The Premier League transfer window wrap continues with part two...
In: Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, Robin Van Persie, Alexander Buttner, Angelo Henriquez (Approx expenditure: £49 million+)
Out: Ritchie De Laet, Fabio (loan), Paul Pogba, Tomasz Kuszczak, Zeki Fryers, Liam Jacob, Michael Owen, Park Ji-Sung, Dimitar Berbatov (Approx income: £8 million+)
Sir Alex Ferguson has made a real statement of intent during the off-season, splashing over £50 million on new talent.
Robin Van Persie stole the headlines when he completed his big money move from rivals Arsenal, but Shinji Kagawa has thus far looked an equally important piece of business for last season’s runners up.
Alexander Buttner offers some much needed competition at left back for Patrice Evra, whose form has waned in recent seasons, whilst there are few notable lossess to a squad that finished second by mere goal difference last time around.
United’s injury woes at the back provide cause for concern, as does the lack of an enforcer in midfield, a nagging issue which to many has been an obvious weakness in the United squad. It is one which Sir Alex has chosen to ignore once more.
Score - 7.5 - Sir Alex has undoubtedly improved the squad, both in quality and depth, but his decision to ignore the midfield conundrum once more could prove pivotal. Overall though, this was a good window for the Red Devils.
In: Romain Amalifitano, Gael Bigirimana, Curtis Good, Vurnon Anita (Approx expenditure: £8.2 million)
Out: Alan Smith, Peter Lovenkrands, Danny Guthrie, Tamas Kadar, Daniel Taylor, Leon Best, Fraser Foster (Approx Income: £5 million)
Despite few noteworthy signings from a first team perspective, this has been a great window for Alan Pardew.
After the success of last season, the big danger for Newcastle was always going to be a number of big clubs trying to snap up their best players, a fear whcih might have become a reality under a less steadfast manager and owner.
Alan Pardew acknowledged the role of Mike Ashley in rejecting a number of offers for players like Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, ensuring that Newcastle have a great opportunity to repeat their impressive feats of last season.
The loss of a number of bigger earners such as Alan Smith, Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best also frees up more of the wage bill, which could potentially be used to increase the club’s financial commitment to it’s best players.
Score - 7.5 - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
In: Steven Whittaker, Jacob Butterfield, Robert Snodgrass, Michael Turner, Sebastien Bassong, Alexander Tettey, Mark Bunn, Javier Garrido (loan), Harry Kane (loan) (Approx expenditure: £9.4 million)
Out: Josh Dawkin, Adam Drury, Zak Whitbread, Andrew Crofts, Daniel Ayala (loan), James Vaughan (loan) (Approx income: £330,000+)
Chris Hughton’s first job back in charge of a top flight club isn’t an easy one. He has managed to bring in some decent experience with Sebastien Bassong, as well as Steven Whittaker and Robert Snodgrass. Javier Garrido and Harry Kane have the potential to excite as well.
With very few big players leaving the club, this is a side with a very familiar look about it. They survived comfortably last time, but the teams around them have improved to a far greater extent than the Canaries, and that could be enough to ensure they have a much tougher time of it this season.
Score - 5 - Stagnant and uninspiring. Hughton has a massive job keeping the Canaries up with this squad.
Queens Park Rangers
In: Ryan Nelsen, Andy Johnson, Robert Green, Samba Diakite, Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett, Jose Bosingwa, Julio Cesar, Esteban Granero, Sam Magri, Stephane Mbia, Fabio Da Silva (loan) (Approx expense: £18 million+)
Out: Peter Ramage, Danny Shittu, Danny Gabbidon, Fitz Hall, Lee Cook, Rowan Vine, Patrick Agmeyang, Paddy Kenny, Akos Buzsaky, Heidar Helguson, Matthew Connoly, Tommy Smith, Joey Barton (Approx income: £1.3 million)
Ryan Nelsen, Andy Johnson, Park Ji-Sung and Jose Bosingwa are the makings of a solid Premier League team...if you were adding them to the same squad about 3 years ago. There are some big names coming into the QPR set-up this season, but a lot of them are mere shadows of what they once were.
