Man City won the Premier League last year at record pace. They added just one player, Riyad Mahrez from Leicester, for the price of £61m. Mahrez had 12 goals and 10 assists last season, which alone is fantastic but in addition he offers City a player up front who can dribble (2.3 per match) and gets in crosses (1.6 KP per match, 0.5 per match from corners and set pieces). Mahrez would be a great addition to any team but he’s just added depth to an already deep team that scored 100 goals last season. Unbelievable that a team can pay £60m for depth.
Man U bought Fred for £53m. He is just 25 and he plays in what looks like the same type of position (slightly deeper) as Pogba. He’s a good dribbler, tackled a lot at Shakhtar, but his throughball passing is ridiculously good (at that level). He can also pass with either foot, though he favors his left. What’s unbelievable is that Mourinho would complain about his team after they have spent £300m on player purchases the last three years.
Tottenham Hotspurs bought nothing. To recap, they have won zero trophies, their players won nothing at the World Cup, and now they have bought and/or sold nothing during the summer transfer window. They did get Victor Janzen back.
Liverpool addressed three key needs: a goalkeeper who wasn’t either of their calamitous goalkeepers from last season (Alisson), a midfielder who wasn’t their extremely limited English midfielder (Keita), and a defensive midfielder (Fabinho). They got all three.
Chelsea bought a keeper (named Kepa) and a slow midfielder who could come in and translate their new coach’s vision on the pitch (Jorginho). Most importantly, they got Maurizio Sarri, aka “Mister 33”, as coach. He’s named Mr. 33 because he teaches his teams 33 set pieces.
Arsenal bought a DM. Say it again. Arsenal bought a DM. Arsenal bought a DM. Nothing says “tha Wenga era is ova” more than the fact that Arsenal bought a defensive midfielder (Torreira). They also added an exciting young center mid (Guendouzi) who they hope to grow into a world class talent. Arsenal also wanted a keeper (Leno), center back (Sokratis), and a left back (the Lich) and they got them for cheap and like Guendouzi (the young mid) hope to grow them into really really old good players.
Burnley were subtly accused of racism last season when it was revealed that of the 24 players that they fielded in the Premier League, they only gave something like 1300 minutes to black players. Burnley also has had a player (Rodriguez) accused of, and cleared of, racist abuse and their fans have been accused of racist abuse, multiple times. Of course, I am not at all accusing anyone at Burnley FC of racism because I don’t know them and they are officially an “anti-racism” club. Nor do I know the race that any of their players identify as and wouldn’t want to make an assumption based on skin color. But based on country of birth, they don’t seem to have any Africans or even Latin Americans. Anyway, this summer they didn’t go for diversity and instead bought Joe Hart, their fifth goalkeeper, and two other white guys.
Everton’s best (and most expensive) purchase was Richarlison. He is certainly a gamble, however, I identified him as one of only a handful of under 21 players to get over 90 shots last season. I probably don’t say this often enough so I’m going to say it again; just getting shots is an ability in itself and it’s exception for an under 21 player to get anything approaching 100 shots. Even more convincing, he wasn’t just taking shots from distance, he had 66 shots in the penalty area and 8 in the 6 yard box. His conversion was poor, he scored just 5 goals and he missed 13 big chances, but conversion is capricious. If he can start finishing (he’s probably going to have to work very hard at it in practice) and he adds that to the fact that he’s a good dribbler and creator (he made 6 big chances for teammates last season) he will be the breakout player of the season.
Leicester: I don’t know who any of these players are – James Maddison, Pereira, Soyuncu, Benkovic, Ward, and Ghezzal. I also don’t play football video games. I could look them up but I’m not going to. I do know that they signed Jonny Evans for 3m. West Brom rejected a bunch of £12m bids for him in January, including one from Arsenal. Good thing he saved them from relegation.
Newcastle United once again made a profit off of player sales. Man, I don’t know how anyone supports that club. That owner (Mike Ashley) is exactly what Arsenal supporters think Stan Kroenke is. I also don’t know why Rafa Benitez sticks around.
Crystal Palace cooled their jets after spending tons of money the last two years. They did buy Kouyate from West Ham. I think more importantly, they kept their star striker, Zaha. I hope Zaha, like Richarlison, starts putting away chances. Why not? I like watching goals.
Bournemouth, like Arsenal, bought a DM for the first time in like 100 years. Jefferson Lerma is his name and what you need to know is that he had 16 yellow cards last season for Levante. Bournemouth really needed some “steele” in midfield. That means Bournemouth paid about £1.5m per yellow card. Hey, if they want yellow cards I can give them yellow cards! My current offer is a mere £1m per yellow card. No need to pay up front.
