Premier League transfer window: The good and the bad for each club

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And, relax.

The transfer window has closed, the fax machines of the Premier League can return to their state of mournful silence, the deal sheets can be neatly put back in the drawer, David Ornstein can put his phone in the fridge for a bit and the rest of us can survey the wreckage of another few months of frenzied speculation.

So, now that all the signings have been made, how have all the Premier League teams done? Who had a bad window and who had a good one?

Well, most teams had their moments, and most teams made some missteps. So rather than ranking or rating, we thought we would present arguments for why each team has had a good window, and why they had a bad one, then you can decide who came out on top…


Why they had a good window

They went all-in on Declan Rice, and while they did have to pay an extremely silly amount of money for him, he’s a potentially transformative addition. They’ve also upgraded their goalkeeping options, with David Raya likely to replace Aaron Ramsdale as No 1 before too long and, while the injury has taken the edge off significantly, Jurrien Timber will be an excellent signing eventually.


Raya will compete with Ramsdale to be the No 1 (David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

It’s early days. He has performed well in a deeper role for Germany. Most people’s reservations about him at Chelsea stem from him playing as a No 9, which isn’t his favoured position. But it is still a little difficult to fully get your head around the Kai Havertz thing. Arsenal have signed him as a No 8, but at this stage it feels like a gamble they didn’t really need to take.


Why they had a good window

Two words for you, reader: Moussa Diaby. It seems obscene to describe anyone or anything as a bargain at £52million but boy, this guy looks exciting. Quick, direct, left-footed (which is always more aesthetically pleasing), he has already looked thrilling with the promise of plenty more where that came from.

Why they had a bad window

It makes perfect sense from a business point of view, chalking up a sweet £30million in pure profit, but it was a bit of a shame that Villa were so happy to sell youth products Aaron Ramsey and Cameron Archer. Both are young, both excelled in the Championship last season, both are local lads: call it excessively romantic, but those should be the players fans get sentimentally attached to, not the ones that help you make the spreadsheets look nice and tidy.


Why they had a good window

Bournemouth have been sneaky little rascals this summer, nipping in to gazump a series of teams for players. They whipped Max Aarons from under the noses of Leeds, beat Wolves to sign Alex Scott and slid in ahead of a bunch of teams for Tyler Adams. You don’t get extra points for annoying your rivals…but maybe you should do.

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Adams left Leeds for the lights of the Premier League (AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

It’s not necessarily ‘bad’ per se but they have quietly spent an awful lot of money. Somewhere north of £110million. And they haven’t really sold anyone. Maybe they’re trying to show a little ambition, but if it all goes south then…could they be cooking up some problems for the future?


Why they had a good window

In their Championship days, Brentford had nailed that handy knack of selling players and somehow getting better, with their replacements often already in place before they even left. They now seem to be doing a similar thing in the Premier League: it is still early in the season, but Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken, recruited from Freiburg in anticipation of David Raya’s departure, looks to be just the job.

Why they had a bad window

Brentford have been chasing a winger for the whole summer. They tried to rekindle their long-running love affair with Brennan Johnson, then made a play for Fiorentina’s Nico Gonzalez, and in the last couple of days tried for PSV’s Johan Bakayoko, all to no avail. Neal Maupay returned instead, which is…underwhelming, so say the least.


Why they had a good window

Ansu Fati! Who the bloody hell saw that coming? This was a kid who had enough hubris to whip the Barcelona No 10 shirt off Lionel Messi’s back almost before the great man had left Catalonia — if you’d said he would be team-mates with Solly March and Lewis Dunk in just two short years, your family members would be ringing each other and speaking in concerned tones.

Why they had a bad window

There’s nothing tangible for the Brighton naysayers to really cling to, other than maybe James Milner’s age and Mahmoud Dahoud’s relatively underwhelming last few years. The only thing really — and this is an old hoary one — is that there must be a breaking point for them. They surely cannot go on selling their best player(s) every year and still get better. Can they? Actually, they probably can.


Why they had a good window

This might not be much use to them if things go wrong and they’re bottom of the table at Christmas but they have signed a really interesting, potentially exciting and young set of players. The only outfielder older than 25 they brought in was Nathan Redmond, and he was free. Who knows if it will work, but it will be fun watching Sander Berge, Zeki Amdouni and Aaron Ramsey at least.

Why they had a bad window

Not signing a left-back feels like an oversight. They tried a late bid to make Ian Maatsen theirs permanently, after he was so good there on loan last season, but the Dutchman turned them down. Otherwise it feels like they’re going to be filling in: Charlie Taylor is a specialist but you feel they could do better, Vitinho is a right-back but played there on the opening day against Manchester City, and centre-back Hannes Delcroix filled in against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. Not ideal.


