Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned – Big Debate


Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned - Big Debate

Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

The Premier League summer transfer window is closed once again and the 20 English top-flight clubs totalled nearly £2billion of spending on new signings. Nine of them spent £100million or more with Nottingham Forest completing a remarkable 21 signings so far – with a 22nd to come in Serge Aurier. Premier League clubs spent more than teams from Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and the German Bundesliga combined with Chelsea spending more in a single window than any other club in the league’s history. But who had the best window, and who had the worst? Express Sport analyse the winners and losers in the latest edition of the Big Debate.

Alex Turk

Transfer window winners – Manchester City

Recruiting Erling Haaland for just £54m would be enough for them to win the transfer window alone, but they’re one of just three clubs to boast a positive net spend this summer. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus’ big-money exits have helped Man City make a profit, despite signing one of Europe’s best strikers and an established England international in Kalvin Phillips, among others. Incredible business.

Transfer window losers – Bournemouth

Staying in the Premier League was always going to be a tall task for Bournemouth, but they’ve barely even given themselves a fighting chance with their measly transfer expenditure worth around £24m. Only Leicester spent less this summer, and they’ve already sacked Scott Parker after he shared his discontent with the club’s operations. The Cherries are doomed.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Manchester City

No surprises whatsoever here… splashing only £51m on Haaland’s transfer fee is one of the biggest coups in Premier League history. The 22-year-old is already one of Europe’s best strikers and Man City are already reaping the rewards. He’s registered nine goals and an assist in his opening five league games, including back-to-back hat-tricks. A phenom of a player.

Worst transfer – Willian to Fulham

I will never quite grasp why clubs, particularly those newly promoted, call on players who have proven they can’t cut it at Premier League level anymore to improve their squads. After Willian’s dismal Arsenal spell, he also failed to impress back in his homeland Brazil. What do Fulham think they’re getting with the 34-year-old? On a free transfer, sure. But the signing-on fee and salary package won’t be worth his output. I’m quite sure of that.

Sam Smith

Transfer window winners – Southampton

The Big Six have done well with their huge resources, but Southampton take the title of transfer window winners. A clear strategy led by former Manchester City head of youth recruitment Joe Shields has seen the Saints acquire several young players who are already good enough to compete in the first team. Ralf Hasenhuttl’s side looked stagnant and destined for the drop only a few months ago, and now they look like they could upset some of the bigger clubs.

Transfer window losers – Leicester

Leicester now look like a team who have sold one too many players. A lack of funds meant they did not sign an outfield player until deadline day, and a couple of key stars have departed. There is now huge pressure on Wout Faes to adapt immediately and replace Wesley Fofana.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Manchester City

Remember that period when people said it would be a good first season for Erling Haaland if he scored circa 15 league goals? Well, the transfer window in which he signed only closed 12 hours ago and he already has nine strikes and two hat-tricks this season. If Man City wanted a signing to properly fend off competition from Liverpool and give themselves a more comfortable run-in come April and May, then this was it.

Worst transfer – Flynn Downes to West Ham

“The things I’ve seen of him, he needs to do better and we’re already [working at that], but we’ll get him a game when we can. All the players have to earn it and I have to find a way of winning most of the games,” was David Moyes’ assessment of Flynn Downes’ first few weeks at West Ham. The Hammers hijacked Crystal Palace’s move for the former Swansea player, but it looks like it might be a while before the boyhood West Ham fan gets a run in the team.

Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned - Big Debate

Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Archie Griggs

Transfer window winners – Arsenal

Arsenal have been laying the groundwork over the last few windows but really delivered by adding some much-needed star quality to their ranks over the course of this summer. The signings of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko will go a long way to helping Mikel Arteta’s side to challenge for a top-four finish, while exits for the likes of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira have seen the Gunners improve to the overall quality of their squad by getting rid of the deadwood.

