This is the fourth transfer window I have covered on this blog, and as usual I will be counting down my top five moves from the last few months of buying and selling. As I say every time, although usually these are the most expensive moves, the top five is not in order of cost, it is in order how how good a signing the player is, regardless of money.
In the Premier League, all 20 clubs dipped into the transfer market, with newly-promoted Watford being the busiest, capturing 15 players, whilst West Ham were the busiest on deadline day, signing four players in a hectic final 24 hours.
But it was Manchester City who spent the most in the division, paying out approximately £160 million on six players across the summer. By only splashing out £10 million, it was in fact Arsenal who spent the least over the course of the window.
The most expensive arrival of the window was Kevin De Bruyne, who arrived at the Etihad Stadium for £52 million from Wolfsburg.
In total, £870 million was spent in the Premier League, smashing last year’s previous record total of £857.7 million. It also massively beats spending in other European leagues – the closest spenders were Serie A clubs who spent around £405 million this summer.
In fact, Southampton were the only club to actually make a profit this summer, but that was only £0.8 million.
So the stats show that a lot of players, some world superstars, were unveiled across the country this summer, but which were my top five moves?
5. Memphis Depay – PSV to Manchester United (£25 million)
After finishing fourth last year, Louis van Gaal wanted to make Manchester United title contenders once again, and made the first big money signing of the window by securing Memphis Depay’s signature for £25 million from PSV even before the 2014-15 season had finished.
It was certainly a statement of intent, especially as the Dutch forward scored 22 times and got five assists in the Eredivisie last season on the way to winning the league title and player of the year.
At Old Trafford he has been handed the iconic number seven shirt, and despite not showing the Premier League what he is all about just yet, his performances in the Champions League qualifiers (two goals and two assists in two games) have been very impressive.
If he can replicate that form domestically, and succeed where Angel di Maria didn’t, Depay could be a real hit in Manchester and indeed be crucial to the Red Devils’ title pursuit.
4. Raheem Sterling – Liverpool to Manchester City (£49 million)
As soon as Raheem Sterling rejected an £100,000 a week contract at Liverpool, it became obvious that the 20 year old would be leaving Anfield this summer. The Reds rejected bids of both £30 million and £40 million from Manchester City, before eventually giving in to an offer of £44 million plus £5 million in add-ons.
This made Sterling the most expensive English player ever, and although the price has been labelled ‘too much’, ‘excessive’ and even ‘stupid’ by some, in a few years’ time it could prove money well spent.
Along with the signings of Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts, Sterling has improved Manchester City’s quota of home-grown talent, and unlike the the other two, the winger will be a regular starter at the Etihad Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side needed more options on the wing to support and supply Sergio Aguero, and Sterling has not only formed a connection with the Argentine, but also a superb partnership with full-back Aleksandar Kolarov down City’s left hand side.
After scoring just three minutes into his debut during pre-season, Sterling has one goal and one assist in the Premier League so far, helping the Citizens win all four games.
3. Petr Cech – Chelsea to Arsenal (£10 million)
Arsenal fans are lamenting the fact that they were the least active Premier League club in the transfer window and the only team in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player. Although they have every right to and I would be the same if I was a Gunners fan, it should be some consolation that the one player did sign is of world-class quality.
There, I said it. In my opinion, Petr Cech is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Arsenal have got a very good player on their books. It has been a problem position at the Emirates Stadium ever since Jens Lehmann left, so bringing in Cech has definitely sured up the North London side’s defence.
He may be 33 years old, but that is a goalkeeper’s prime, and unsurprisingly he wasn’t happy playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea. It would probably have been tough for Jose Mourinho to sell to a rival club, and Arsenal have got the better deal.
Not only is Cech a good shot-stopper, but his experience will be vital should Arsenal mount a serious title challenge. In his time at Stamford Bridge, the Czech Republic international won 15 trophies, including four league titles.
It may have been a shaky debut for Cech against West Ham, but he has improved since, with his stunning performance against Liverpool proving that he is still very much top four quality.
2. Pedro – Barcelona to
Manchester United Chelsea (£21 million)
Whoever Pedro would have signed for, he would have been an excellent signing, and despite Manchester United looking his certain destination, champions Chelsea came in at the last minute and stole the Spaniard from right under Louis van Gaal’s nose.
Not getting into the team at Barcelona isn’t any criticism of Pedro’s ability, especially when you have Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar to compete with for a starting spot. For £21 million, Chelsea are getting a player with five league titles, three Champions Leagues, a World Cup winners’ medal and more.
If the Blues’ attacking options weren’t exciting enough already, the addition of Pedro has made Jose Mourinho’s side very dangerous going forward, as he proved on his debut against West Brom with a goal and an assist.
Cesc Fabregas helped lure him to West London and the connection between the pair means that chances for the likes of Diego Costa and Falcao will be created more easily and improve Chelsea’s chances of retaining the league title.
1. Kevin De Bruyne – Wolfsburg to Manchester City (£55 million)
Coincidentally, the most expensive Premier League signing of the window is also my personal best, as Kevin De Bruyne moved to Manchester City for £55 million, making him the second most expensive player in English top flight history and breaking the club’s transfer record.
It is a huge blow for Chelsea, who never got the best out of De Bruyne at Stamford Bridge and after a couple of loan spells, sold him to Wolfsburg for £18 million last summer. Little did they know, the Belgian would flourish in the Bundesliga, as he helped Die Wölfe (The Wolves) finish second in the league and win the cup last season with 16 goals and 27 assists in all competitions.
He created more chances than any other player in the Bundesliga, and his performances meant he was named the German footballer of the year.
Manchester City already have an excellent attacking line-up, and the arrival of De Bruyne makes it the best in the league on paper. Consider the fact that are also yet to concede a goal so far this season, and you have to say that Manuel Pellegrini’s side are emerging as early title favourites. Capturing the 24 year old is not only a sign of their continued wealth but also a statement that they won’t stop until they regain the trophy.
What were your top five moves from this summer? Maybe it was a completely different five to my choices? Let me know in the comments below!