As two of the most free-spending managers in football history, José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, paved way for the arrival of more high-profile managerial switch-a-rounds, it’s perhaps no surprise to see Premier League clubs shatter the records of expenditure once more with a £1.165 billion bill, surpassing the £870 million mark set just last season.
In its trail, the relentless cash burning has left a bunch of euphoric agents, players and, for the most part, many satisfied fans with the acquisitions made by their favourite clubs. Some teams went about their business better than others, however. Here’s where all 20 Premier League clubs stand in Fresh Football’s rankings:
20th – Hull City
Key Incomings: Ryan Mason (£13m), David Marshall (£3.5m), Will Keane (£1m), James Weir (Undisclosed), Dieumerci Mbokani (Loan), Markus Henriksen (Loan).
Key Outgoings: Mohamed Diamé (£4.6m), Sone Aluko (Released), Ryan Taylor (Released)
As refreshing and laudable as one’s start to the season can be, the fact Hull’s squad still appears worryingly depleted, let alone arguably too weak to survive in the Premier League, sees them languish behind others as far as transfer dealings are concerned. It cost them a manager at the start of the season, after all.
David Marshall provided some solid performances during his time with Cardiff City in the Premier League, whereas Ryan Mason, despite being a bit costly, adds some quality to the Tigers’ midfield. The likes of Will Keane should also have space to grow into the player his potential promises to see him become, but whether he, among others, will manage to have the desired impact on the squad remains to be seen.
Stranger things have happened in the Premier League, of course, but the suspicions that Mike Phelan’s squad is still far too small and short in quality won’t go away.
19th – Burnley
Key Incomings: Jeff Hendrick (£10m), Steven Defour (£7.3m), Patrick Bamford (Loan), Jon Flanagan (Loan), Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (£2.5m).
Key Outgoings: Joey Barton (Released), Matty Taylor (Released), Lukasz Jutkiewicz (Loan).
Sean Dyche is sticking to what saw his team promoted last season, that much is clear, after a fairly quiet summer at Turf Moor. Whether that will cost Burnley, or not, remains to be seen, but it more than likely was the defining factor in their relegation from the Premier League just two seasons ago.
Nevertheless, the arrivals of Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick refresh the club’s midfield, whereas a stagnating Patrick Bamford joins with a point to prove, initially behind the likes of Sam Vokes and Andre Gray in the pecking order. The star quality remains unconvincing, however, but their strong unification can drown those concerns. At least there’s a clear method to Burnley’s actions, or lack thereof.
18th – West Bromwich Albion
Key Incomings: Nacer Chadli (£13m), Matt Phillips (£5.5m), Allan Nyom (£4m), Brendan Galloway (Loan), Robson Hal-Kanu (Free).
Key Outgoings: James Chester (£8m), Rickie Lambert (Undisclosed), Sebastien Pocognoli (Loan), Victor Anichebe (Released), Stephane Sessegnon (Released), Anders Lindegaard (Released).
Such was the disappointment with the lack of transfer activity at the Hawthorns that relegation-proof manager Tony Pulis was rumoured to be considering his position as West Bromwich Albion boss. That storm seems to have been weathered by the Midlands club, but they will now have to face the realities of their dealings.
On face value, the additions look adequate. Nacer Chadli’s powering figure looks like your average template for a Pulis wide man, whereas Brendan Galloway and Allan Nyom are decent reinforcements for the backline.
Happy or unhappy, Saido Berahino is still at the club, but fans will be rightly upset to have missed out on key targets, such as Islam Slimani, now at Leicester City, the striker’s ex-team mate, William Carvalho, and Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho. It’s a missed opportunity overall for squad that looks to be in desperate need or revitalisation.
17th – Swansea City
Key Incomings: Borja Bastón (£15.5m), Fernando Llorente (£5m), Leroy Fer (£4.75m), Mike van der Hoorn (£2.1m), Aflie Mawson (£5m).
Key Outgoings: André Ayew (£20m), Ashley Williams (£12m), Bafetimbe Gomis (Loan), Eder (£3.8m).
Hardly traffic-stopping stuff at the Liberty Stadium, but when has that ever been the case wherever Swansea City’s spending has been concerned? Still, the South Wales outfit managed to quietly smash their own transfer record by landing Borja Bastón for £15.5 million after his 19-goal season on loan at La Liga club Eibar.
The experienced Fernando Llorente also bolsters Francesco Guidolin’s frontline, whereas Leroy Fer, who has already found the back of the net from midfield twice this season, hopes his third move to a Premier League club won’t result in a successive relegation. The biggest worry, however, has to be how Swansea manage to cope with the exits of their top goalscorer and club captain, André Ayew and Ashley Williams. For now, it’s a season to sweat over.