager axed players such as Joe Hart, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala, at the same time adding some more wingers – as if they didn’t have enough already – Leroy Sane and Nolito. Claudio Bravo replaces Joe Hart and John Stones replaces injury-plagued captain Vincent Kompany who made only 13 starts in 2015-16. For all the tinkering, Man City won’t be an improved side. The offensive midfield is crowded, and the defence will be relying on a 22-year-old. Everything will change if Kompany gets back to regular first-team football.
Manchester United (5)
Zlatan Ibrahimović is the best signing of this transfer window not only in England but overall, as he signed for United as a free player and is the best striker in the world. Then there’s Paul Pogba who could indeed be worth the money, and Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan aren’t too bad either. Most importantly, Jose Mourinho is now running this show. Manchester United are the most improved BPL side in this transfer window.
Lost Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle, their key players in the last season, and Victor Wanyama departed as well. Southampton somehow manage to reinvent themselves season after season despite selling the key players but it has to end sometime. The Saints didn’t even manage to beat Watford and Sunderland in two of the three rounds played this season. It will be a challenge to stay in this league.
West Ham (7)
The Hammers needed a proper striker and failed to find one. Left winger Andre Ayew was a fantastic signing but got injured in his first game, and then Slaven Bilic added several half-baked players, hoping one of them might do a Payet. To add to the poor dealings on the transfer market, West Ham have moved to the new stadium which doesn’t really offer the home field atmosphere as the stands are too far away from the pitch. This will have a negative effect on home results. Another point to make is that West Ham are now in danger of a sophomore slump as everyone’s expecting them to repeat what they did last season when they’ve beaten all the top clubs at least once. It’s not happening this time around.
New manager Jurgen Klopp is a fantastic signing himself, and he cleaned up the mess in the locker room a bit. Christian Benteke, Joe Allen, Marin Skrtel, Jordon Ibe, Mario Balotelli and Kolo Toure all left the club, and two fantastic BPL achievers from last season Mane and Wijnaldum were added. Klopp failed to do anything about the defensive line, so this will be one offensive club. But better than last season, definitely.
Stoke City (9)
Stoke City keep signing offensive players, yet they keep playing like Stoke City. No talent in the world can make Stoke play differently so neither can Wilfried Bony. But he’s a better option than the ones Stoke had in the team. Potters also signed Joe Allen, they did need a player of that profile to organize the offensive actions. Bruno Martins Indi could be a good defensive signing.
Chelsea signed N’Golo Kante and got rid of £30m worth of dead weight, and brought in Antonio Conte who looks like he’ll do wonders here. Eden Hazard already started performing again, Diego Costa started scoring again, so it looks like this will be one good season for the Blues. And how about that David Luiz £34m transfer on deadline day? Now that was a shocker and Christmas came early for Chelsea fans, especially those that love the maverick defender.
Best joke about N’Golo Kante? My room mate lost his virginity yesterday – Kante won it back!
Ross Barkley is a year older and this season he’s got some quality team mates and a quality coach to work with. Ashley Williams is a fantastic addition to defence, and he was only paid £11m. Everton might have to endure the season without a proper goalkeeper though as Tim Howard retired to MLS and the best choice in the club is Maarten Stekelenburg who is ok, but is not one of those keepers you can really count on. The very addition of a quality coach Ronald Koeman is an improvement over anything Roberto Martinez has done. Let’s not forget the man who found Mahrez, Vardy and Kante is now Everton’s director of football. Should pay off in the long run.
Swansea relied on Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis last season, and now both are gone. They also lost their key defender Ashley Williams. Enough said. This will be one toothless team that’s a serious relegation candidate. New owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan who bought the club in July got a Premier League team on a cheap and didn’t make any new signings – yet. They didn’t promise to make any, so at least they’re not liars.
Surprising for a small club, Watford didn’t lose anyone after having a great season in top flight. Not only that, but they added quality players Roberto Pereyra and Daryl Janmaat to improve the squad further. We can expect good things from this offensive team if they manage to keep the ball away from their own goal. But they still have to bring Odion Ighalo back to life though. The striker lost his form around New Year and has scored only two goals since.
West Bromwich Albion (14)
This team is always the same regardless of new signings, so Nacer Chadli won’t magically transform Albion into an offensive side either. They are the same as last season, though weaker than the previous season in which Saido Berahino was actually playing and scoring. Salomon Rondon might not be enough to endure the season.
Crystal Palace (15)
Palace lost Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie, but they got Andros Townsed, Loic Remy, and most importantly – Christian Benteke. If the big man starts scoring, Palace might do well. In any case, with the addition of Benteke they’ve got an improved roster of players compared to last season.
Bournemouth had a very good first season in top flight and are now expected to replicate it but it won’t be that easy. They’ve lost momentum and also lost their winger Matt Richie, replacing him with a youngster Jordon Ibe. Bournemouth will be struggling to get the same returns from their right wing, and they can no longer catch their opponents by surprise either as everyone knows how they play by now. Bournemouth could get relegated this time around. Jack Wilshere could make a positive impact if he stays fit and finds his mojo though. Big test for the England midfielder.
John O’Shea and Jermain Defoe are a year older and that’s not good news for Sunderland. Neither is appointment of David Moyes. There was some activity on the transfer market, most notably there are two new defenders in Sunderland, Papy Djilobodji and Patrick McNair. Sunderland also signed midfielder Didier Ndong on deadline day for £13.6m. Looks like all this just enough for Black Cats to stay a couple of points clear of the relegation zone like they did in 2015-16.
Burnley bought midfielder Steven Defour and winger Gudmunsson, and other than that it’s all the same. They got a good thing going on and they are expected to keep it up as they try to survive the Premiership this time around. Sean Dyche has a tight-knit group of players and he did his best not to disturb it too much.
Aitor Karanka was mostly concerned with the goalkeeper position, and brought in two proven names, Victor Valdes and Brad Guzan. Boro strengthened all areas of the pitch a bit, and are having high hopes with central midfielder Marten de Roon who signed from Atalanta and who is currently injured. Middlesbrough are a good side and they might just survive the season in the Premiership. But it’s questionable whether their slow game is good enough for top flight. And they didn’t make it faster in the transfer window.
Hull City (C4)
Hull are managerless and shorthanded. And they haven’t really addressed their problems, which means they are in for a long season. They’re lucky to even be here as they finished 4th in the Championship, and they’ll almost certainly get relegated.