Still though, this is a squad that now boasts considerable Premier League pedigree, and players who still have some real quality to offer. Coupled with the removal of several players who simply took up too much space on the wage bill, this has the makings of a decent transfer window for Mark Hughes, but concerns remain, particularly after a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Swansea, over how the new look QPR is going to work.
Still, there is plenty of time, and with quite a lot of quality coming in, even if most of it is past it’s prime, the activity this window should go a long way to securing safety.
Score - 6.5 - Plenty of experience and talent has been brought in, but it’s hardly a sustainable model. A lot is riding on how well all the new faces blend in.
In: Garath McLeary, Danny Guthrie, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Nicky Shorey, Stuart Taylor, Adrian Mariappa, Chris Gunter (Approx expenditure: £6 million)
Out: Mathieu Manset, Michail Antonio (Approx income: £790,000)
Much like Norwich and Swansea before them, Reading are hoping that the majority of the team that won promotion last season will prove good enough to avoid a drop back down to the Championship.
Danny Guthrie and Nicky Shorey are decent signings, whilst Pavel Pogrebnyak has plenty to prove in the Premier League. No big losses mean that the squad is certainly improved from last season’s, and a point against Stoke City was a fine way to open the Premier League campaign.
Score - 6 - Given their resources, Reading have bought decently, but it is debatable whether or not it will be enough to save them from relegation.
In: Jay Rodriguez, Steven Davis, Nathaniel Clyne, Paolo Gazzinga, Emmanuel Mayuka, Maya Yoshida, Gaston Ramirez, Cody Cooper (Approx expenditure: £29 million)
Out: Dan Harding, Radhi Jaidi, Billy Sharp (loan), Lee Barnard (loan), Dean Hammond (loan), Aaron Martin (loan), Tommy Forecast (loan), Jonathan Forte (loan) (Approx income: £0)
It’s been a massive couple of seasons for Southampton, after consecutive promotions over the past two seasons have seen the storied club back in top flight for the 36th time in their history. Once a mainstay in the Premier League, the Saints have had to battle long and hard through a difficult spell in the lower divisions to get back into the Premier League, and they have spent a significant ammount of money to try and stay there.
Smashing their own transfer record to bring in Uruguayan attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez is something a coup for the club, who will be delighted to have attracted such a young, exciting talent that already boasts two full seasons in the Italian top flight.
Nathaniel Clyne has looked an astute signing thus far, and Maya Yoshida is further testament to the new breed of talented footballers being developed in Japan. Despite some promising performances against last season’s champions and runners up in the opening three weeks, Southampton are yet to register a point in the Premier League this season, but their business over the window still looks quite promising.
As usual though, with so many new faces around the first team squad, the length of time it takes for everyone to gel could be what defines their season.
Score - 7 - No points yet, but there are some fine additions to this team. The amount spent will significantly increase expectations of survival this season.
In: Jamie Ness, Michael Kightly, Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, Charlie Adam, Steven N’Zonzi, Michael Owen (Approx expenditure: £13.3 million)
Out: Andre Davies, Tom Soares, Salif Diao, Louis Moult, Jonathan Woodgate, Danny Collins, Ricardo Fuller (Approx income: £500,000)
Stoke City have not been a club afraid to spend a fair proportion of their share of the Premier League TV money they recieve every season in a bid to strengthen their squad, and this season has been no exception.
Maurice Edu and Charlie Adam, who will be much more at home at the Britannia than he ever was at Anfield, are great additions to the Stoke midfield. Steven N’Zonzi also adds some steel (not that much more is needed) to Tony Pulis’ midfield department, whilst Michael Owen could go on, fitness permitting, to form an interesting partnership with Peter Crouch up front.
Plenty of old heads have been moved on, including Jonathan Woodgate and Ricardo Fuller, making for a successful transfer window for Stoke.
Score - 7 - The squad has been improved and large earners who no longer make the grade have been moved on.
Part three will follow in the coming days...
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