Grading Each Premier League Team’s Summer Transfer Window

Clubs have been very shrewd with their business, but who ended up topping the class?

The transfer window in England has now slammed shut. Well, at least for all 20 Premier League clubs. It’s been a crazy window too, especially considering the two most expensive signings in the Premier League for this window were goalkeepers. Imagine telling that to someone at the start!

Some clubs have signed over 10 players, while one failed to sign a single player (no prizes for guessing who that was).

Here’s our verdict on each club’s transfer dealings. 

Grading the Summer 2018 Transfer Window for EPL Clubs

Arsenal: B+

Players In: Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi.

Players Out: Santi Cazorla, Chuba Akpom, Calum Chambers, Jeff Reiné-Adelaïde, Lucas Pérez.

The Gunners made some important additions to their squad. Unai Emery will be the man in the dugout, and he was quick to address Arsenal’s defense in the transfer window, signing Sokratis and Stephan Lichsteiner to provide some competition. Bernd Leno will also battle for the starting goalkeeper position along with Petr Cech.

Their best signing is undoubtedly Lucas Torreira, the Uruguayan holding midfielder who will add some extra bite and energy to the midfield. A solid window that filled in key areas that needed improvement.

Bournemouth: B-

Players In: David Brooks, Diego Rico, Jefferson Lerma.

Players Out: Benik Afobe, Lewis Grabban, Max Gradel, Harry Arter.

For a club that was struggling financially a number of years ago, they have now gone and spent over $20m on a player in Jefferson Lerma. They brought in three players: Lerma, David Brooks and Diego Rico. It isn’t a transfer window that makes you go “Wow! They signed him?” but it will add a little bit of quality to a side that lacks some flair. 

Brighton: B

Players In: Leon Balogun, Florin Andone, Jason Steele, Bernardo, David Button, Yves Bissouma, Percy Tau, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Billy Arce, Anders Dreyer, Peter Gwargis.

Players Out: Jamie Murphy, Connor Goldson, Tim Krul, Sam Baldock.

Chris Hughton has brought in a load of players, but a number of those are youngsters who will ply their trade for Brighton’s U23 side and hopefully break through into the first team in years to come. Alireza Jahanbakhsh is the marquee signing for Brighton. The Iranian winger will be expected to deliver for his new side as they try and maintain their Premier League status.

Burnley: C

Players In: Vinnie Steels, Ben Gibson, Joe Hart, Matej Vydra.

Players Out: Scott Arfield, Dean Marney. 

Three players of note have made the move to Turf Moor: Ben Gibson, Joe Hart and Matej Vydra.

If Burnley plan on making a deep run in the Europa League, they really should have made more signings. Joe Hart comes in as Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are both out injured, and Matej Vydra comes in to help take the burden off of Chris Wood’s shoulders for scoring goals. They are good players, but Burnley simply needed more depth to be competitive in both the Europa League (should they make the group stages) and the Premier League.

Cardiff City: C-

Players In: Josh Murphy, Greg Cunningham, Alex Smithies, Bobby Reid, Victor Camarasa, Harry Arter.

Players Out: Ben Wilson, Omar Bogle, Lee Camp.

Cardiff already has arguably the worst squad in the Premier League, and to be quite honest, these signings haven’t done much to alleviate that. Before Bobby Reid’s last season with Bristol City, he had never scored more than 10 goals in a season. Neil Warnock will be hoping that he carries over his goals into the Premier League. Cardiff’s signings just don’t scream EPL quality. 

Chelsea: B

Players In: Jorginho, Rob Green, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Mateo Kovacic.

Players Out: Thibaut Courtois (no, we’re not going to list every single player that Chelsea loaned out because we’d be here all day).

The Blues only made four signings, but they will all be vitally important this season. OK, maybe that’s being a bit kind to Rob Green. But Jorginho will be vital to new coach Maurizio Sarri for implementing his style of play, and Kepa is a top replacement for Thibaut Courtois. They also managed to keep Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge, and that might have been the best piece of business that Chelsea did all summer.

