Premier League Transfers: Winners, Losers and Season Predictions
By Leonard Solms
With the new Premier League season set to start on 12 September, some teams look very different from how they were when we last saw them, while others have not changed much.
The big winners from the transfer window are of course Chelsea, but they are still only third favourites for the title according to the odds. There is a lot to be excited about at Chelsea as Roman Abrahimvoch has gone all-in on Frank Lampard by backing him in the transfer market. The acquisition of two German starlets in Timo Werner and Kai Haverts is a statement of intent with both youngsters ready to take their status in the game to the next level. Both have come off career defining seasons in the Bundesliga. Add to that the wizardry of Hakim Zyyech’s left foot and Chelsea’s attack takes on an entirely new look. In defence, they’ve added much needed steel and experience at the back with Thiago Silva, England international left-back Ben Chilwell and the highly rated Malang Sarr.
It is easy to see why Chelsea are an exciting prospect with great value to win the league title at 10.00 to win, Frank Lampard’s men are a long way behind Manchester City (0.71) and Liverpool (2.25) in the betting books and in reality, they are unlikely to mount a genuine title challenge, but it would be incorrect to write them off immediately.
The Blues did well to get their business done early, but a rushed off-season means there is not much time for their new-look team to gel. At the time of writing, the goalkeeping position is a major concern. It is likely that Chelsea will secure the services of a new shot-stopper before the transfer window wraps up in roughly a month.
Centre-back is another area where reinforcements could make a major difference. Manchester City did well to bring in Nathan Aké here, but they have yet to replace the class of Vincent Kompany but a solid Premier League performer is necessary to partner the established Aymeric Laporte. City have lost another talisman in the iconic David Silva, but have more than enough quality in midfield to make up for his absence. Expect this to be a big season for Phil Foden as he attempts to fill the void. Exciting new winger Ferran Torres will have big shoes to fill after Leroy Sané’s departure to Bayern Munich, but Pep Guardiola is not short of options going forward however their response to last season’s title challenge will be interesting to see.
Liverpool have not had a particularly active transfer window, although they have been persistently linked with Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara and the incumbent midfield Maestro Gini Wijnanuldum has yet to sign a new contract. They have strengthened in the left-back department with the capture of Kostas Tsimikas to deputise for Andy Robertson.
However, the stability within their ranks which has built up over several years should give them the edge over Chelsea. Manchester City are in a similar position to Liverpool in this regard after four years under Pep Guardiola.
The Dark Horses
Manchester United have made an important signing in Donny van de Beek. The Dutchman’s versatility and technical quality will be welcomed in an area where he will compete with and complement the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Nemanja Matic and Fred. The lack of options up front in an concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because if either of the triumvirate of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood get injured, their razor-thin squad could be exposed.
In the goalkeeping department, Dean Henderson is as good as a new player, having been brought back from Sheffield United, where he starred on loan last season. Whether de Gea or Henderson is preferred between the sticks in 2020-21, the competition in this department is likely to bring the best out of both shot-stoppers.
Willian adds much-needed experience to a young Arsenal side under the fresh-faced Mikel Arteta, but arguably their biggest success has been persuading Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay. They have also got Dani Ceballos back on loan after a relatively successful loan spell last season. Gabriel Magalhães will look to provide solidity at the other end of the field and is a highly-rated defender. With William Saliba also joining the squad after a transfer last season, Arsenal have two of the brightest French defensive talents right now. With an FA Cup already in the bag and the encouraging Community Shield win, it is hard not to be optimistic by Arteta behind the wheel at Gunners this season.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton could prove to be a major winner in this transfer window should they seal deals for James Rodríguez and Abdoulaye Doucouré to complement the signing of Allan. However, they lack the necessary balance within their ranks to challenge the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
The same could be said of Tottenham Hotspur, although they have added depth with the capture of Joe Hart and an impressive right-back in Matt Doherty. The best signing could be the capture of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg from Southampton. In the All or Nothing series on Amazon, Jose Mourinho consistently says his Spurs team are ‘nice guys’ and the Danish midfielder provides that extra bit of edge to a team that lacks the chutzpah in the big moments.
Wolves have taken a massive gamble by breaking their transfer record to sign striker Fábio Silva from Porto, but have not made any big-name signings otherwise. They are a well-coached team under Nuno Espírito Santo, but it is unlikely that we will see them rising up the Premier League ranks.
The same applies to Leicester City, whose acquisition of Timothy Castagne has been overshadowed by the failure to secure UEFA Champions League football and the departure of Ben Chilwell to Chelsea. Can Brendan Rodgers
The Relegation Dogfight
Further down the table, West Ham United and Newcastle United are in dire need of investment. Newcastle are a club in disrepair after an investment group led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund failed in their takeover attempt, leaving the Magpies under the control of the controversial Mike Ashley. However, the signing of Callum Wilson could be a decisive signing for them with goals always a concern for the Northerners. The capture of Jeff Hendrick on a free from Burnely also seems like a shrewd bit of business.
The Hammers recently lost attacking midfielder Grady Diangana to West Brom, with club captain Mark Noble admitting his anger. Besides letting go of a few players, West Ham have unusually not done any business in the window as of yet. But they do have the attacking depth in their squad to keep them up this season.
A lack of strengthening from Burnley means they are also in severe danger of stagnating despite their stability in recent seasons. This aside, Rodrigo’s transfer to Leeds has been another big signing for a newly-promoted club. Brighton & Hove Albion look well-placed to survive, having brought in Joël Veltman from Ajax Amsterdam to complement free transfer coups in Adam Lallana and Lars Dendoncker.
Liverpool strolled to Premier League success last season, but with Chelsea and Manchester City’s millions in the bank throwing the cat among the pigeons, the title is likely to be even more difficult to keep than it was to acquire.
Jürgen Klopp’s men should ultimately have just enough in the tank to see them over the line.
Premier League predictions:
3. Manchester City
5. Manchester United
20. Newcastle United