Transfer window losers – Leicester City

Leicester only made two signings in the summer window, one of which was a back-up goalkeeper in Alex Smithies and the other a cut-price replacement for Wesley Fofana in Wout Faes. Brendan Rodgers said after Thursday’s defeat at the hands of Manchester United that he had not been backed enough by the club’s owners and it would be hard to argue with that notion, with their inactivity in the market potentially having allowed some of their mid-table rivals to overtake them.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Manchester City

Who else but Erling Haaland? The Norwegian striker has already bagged nine Premier League goals in just five matches and looks set to terrorise defences for the remainder of the campaign as long as he can stay fit. The fact that City managed to snap him up for just £51m is, quite frankly, ridiculous given his undeniable world-class ability and sky-high ceiling for additional growth.

Worst transfer – Willian to Fulham

Although Willian’s arrival at Craven Cottage could provide the squad with some valuable experience in the dressing room, the news of his return to England did little to set pulses racing and rightly so. The veteran Brazilian winger proved during his time with Arsenal that he is no longer good enough to compete with the Premier League’s best emerging talents, while last season’s measly total of one goal in 36 appearances for Corinthians should not fill anyone with confidence with regards to his chances of succeeding at Fulham.

Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned - Big Debate

Transfer winners and losers as Arsenal and Man City hailed but Fulham panned – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Gideon Brooks

Transfer window winners – Manchester City

It is hard to imagine a better, more composed and clear-sighted transfer window than the one executed by Manchester City. A player who could be, or almost certainly wil become, the best striker in the world in for £51m, England midfield engine Kalvin Phillips quietly bagged and academy talent moved on profitably, usually with buy-back options. At £127m out and £134 in they even have some money to put behind the bar for the Christmas do. A favourable mention must also go to Newcastle who have added and improved with a plan.  

Transfer window losers – Bournemouth

Leicester sat on their hands until losing Wesley Fofana to big-spending Chelsea, replacing him with Wout Faes in what looks a downgrade and aside from that have done little. But at least they kept some crown jewels in James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes when clubs came asking. Bournemouth did nothing to improve overall standard which in the first place did not look good enough to stay up. It’s a toss-up between the pair but I’ll go with the latter.  

Best transfer – Nick Pope to Newcastle

So tempted to say Paul Pogba on a free to Juventus – a move that cleared a toxic air that has hung around way too long in the Manchester United dressing room and gives Erik Ten Hag a real chance at change. But will opt for a positive rather than a negative in Nick Pope to Newcastle for £10m. England’s best keeper in my opinion for £10m, surely the best deal on show.

Worst transfer – Matheus Nunes to Wolves

Apologies to the player who may be a terrific lad. I’m sure he is. But pressed to name a bad signing (who will almost inevitably immediately prove me wrong) £42.2m for a Sporting Lisbon midfielder with eight goals and nine assists in 101 appearances says more about the power and connections of his Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes than sound planning.

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed - Big Debate

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Matthew Dunn

Transfer window winners – Tottenham

The Tottenham triumvirate of Daniel Levy, Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici have made one last-gasp attempt to see if a well-constructed, well-managed team really can compete for the Premier League against the high-rollers. Strength in depth in key areas has been the watchword with sensible signings others may kick themselves for missing – Cristian Romero, Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma. And keeping Harry Kane.

Transfer window losers – Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers has been left muttering darkly about the club not being the same as it was two years ago, it is easy to see why. The club has a rich history of making huge profits on sales of gems they have unearthed, such as Wes Fofana, but just signing a back-up goalie and Wout Faes on deadline day is hardly keeping up the rich stream.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Manchester City

How do you improve the best team in the world? Stick Erling Haaland at the top of the formation. A shoo-in for the Golden Boot at half the price Chelsea splashed on Romelu Lukaku last summer.

Worst transfer – Willian to Fulham

There are two sides to every story and as far as Willian himself is concerned he must struggle to believe he has been given such an easy return to west London life and Premier League wages. But when you clearly have another dogfight on your hands, is a 34-year-old who appears to have entered semi-retirement the moment he left Stamford Bridge really the man to lead you to safety?

