Here we are once again at that somewhat claustrophobic time of year, when the transfer window has been sealed shut and teams are left to make do with what they now have.
As usual, the big boys in the Premier League were the main players at the high stakes transfer table. You can see their total spending in the graphic above. So FourFourTwo has run the rule over the wheeling and dealing of the top five clubs in English football, in the order they finished last season.
Did they solve a pressing need? Have they added that critical piece to ensure their captain is holding aloft the trophy in a sea of their coloured confetti at season’s end? Read on to find out…
- Big hopes in: Pedro (Barcelona) £21 million (S$47.7m), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco) loan, Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) £8m.
- Big names out: Petr Cech (Arsenal) £12m, Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid) £11.8m, Mohamed Salah (AS Roma) undisclosed, Juan Cuadrado (Juventus) loan.
- Net spend: £38.1m
All was quiet around Stamford Bridge – quite the unusual phenomenon in the Abramovich/Mourinho era – until one of the greatest smash ‘n grab raids of recent memory. For weeks, decorated Barcelona winger Pedro was considered a Manchester United player-in-waiting. All that remained was the final negotiations before the photo of him was released holding aloft the United scarf at Old Trafford. But Chelsea had other ideas.
Tempting the Spaniard with the promise of trophies and the bright lights of London, the Blues got their man in a move that seemed to instantly transform their prospects, even allowing for the fact they are defending champions. A goal and an assist in his first game against West Brom then rubbed a little salt into the wound as Chelsea fans burst into “Are you watching, Manchester?” at the Hawthorns.
They added a solid back-up keeper in Begovic and nabbed Falcao from United, managing to cajole a goal out of the Colombian in just his fourth Premier League appearance for the club, surely adding a dash more fire to the ire of Red Devils supporters.
Transfer rating: A-
Predicted finish: 2nd. They have made an uncharacteristically poor start to the new campaign, with two defeats already from four starts. But their quality is undeniable, Pedro will only improve and if Diego Costa and Falcao get in sync, look out.