Crystal Palace: B-

Players In: Vicente Guaita, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Max Meyer, Jordan Ayew.

Players Out: Yohan Cabaye, Lee Chung-Yong, Diego Cavalieri.

Keeping hold of Wilfried Zaha was their number one priority. They did that, and added some strong players to their midfield in Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyate. Meyer is a very exciting addition, not just because he was available for free, but because he is a highly rated German midfielder who can pick a pass from anywhere. Palace could have improved their defence though, and that could be highlighted as an area for major concern in their opening matches.

Everton: A-

Players In: Richarlison, Lucas Digne, João Virginia, Bernard, André Gomes, Yerry Mina.

Players Out: Ramiro Funes Mori, Luke Garbutt, Wayne Rooney, Henry Onyekuru, Davy Klaassen, Ashley Williams, Kevin Mirallas.

Marco Silva has been a busy, busy man in this transfer window. He has made some very important signings, and most of them will slot straight into the starting lineup. Richarlison is the most divisive one out of the lot. A lot of money for a young player who didn’t score a goal in the Premier League after November. But just take a look at this potential lineup and try not to be jealous.

Fulham: A

Players In: Jean Michaël Seri, Maxime Le Marchand, Fabri, André Schürrle, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson, Calum Chambers, Sergio Rico, Joe Bryan, Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Players Out: Ryan Fredericks, George Williams, Isaac Pearce, Joe Felix, David Button.

They won the “richest game in football,” and have been spending just about every cent of their winnings. Mitrovic rejoins the Cottagers after his loan spell at the club last season, while Calum Chambers, Jean Michaël Seri and André Schürrle all join among a raft of others. On paper, it looks like the perfect transfer window. Everyone will be interested to see if they can back it up on the pitch this season.

Huddersfield Town: C+

Players In: Jonas Lössl, Ben Hamer, Terence Kongolo, Ramadan Sobhi, Juninho Bacuna, Erik Durm, Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza.

Players Out: Sean Scannell, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Tom Ince, Rob Green, Jordy Hiwula, Scott Malone, Jordan Williams, Michael Hefele.

If there was ever a transfer window that could be described using the word “meh,” this would be it. Their big signing is Terence Kongolo, who rejoins the club on a permanent deal from AS Monaco after playing on loan for the Terriers last season. Sadly, none of these signings seem like they will be able to save the club from relegation. But who knows, I could be eating my words come May 2019.

Leicester City: B

Players In: Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Danny Ward, Rachid Ghezzal, Filip Benkovic, Caglar Soyuncu.

Players Out: Robert Huth, Ben Hamer, Connor Wood, Ahmed Musa, Riyad Mahrez, Josh Gordon.

They lost Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City, but that transfer had been coming for a while. However, Leicester manager Claude Puel has strengthened his side in the transfer window, with English young gun James Maddison arriving from Norwich City. They also managed to fend off Manchester United’s interest in Harry Maguire after a standout performance at the World Cup. A great window for the Foxes.

Liverpool: B+

Players In: Fabinho, Naby Keïta, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alisson, Bobby Duncan.

Players Out: Yan Dhanda, Jordan Williams, Emre Can, Jon Flanagan, Paulo Alves, Danny Ward, Andy Firth.

This might be a little harsh on Liverpool. They signed players that they truly needed. Karius and Mignolet are both prone to errors, so bringing in Alisson from Roma was a must. Shaqiri will be a very good option off the bench and for cup matches too, allowing Salah or Mane to be rested in order to keep them fresh. Keita and Fabinho arrive to add even more strength to the midfield.

The only qualm I had with Liverpool’s transfer dealings was that they haven’t really replaced Coutinho with a proper attacking midfielder.

Manchester City: B

Players In: Riyad Mahrez, Claudio Gomes, Philippe Sandler, Daniel Arzani.

Players Out: Yaya Touré, Javairo Dilrosun, Pablo Maffeo, Olarenwaju Kayode, Angeliño, Angus Gunn, Rodney Kongolo, Bersant Celina, Joe Hart.

