How some EPL clubs fared

Manchester City paid £49 million for Raheem Sterling but he has proven effective in beefing up their frontline.
Manchester City paid £49 million for Raheem Sterling but he has proven effective in beefing up their frontline.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MANCHESTER UNITED

With a month to go of the window, United may have considered it a quiet success. But not after the expensive, embarrassing farce of the final two days.

However much potential French forward Anthony Martial possesses, paying £36 million (S$78 million) for a striker with 15 career goals reeks of a panic buy.

Whoever was to blame for the collapse of David de Gea's move to Real Madrid, it reflects badly on both clubs and cost United £29 million.

Now, including Victor Valdes, they have two unhappy Spanish goalkeepers and Louis van Gaal may have to build bridges.

Yet, his first four recruits could all prove money well spent.

Matteo Darmian looks a bargain at right-back while Memphis Depay has enviable talent.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, fitness permitting, should improve the midfield.

The problems are in either penalty box. Their attack lacks proven scorers and they need Wayne Rooney to recapture form and the unsettled de Gea to return to his best, especially given their strange reluctance to buy a centre-back.

Expect another attempt to sign Gareth Bale next summer while Hugo Lloris ought to be high on the shortlist to replace de Gea, although van Gaal may prefer Ajax's Jasper Cillessen.

MANCHESTER CITY

An expensive but successful window. City identified three major targets - Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne - months ago.

They secured two, even if they had to break their transfer record twice, for the £49 million Englishman and £54 million Belgian.

If they paid over the odds for both, Manuel Pellegrini has an attacking armoury unrivalled in England and the creative midfielders to suit his new 4-2-3-1 formation.

The £31.5 million signing of Nicolas Otamendi is rather odd, even though Valencia still owed City money for Alvaro Negredo.

The Argentinian becomes the second most costly centre-back in the Premier League, after his new team-mate Eliaquim Mangala.

The latter has begun the season in imperious fashion as Vincent Kompany's partner so Otamendi could be a high-calibre reserve.

City have deluxe cover in most positions except, Wilfried Bony apart, a proper understudy to Sergio Aguero. The departures of Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic have reduced their contingent of strikers.

But a club who spent around £150 million has recouped about £50 million. January signings should not be required.

ARSENAL

After the statement of intent, the strange inactivity. Arsene Wenger cast off the habit of a lifetime to spend heavily on a goalkeeper, the £11 million Petr Cech.

But they were the only club in Europe's top five leagues not to sign an outfield player. While Arsenal boast a talented group, the addition of two world-class performers in pivotal positions could have propelled them to a new level.

But there is no new defensive midfielder or striker. It remains a surprise that Wenger did not bid for Schneiderlin, who instead joined Manchester United, while Karim Benzema was always an ambitious target.

Arsenal have the funds to buy again in January and perhaps the need. However, top players are rarely available in the winter window and Wenger is no fan of mid-season trading.

CHELSEA

Snatching Pedro from under Manchester United's nose was a coup but, otherwise, it has been a summer of frustration for Chelsea.

The London club have downgraded in replacing Cech with Asmir Begovic and Didier Drogba with Radamel Falcao.

Perhaps Baba Rahman will get more football at left-back than the sold Filipe Luis did.

But England's most formidable defence has developed cracks at a particularly bad time.

Everton rejected all three Chelsea bids for John Stones. When the first was made, Jose Mourinho did not seem to need a centre-back.

Now, he perhaps does, and the Senegal international Papy Djilobodji and Reading's Michael Hector were not the ones he had in mind. Djilobodji's arrival may be attributed to desperation.

Chelsea could resume their pursuit of Stones or Marquinhos, whether in January or next summer, and may make a huge bid for Paul Pogba. However, the newly cost-conscious champions did not buy a bona fide superstar and risk being overhauled by City.

LIVERPOOL

Some £200 million has been spent in two summers and yet Liverpool's best player is Philippe Coutinho, who was already there.

At least, in the £32.5 million Christian Benteke, they have a forceful specialist centre-forward while the £29 million Roberto Firmino looks a gifted attacker.

Nathaniel Clyne is an upgrade at right-back too while Joe Gomez has done well at left-back for a right-footed, 18-year-old centre-back.

Yet that highlights the flaw in recruitment. Despite bringing in eight players, Liverpool have not signed a first-choice goalkeeper and central defender or an experienced left-back.

While the energetic James Milner should be an excellent acquisition, their best defensive midfielder remains Lucas Leiva who almost left.

So, typically, Liverpool have spent heavily but left themselves with plenty of issues to resolve, including defensive concerns.

The club may come to regret not entering the bidding for players such as Schneiderlin, Begovic and Toby Alderweireld.

TOTTENHAM

It felt as though Mauricio Pochettino was so busy clearing out the dead wood that Tottenham forgot to sign attacking players.

They eventually recruited two wingers, in Clinton N'Jie and Son Heung Min.

But Spurs have contrived to leave themselves with only one frontline striker, increasing the burden on the overworked Harry Kane, plus the unwanted Emmanuel Adebayor.

They had four bids for West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino rejected as, just like Real Madrid, United and de Gea discovered, an attempt at deadline-day brinkmanship backfired badly.

SWANSEA

Only one of their recruits has started a league game but that illustrates the strength of Garry Monk's side.

Andre Ayew, with three goals in four games, has been a revelation.

Arriving on a free transfer from Marseille, the speedy Ghanaian winger is shaping up to be the signing of the season.

WEST HAM

Always busy buyers, West Ham's entertainingly unpredictable team make definitive conclusions hard to reach but they seem to have had a fine window.

Dimitri Payet has brought class and goals to the No. 10 role and the low-profile Argentine Manuel Lanzini was a scorer and a revelation in their win over Liverpool.

Getting Alex Song back on loan from Barcelona should prove another useful deal and Michail Antonio and Victor Moses are two goalscoring wingers. Centre-back Angelo Ogbonna has been inconsistent so far.

But then, so have West Ham.

CRYSTAL PALACE

They sit second in the league for several reasons. Fine buying is one.

Yohan Cabaye was the statement signing, a high-class playmaker who has added another dimension.

Alex McCarthy has been a quietly excellent addition in goal. And winger Bakary Sako, who joined on a free transfer from Wolves, has been the headline-hogging hit.

He scored the winner against Aston Villa on his debut and the opener as Palace recorded a first away victory over Chelsea since 1982.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2015, with the headline 'How some EPL clubs fared'. Print Edition | Subscribe