WINNERS: MAN UTD AND MOURINHO
In an ideal world Jose Mourinho might well have brought in one extra wide attacker to supplement those already on the books such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Gareth Bale and Ivan Perisic were linked and United opted against completing deals for players of lesser quality. That said the club can be pretty satisfied with their transfer market business.
Nemanja Matic looks a steal at £40 million and not only provides balance to the team but also liberates Paul Pogba to influence the game further forward.
Romelu Lukaku has started the campaign in good goalscoring form and looks to the manor born. He will be among the Premier League’s leading marksmen at the end of the season and should help stitch together Mourinho’s attacks.
Victor Lindelof has not yet kicked a ball competitively but will be eased into action in the English game. He will be an upgrade on the centre backs United already have and should provide a solid partnership in tandem with Eric Bailly.
All in all a solid summer for United.
WINNERS: WEST BROM
Grzegorz Krychowiak was PSG’s flagship summer signing just one year ago and while it’s fair to say things haven’t worked out for the Poland international at Parc des Princes he still remains a midfielder of outstanding quality both on the ball and in the challenge. He will help evolve West Brom’s style and give Tony Pulis more control in the centre of the pitch.
Oliver Burke was one of the hottest properties in the European market last season before opting for RB Leipzig but failed to adjust to life in the Bundesliga. No doubt he will fulfil his potential as a fearsome winger in the Premier League.
Add to that lot Jay Rodriguez, a proven Premier League striker, Gareth Barry, a veteran of more than 600 games at this level, and Ahmed Hegazy, an international quality centre back and you have a very productive window indeed.
Plus, Pulis managed to hang on to the summer’s most coveted defender in Jonny Evans as well as in-demand Nacer Chadli.
WINNER: PAUL CLEMENT
Sanches was crowned a European Championship winner last summer with Portugal and earned that tournament’s best young player award. He went on to become Europe’s “Golden Boy” but has been powerless to prevent his Bayern career hitting the skids.
Enter Paul Clement. The Swansea manager has spent most of his coaching career working alongside Carlo Ancelotti and his six-month stint alongside the Italian at Bayern swung the Renato deal in his favour.
Last year the 19-year-old could have had his pick of any club in the world with Manchester United once favourites for his signature. Now he’s shaping up for a season in south Wales. But it’s a deal that suits everybody.
Sanches gets a season’s worth of intensive Premier League football that should help him back on track. Swansea get one of Europe’s hottest young talents and Bayern are assured that his development will continue with a coach who believes in him.
Moreover, Clement has demonstrated that his contacts book might be very useful when it comes to signing players.
LOSER: ANTONIO CONTE
Antonio Conte walked out of Juventus in disgust when they failed to land him his preferred transfer targets in 2014. He had taken them to three straight titles but was adamant they couldn’t go to the next level unless his preferences were met. They weren’t and he walked.
Chelsea then were playing with fire this summer by failing to adequately restock the squad after winning the Premier League title last season. Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger were brought in but only as replacements for Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and John Terry. Quality additions to extend a talented but restricted squad were unforthcoming despite Conte’s pleading for numbers.
Romelu Lukaku was sought but Manchester United stole in. Fernando Llorente preferred to join Spurs. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went to Liverpool. Late on deadline day there was still talk of Riyad Mahrez and Ross Barkley but the Everton playmaker pulled out of a deal at the 11th hour.
In the end Davide Zappacosta was summoned from Torino to provide competition to Victor Moses. He would not have been high on Conte’s list of priorities at the start of the summer.
Danny Drinkwater also arrived from Leicester City, but at £35m it seems the Blues may have overpaid for what will likely be a squad player.
So the Costa situation remains unresolved all thanks to Conte’s poor communication at the end of the season. Matic was allowed to join and strengthen a rival. And Chelsea still have no cover for their wide attackers.
There is still quality on the books no doubt but it’s been a far from ideal summer for the champions.
On the surface there might well be a lot for Everton fans to be excited about. They’ve got a new owner in Farhad Moshiri, who’s promised to spend big money in the transfer market, and a manager not shy about overhauling his squad. They have brought in some native players of big potential in Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane and brought in Steve Walsh, the director of football who oversaw the signings that won Leicester the league.
But if you delve a little deeper all might not be as it seems. The signings of Pickford, Keane and Davy Klaassen give Everton replacements for Joel Robles, who was never good enough, John Stones, who wasn’t replaced last season, and Gareth Barry. Those are sensible acquisitions but absolutely fundamental ones also. Everton couldn’t have gone into the season without signings in those three positions.
The rest of their business makes less sense. Even for £90m, the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United with Wayne Rooney coming the other way is baffling. Lukaku had outgrown his surroundings and had to go but it’s hard to see what Rooney, 32 in October and on bigger wages, will bring in the long-term to Everton.
Lukaku’s direct replacement, Sandro, has not exactly set the world alight either and will have to work hard to match the Belgian’s output.
Ross Barkley has no part to play under Koeman and so the Dutchman moved for Gylfi Sigurdsson. The £40m fee might make sense in this market but looks wasteful next to the folly of misusing Barkley.
Henry Onyekuru, Nikola Vlasic, Cuco Martina, well, the jury shall remain out on those.
Everton’s new era in the transfer market looks a bit on the stingy side given that they’ve sold their best player to fund a massive outlay on a mixed bag.
LOSER: ALEXIS SANCHEZ
By the sounds of things, there were a few players in the Arsenal dressing room who would have been content to see the back of Alexis Sanchez but he will be among them for one more season at least.
Arsenal failed to secure a suitable replacement with time having run out on a deal for Thomas Lemar on deadline day meaning Sanchez was denied his wish of again linking up with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Arsenal's slipshod planning and poor preparation cost their star striker his dream move and also mean the Gunners miss out on a lucrative transfer fee.
Alexis is out of contract next summer but Arsenal are content to take the £60m hit when he leaves for free.
Arsene Wenger is now left with a dissatisfied player whose body language and general demeanour have betrayed his frustration at being stuck at an underperforming club who can't even give him Champions League football.
He has a desperate need to win trophies at this stage of his career and turns 30 next year. It's far from certain that Arsenal can guarantee him any significant silverware and he's counting the cost of not only his team-mates' inadequacies but also those of Arsenal suits further up the food chain.