Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper said on Thursday he was looking forward to the transfer window closing, probably so he could go home and sit in a darkened room. As the clock ticked down on the due day, centre-back Willy Boly became Forest’s 19th signing in a close, head-turning season. Only four of the players who started Forest’s promotion play-off final on May 29 started Wednesday’s 6-0 hammering away at Manchester City and that number is sure to drop. The former European champions, back in the top flight for the first time since 1998-99, have spent nearly 150 million pounds ($173.24 million) building a new squad.
Haaland has an immediate impact on City
Forest’s risky approach was a curious subplot to a summer madness of The Premier League deals were kicked off with champions Manchester City signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of £54m. Three months on, it’s fair to say the Norwegian striker has sailed through the transfer window like a marauding Viking, devastating defenses across the country. With nine goals in five league appearances, he already looks very interesting for City – a club in the enviable position of integrating big-name signings into a squad brimming with quality.
For some of the other 19 Premier League clubs the window was fruitful, but for others the complexities of the market kept them on their toes until the window closed on Thursday.
Arsenal, Spurs, United
While Forest’s business looked like a maniacal supermarket sweep, Arsenal have been more selective. Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko – both dropped by Manchester City – were snapped up early and contributed to Arsenal’s perfect start with Jesus, signed for £48million, already with three goals and three assists to his name.
Tottenham Hotspur also did their main business early with the likes of Brazilian forward Richarlison (£52m) joins Everton and Ivan Perisic (free) from Inter Milan to strengthen Antonio Conte’s team.
For Manchester United, the transfer window initially only heightened a sense of crisis consuming Old Trafford. Unsuccessful pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, doubts over £50million centre-back signs Lisandro Martinez, Cristiano Ronaldo’s uncertain future and back-to-back defeats to start the season left new boss Erik ten Hag perplexed. But the window eventually provided some comfort with Casemiro arrives from Real Madrid for 63.5 million pounds to strengthen United’s fragile midfield and right-winger Antony joins Ajax Amsterdam for £85m — a deadline record.
As unpopular as the Glazer family are as owners of United, they continue to fund their managers.
Chelsea, West Ham, Newcastle
Chelsea top the spending list with United not far behind, but West Ham United’s business epitomizes the television wealth that gives all Premier League clubs the buying power only elite teams in Spain or Germany can dream of. The Hammers spent over £150m breaking their transfer record to sign Brazilian Lucas Paqueta. Supported by Saudi Arabia Newcastle United have also flexed their financial muscle to sign Swedish striker Alexander Isak for a club record fee.
As always, fans could be excused for scratching their heads at some of the moves.
Chelsea loaned Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, a year after paying Inter £115m for the Belgian striker, and also sold German Timo Werner to RB Leipzig for €20m (19, $89 million) less than they had paid for him. Then the Blues ended the window with a mad scramble to sign another striker, with 33-year-old former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to arrive from Barcelona as they worked late into the night to close the deal.
While Haaland’s explosive start instantly justified his fees, other big name signings had a different impact. Darwin NunezLiverpool’s standout purchase signed to fill the hole left by Sadio Mane, headbutted Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen in his second game to earn a three-match ban.
One thing is certain, the cost of living crisis facing millions of Britons has not infiltrated the Premier League. Even before Thursday’s frenzy, around £1.7bn had been spent by the top 20 clubs — breaking 2017’s record of 1.43 billion and more money than was spent in last season’s two windows combined.
Five most expensive Premier League transfers:
Five Best Value Transfers:
Five transfers least likely to work:
Five clubs should have performed but did not:
($1 = 0.8659 pounds / $1 = 1.0056 euros)