Premier League Transfer Tracker – Part 1
With World Cup 2018 understandably dominating the headlines, it’s been a quiet summer so far in terms of transfer activity, but how are Premier League teams shaping up ahead of the August start?
Here, we look at Arsenal through to Crystal Palace…
Main Ins: Bernd Leno, Bayer Leverkusen; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Juventus; Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Borussia Dortmund; Lucas Torreira, Sampdoria; Matteo Guendouzi, Lorient
Main Outs: Santi Cazorla, Villarreal; Per Mertesacker (retired); Jack Wilshere (free agent)
Reasons to be cheerful? The arrival of Unai Emery has breathed new life into Arsenal as they start a Premier League campaign with a new manager for the first time in 22 years. Whilst his predecessor was risk-averse and prone to showing far too much loyalty to players, the former PSG manager looks to be more cut-throat in his decision-making – as seen by his decision to mutually part ways with Jack Wilshere. His first forays into the transfer market look well thought-out as well.
Reasons to be fearful? Arsenal no longer belong in the very top tier of clubs, which means they will likely have to gamble on a few leftfield signings to restore their Champions League credentials. The new regime deserve time to carry out the extensive rebuild needed but Emery’s signings so far suggest he is working to add some leadership back in to a rudderless team.
Main Ins: David Brooks, Sheffield Utd; Diego Rico, Leganes
Main Outs: Benik Afobe, Wolves; Max Gradel, Toulouse; Adam Federici, Stoke; Lewis Grabban, Nottingham Forest
Reasons to be cheerful? Eddie Howe’s side seem to have an uncanny knack for adding the flair and firepower needed to pull themselves clear of relegation year after year. The shrewd signing of exciting Sheff Utd youngster David Brooks could ensure that tradition continues.
Otherwise, it’s been a quiet old summer so far on the South Coast, but that’s perhaps no surprise, with the ever-pragmatic Howe preferring to add genuine quality over quantity to a Cherries squad that continues to punch above its weight.
Reasons to be fearful? After three seasons in the Premier League, Bournemouth are now viewed by many as an established Premier League side. As Stoke, West Brom and Swansea go to show, complacency is always a danger. It was only in the last month of the 2017/18 season that Cherries fans could breathe a sigh of relief that the club’s top-flight status was secured. Bournemouth should learn from those clubs that resting on your laurels, or becoming lazy with recruitment, never ends well.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Main Ins: Leon Balogun, Mainz; Florin Andone, Deportivo La Coruna; Jason Steele, Sunderland; Bernardo, RB Leipzig, Hugo Leto, Arsenal; David Button, Fulham; Yves Bissouma, Lille; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, AZ
Main Outs: Conor Goldson, Rangers; Liam Rosenior, free agent; Steve Sidwell, free agent; Jamie Murphy – Rangers; Uwe Hunemeier, SC Paderborn
Reasons to be cheerful? Brighton’s recruitment team played a real blinder in 2017/18, scouring smaller European leagues and unearthing under-the-radar gems including Pascal Gross and Jose Izquierdo. The signing of Leon Balogun, impressive for Nigeria at World Cup 2018, adds extra defensive resilience to a well-drilled unit. Andone at £5m also looks sensible business for an experienced La Liga striker, and recent high profile arrivals Yves Bissouma and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will surely add the extra spark the Seagulls sometimes lacked last campaign.
Reasons to be fearful? The risk of second season syndrome – can they repeat the trick in 2018/19? Brighton struck gold with leftfield signings in their first Premier League campaign, but it’s not a given that every new player arriving on these shores will hit the ground running as well as the class of 2017/18. The team also lacks pace in key areas – something Chris Hughton will be keen to rectify this summer.
Main Ins – N/A
Main Outs – Scott Arfield, Rangers; Dean Marney (free agent)
Reasons to be cheerful? Turf Moor is never going to be a hotbed for attracting elite football talent, but Burnley’s European dream makes the Clarets a far more attractive proposition this summer compared to other teams outside the Big Six.
Reasons to be fearful? The flipside – the damage a potentially draining European campaign can do. Burnley performed wonders as a tight-knit group last season, but how many times have we seen a team struggle with the rigours of Thursday/Sunday football? With extra faces probably needed, Dyche will be hoping team spirit doesn’t take a knock as the Clarets embark on a Europa League adventure.
Main Ins: Bobby Reid, Bristol City; Greg Cunningham, Preston; Josh Murphy, Norwich; Alex Smithies, QPR
Main Outs: N/A
Reasons to be cheerful? Neil Warnock’s side have certainly been pro-active so far, as one of the busier sides in the market this summer. Reid and Murphy will help to add an extra attacking dimension to their play as they compete at the top table for the first time since 2013/14.
Reasons to be fearful? Given their unexpected rise last year, it’s hardly their fault, but this Bluebirds side currently desperately lacks genuine Premier League pedigree. They should look to both Brighton and Huddersfield with canny buys from the continent rather than over-inflated Championship names, otherwise it could be another brief stay in the top tier.
Main Ins: Jorginho, Napoli; Robert Green, free agent
Main Outs: N/A
Reasons to be cheerful? The arrival of Maurizio Sarri might finally allow Chelsea to refresh a team that looks to have turned stale in the last 18 months. Bar the encouraging signing of Jorginho, and Rob Green’s arrival as a back-up keeper, very little speculation is coming out of Stamford Bridge in terms of transfers; could this also be the season that the Blues’ much-touted youth policy finally bears fruit?
Reasons to be fearful? Time is ticking and with so much time taken for the white smoke to billow from the Chelsea boardroom, players may think twice at joining a club not famed for its stability.
Main Ins: Vicente Guaita, Getafe
Main Outs: Yohan Cabaye, Al Nasr; Diego Cavalieri, Damien Delaney, Lee Chung-yong (free agents)
Reasons to be cheerful? After Frank De Boer’s disastrous summer holiday in South London one year ago, the atmosphere seems much more positive around Selhurst Park as the Eagles go in to 2018/19. As a wily Premier League streetfighter, Roy Hodgson has both the experience and contacts to ensure Palace enjoy a far easier ride this time around.
Reasons to be fearful? The Zaha Conundrum. With their talisman on fire, Palace look like a team that can take even one of the Big Six to the cleaners on the right day. Without him, they look toothless relegation fodder. First up, they will need to resist any offers, and then the Eagles will need to dare in the transfer market to lose their tag as a one-man team.