Transfer Window Fun Has Begun

Youri Tielemans Leicester City

Youri Tielemans Leicester City

EPL Transfer Window – The big deals so far

The new football season will soon be upon us. Summer is the time for transfers and the top clubs are already starting to make their moves. We will examine the latest EPL transfer done deals to see who has done the best business. There have already been a number of signings in the £10M+ bracket and handful of £50M+ deals too. 

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Tanguy Ndombele – Lyon to Tottenham Hotspur £54M

Delightful to watch as they can be, the current Spurs team are often a little too easy to play against. The signing of French defensive midfielder Ndombele should help to rectify this. 

He has played a crucial role in the Lyon team over the last few seasons, helping his side to a couple of Top 3 finishes. More attacking players like Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir grabbed the headlines, but it was Ndombele who was the driving force.

Don’t expect many goals or assists – he has failed to score in over 60 league games for Lyon. Instead expect to see a player in the N’Golo Kante mould, breaking up the opposition play. His presence in the team will allow Dele Alli to return to his favoured attacking role which is a huge positive for Spurs.

Hit or Miss? This seems a good deal for both teams. Lyon have probably received more money than they expected. Spurs have hopefully addressed one of the big failings of recent seasons.  

Rodrigo Cascante (Rodri) – Atletico Madrid to Manchester City £68M

City have been awesome in the EPL throughout the last two seasons, and it is difficult to see any areas in obvious need of improvement. Therefore, paying a club record fee for the Spanish defensive midfielder Rodri may seem extravagant at first glance. 

However, they are addressing one of their future problem areas, the Fernandinho issue.

At the age of 34, the Brazilian is approaching the end of his EPL career. However, he will probably still be first choice for the coming season. Perhaps after Christmas we will see the start of a transition to Rodri. 

He is clearly an exciting prospect, regarded by many in Spain as the natural successor to the great Sergio Busquets. 

Hit or Miss? City are planning for future seasons here, not a luxury that many clubs can afford to do with £68M. Unless Fernandinho gets an injury, Rodri is likely to spend his first few months being trained up in the Pep Guardiola methodology. Long term he will likely be another success for the City machine.  

Ayoze Perez – Newcastle United to Leicester City £30M

This is a curious signing. Leicester already appear to have an abundance of attacking talent to play behind Jamie Vardy. Perez will presumably be battling for two places with the likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans and Mark Albrighton. From what we have seen of Perez at Newcastle over five seasons, he doesn’t seem too much of a step up from those options.

He scored 42 goals in 180 appearances for Newcastle, an impressive total. He appeared a tad streaky at times, going long periods without scoring followed by a sudden burst. He has been overlooked by Spain for international honours, despite their problems over the last few years. He does have good flexibility though, having played on both wings for Newcastle and occasionally as a #9.

He is a player that Newcastle need more than Leicester do, adding to the strangeness of this transfer. Leicester look nailed on to finish somewhere around 8th place, and Perez is unlikely to change that. Conversely, he could be the difference between survival and relegation for a club like Newcastle.

Hit or Miss? Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers had a mixed record with transfers at Liverpool. This signing looks like a solution to a non-existent problem.   

Daniel James

Daniel James – Swansea City to Manchester United £15M

The wheels came off the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bus towards the end of last season, and United now look to be in a rebuilding phase. 21-year-old Welsh international winger James is one of the first moves in that process. 

‘Welsh’, ‘winger’ and ‘young’ are words that will be sweet music to United fans, with memories of the Ryan Giggs era still fresh. Obviously, it is unlikely he will have such a stellar career as Giggs, but there is cause for optimism. Four goals and seven assists for Swansea in the 2018/19 Championship is ok for a mid-table team in his first full season. 

His performances improved as the season went on, suggesting a player getting to grips with the required standard. James has displayed versatility, playing on both wings and occasionally as a centre-forward. His international career has also started well, with a goal against Slovakia in a Euro 2020 qualifier on his second start. 

Ideally, United won’t rush him into first-team action and he may start off in Carabao Cup games. It seems a clever bit of business by United with little downside as he will retain resale value even if it doesn’t work out for him.

Hit or Miss? An interesting signing, and one to look forward to as the season progresses.   

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Crystal Palace to Manchester United £50m

AWB enjoyed a breakthrough season at Selhurst Park last year and quickly became one of the top targets for the big clubs this summer. Right-back is currently a problem area for Manchester United so it makes sense that they were the team to complete the deal.

