Rated! Every Premier League club's summer transfer business

Premier League transfer Signings
(Image credit: PA)

It’s been the strangest transfer window in memory. There have been plenty of signings - most of them for Chelsea - but yet seemingly everyone that clubs actually wanted to sell have remained. 

Back in August, we were full of excitement about the window. At FourFourTwo, we compiled our list of every Premier League side’s wants and needs for the coming season and worked out who they should sign. So how did everyone do?


FFT said they needed: a creative midfielder - specifically Lyon's Houssem Aouar

Long before the Houssem Aouar saga really began, we suggested that Arsenal should bring in the Lyon midfielder for creativity. While they strengthened in defence with Gabriel and midfield with the excellent Thomas Partey though, Mikel Arteta’s still got a blank checkbox next to that creative role.

Arsenal just couldn’t shift out enough deadwood in the end - that’s the price they’ve paid for extortionately large contracts. Gunners fans may well regard this window as a failure but signing a world-class midfielder is one hell of a consolation. Even if they had to release Gunnersaurus to free up the wage bill.


Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a striker

We weren’t overly ambitious for Aston Villa’s transfer window, simply suggesting that Aleksandar Mitrovic would be a solid signing. Ollie Watkins may be pricier than many expected Villa to go - especially after missing out on Callum Wilson for around £20m - but after a stunning hat-trick against Liverpool, it’s hard to say it doesn’t look like money well spent.

Throw in a more dependable right-back in Matty Cash, Lyon’s Bertrand Traore, Ross Barkley on loan and desperate to prove himself, and somehow managing to sign Arsenal’s better goalkeeper without competition - not to mention Jack Grealish extending his contract - and it’s been a dream window for Dean Smith. 

He’s addressed every area he needed to and smacked the champions to prove he's on the right track. What a man.


Brighton & Hove Albion

FFT said they needed: a central midfielder

Brighton & Hove Albion got their central midfielder in the shape of 32-year-old Adam Lallana. A solid signing, if a little past his best. Joel Veltman for under a million is shrewd business, too. It’s the same across the board: Brighton have plumped for cost-effective, small name signings like Lars Dendoncker, Jakub Moder and Andi Zeqiri. 

NEWS Premier League clubs spend over £1bn despite coronavirus pandemic

It’s a plan that’s served Brighton well and will probably push them on again this season. Watching their great development under Graham Potter this season, however, you have to ask - how good could this team be with a little more investment? Lallana is a decent buy, but it would be nice if the Seagulls had a little more to spend next time around.



FFT said they needed: creation from out wide

It’s been a well-documented summer for Burnley in which plenty of players have had contract grumbles. Some have gone, some remain; Sean Dyche has made worrying comments in the media and yet Dale Stephens remains the only senior signing - aside from Burnley’s customary purchase of an English back-up goalkeeper in Will Norris.

How much more can Dyche get out of this same group of players? Three losses in three suggest that even a couple of big loans would’ve given this squad an oomph heading into the season. The Clarets can’t be written off - and the lower league market is still open - but it’s disappointing not to see such a talented and long-serving manager really backed to improve his side.



FFT said they needed: a left-back and a centre-back

Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy and Malang Sarr have all made it through the Stamford Bridge door - the latter only briefly to head out on loan. Chelsea have added world-class quality in a number of positions. Big tick, there.

RICHARD JOLLY The curse of Chelsea's record transfer signings: what will become of Kepa Arrizabalaga?

The question now is where all of these stars fit in - Mason Mount, for example, is in conflict for his space on the pitch with Havertz. Thiago Silva needs to play on his correct side and Frank Lampard needs to work hard on the training ground with this backline. There are worse problems to have though and the recruitment team have smashed it out of the park.



(Image credit: PA Images)

DEADLINE DAY Where will Premier League clubs' new signings fit in?

Crystal Palace

FFT said they needed: a striker

Wilfried Zaha scoring 75% of Crystal Palace’s goals at this early stage in the season points towards another campaign in which the Eagles will be leaning heavily on their talisman. With just Michy Batshuayi shipped in (again), Palace have more patched up the problem, rather than addressing it with a proven answer.

Still, Eberechi Eze is a superb buy. Roy Hodgson probably hoped for an awful lot more than the business his club conducted but at least they didn’t shell out £20m for Cenk Tosun or something.