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed - Big Debate

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Charlie Malam

Transfer window winners – Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko already look fantastic in this Arsenal team, slotting in seamlessly and at reasonable prices too. Keeping William Saliba was another inspired decision. Granted they might be one midfielder and one more right-sided winger shy but they’ve rid themselves of all the deadwood now, the silky exciting football has returned and there’s a real feel-good vibe back at the Emirates.

Transfer window losers – Bournemouth

Scott Parker lost his job for his dissatisfied comments to the press as much as on pitch-results, Bournemouth’s sack statement confirmed that. But he wasn’t wrong to say Bournemouth’s squad are “ill-equipped” at this level. They’ve done nothing this summer to change my mind that they’re going straight back down.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Man City

Jesus is a brilliant signing for Arsenal and transforms them, and Armel Bella-Kotchap has really impressed me at Southampton, as has Romeo Lavia. But how do you go against Haaland? A £51m fee – regardless of his wages – for as close as it is to come to guaranteed goals. If he avoids a long-term injury, he’ll blitz 30 league goals with ease this season.

Worst transfer – Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan (loan)

So Chelsea paid £100m to Inter for Romelu Lukaku last summer only to give up on him after one season? Granted, his wages are off the books for a year and he could return next season but it’s yet dire business. They regularly have some big-money stinkers but is this actually their worst ever? Lukaku’s clearly a top-level striker in the right team, too. His Stamford Bridge failure is arguably more on the board and the manager than him. 

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed - Big Debate

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Charlie Parker-Turner

Transfer window winners – Manchester City

Pep Guardiola headed into the transfer window needing a striker and a central midfielder, and he’s come out of it with Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips. That’s nothing less than top business, especially given they didn’t pay over the odds for either. The acquisition of Sergio Gomez will serve them well in the future too, he had plenty of suitors this summer.

Transfer window losers – Leicester City

Leicester City’s business this summer – or lack of – may have put them in a relegation battle. Granted their financial struggles, to sign only one player whilst losing two key figures in the squad is far from good. And failing to sell Youri Tielemans has left them losing another key asset for zilch in 2023. Brendan Rodgers demanded a shakeup, and now a change of face in the dugout seems more likely.

Best transfer – Erling Haaland to Manchester City

Boring selection? Yes. But signing a future Ballon d’Or winner for a fraction of his true market value is always going to take the top spot. Haaland is already tearing it up in the Premier League and he’ll break Alan Shearer’s record of most goals in a single campaign (34) this season, and then break it again next year, and so on.
Fulham signing Andreas Pereira and Nick Pope joining Newcastle for cut-price fees also deserve a mention.
 
Worst transfer – Dwight McNeil to Everton

Burnley managing to squeeze £20m out of Everton for Dwight McNeil is unbelievable. The 22-year-old lacks consistency and direct goal contributions, two things that you need if you are to save a struggling side. I can see this being another piece of business by the Toffees that we look back on in bewilderment. 

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed - Big Debate

Transfer window winners and losers as Arsenal, Man City and Haaland hailed – Big Debate (Image: GETTY)

Neil Squires

Transfer window winners – Manchester City

They signed Erling Haaland. Enough said.

Transfer window losers – Leicester City

The departure of the inspirational Kasper Schmeichel at the start of summer set the tone for an alarming window for Leicester fans. Wout Faes may have arrived late on but Wesley Fofana will be a huge loss in defence.

Best transfer – Armel Bella-Kotchap to Southampton

Apart from the obvious Viking, Armel Bella Kotchap. Southampton have picked up a cracking prospect in the 20-year-old German centre-back for £9.5m from Bochum.

Worst transfer – Cristiano Ronaldo not leaving Man Utd

The one that never happened, Cristiano Ronaldo out of Manchester United. He made his position clear that he wanted to leave for Champions League football but could not find a club to accommodate him. Now United are stuck with the world’s highest-paid bench-warmer.



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