Big teams bolster squads, confirm Premier League’s strength
London, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- The English Premier League’s wealthiest teams have again demonstrated their financial power as the international transfer window slammed shut at midnight on Monday.
Chelsea emerged as the winners of the summer transfer market and Manchester United were left to scramble at the final hour after a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Jadon Sancho, who will remain at Borussia Dortmund for at least another season.
While the window for international signings has shut, English teams will still be able to complete transfers with other English clubs until 16 October.
One of the most eye-catching signings of transfer deadline day was Arsenal’s capture of central midfielder Thomas Partey from Atletico de Madrid after the London team met the player’s buyout clause of 50 million euro.
Los Colchoneros had no intention of selling the holding midfielder, who has formed a crucial part of Diego Simeone’s teams in recent years.
The Gunners also secured Dani Ceballos on another season-long loan deal from Real Madrid as well as Lille’s Brazilian center back Gabriel, while central midfielders Lucas Torreria – who joined Atletico as part of the Partey transfer – and Matteo Guendouzi, who has joined Hertha Berlin in Germany, left the Emirates as Mikel Arteta looks to build on progress made last season, his first in charge.
Across London, Chelsea were the main players this summer. After having been banned from signing new players last season, Roman Abramovich’s club targeted this transfer window as an opportunity to rejuvenate an aging squad and back manager Frank Lampard to return the club to the top of the league.
To do so, the Blues have spent a total of $291 million to bring in two of Germany’s rising stars, forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and creative midfielder Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, as well as former Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech, while veteran Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, English left back Ben Chilwell and shot stopper Eduoard Mendy arrived to bolster a backline that last season often undermined the team’s good work going forward.
Leaving Stamford Bridge are Brazilian winger Willian, who has joined Arsenal, and Spanish striker Pedro, who has moved to AS Roma, although Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will remain, despite apparently losing Lampard’s trust.
Everton were the other winners of the transfer window, with Carlo Ancelotti shrewdly acquiring Colombian superstar James Rodriguez, whose early form for the Toffees has made a mockery of Real Madrid’s refusal to field him in recent seasons.
Rodriguez has started the season on fire, leading Everton to the top of the league with a 100 percent win record and an exciting brand of attacking football.
Ancelotti also brought in Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford as he strengthened his team’s midfield.
Everton’s crosstown rivals, Liverpool, having spent lavishly in recent years building the current championship-winning side, avoided heavy spending this time around – with the exception of the $58 million spent on signing Diogo Jota from Wolves – although they snagged an absolute bargain in Thiago Alcantara, one of the world’s finest midfielders, from Bayern Munich for a reported $32 million.
Juergen Klopp also strengthened his options at full back with Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos.
Liverpool’s closest challengers, Manchester City, have also strengthened their squad, especially in defense, which was widely seen as their undoing last campaign.
Two defenders, Portuguese center back Ruben Dias – for $84 million from Benfica – and Dutch Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for $51 million, have been brought in to bolster the backline while rising Spanish star Ferran Torres joined from Valencia.
Long-time servant David Silva has left the Etihad, moving back to Spain after a decade in the northwest of England to join Real Sociedad, while Leroy Sane turned down a new contract in favor of a move to Champions League winners Bayern Munich for $70 million.
Having ended last season riding high after surging up the table to finish in third and qualify for the coveted Champions League, City’s local rivals United failed to build on that success.
The Red Devils made Dortmund’s England forward Jadon Sancho their main target but were unwilling to match Borussia’s evaluation of $130 million.
United went into transfer deadline day having introduced just one player, Donny van de Beek, who joined from Ajax for $50 million.