Ranked! Every Premier League club's summer transfer business
Rafa Benitez hasn’t been shy to air his frustrations this summer, with the Spaniard suggesting that the board have broken promises made after Newcastle secured promotion back to the top flight in May. It’s not hard to see why both he and the fans have been left infuriated by Mike Ashley’s reticence to put his hand in his pocket, particularly after the exits of Siem de Jong, Grant Hanley, Emmanuel Riviere and Tim Krul over the last few days.
Christian Atsu has joined permanently, while Joselu and Mikel Merino have made a positive early impact. Yet the squad doesn’t look anywhere near strong enough for the sort of comfortable mid-table finish Benitez may have initially hoped for, meaning a sustained battle against the drop is very possible.
Antonio Conte has patently been unhappy with Chelsea’s approach in the market this summer – and with good reason, too. Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko have arrived, but the champions failed to complete deals for targets Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fernando Llorente, Alex Sandro and Ross Barkley, even if Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater did join before the cut-off point.
Selling Nemanja Matic to a domestic rival in Manchester United could come back to haunt them, while Diego Costa – not yet sold, but exiled – is undoubtedly a loss on the pitch despite the considerable baggage he brings off it. Participation in the Champions League means a busier schedule than last term, and Chelsea haven’t sufficiently addressed their depth issues.
18. Crystal Palace
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Frank de Boer, who was appointed with the specific remit of evolving Palace’s style of play and may now be sacked for attempting to do so.
He’s not exactly been emphatically backed in the transfer market either, with the Eagles hierarchy reluctant to spend big bucks after a costly January window. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tim Fosu-Mensah are excellent loan signings, but Jairo Riedewald was the only permanent addition made before deadline day, when Mamadou Sakho finally signed on the dotted line.
The Frenchman was superb on loan at Selhurst Park earlier this year and will tighten up a shaky backline, but the club’s failure to source a back-up striker (a last-minute deal for Oumar Niasse fell through) and a goalkeeping upgrade – despite knowing these positions needed filling at the end of last season – is baffling. More generally, Palace don’t look to have done enough to aid the transition to a new style, which could spell bad news for De Boer’s job prospects.
Brighton added 10 new players to their first team this summer, yet whether they’ve done enough in terms of quality remains to be seen.
Markus Suttner and Ezequiel Schelotto are accomplished full-backs, Pascal Gross and Davy Propper improve the options in midfield and Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo will strengthen Albion’s support cast, but a lack of firepower could be their undoing. The pressure will therefore be on Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray to score the goals to keep Chris Hughton’s men afloat.
Brighton fans may wish to avoid getting their hopes up.