Premier League Transfer Window
2020 Premier League Transfer Window: The Winners (Alejandro Rios/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

COVID Cash Crisis? Bah!

Premier League clubs once again spent over…

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….through the latest transfer window. With lower league clubs up against the wall, it’s perfectly reasonable to question the moral validity of those figures. However, for most outside of England and Wales, the Football League is something that doesn’t register – it’s all about the Premier League.

So who strengthened their position in this window? Who missed out on an opportunity to improve their squad? Some fans will certainly be excited to see their new men in action. Others will feel some level of trepidation.

Let’s focus on the winners first. For the losers, head here.

Carlo Ancelotti

Ancelotti’s Everton is on a seven-game unbeaten run to start the season, the club’s best start since the 1897 season. That’s…..frantically reaches for an abacus….a really long time ago.

For so long, this former giant of English football has floundered from calamity to expensive calamity. That changed when Mr. Ancelotti strode through the Goodison Park doors.

The Italian has given Everton a gravitas they have lacked for decades. He’s provided a structure and purpose to the club. Of course, he is directly responsible for the signings of his brilliant former chargers in James Rodriguez and Allan – players who would never have considered a move to Goodison without Ancelotti already there. He’s also given a focus to Director of Football Marcel Brands and majority owner Farshad Moshiri.

Under Moshiri’s stewardship, Everton has undoubtedly splashed the cash, but their transfer ‘policy’ as it were was haphazard at best.

In this window, Ancelotti and Brands rebuilt the team’s terrible midfield with Abdoulaye Doucoure joining the Allan, as mentioned earlier and James. They also addressed most of the squads other glaring needs: a new young center-half in Ben Godfrey, a young left-back in 18-year-old Niels Nkounkou joining for $250,000. They even signed cover (and potential replacement) for the sometimes brilliant but often erratic Jordan Pickford in Swede Robin Olsen, on loan from Roma.

The club slashed some of its monstrous wage bills with Theo Walcott and Moise Kean going out on loan and Morgan Schneiderlin, Maarten Stekelenburg, Oumar Niasse, and Sandro Ramirez all leaving permanently.

This is a sweeping reform that is paying immediate dividends. None of it happens without Carlo Ancelotti.

Arsenal

It’s party time at the Emirates.

The $45 million signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid strengthens a somewhat soft Arsenal midfield, which will provide the ammunition to the retained Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (resigning him is almost like a new signing). Arsenal sold Emiliano Martinez for $17 million, which funded the purchase of Gabriel Magalhaes. Cedric Soares is an underrated free transfer from Southampton, further stiffening the backline.

Another free, though more high profile transfer was Willian (da Silva) coming over from Chelsea. The veteran Brazilian can be enigmatic, but when he’s on, he’s the playmaker everybody in the red half of North London wishes Mesut Ozil – somehow still on the books – always was.

The Gunners were able to rid themselves of some unwanted high earners with Henrikh Mkhitaryan switching to Roma on a free. Arsenal loaned out Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

For the first time since Arsene Wenger stalked the touchline, Arsenal appears to have a plan.

Liverpool’s money men

The runaway champions didn’t want for much this transfer window, though they managed to strengthen all the same.

The headliner was Thiago from Bayern Munich, who provides excellent depth to central midfield, especially given the injury history of captain Jordan Henderson. The criminally underrated Diogo Jota arrives with a hefty price tag ($41 million) though he seems the best bet yet to be able to supplement the Big Three upfront.

Liverpool’s real wins, however, came with the outgoings. Surplus veterans on big money like Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne all left the club. They also brought in a remarkable $32.5 million (they also have buy-back options) for Rhian Brewster and Ki-Jana Hoever – two players who haven’t made a league appearance.

Of course, cracks have appeared. Injury-prone keeper Allison exposes that Adrian is nobody’s idea of a top-class keeper. Failure to replace Lovren has revealed a lack of depth in the center of defense. Someone will expose that sooner or later; someone like…

Aston Villa

From the last gasp, relegation escape to defeating the champions 7-2, it’s been some turnaround at Villa Park.

