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.
Fresh Football has already brought to you those ranked as 20th – 17th, 16th – 13th & 12th – 9th, leaving us with eight more Premier League clubs in our power rankings to go through. Here are the those who’ve just missed out on our top four.
8th – Watford
Key Incomings: Roberto Pereyra (£11m), Isaac Success (£12.75m), Daryl Janmaat (£7.5m), Christian Kabasele (£5m), Stefano Okaka (£5m), Younes Kaboul (£3.4m), Camilo Zúñiga (Loan), Brice Dja Djédjé (£3m), Kenedy (Loan).
Key Outgoings: Miguel Layún (£5m), Mario Suárez (Loan), José Manuel Jurado (£1.2m), Allan Nyom (£4m), Ikechi Anya (£4m), Matej Vydra (£8m), Almen Abdi (£3m), Daniel Pudil (Free).
There’s a great sense of intrigue surrounding Watford’s new boss Walter Mazzarri, who starred for Napoli in command of Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamšík and more before an underwhelming spell at Inter Milan in 2013. As the Hornets took on Arsenal and Chelsea in two of their first three Premier League encounters, the Italian manager could only pluck one point from a possible nine so far, but the squad currently at his disposal could well give the London club an excellent chance at a swift recovery.
Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra stands as the biggest name to walk through the door at Vicarage Road, with the Argentine already impressing versus Arsenal following his £11 million move. The impact made in the same game by record signing Isaac Success also gives Mazzarri food for thought with regards to his options up top.
On the topic of forwards, Watford’s ability to hold onto Odian Ighalo and Troy Deeney can be seen in a positive light, despite the astronomical offers that reportedly surfaced, whereas the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Kenedy and Christian Kabasele could all prove to be handy options for Mazzarri’s famed 3-5-2 formation.
7th – Arsenal
Key Incomings: Granit Xhaka (£38m), Shkodran Mustafi (£35m), Lucas Pérez (£17m), Rob Holding (£2.5m), Takuma Asano (£3.5m), Kelechi Nwakali (£3m).
Key Outgoings: Jack Wilshere (Loan), Calum Chambers (Loan), Joel Campbell (Loan), Wojciech Szczęsny (Loan), Serge Gnabry (£4.25m), Mikel Arteta (Retired), Tomáš Rosický (Released), Mathieu Flamini (Released), Jon Toral (Loan), Dan Crowley (Loan), Isaac Hayden (£2.5m).
The primary targets for Arsenal in the transfer window were to sign a defensive midfielder, a striker and a centre back, all of high calibre. After endless pleas from fans and public figures alike, the Gunners managed to do just that, to an extent at least.
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka is sure to add the blend of attitude, defensive and technically progressive capabilities the north London club has been crying out for in defensive midfield throughout the years. There can be few complaints over the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi as well; a 24-year-old, 13-time Germany international who adds both greater physical capabilities and composure that the likes of Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista naturally can’t pair up.
The arrival of 27-year-old Lucas Pérez is a little trickier to theoretically suffice, however, but if his recent 17-goal season for Deportivo de La Coruña is anything to go by, then he’s a welcome addition to those in the goal scoring department.
6th – Middlesbrough
Key Incomings: Viktor Fischer (£4.25m), Álvaro Negredo (Loan), Antonio Barragán (£2.3m), Víctor Valdés (Free), Calum Chambers (Loan), Adama Traoré (Undisclosed), Bernardo Espinosa (Free), Gastón Ramírez (Free), Fabio Da Silva (£2m), Brad Guzan (Free).
Key Outgoings: Albert Adomah (Undisclosed), Jonathan Woodgate (Released), Adam Reach (£5m), Rhys Williams (Free), Mustapha Carayol (Released), Damia Abella (Released).
Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough side have been amongst the most lauded of Premier League sides for their transfer activity and it’s easy to see why. Notably, the ex-José Mourinho assistant manager has filled in the gaps of his team with various compatriots, which should facilitate both the players’ and the club’s transition to the Premier League from a tactical perspective.
Álvaro Negredo had 23 goals to his name in his debut season at Manchester City in 2014, whereas Víctor Valdés adds a wealth of experience to Middlesbrough’s backline, strengthened further by the likes of Antonio Barragán from Valencia and Sporting Gijon’s Bernardo Espinosa.
Boro have also managed to lure in Calum Chambers on loan, a good deal for all concerned, meanwhile there’s a fair deal of excitement that should be reserved for the arrival of ex-Ajax man Viktor Fishcher and former Barcelona starlet Adama Traoré, both players who should be keen to make positive strides in their promising careers.
5th – AFC Bournemouth
Key Incomings: Jack Wilshere (Loan), Jordon Ibe (£15.3m), Lewis Cook (£6m), Nathan Aké (Loan), Emerson Hyndman (Free), Brad Smith (£3m), Marc Wilson (£2m).
Key Outgoings: Matt Ritchie (£10.2m), Tommy Elphick (£3.2m), Lee Tomlin (£3m), Sylvain Distin (Released), Glenn Murray (Loan).
It’s hard to look beyond the deadline day signing of Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal, a player who, if fit, sees him become an addition of the highest order at the Vitality Stadium. His progressiveness and creativity in the middle of the park will be invaluable to Bournemouth, whereas he also has his fair share of experience, despite a turbulent time with injuries.
Ex-Liverpool man Jordon Ibe will be tasked with replacing Matt Ritchie, who joined Newcastle United for £10 million. If the talented winger can add consistency to his game, arguably costly in his abrupt exit from Anfield, then Bournemouth have yet another big player on their hands for the forthcoming season.
There’s bags of potential in the signings on Nathan Aké, loaned out by Chelsea once more, Emerson Hyndman from Fulham and £6 million man Lewis Cook, making the Cherries a team to pay very close attention to.