Chelsea

Why they had a good window

If they get even, say, 75 per cent of their signings this year right, then Chelsea could be set up for years to come. The people who say there doesn’t seem to be a plan are surely being disingenuous: the plan is clear, to sign young players now and hope they don’t really have to spend significantly again for a few years. Chelsea’s outfield signings this summer have an average age of 20.5: not a recipe for immediate success, but the plan is longer-term than that.

Why they had a bad window

If the plan doesn’t work, it could be catastrophic. In the shorter term though, don’t you still look at this Chelsea team and sort of think, “Hmmm, they could do with a few more players here and there”? Additionally, the flip side of signing all young players is they can’t be part of a healthy blend of youth and experience: they have to learn pretty quickly, because Chelsea need them to be good very soon.


Why they had a good window

This is a bit ‘he’s like a new signing’, but Michael Olise’s decision to turn down Chelsea was not just good news for Palace, but any club towards the lower end of the Premier League who have young talent and are used to being bullied by someone richer. It was the smart move from Olise to stay, who after the departure of Wilfried Zaha is now the man around whom Palace’s attack is formed.

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Palace’s attack now revolves around Olise (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

Who’s going to score the goals? Zaha’s departure was a blow from a sentimental and footballing point of view, but it did at least afford Crystal Palace the opportunity to build a different sort of attack. Instead, they signed a goalkeeper, a central defender, a defensive midfielder and a Brazilian kid who should be eased very carefully into Premier League life.


Why they had a good window

The thing Everton have been crying out for — besides club unity and losing that chronic sense of existential despair — has been a reliable striker to take the heat off Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and fill in during his frequent injury absences. Have they found that in Beto? He’s certainly going to be fun to watch, and fun is not a word you have associated with Everton for some time.

Why they had a bad window

Many more have gone out than come in. There are still gaping holes in the team, which a few players aside is still relatively uninspiring. Jack Harrison was injured when he signed. The sale of Alex Iwobi was sensible from a financial point of view but inexplicable from a footballing one.


Why they had a good window

Well, it turned out to be a hell of a lot better than it looked at lunchtime on deadline day, when it appeared that Joao Palhinha, Toisin Adarabioyo and Harrison Reed would all be on their way. Ultimately they all stayed, Fulham doing the sensible thing and pulling the plug on the Palhinha move to Bayern Munich: there may have been riots on the banks of the Thames if they hadn’t.

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Palhinha has stayed despite Bayern’s interest (Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

There isn’t really a way of dressing up the fact that Fulham sold Aleksandar Mitrovic, their main striker who scored 27 per cent of their league goals last season, and replaced him with Raul Jimenez, who last scored a league goal in March 2022. Maybe this is Carlos Vinicius’s time to shine.


Why they had a good window

Having to sign a completely new midfield, with a sporting director who for some reason only seems to be there temporarily, is a recipe for a complete clown show. But, while we must wait for more evidence before we judge, getting Dominik Szoboszlai, Waturo Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch (below) through the door feels like a realistic best-case scenario.

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(Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

They will ultimately argue that it didn’t matter, but it was remarkable how much of a mess they made of the Romeo Lavia/Moises Caceido situation. Increasing their bids for the former in increments of 50p, then suddenly offering £111million for the latter, and somehow ending up with neither, takes some doing. Many fans will also point to the lack of a new centre-back as a problem too, especially if they continue to defend as they have in the first few games.


Why they had a good window

This sounds like a backhanded compliment, or at least not a particularly exciting one, but Luton have been extremely prudent this summer. No high fees have been paid, the biggest one being the £5million spent on Ryan Giles: that’s still a club record, but the majority of Premier League clubs will drop that on agents’ fees. The bright lights of the top flight have not caused Luton to get giddy.

Why they had a bad window

All that said, while prudence is sensible, they are still left with a squad that, with maybe one or two exceptions, basically looks like a collection of EFL players. This of course does not mean that they can’t be successful, and Rob Edwards is a fine young manager, but you might have liked a little more top-flight experience, Tim Krul and Ross Barkley notwithstanding.


Manchester City

Why they had a good window

The new signings give us a hint at the next evolution of Pep Guardiola’s side. Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic are classic Guardiola players, but Matheus Nunes and Jeremy Doku are very much ball carriers, not passers. It’s going to be fascinating, as ever, to see how this new style of player changes the way City play.

Why they had a bad window

We won’t know the real impact of losing Ilkay Gundogan for a while yet. He might be a classic “don’t know what you’ve got ’til he’s gone” player, and would have been especially important given we won’t be seeing Kevin De Bruyne for a few months. There also isn’t a huge amount of evidence that Nunes is really a City-standard player, but that might be provided in the coming weeks.


Why they had a good window

You have to be aligned in your transfer policy. While at some point they will need to get some form of transfer strategy a little more sophisticated than “ask the manager who he likes”, it’s also probably a good idea to buy players that suit the style of that manager. To that end, reuniting Erik ten Hag with Andre Onana could prove to be an extremely smart move.

