On Wednesday evening at 11pm, the transfer window slammed shut, bringing to an end two months of buying, selling and non-stop rumours. Let’s take a look at some of the stats from the window.
In the Premier League, all 20 teams looked to strengthen their squads, though some got their business done early and others left it late. The busiest club were newly-promoted Middlesbrough who brought in 12 players.
As usual, it was Manchester City who splashed the most cash – over £177 million on seven new players. The most expensive player came from the other side of Manchester, as Paul Pogba moved to Old Trafford for a world record fee of £89 million. Meanwhile, the club who spent the least were Hull City (just over £17 million).
13 clubs broke their transfer records in the past two months (some breaking it multiple times), and thanks to the new TV deals, spending was at an all-time high, with a record £1.165 billion being splashed on new players in the Premier League.
In my opinion, these were the best deals of this summer’s transfer window:
5. Christian Benteke – Liverpool to
Burnley Crystal Palace (£32 million)
Having struggled to hit the back of the net last season (centre-back Scott Dann was their joint Premier League top scorer with five goals), Crystal Palace were in desperate need of a striker this summer. With Liverpool looking to sell Christian Benteke, they had found their key target.
Despite needing to breaking their transfer record to bring him in, Palace beat a host of other teams to sign the Belgian striker, who in my opinion faced undeserved criticism last season. It was clear that he wasn’t fancied by Jurgen Klopp, but he remains an excellent striker.
Benteke is only 25 years old meaning he still has plenty of seasons left in him, and he flourished in an Aston Villa team not too dissimilar to this Crystal Palace side. In each of his three seasons in the Midlands, he scored at least 10 league goals, despite being sidelined for parts of the latter two campaigns.
A strong and powerful presence in the box, Benteke will prove effective for the Eagles and provides a target man for the crosses of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha.
4. Paul Pogba – Juventus to Manchester United (£89.3 million)
The world’s new most expensive player had to make it into my list, even if the £89 million fee is astronomical. Yes, it may show that football is now a money game and makes Manchester United look silly for letting him go for free four years ago, but regardless of this Paul Pogba is one of the best players on the planet. And at 23 years old, he’s only going to get better.
Jose Mourinho clearly wants to make the Red Devils a force in Europe once again, and by not even having Champions League football to persuade Pogba to return shows how much pulling power he has. United have a needed a midfield power house ever since Roy Keane departed, and the Frenchman is the kind of player who will take the game by the scruff of the neck and change it in an instant.
Last season for Juventus, he got eight goals and 12 assists in 33 Serie A games, showing his quality, whilst we saw at the European Championships what a skillful player Pogba is. Whether he plays the holding role or sits just behind the striker, Pogba is consistently effective and will be a key, perhaps even decisive, factor in Manchester United’s title challenge.
3. Nolito – Celta Vigo to Manchester City (£13.8 million)
In a way, Nolito is much like Jamie Vardy in the fact that his career has blossomed late, as at 29 years old he has only just started attracting the attention of the world’s media.
A Barcelona reject, the Spaniard had been consistently impressing for Celta Vigo for three seasons when Manchester City beat a number of clubs to sign him in on the first day of the window. A fee of just under £14 million seems like a very, very good price. For comparison, Championship side Aston Villa paid £15 million for Jonathan Kodija from Bristol City, who has never scored a top flight goal or played in a major international tournament.
Nolito has done both of those things, grabbing 12 goals and seven assists in La Liga last season before playing all four games for Spain at Euro 2016, hitting the back of the net once and getting one assist.
Pep Guardiola has made his compatriot a key part of his revolution at Manchester City, and we are already seeing what a huge threat Nolito can be on one flank and a rejuvenated Raheem Sterling on the other. Nolito got off the mark with two goals against Stoke in the Premier League two weeks ago.
2. Shkodran Mustafi – Valencia to Arsenal (£35 million)
They had to wait until the end of the transfer window, but Arsenal fans finally got what they had been crying out for for so long. A centre-back and striker. The jury seems to be still out on the latter, the unproven Lucas Perez, but World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi has arrived to fill the void in the back line and it couldn’t be a better fit.
The 24 year old was let go by Everton in 2012, and in the time since he has matured into one of the world’s best centre-backs first at Sampdoria and then at Valencia. Mustafi made 133 interceptions for the Spanish side last season, more than any Premier League player managed throughout the 2015-16 campaign. It meant he had made more interceptions (226) than any La Liga defender over the course of the last two seasons.
Strong, athletic and versatile, the German is comfortable on the ball and distributing possession, which means he should be a perfect fit for Arsenal. We’ve also seen he can be aerial threat, popping up with a goal against Ukraine at Euro 2016. The Gunners can now put in a strong claim to have the best central defensive partnership in the division – Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny are going to be tough to get past.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – PSG to Manchester United (Free)
I have been desperate to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Premier League for so long. With his acrobatic goals and confident swagger, the Swede makes everything exciting and it is brilliant to see him in England before he retires. The fact that Manchester United got a player of his calibre for free is incredible, regardless of the wages he is on.
Zlatan might be 34 years old, but he somehow remains at his physical peak and at the top of his game. In four seasons at PSG, he netted 113 goals in 122 Ligue 1 games, including 38 in 31 last season. He is man with tonnes of individual honours, and has won the league title in eight of the last ten campaigns in Italy, Spain and France.
He has already got off to an impressive start at Old Trafford, breaking ‘power records’ on his first day of training, scoring the winner in the Community Shield and also netting against Bournemouth and Southampton (twice) in the Premier League. He was the first player to score in his opening three United games since 1971.
Every club’s best transfer of the summer (my opinion)
Arsenal – Shkodran Mustafi (from Valencia – £35 million)
Bournemouth – Jack Wilshere (from Arsenal – loan)
Burnley – Steven Defour (from Anderlecht – £7 million)
Chelsea – N’Golo Kante (from Leicester City – £32 million)
Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke (from Liverpool – £32 million)
Everton – Ashley Williams (from Swansea – £9 million)
Hull City – Ryan Mason (from Tottenham – £10 million)
Leicester City – Islam Slimani (from Sporting Lisbon – £29.7 million)
Liverpool – Sadio Mane (from Southampton – £30 million)
Manchester City – Nolito (from Celta Vigo – £13.8 million)
Manchester United – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (from PSG – free)
Middlesbrough – Alvaro Negredo (from Valencia – loan)
Southampton – Nathan Redmond (from Norwich City – £11 million)
Stoke City – Wilfried Bony (from Manchester City – loan)
Sunderland – Didier Ndong (from Lorient – £13.5 million)
Swansea City – Borja Baston (from Atletico Madrid – £15.5 million)
Tottenham Hotspur – Vincent Janssen (from AZ Alkmaar – £18.5 million)
Watford – Roberto Pereyra (from Juventus – £13 million)
West Bromwich Albion – Nacer Chadli (from Tottenham – £13 million)
West Ham United – Sofiane Feghouli (from Valencia – free)