September 4, 2012
August 31 marked an important day in the diary for all English Premier League managers, players and chairman. It was the day when the transfer window closed and the last day that a club could sign any new players to strengthen the squad for the new season.
Starting with the 2002-03 season, FIFA limited teams to buying and selling players to two “transfer windows” throughout the season. The national football associations set the dates of the transfer windows, and they typically run for 12 weeks each year. The exact dates depend on the start and end of the seasons and the date of any mid-season breaks, but in the UK the important dates are July 1 – August 31 and January 1 – 3. Outside of this time it is still possible to loan a player from another club (within the loan windows) or sign an unattached player. It is also possible to arrange pre-contract deals with clubs and players outside of the window to guarantee the sale when the next window opens.
Big Money Moves
The summer period is the time when most managers like to get the signings out of the way to build a team for the new season. All managers want to strengthen by adding new players, while hoping to sell players that are no longer required. Some clubs will have to sell even their best players to bring in much needed income for the next season.
Typically the teams that challenge for domestic or European honors will have the most money to spend, and will have to pay massive amounts of money out for the players to strengthen their squads. The selling clubs can then use this to strengthen their own squads or settle any debts, so often there is a flurry of activity between clubs once one transfer is complete.
In 2012, English Premier League clubs spent over £442million ($714million) on new players, and that just included the transfers where a fee was disclosed. This is a massive amount of money, and much of it comes from the personal bankroll of the rich owners.
The Big Moves
Every single manager has bought and sold players in a bid to improve the team, but only time will tell us whether the star signings are new heroes for the fans or expensive failures.
It has been a big change around at Arsenal, with a large number of players leaving the club. Probably the biggest loss is Robin Van Persie who cost Manchester United £24million. Manager Arsene Wenger will hope that new signings Lukas Podolski (£11.9m from Cologne) and Santi Cazoria (£16.5m from Real Mallorca) will fire in the goals to replace their top scorer.
Verdict: The new signings have the potential to replace the iconic goal scorer and Arsenal still made a profit on transfer dealings. The league title is beyond them yet again though.
New manager Paul Lambert splashed the case on a number of players in an attempt to rebuild a squad that struggled last season. The biggest names are Christian Benteke (£7m from Genk) and Matthew Lowton (£4m from Sheffield United), along with a number of young players from the lower English leagues.
Verdict: Villa struggled last season and it will need all of the new players to fire to lift them out of the lower reaches of the division.
Winning the Champions League last season gave Chelsea a cash windfall that they have spent on a number of top quality new players. The big names are Eden Hazard (£32m from Lens) and Oscar (£25m from Internacional), but Chelsea have also released and loaned out a number of players.
Verdict: The new signings will freshen up an aging squad and give Chelsea a great chance of challenging in all competitions.
Everton are traditionally a selling club, and this season is no exception. However, replacing Jack Rodwell, Joseph Yobo, Tim Cahill and Joao Silva with Kevin Mirallas (£5.2m from Olympiakos), Stephen Pienaar (£4.5m from Tottenham), Bryan Oviedo (£5m from FC Copenhagen) and Stephen Naismith (tribunal from Rangers) seems like good business.
Verdict: These new players jave the quality to help them to spend another season above local rivals Liverpool and possibly even challenge for European places.
Fulham are another selling club who will hope that the new signings are up to the job of replacing the departing players. Dimitar Berbatov (£5m from Manchester United) is the big name and has a Premier League pedigree, but at 31 is a little on the old side.
Verdict: Fulham to stay in the Premier League, but are not quite good enough to move up to the top level.
A club in transition, the new manager Brendan Rodgers has moved on many of his predecessors expensive signings and bought in a number of new players. The loss of Andy Carroll to West Ham might be seen as a mistake without a suitable replacement. The fans will hope that Joe Allen (£15m from Swansea), Fabio Borini (£10m from Roma) and Oussama Assaidi (£3m from Heerenveen) will work out better than many of their recent acquisitions.
Verdict: Liverpool need a radical overall to challenge for the top honors and it is not enough. They will struggle into a mid-table position, but will need to spend a lot more money for the title challenge the fans demand.
The defending champions did not need to spend a vast amount to strengthen, but have made three key signings. Jack Rodwell (£12m from Everton) and Scott Sinclair (£6.2m from Swansea) will hope to step up and relish the challenge of playing at a top club.