The only signing that will get any game time is Riyad Mahrez. But, he will be important for Guardiola’s side as he provides another option off the bench and will allow Bernardo Silva to play in a more central role as opposed to playing on the wing. Other than that, City didn’t really need to sign anyone. They haven’t done anything wrong here.

Manchester United: D

Players In: Diogo Dalot, Fred, Lee Grant.

Players Out: Sam Johnstone, Daley Blind.

They got all of their business done early but seemed very desperate towards the end. And that is putting it nicely. Fred and Dalot just don’t seem like signings to get very excited about, and United really needed to improve on its defence. Something just seems off with Manchester United right now. 

Newcastle United: C-

Players In: Martin Dubravka, Ki Sung-Yeung, Kenedy, Fabian Schär, Yoshinuro Muto, Salómón Rondon.

Players Out: Massadio Haïdara, Stuart Findlay, Mikel Merino, Chancel Mbemba, Matz Sels, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Adam Armstrong.

Rafa Benitez made it very well known that he needed to strengthen his squad or else it would be a long season ahead. Attacking reinforcements arrive in Yoshinori Muto and Salómón Rondon, but will they be able to do enough to fire Newcastle up the table? Who knows. Something tells me that not many of these signings were on Benitez’s wish list, but he has to work with the cards he is dealt with and there aren’t many other managers equipped to do that.

Southampton: C+

Players In: Stuart Armstrong, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Angus Gunn, Jannik Vestergaard.

Players Out: Jérémy Pied, Dusan Tadic.

Losing Dusan Tadic is a big blow to the Saints, but Elyounoussi is more than an able replacement. Southampton does have a good squad, but they need the right management to take them forward. Angus Gunn is a very underrated signing, as he impressed last season at Norwich City. It’s a solid but unspectacular window for Mark Hughes.

Tottenham: D-

Players In: None.

Players Out: Keanan Bennetts.

I want to give them an F, but signing Harry Kane to a new contract bumps them up a grade. Other than that, in the words of Jose Mourinho, “I have nothing to say. Nothing. Nothing to say.”

Watford: C-

Players In: Ben Wilmot, Gerard Deulofeu, Marc Navarro, Adam Masina, Ken Sema, Ben Foster, Domingos Quina.

Players Out: Mauro Zarate, Costel Pantilimon, Richarlison, Nordin Amrabat.

Gerard Deulofeu links up with the Hornets on a permanent basis as well as West Ham’s young star Domingos Quina. Apart from that, Watford didn’t do a whole lot and it seems that they are destined to go down. It’s gonna be a long season for Watford fans I’m afraid.

West Ham United: A

Players In: Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Fabian Balbuena, Felipe Anderson, Xande Silva, Lucas Pérez, Carlos Sánchez.

Players Out: James Collins, Patrice Evra, Reece Burke, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Domingos Quina.

All anyone can say about their transfer window is wow. West Ham have strengthened all over the field, including Lukasz Fabianski, who is arguably the most underrated goalkeeper in the Premier League. A midfield of Felipe Anderson and Jack Wilshere is the stuff of dreams, and Lucas Pérez from Arsenal is an absolute steal. Manuel Pellegrini is the right man to lead this team as well. If you’re a Hammers fan, it’s time to get excited.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: A

Players In: Benik Afobe, Willy Boly, Diogo Jota, Raúl Jiménez, Rui Patricio, Léo Bonatini, Rúben Vinagre, Paulo Alves, João Moutinho, Jonny Castro Otto, Adama Traoré, Leander Dendoncker, John Kitolano

Players Out: Ben Marshall, Prince Oniangué, Barry Douglas.

Wolves have literally bought an entire starting eleven in this transfer window. Some of their transfers are just permanent deals for players that were on loan last season. The Portuguese revolution of Wolves continued with Rui Patricio and João Moutinho coming to the club, as well as highly rated players in Adama Traoré and Leander Dendoncker. But beware of the curse of signing too many players in one transfer window.

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