FFT said they needed: a winger

FFT were modest in an assessment of Everton’s weaknesses, asking purely for a winger and a midfielder like Hojbjerg to give Carlo Ancelotti a boost. Since then, Don Carlo has brought in two midfielders (two!) in Allan and Doucoure, plus James Rodriguez - who we’re all a little bit in love with - while somehow turning Dominic Calvert-Lewin in peak Thierry Henry. 

NEWS Dominic Calvert-Lewin says he is ‘reaping the rewards’ from past experiences

As if that’s not enough, Everton spent £25m on Ben Godfrey, in one of the most measured deadline day purchases the club has made in modern times, while they’ve also sent Moise Kean and Theo Walcott off on loan, which was very wise. It’s finally exciting to be an Evertonian again - for that, we’re not even going to deduct a point for failing to bring in a goalkeeper to challenge Pickford. Bravo, Toffees.



(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a centre-back

Harrison Reed, Kenny Tete, Antonee Robinson and Anthony Knockaert on a permanent deal were the headline signings for Fulham with Mario Lemina, Alphonse Areola and Ademola Lookman on loan. A pessimist may argue it was a window cautiously preparing for relegation.

ED MCCAMBRIDGE Fulham will lose more than just Premier League status if things continue like this 

The Cottagers desperately needed defensive reinforcements and though they haven't signed proven quality, they've brought in players who want to fight - something they didn't sign two years ago. Deadline day signing Tosin Adarabioyo has a heavy load on his shoulders now, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek feels like it was a move too convenient to turn down. 

Fulham have a blend of players wanting to prove themselves - and at least if it doesn’t pay off, they won’t be lumbered with white elephants in the Championship.


Leeds United

FFT said they needed: a striker

When FFT suggested Leeds United bring in a striker, we didn’t expect over 25 million of the Queen’s British sterling dropped on the head of Rodrigo. Neither did we fully believe that Patrick Bamford might turn into a goal machine in the top tier - he’s doing OK though, right?

LEEDS UNITED'S WILDERNESS YEARS How Marcelo Bielsa helped one of England’s biggest clubs finally rise again

Illan Meslier looks good, Raphinha is an exciting buy and Robin Koch should be a good standard when he settles into life in the Premier League. Time will tell on a lot of these buys - and there’s significant outlay there - but the signs are good for Leeds’s first season back in the big time. 


Leicester City

Cengiz Under

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a forward

We threw the name of Marcel Sabitzer into the ring for Leicester City. They ended up with Cengiz Under. Really, the two have been interchangeable collections of syllables hogging inches on BBC’s gossip column for years. 

Timothy Castagne looks like a solid gold purchase already. Wesley Fofana is a potentially stunning buy to ease pressure on Wes Morgan’s creaking knees, while Under’s only on loan, so if it doesn’t work out, there’s no obligation. The only business that Leicester perhaps should’ve done is to sign a left-back - James Justin’s been good, though.



FFT said they needed: a left-back and a winger

Liverpool have been ruthlessly efficient in the market this summer, paying under the odds for Kostas Tsimikas at left-back and signing their next big attacking threat in Diogo Jota. Oh, and Thiago Alcantara. Arguably the best midfielder in the world. No big deal (literally, he cost £25m). 

MATT LADSON Another Premier League title for Liverpool? 7 predictions for Jurgen Klopp's champions in 2020/21

A hugely underrated aspect of their business is managing to keep ahold of Gini Wijnaldum, too - who nearly packed a bag for Barcelona. After the 7-2 disaster away to Villa, one could argue that the Reds need another central defender - but given that Joel Matip will likely be back for the Everton game, it’s perhaps not a position that they’ll be fretting about for long.


Manchester City

Ruben Dias

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a centre-back

It’s always nice when Pep Guardiola takes our advice and Manchester City have upgraded with not just one but two defenders this summer. Ake and Dias bolster the back-line, along with Ferran Torres on the wing.

Is that enough to see City conquer Europe though? This is the first time Pep has been at a club this long - he really needed to overhaul the squad a little sooner and he’s arguably purchased downgrades on Sane and Kompany, while David Silva’s metronomic role has been redistributed to Phil Foden. 

Had City have swooped in for Aouar, brought in another forward and signed a top left-back, they’d be undoubted title challengers - but right now, they’re underdogs to take on Liverpool. Maybe that’s what Pep wants us to believe, though…


Manchester United

FFT said they needed: basically, Jadon Sancho

Blimey. Where do we begin? 