Verdict: Another title challenge is on the cards, but is it enough for European honors too?
Sir Alex Fergusson pulled off one of the transfer coups of the year when he persuaded the prolific Robin Van Persie (£24m) to join United from title rivals Arsenal. With three goals already to his name, Van Persie threatens to form a great partnership with Wayne Rooney that could certainly worry most defenses. Other notable new signings include Shinji Kagawa (£12m from Borussia Dortmund) and Alexander Buttner (£3.9m from Vitesse Arnhem).
Verdict: The goals of Van Persie might be enough to give United the edge in the title race.
The signings of Vurnon Anita (£6.7m from Ajax) and Gael Bigirimana (£1m from Coventry) will strengthen the Newcastle midfield as they aim to battle for both domestic and European honors.
Verdict: Extra strength in midfield will help Newcastle to push for a top four finish.
New manager Chris Hughton has strengthened the defense with Sebastian Bassong (£5.5m from Tottenham) and attack with Robert Snodgrass (£3m from Leeds).
Verdict: Norwich will struggle to match the highs of last season but will hope to have enough to avoid a relegation battle.
Manager Mark Hughes was one of the busiest managers over the transfer window, with 12 players joining and 10 leaving! Big name signings include Esteban Granero (£9m from Real Madrid) and Samba Diakite (£4m from Nancy).
Verdict: With so many changes it may take time for the team to settle – hopefully before they are in a relegation battle.
New boys Reading have added several new players as they aim to consolidate their position in the top league without spending too much money. Adrian Mariappa (£3m from Watford) and Chris Gunter (£2m from Nottingham Forest) will strengthen the team without putting Reading in a difficult financial position.
Verdict: Could well be part of the relegation battle.
Unlike Reading, Southampton have spent more money on a bid to stay in the Premier League. Big money signings included Jay Rodriguez (£7m from Burnley) and Emmanuel Mayuka (£3.5m from Young Boys Berne), but manager Ian Atkins will have been disappointed to lose out on the signature of Alexander Buttner to Manchester United.
Verdict: Southampton will have a difficult season, but could the quality to escape the relegation dogfight.
Taking Charlie Adam (£5m) from Liverpool will strengthen the midfield, but one of the best signings was Michael Owen on a pay-per-play contract. If Owen can stay fit then Stoke have found a bargain.
Verdict: Will consolidate in the middle of the table and might even challenge for a place in the Europa League.
Martin O’Neill has proved himself to be a shrewd operator in the transfer market, and the signings of Steven Fletcher (£15m from Wolves) and Adam Johnson (£10m from Manchester City) are top quality replacements.
Verdict: Another safe season in the middle of the table, but are not yet strong enough to challenge for honors.
New manager Michael Laudrup aims to continue the attractive football that made Swansea such a success last season, and signings like Pablo Hernandez (£5.55m from Valencia) and Ki Sung-Yueng (£5m from Celtic) will reinforce the team.
Verdict: The second season may not have the same highs as the first in the Premier League, but Swansea should consolidate in the middle of the table.
Another club undergoing a radical overhaul, Tottenham bought in a number of big name players including Moussa Dembele (£15m from Fulham), Jan Vertonghen (£9.5m from Ajax) and Hugo Lloris (£7.9m from Lyon) but still made a profit on their transfer dealings.
Verdict: It takes time for so many new players to settle, and time is something that new manger Andre Villas-Boas does not really have a lot of. Tottenham should be comfortable in mid-table but will not challenge for honors this year.
This season, West Brom have only paid for one new player – the goalkeeper Ben Foster (£4m) from local rivals Birmingham City.
Verdict: On paper, West Brom look headed for a struggle but early results suggest a comfortable season is ahead.
West Ham United
The final new team in the division have spent big to try and stay in the league, with players like Matt Jarvis (£10.75m from Wolves) and Modibo Maiga (£4.7m from Sochaux) making it important that they stay in the division.
Verdict: Sam Allardyce is an expert manager at this level and should have no problems keeping West Ham out of trouble.
The poor relations in the Premier League, Wigan have spent some of the transfer fee that Chelsea paid for Victor Moses on Ivan Ramis (£4.5m from Real Mallorca) and Conor Sammon (£1.2m from Derby), but it is only a matter of time before their luck runs out and they fall out of the division.
Verdict: Wigan do not have the financial clout to be far above the relegation battle, and one season their luck will run out.