Why they had a bad window

For a club that actually only spent money on three players, there are a lot of gambles in there: there’s a lot of pressure on Rasmus Hojlund to be good pretty quickly, and it’s not immediately obvious that Mason Mount is going to gel with the rest of United’s midfield. Plus Anthony Martial is still, inexplicably, one of their better forward options.


Why they had a good window

While some clubs with money spray it around like a kid with a water pistol, Newcastle are generally much more methodical. Their business was broadly done early, with Sandro Tonali (below) and Harvey Barnes through the door by the middle of July, while Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall aren’t faced with the pressure of having to be good straight away.

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Why they had a bad window

There aren’t many holes you can pick from a logical level (maybe a bit more cover at centre-back, if we’re splitting hairs?), so we’ll have to resort to emotions for this bit: boooo, Newcastle United, booooo for denying the Premier League of Allan Saint-Maximin, one of the most fun footballers to grace these shores. Is Barnes a better footballer, more suited to the way the manager plays? Absolutely. Is that a good enough reason to sell him? No. Boooooooo.


Nottingham Forest

Why they had a good window

If a measure of transfer success is a club signing their No 1 target, even if it was in the wee small hours of the window, then Nottingham Forest can legitimately say this summer has been a winner for them. Ibrahim Sangare is the player they have wanted all along, and while they had to sell Brennan Johnson to make it happen, his departure at some point was inevitable. They have ultimately made the best of that situation.

Why they had a bad window

Johnson’s sale, even though Callum Hudson-Odoi was recruited for what amounts to scrapings from the spare-change jar in Premier League transfer terms, leaves Forest a little limited in goalscoring options. Taiwo Awoniyi is exceptional but has yet to complete 90 minutes for them and spent half of last season out injured; Chris Wood’s all-round play has been unconvincing, despite a couple of key goals off the bench; Divock Origi only managed two goals for AC Milan last season.


Why they had a great window

Their two biggest signings are two pretty exciting ones, potentially. It was a bit odd that nobody got to Gustavo Hamer before the Blades did, and a little sad that Aston Villa were so willing to part with Cameron Archer. But both were exceptional in the Championship last season, and while the obvious concern is neither have much Premier League experience, if they come off then they could be great additions.

Why they had a bad window

Selling your two best players, in Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye, is not exactly the most optimal way to approach a return to the Premier League. The circumstances were different in both cases, but while both technically have been replaced, and with ‘high upside’ players, it’s not a stretch to suggest that Paul Heckingbottom would probably just rather have kept those two around.


Why they had a good window

Even if the rest of their additions turn out to be failures, Tottenham have an absolute bargain in James Maddison for £40million. It’s often pointless to compare transfer fees because they never only rest on the quality of the player involved. But if you do fancy weighing these things up, consider that Maddison went for about the same price as Cole Palmer, veteran of three Premier League starts.

Why they had a bad window

Well, he left didn’t he? You know, that guy. It doesn’t really matter how positive things are under Ange Postecoglou at the moment and how good everyone is feeling, when you lose your greatest player in a generation it’s still going to sting. Imagine how things would be with him as centre-forward, rather than Richarlison. Also, when selling someone for £100million, you might expect a little more improvement in the all-round squad than they delivered.


Why they had a good window

Whichever way you slice it, using the Declan Rice money to recruit James Ward-Prowse, Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus is exceptional business. There was no point in trying to find a single player who could do everything that Rice can: otherwise, Arsenal would have bought that player. But what they could do is completely rebuild their midfield, which they most certainly have.

James Ward-Prowse


Ward-Prowse will go some of the way to replacing Rice (Photo: Charlie Crowhurst via Getty Images)

Why they had a bad window

Like a man of advancing years, it’s looking a bit thin up top. The Gianluca Scamacca experiment clearly failed, but they signed the big Italian last summer for a reason. Perhaps Kudus could act as a forward, and Jarrod Bowen provides threat from the flanks, but their only true striking options are Michail Antonio and Danny Ings: the former is a hero but is 33, and the latter only scored twice in the league after joining in January, and they were both in one game against Nottingham Forest.


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Why they had a good window

Well, they sold basically everything that wasn’t nailed down. Wolves needed to make a profit of something like £100million over the window, having shelled out north of £150million last season (not that you will have necessarily noticed by watching them play) and they have managed it. So…that’s good? It’s a grim way of looking at things, but they achieved their aim.

Why they had a bad window

Well, they sold basically everything that wasn’t nailed down. They might have considered flogging the Jack Hayward statue if someone had come up with a bid. Not ideal, is it? Financially, selling Matheus Nunes, Ruben Neves, Nathan Collins and a few others made sense — was necessary even — but in terms of being able to put a football team together for the season ahead…not so great.





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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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