ᑕ❶ᑐ Transfer deadline: Phil McNulty’s verdict on big deals
An unprecedented transfer window closed with a record spending of €815m in January and Chelsea’s record £107m signing of Enzo Fernandez.
At the other end of the scale, struggling Everton spent nothing despite plunging themselves into the relegation zone – only heightening the sense of uncertainty around Goodison Park.
This is the traditional transfer deadline full of intrigue and late-night offers – so what are the big questions?
- LIVE: All the reaction on transfer deadline day
Will Chelsea’s big bet pay off?
Chelsea fans were left with a mixed feeling of euphoria and disbelief as new owner Todd Boehly continued his impressive assault on the markets throughout January.
Boehly made his mark after signing Roman Abramovich in a €270m spending spree this summer, a record for a British club, then surpassed it in January spending €288m to take the total for new revenue to 17 new player.
The long contracts were handed out as Chelsea made financial fair play, so there was no doubt an element of gambling in the process and added pressure to these deals to succeed in this high-risk strategy.
The cost will also put further pressure on manager Graham Potter, who is sure to see almost instant results from such cash backing, even with assurances from above that he is part of a long-term plan.
The number of arrivals is certainly at odds with the cautious approach Potter took at Brighton, but he lives in a different world at Stamford Bridge. If he didn’t know then, he knows now.
Chelsea have certainly brought some exciting attacking talent to west London with 22-year-old Argentina World Cup winner Fernandez, as well as €88m Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk and Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.
They are currently 10th in the Premier League, 10 points behind the top four, but a place in next season’s Champions League should be vital after a stunning January.
It won’t be boring but there will now be enormous pressure from Potter, the players and owner Boehly to succeed.
- Analysis: How do Chelsea keep spending?
- Enzo Fernandez: What are Chelsea getting from Benfica and the Argentine star?
Have Arsenal done enough?
Arsenal are in their strongest Premier League title position in years, five points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand. There is no lack of ambition to try to strengthen themselves, but the big problem has eluded them.
Mudryk seemed destined for Arsenal to join Ukrainian teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko until they were beaten by Chelsea. Brighton have refused to lift the ‘Not For Sale’ sign on midfielder Moises Caicedo despite a €70m offer and the player’s clear intention to join the Gunners.
Manager Mikel Arteta still seems to be making a bargain with Brighton paying €21m for Leandro Trossard while experience and trophy-winning pedigree arrived with Jorginho for €12m from Chelsea. He can be a starter as well as a safety against any injury with the important presence of Thomas Partey.
Arsenal may not have exactly who they want, but there is plenty of room for optimism.
- Read more: Did Arsenal do enough in the January transfer window?
Bournemouth and Southampton have spent on security
Bournemouth’s new owner Bill Foley and current Southampton officials have recognized their perils at the foot of the Premier League and backed the managers with hard cash.
Whether that works remains to be seen, but neither club can be accused of holding back on transfer deadline day to give their respective bosses Gary O’Neill and Nathan Jones a fighting chance.
Saints, who are currently bottom, beat Everton to sign exciting 20-year-old Ghanaian striker from Rennes Kamaldeen Sulemana in a club-record €22m deal and added Nigerian giant striker Paul Onuachu from Genk.
Jones has seen signs of improvement recently but Southampton want to play more positively and aggressively and hope the pair can achieve their goal.
The Cherries have been busy in many areas, eventually signing Ukrainian defender Illia Zabarnyi from Dynamo Kyiv for €24m while Ivory Coast midfielder Hamed Traore, 22, joined Sassuolo on matchday loan . A five-year deal expires this summer.
He was their sixth January signing, joining €10m Antoine Semenyo, winger Dango Ouattara – a €20m arrival from Lorient – as well as goalkeeper Darren Randolph and Uruguay full-back Matias Vina, which was lent by Rome.
If Bournemouth and Southampton’s strategy fails, it will not be for lack of ambition.
- Southampton pay a club record fee for Sulemana
- Bournemouth strike deals for Zabarnyi and Traore
Liverpool waiting for Bellingham?
Liverpool first struck in the January transfer window with the €45million signing of Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven, but the rest of the window was quiet, especially given the obvious need for reinforcements in the middle of the transfer window. pitch and their struggles in the Premier League. They are currently ninth in the league and suffered an FA Cup fourth round exit at Brighton.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has struggled with a loss of form and injuries in this key midfield area, but his past and Liverpool’s history – and perhaps the fact that a summer loan move for Artur Melo was marred by injury – suggests their unwillingness to move means they have. their views are firm. to a primary target.
The main takeaway is that Liverpool are determined to pull out all the stops to try and sign the brilliant English teenager Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
The risk with this approach is that Liverpool are less attractive if they are not in the Champions League. They are also likely to battle for his services against Real Madrid and Manchester City – and likely Chelsea.
Can Newcastle United continue?
Newcastle United’s big January signing Anthony Gordon savored the current euphoria on Tyneside as the €45m signing from Everton saw Eddie Howe’s side reach their first Wembley centerpiece since the 1999 FA Cup final beating Southampton in the EFL Cup.
Gordon is Newcastle’s only flagship acquisition this month. A big indicator of their progress is that Howe and the club’s Saudi owners have not felt the need to go too far into the markets. There is also no guarantee that the 21-year-old will break into a thriving team.
Howe now hopes he has enough at his disposal to continue an unlikely push for a Champions League place next season, with Newcastle currently third after just one defeat in 20 games. They also have an EFL Cup final against Manchester United or Nottingham Forest on February 26.
- Newcastle have signed West Ham defender Ashby
Man City are calm after Cancelo’s exit
There has been some surprise that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is willing to let defender Joao Cancelo go on loan to Bayern Munich ahead of a €61.5million summer move given his importance in their recent hit.
Guardiola, however, feels confident in his defensive resources given the form of Nathan Ake and the emergence of extraordinary teenager Rico Lewis. Cancelo is somewhat out of favor with the 28-year-old starting just three games since the World Cup.
- Cancelo’s loan to Bayern makes Guardiola ‘flexible’
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