Summer window: Winners and losers
Tom McDermott looks at the winners and losers following a fascinating summer of transfer activity.
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There was no shortage of big-money deals this summer and the loan system has been well and truly 'utilised' across the continent.
But which teams made the best - and worst - use of the opportunity to fill holes and fix problems in their squads?
Our Tom McDermott looks at the main winners and losers of the transfer window from teams chasing European glory to those looking to avoid the drop.
Transfer Window Winners
Danny Welbeck, Arsenal – Welbeck was criticised for his lack of goals at Manchester United but the England man was rarely given a run of games as United’s main striker. With Olivier Giroud out until 2015 due to injury, expect Welbeck to be given time to develop through the middle and he may just turn out to be the man that can finish off Arsenal’s flowing attacks. Will Louis Van Gaal live to regret Welbeck's departure?
Diego Costa, Chelsea – What a start he has made to his Chelsea career. Costa combines goals, skill and physical presence and if he maintains his form for the rest of the season he will almost certainly have a Premier League winners medal to show for it.
Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea – I tipped Fabregas to be the signing of the summer earlier in the transfer window. A player with Premier League experience from his time at Arsenal, the Spanish maestro is outstanding in a variety of midfield roles. His range of passing during Chelsea’s win at Burnley on the opening weekend of the campaign reminded the Premier League newcomers of the task they have ahead of them this season.
Radamel Falcao, Manchester United – Forced to miss the World Cup through injury, Falcao could prove to be United’s most deadly finisher since Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Colombian frontman is explosive inside the penalty area – just ask the Chelsea team from the 2012 Super Cup final.
Mario Balotelli, Liverpool – Last chance saloon for Super Mario? It might just be, but if Brendan Rodgers can get him to perform like he did for Italy at Euro 2012 then the £16million fee will look like one of the bargains of the season. Early signs are good after a promising debut for Liverpool during their 3-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon.
Calum Chambers, Arsenal – Southampton fans won’t be surprised to see Chambers performing so well in North London. For many Saints supporters, Chambers impressed more than Luke Shaw over the last couple of years and some even believe his best position is in front of the back four. The youngster's outstanding start to the season has been rewarded with a call-up to the England squad.
Alex Song, West Ham – Linked with numerous Champions League clubs over the summer, Sam Allardyce has signed a player with vast Premier League experience. Song’s move from Arsenal to Barcelona probably hasn’t gone quite how he might have hoped and he will be hungry to prove that he can still perform against the best the Premier League has to offer.
Joleon Lescott, West Brom – West Brom have reportedly sent Lescott to America on an intensive training camp in a bid to get him fit to face Everton after the international break. It wasn’t long ago that Lescott would have been part of the England squad at this time of the year and if he regains form and fitness in the coming months, West Brom should improve on last season’s 17th place finish.
Alexi Sanchez, Arsenal – The Chilean has scored a couple of goals already but Arsenal fans have yet to see the best of him. The former Barcelona player is a tireless worker and mesmerises defenders with his skill and pace. It would be a huge shock if Sanchez didn’t impress throughout the season at the Emirates.
Angel Di Maria, Manchester United – The Argentinian’s move from Real Madrid to Old Trafford has left many Real supporters scratching their heads. The winger was excellent last season and was named Man of the Match in the Champions League final against Atletico. Not just a pacey forward, he is more than capable of playing in a central position. United fans have good reason to be excited.
Transfer Window Losers
Hatem Ben Arfa, Hull City – Attitude, attitude, attitude. That was the word heard from people at St James’ Park and Alan Pardew reportedly couldn’t wait to get rid of him. On his day he’s a real crowd pleaser, the trouble is it’s often just once or twice a season.
Bojan Krkic, Stoke City – I thought long and hard about Bojan’s inclusion on this list. Apparently he dazzled during pre-season but there are concerns about the physical demands of the Premier League and if he can adapt. Will he go down as a Premier League flop? The gut feeling is yes.
Emmanuel Riviere, Newcastle – Looked lively and willing on his Newcastle debut but also incredibly anxious in front of goal. You got the impression that if one of his speculative efforts had gone in against Manchester City then he would be up and running. Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if he scored more than five Premier League goals this season. Not a good return for the money paid out.
Frank Lampard, Manchester City – Don’t blame the Chelsea legend for wanting to maintain his fitness before he moves to the MLS, but it’s hard to see him starting for Manchester City other than in the League Cup. Experience is good, especially if it’s on the pitch. Frankly, Lampard will struggle.
Esteban Cambiasso, Leicester City – The Premier League is a hard league to adapt to at the best of times and as Cambiasso approaches the latter stages of his career you doubt whether he’ll see the season out. His talent isn’t in question but has he still got the legs?
Kevin Doyle, Crystal Palace – 12 months ago Doyle was playing in League 1 with Wolves. It’s a remarkable turnaround from the Irishman but his recent goal record isn’t good. Palace manager Neil Warnock expects his side to work hard and that’s certainly something he will get from Doyle. Work-rate alone isn’t enough at this level though.
Rickie Lambert, Liverpool – Who can blame Lambert for fulfilling his boyhood dream and re-signing for Liverpool. Career wise it is probably the worst thing he could have done. Lambert is a good Premier League striker but will spend most of his time on the bench playing a supporting role. A member of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad, it’s unlikely that he will still be at the club in 12 months unless Brendan Rodgers’s side have been crippled injury and bad luck.