The Transfer Window’s Biggest Winner: The Premier League
The summer transfer window “slammed” shut last night, leaving some fans on a high, others relieved, many frustrated and a few Arsenal and Liverpool fans outraged. On balance and once the dust from yesterday’s mad rush settles, most fans will be pleased with their summer business. Whilst net spends are calculated and names proposed for the “signing of the window”, the biggest winner this summer has to be the Premier League on the whole.
Over the last few years, the English Premier League has seen several of its stars depart; with Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and then this summer Didier Drogba and Luka Modric all departing, the quality of players and teams in the league was perhaps slightly reduced. Other notable names have also left for La Liga, such as Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, which towers above other leagues as home to so many of football’s stars. This summer, however, the Premier League has fought back, and whilst no single ‘global superstar’ has landed on our shores, several players with precocious talent and the potential to be stars of the future most certainly have.
Chelsea splashed the cash to lure Eden Hazard and the highly rated Oscar to England. Manchester United nipped in to steal one of the games rising stars from Germany in Shinji Kagawa. Arsene Wenger, at long last, signed some proven talent in Lukas Podolski and a real eye catching player in Santi Cazorla. Liverpool too joined the party, stealing in ahead of Arsenal to bring the very talented and highly-rated Nuri Sahin in on loan. Tottenham, meanwhile, softened the blow of losing Luka Modric by signing a world class goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris, as well as one of the Eredivisie’s top players in Jan Vertonghen. These are players which excite fans, get them to the ground or glued to the television set, and will without doubt enhance the quality of the league as a whole. Whilst obviously serving to improve their respective club sides in a purely competitive sense, they will also certainly add to the entertainment factor.
That said, the sides closer to the top of the table are always expected to bring in the world’s top talents. Perhaps what has been most refreshing about this summer’s window is the business done further down the table. Swansea in particular have dealt precisely and confidently; despite losing several key names including manager Brendan Rodgers, they have replaced the departing names with quality replacements. Michu has announced his arrival with three goals in two games, but other additions such as Chico, De Guzman, Ki and deadline day signing Pablo Hernandez are all impressive coups.
Elsewhere, QPR have taken the scatter gun approach and signed anything that moves. Their haul does include some undoubted quality, however. Julio Cesar and Esteban Granero are two truly world class footballers – unwanted at their previous clubs, QPR have pushed the boat out to bring them to the Premier League. Even newly promoted Southampton have joined the fun by paying a club record fee for the highly rated Uruguayan youngster Gaston Ramirez, who at one stage this summer seemed destined for either Liverpool or Tottenham. That move didn’t materialise, but Gaston will be playing in the Premier League this season and perhaps those two clubs will regret not making their move.
What this means is that the Premier League’s level of quality will be deeper than ever this year. That gives us, hopefully, a better standard of player and football to watch, analyse and enjoy. Beyond that, however, it will also surely increase the level of competition. As the top clubs add star names to their squads and other less prominent clubs make effective signings, including recruits from within the division, we have stronger squads across the board, and as a result, a better standard throughout the league as three points are tougher than ever to claim. That is a massive positive for the Premier League, as some doubts have been raised over the last couple of seasons about a possible decline in the league’s overall level.
The season is now set up to be contested more fiercely than ever, and if your club haven’t managed to fill that one position which so badly needed attending to, there’s always January!