West Ham hired new manager Manuel Pellegrini and he targeted Lazio playmaker Felipe Anderson and Dortmund forward Yarmolenko. Interesting choices which will be a challenge to integrate into the Premier League.
Watford bought Deulofeu. That’s weird. I thought he retired. They still have Troy Deeney.
Brighton (and Hove Albion) bought 8 dudes and while I know that you rely on me for my keen insight I can say definitively that I also don’t know ANY of these players. I did go look up Jahanbakhsh and he has an impressive scoring record for AZ Alkmaar. He’s also one of these young players who dribbles a lot, completing 3.4 per game, and wa a good creator with 2.4 key passes and taking 4.3 shots per game. There’s no wonder why they call him “the Iranian Messi”. Which kind of reminds me of back in the 80s and how we had “The Iron Sheikh” in wrestling who was a heel and was supposed to be from Iran. Anyway, I wonder if this kid is going to kick some serious butt here next year?
Huddersfield Town spend 27m on a center back and a center forward from Monaco. The center back, Kongolo, played 3 times, and the forward, Diakhaby, played 852 total minutes. Monaco has been a pipeline team. They sold £278m worth of players this summer, including Mbappe, Lemar, Fabinho, Kongolo, Ghezzal (to Leicester), Meite, Diakhaby, and Joao Moutinho (to Wolves).
Southampton paid £23m for a center back, which is crazy.
Wolves bought Adama Traore (who is, incidentally NOT the same Adama Traore who plays for Monaco). he plays on the right and they also bought a left winger. Wolverhampton have been accused of being in bed with super agent Jorge Mendes and I suppose that could be a problem. I mean, I’m no fan of agents, but they are in the Premier League now and they have a good team that plays fantastic passing and attacking football. They are one of the teams I expect to be in the top 10 and really pushing for top 6.
Cardiff bought three guys that they can use as human shields/battering rams for their 18th century football tactics. They will be relegated massively. I only hope Burnley are more relegated than them.
And Fulham bought one of the most controversial purchases of the summer, Andre Anguissa. I looked at Anguissa as part of my U24 CM/DM study this summer and he’s an interesting player: good short passing, mediocre long passing; dribbles well, also dispossessed a lot; tackles a lot, fails at tackling a lot; intercepts and blocks a lot of passes per90. Their other signing, John Michel Seri complained that he doesn’t like playing in the cold because he gets ingrown toenails. He’s a huge gamble too.
Looks like Richarlison has taken your advice and worked on his finishing.
Thanks for the transfer roundup Tim. Very interesting.
Is that true about Seri and ingrown toenails?
I watched the Fulham v Crystal Palace game today, and thought he did well. Chambers wasn’t solely at fault for the opening goal, but his cover of Schlupp was pretty shloppy. Otherwise, he was solid. Zaha was really impressive, and a part of me wishes we might have gone for him (he’s an Arsenal fan as well, apparently). Can dribble past his marker with flair, and scored a neat goal as well. On the minus side, he does seem to lose the plot pretty easily when things don’t go his way. Bit of a hothead. Anyway, Fulham will be interesting once they coalesce a little more, and happy for Crystal Palace (I have a soft spot for Hodgson).
Other than that, results went pretty much as anticipated, with Spurs, Chelsea, and United all winning their openers. Liverpool and City should do likewise tomorrow.
I know, I know, I should be optimistic, but I think I can call this game today: we’ll get caught when trying to pass the ball out from the back; and, when we don’t have possession, we’ll commit too many players to a top-of-the-pitch press leaving our defenders exposed — and City will score two or three. I know this is something Emery wants to impress upon the team (passing out from the back), but based on pre-season games, we didn’t look comfortable doing so (yet), and the players still haven’t worked out how best to balance the high press with taking care of the back four.
Still, I’m excited for the start of the season, generally. I think we’ll watch the team grow over the course of the season, and, who knows, maybe we’ll have enough to win the Europa League (though Chelsea might have something to say about that).
Zaha throws himself to the ground a lot and then goes into a bug-eyed rage at the ref when he doesn’t get the call. Like Bale before him, he’s now actually getting brutally fouled and getting no calls because of his “reputation”. A player I want to excel, but he doesn’t help himself with the attitude.
That was pretty bad by Chambers, that was a simple low pass into the box, Schlupp was never covered and that during an attack where the defense was settled and standing.
The surprise is that anyone’s surprised.
Get Xhaka off. He’s a liability. Gave Sterling an uncontested shot (Sokratis needed to at least attempt a block too).
Worst of all, he’s useless on breaking the press, passing back to Cech, with clear outlet options upfield. He’s not even do his day job well, failing to hit wide open players with long passes. As I write this, he just coughed up the ball, on min 26, to give Aguero a clear run at goal.
Im afraid that when everyone is fit, firing and acclimatised, it’s Torreira for Xhaka.
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