£50M is big bucks for a player who is far from the finished article with just one season under his belt. There were definite flaws in his displays during his time at Palace, both defensively and in attack. These were easily forgiven at Palace where expectations are relatively low, but Old Trafford is a less forgiving environment. However, it is traditionally the place where the best young English players go to polish the rough edges from their game.

This could be an inspired move by United, as 21-year-old AWB could potentially be their right-back for the next decade. We have our doubts though. With his price tag, he will be expected to hit the ground running in August and it may all be too much for him.

Hit or Miss? MUFC haven’t done much right in the market post-Fergie when it comes to big-money deals, and this could be another error.   

Moussa Djenepo – Standard Liege to Southampton £14M

Ralph Hasenhuttl became Southampton manager last December and attempted to sign young Mali winger Djenepo in the January transfer window. The deal has now been completed a few months later and it is promising that such a good manager has maintained interest. 

The signs are good with 10 goals for Liege in the Belgian league helping them to third place and a Europa League spot. He is a right-footed winger who has played mainly on the left for Liege. 

Southampton have rarely put a foot wrong in the transfer market. Sadio Mane, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Virgil van Dijk are amongst the big names who have moved on for good profit. 

They did fail with a similar-priced signing last summer. Mohamed Elyounoussi signed from Basel after 22 goals in 66 games but has barely featured. Adapting to the EPL is not always instant.

Djenepo is clearly a Hasenhuttl signing though, and we can expect him to be used early. A slight issue is that AFCON duties with Mali may hinder his pre-season. 

Hit or Miss? Southampton don’t make many mistakes in the market, and this looks another good move.   

Wesley Moraes – Club Brugge to Aston Villa £22M

Aston Villa smashed their transfer record to sign the 22-year-old Brazilian Moraes. 32 goals in 107 games for Brugge doesn’t exactly scream ‘prolific’, so don’t expect him to trouble the top-scorer candidates. 

He seems willing to put himself about with plenty of yellow cards during his time in Belgium and is physically strong. Presumably, newly-promoted Villa will be content with survival this season. A dependable goal scorer can be the crucial difference between the bottom six teams.

Tammy Abraham was top-scorer for Villa in their promotion season with 26 goals but has returned to his parent club Chelsea. Moraes looks a direct replacement. Villa have dabbled in the Belgian market previously and will hope for similar results to their Christian Benteke purchase in 2012. 

Hit or Miss? Could be exactly what Villa need in the relegation six-pointers.   

Pablo Fornals – Villareal to West Ham United £24M

The Hammers have done a solid bit of business here. Young Spanish midfielder Fornals already has 120 appearances in La Liga for Malaga and Villareal and a couple of full international caps. More recently he was one of the stars of the Spanish Under-21 side who won the UEFA U21 tournament at the end of June. 

Expect to see him play as a winger or more likely as a #10. Playing him alongside of Felipe Anderson would be one of the more devastating attacks outside of the Top-6 clubs. 

Interestingly, West Ham coach Manuel Pellegrini previously managed both of Fornals’ La Liga clubs. Fornals wasn’t there at the time but presumably he will be comfortable playing in Pellegrini’s preferred style. This has all the hallmarks of a transfer hand-picked by the wily old Chilean.

Hit or Miss? The Hammers fans are desperate for their club to start competing at the right end of the table. This looks like a huge step in the right direction.  

Lloyd Kelly – Bristol City to Bournemouth £13M

Left-back Kelly was reportedly a target for Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, but has instead signed for the Cherries. The promise of more game time was the key factor. This would be typical of this hard-working and likeable young man who endured a difficult upbringing in foster care.

We hope this marauding left-back has made the correct decision as Bournemouth have been an unimpressive outfit defensively the last few seasons. Despite finishing in 14th place, they conceded a remarkable 70 goals last season. That was third worst in the league. 

He may be able to provide some assists and the odd goal, but he is probably at the wrong club to hone his defensive skills. 

Hit or Miss? The jury is still out on Eddie Howe as a defensive coach, and Bournemouth look to have a difficult season ahead.   

EPL Transfer Window FAQ

What is the soccer transfer window? 

Transfer windows are two periods during the year when clubs may sign players who are currently contracted to another team. 

How long is the summer transfer window? 

The EPL transfer window opened on May 16th and will close at 5pm on August 8th 

When does the new EPL season start? 

The first game is on August 9th, with Liverpool at home to Bournemouth

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