If there’s anything that can wet the appetite of football fans around the globe during the interim period when the footballers themselves are on their jollies with wives and girlfriends, it is the noble art of transfers and the transfer window that goes with it. Needless to say, it’s been frantic this summer again, with clubs in England flexing their financial muscle, buoyed by the astonishing £5.1bn TV deal that is sure to bring a windfall and of course some really exciting players to the league. So, here’s my take (you can always disagree) on the top five summer transfers so far where I factor in quality of the player, value for money and of course the impact the transfer could likely have on the teams involved.
6. Andre Ayew – Marseiile to Swansea City (Free)
A transfer that must have gone under the radar without any trace, but this has all the potential to be hailed as one of the signings of this summer come May 2016. The 25-year old forward scored 10 goals (3 assists) in 27 starts for Marseille in Ligue 1 last season helping them to finish fourth in the league, was a transfer target for many of big English and European clubs before he finally joined Welsh club Swansea City on a free transfer, making him one of this summer’s genuine bargain signings. Comfortable anywhere along the front line, he is sure to provide a variety of options to Garry Monk, who already led his Swans to a record 8th place finish last season, and with this acquisition there’s every possibility he could break his own record, by finishing further higher up the table.
5. Nathaniel Clyne – Southampton to Liverpool (£12.5 million)
Liverpool have made about 7 transfers in this window and are not finished yet (or are they?) but none is as significant a signing as this, in my humble opinion. There has been a major overhaul of sorts, again, with Rodgers now facing the prospect of probably losing his job if things don’t go as well at Anfield as they want to. Close to a £100 million has been spent on strengthening the starting 11 of the side, rather than improving the depth which he looked to do in the previous season. Rodgers has made some shrewd signings in this window with Clyne being one, replacing Glen Johnson. Nathaniel Clyne has all the ingredients to consolidate that right-back position for club and country for the next 5-6 years. He’s made more tackles, more interceptions, created more chances (per game) than the outgoing Glenn Johnson, and is likely to massively improve an otherwise unconvincing back four.
4. Yohan Cabaye – PSG to Crystal Palace (£10 million)
From Paris to Palace, Cabaye is set to start his second spell under Alan Pardew, albeit at a different club in Crystal Palace. For £10 million, Cabaye, who brings a wealth of experience, is too good a player to pass up and Pardew might have found that player who can make the difference against teams that finished just above them last season. A central midfield pairing of Cabaye and club captain Jedinak should make them a formidable opponent even to the top sides and with all the pace in front of them, the Frenchman will be looking forward to pull the strings from midfield, which he so efficiently did in his last season in England, for Newcastle United. Having scored 7 goals in that 2013/14 season including a winner at Old Trafford, Cabaye also created a staggering 33 chances in just 19 appearances, 5 more than Jedinak’s current partner in the middle, James McArthur.
3. Dimitri Payet – Marseille to West Ham United (£10.7 million)
A cracking signing by all accounts, it will be interesting to figure if this man can translate his consistently brilliant form into a harder league, in a new country. Dimitri Payet has had his best season last year with the French side, chalking up as many as 17 assists in 36 Ligue 1 appearances and also 7 goals to his name, he is definitely one of the players to watch in this upcoming 2015/16 season. Only Lionel Messi has made more successful through balls than him; Payet has assisted half a century of goals in his six years in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne, Lille and Marseille, showing what kind of an influence he could have on West Ham who were often criticised for playing a duller brand of football, under Sam Allardyce. Nevertheless, a new manager and the prospect of playing in a bigger stadium, and an exciting signing in Payet, well, what could possibly go wrong, eh?
2. Morgan Schneiderlin – Southampton to Manchester United (£24 million)
The most expensive player in this list, but in terms of addressing the key issue, it cannot get any better than this, certainly for Manchester United who have continued to dig deep into their coffers in order to bridge that gap with regard to quality in the middle between them and last year’s runaway champions Chelsea. A fee that could potentially go up to £27 million factoring in performance related bonuses, nonetheless, the Frenchman offers everything you need in a midfielder. Classified as homegrown, the Frenchman can play in a midfield two, dictate the tempo and break up opposition play whilst also chip in with a few goals, when needed, like the one he scored 4 minutes into his debut in a pre-season friendly. Touted as aging Carrick’s long term successor, he has had a stellar season under Koeman, making more tackles, interceptions (per 90 minutes) and also scoring more goals than Michael Carrick who will turn 34 by the time you are reading this. And also, he comes with the more revered ‘Proven Premier League Player’ tag as well.
1. Petr Cech – Chelsea to Arsenal (£10 million)
A genuine jaw-dropping transfer this whichever way you look at it. His records speak for themselves as Petr Cech has managed to keep a ridiculous 228 clean sheets in 494 appearances, which is roughly 1 in 2 games and a winner of 13 major trophies with arch rivals Chelsea, who Arsenal will be colliding head-on with for the Premier League title. Cech, more than anything, will provide a morale boost, like no other can, in that he can bring a sense of calm to that Arsenal back four that has been dying for a leader without the armband. Some go as far as to deem this Wenger’s first victory over Jose Mourinho who was understandably reluctant to offload the goalkeeper to their strongest challengers which not only strengthens Arsenal but also weakens themselves a bit, but I don’t fall in that camp although I would dare say Cech can certainly provide the Gunners that mental edge in crunch games in the league, where they enjoy very little success than they should, for a team of their quality.
“When Arsène spoke to me about his ambitions for this club, and how he saw me as part of this team, the decision was clear.”