There wasn’t much deadwood lying around for Dean Smith to burn, so it’s all additions that have made this window a winner for the Villa.

A pair of Championship signings in Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins (perfect hattrick against Liverpool) have hit the ground running, while Bertrand Traore provides depth upfront. Loan signee Ross Barkley installs a physical presence in the midfield and will help shoulder some of Jack Grealish’s creative load. Perhaps their most significant upgrade was the purchase of Martinez from Arsenal. He’s instantly the best keeper Aston Villa have employed since Brad Friedel?

Daniel Levy

The Tottenham Hotspur Grand Poobah couldn’t have enjoyed a more fruitful window.

For the first time in a long time, he made his signings early and relaxed on deadline day. He brought in solid Premier League talent in Matt Doherty from Wolves and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton. He might have finally found a worthy reserve for Harry Kane in young Carlos Vinicius, on loan from Benfica. However, the highlights are undoubtedly his double capture from Real Madrid: Sergio Reguilon and the prodigal son Gareth Bale.

Reguilon instantly solves the troublesome left side of the defense for Jose Mourinho. Simultaneously, former professional golfer Bale hopes to reignite his career in the same way that James is doing at Everton.

A job well done at Spurs.

Chelsea. Probably.

If you looked at the ins/outs from this window, you would likely proclaim Chelsea as the big winners.

With their transfer ban lifted, Frank Lampard went all out. Lampard signed– Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Hakim Ziyech – for close to $140 million. He also found some spare change to strengthen the defense (Ben Chilwell for $45 million) and replace his astonishingly poor #1 keeper (Edouard Mendy for $22 million).

That talent will take some time to gel, and until everything clicks into place, it’s on the defense to keep Chelsea in games. To that end, free transfer Thiago Silva – fine defender he certainly is – looks every one of his 36 years playing in Lampard’s high defensive line.

Chelsea is, to some degree playing Football Manager in real life. This could all turn out splendidly, as much as it could all explode spectacularly. For that, Chelsea should be applauded.

Edinson Cavani

The square-jawed Uruguayan has been an outstanding player for a long time, though at 33, he is starting to slow down somewhat. So of course – of course – he ends up at Manchester United.

He might well still have another season of ruthless goal scoring in him, but this reeks of failing upwards for Cavani. More power to him.

The Next Four

As covered above, Arsenal and Tottenham have both had satisfying transfer windows. However, it can’t go unmentioned that the other group members that finished between fifth and eighth last campaign – Leicester and Wolves – have both made moves of their own.

The Foxes lost Chilwell to Chelsea, though replaced him with the impressive Timothee Castagne. Wesley Fofana adds much-needed quality to the center of defense, and Cengiz Under gives Brendan Rodgers a locksmith to play behind the evergreen Jamie Vardy.

Wolves’ stability and cohesion have been the hallmarks of their rise since promotion, so the squad’s relatively significant works represent some risk. However, the pure quality of players they’ve added cannot be argued. Nelson Semedo, teenage sensation Fabio Silva, and Rayan Ait-Nouri are all first XI players this season, giving Nuno Espirito Santo more chance to rotate in the always tricky Europa League.

Newcastle

Long hated owner Mike Ashley might have made his team better. After the aborted – and controversial – sale to a Middle Eastern back group fell through, Ashley backed manager Steve Bruce in bringing Jeff Hendrick, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, and Jamal Lewis. Yeah, I know, two of those were free transfers, but that means more wages, something Ashley has traditionally balked at. All four represent significant upgrades, while also allowing existing players to move into more natural roles. Last season big-money flop in Joelinton looks reborn at being able to play out wide as he did with considerable success at Hoffenheim.

Roy Hodgson

At the age of 73, Hodgson has made his most expensive signing in the exciting Eberechi Eze, who arrived from QPR for $16 million.

Good on the old dog for turning a new trick.

Brighton

Someone paid $10.5 million quid for Anthony Knockaert. Grand Larceny.

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