FourFourTwo echoed the chorus of Manchester United fans by highlighting Jadon Sancho as the priority. Donny van de Beek was smart but United’s mad trolley-dash in the eleventh hour for Facundo Pellestri, Alex Telles, Amad Diallo Traore (to join later) and Edinson Cavani smacks of Ed Woodward trying to appease a cheesed-off fanbase. 

IN THE MAG Inside the new Manchester United, Pirlo the manager, Rush, Drogba, Bury, Belarus, latest signings and more

You know what though? We’re not that mad at it. United have made worse decisions in the past and though Telles could either way, Cavani is a calculated move. Pellestri may well need a loan - he looks far too weak for Premier League football - while Traore could be a fantastic future star. Will this window win them the league, though? Perhaps not.


Newcastle United

Ryan Fraser

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a striker

Transfer windows for Newcastle United fans are a little like sitting alone in a club, Diet Coke in hand, while all your mates chat to the pretty girls. So imagine the surprise Magpies were given not to be involved in the chaos of Deadline Day yesterday.

Callum Wilson is exactly the striker we would’ve liked Steve Bruce to get. Ryan Fraser joining to supply him is a wise idea, while Jeff Hendrick is a typically Mike Ashley move - though not necessarily a bad one. Jamal Lewis at the back, too? We approve. This has been a much better summer than the Toon Army anticipated when that takeover collapsed.


Sheffield United

FFT said they needed: a goalkeeper

Here at FFT, we didn’t think Sheffield United would have to improve all that much on last season besides a keeper to replace the outgoing Dean Henderson. Since then, four defeats in as many matches have highlighted the need for the Blades to sharpen their attacking output. Rhian Brewster and Oliver Burke are hopefully up for the job, with the latter impressing already.

SEB STAFFORD-BLOOR Why Chris Wilder is my Manager of the Year

We suggested Tim Krul from the relegated goalie pile, rather than Aaron Ramsdale. Was Ramsdale a good deal? The jury is undeniably out right now. This has been a typical Wilder window but overall, it's harsh to call it a bad one with two good signings.



Theo Walcott, Everton, Southampton

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a defender

Another transfer window, another year gone where we wonder where that £75m for Virgil van Dijk was invested. Pretty sure that a third of it went on Danny Ings but beyond that, we can’t remember at FFT. Still, Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters - the first big investments since Ings - tick the boxes we asked for in terms of defensive reinforcement.

Losing Hojbjerg was a big one this summer. Ibrahima Diallo has big shoes to fill but he’s a sensible enough purchase. Theo Walcott is a nostalgic loan deal too but a good profile to slot in alongside Ings up top. With high hopes for Hasenhuttl this season, we would have liked a big statement buy in the market - especially with other clubs targeting the upper top half signing the likes of James, Eze and Watkins - but it’s been another solid summer for the Saints.


Tottenham Hotspur

FFT said they needed: a defensive midfielder and a right-back

That’s right, we were ahead of the curve - we knew that Tottenham Hotspur needed bite in midfield. Still, we didn’t think it would come in the shape of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - a fantastic buy for £15m, essentially free when you consider Southampton paid the same amount to take Kyle Walker-Peters off Tottenham’s hands. 

LIST! A look at players who have rejoined clubs as Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott return

Sergio Reguilon has since joined, along with Carlos Vinicius up front on loan - plus Arsenal fan Matt Doherty has arrived to challenge Arsenal fan Serge Aurier for the right-back slot. Oh, and Gareth Bale on loan, in case you’d forgotten. 

And as if that wasn't enough, Alex Morgan is now a Tottenham player too (though we're not counting her in our score below). Hell of a summer for Spurs - they're a centre-back away from challenging for the title. 


West Bromwich Albion

(Image credit: PA Images)

FFT said they needed: a striker

West Bromwich Albion’s big buys were Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira on permanent contracts. Good business. Elsewhere they signed Conor Gallagher on loan from Chelsea, while Branislav Ivanovic - who you may assumed retired or was locked in a cupboard at West Ham United’s training complex - also signed for free. You’re thinking of Pablo Zabaleta, by the way.

No sign of a striker, though. It’s a modest transfer window from one of the bookies’ favourites to sink back down this season but no big money risks from the Baggies. A lot of faith in Diangana and Pereira, then.


West Ham United

FFT said they needed: a full back and a forward

West Ham’s last Slavia Prague signing, Tomas Soucek, turned out to be a surprise masterstroke. So when the Irons saw that we suggested signing a full-back, they headed back for the Czech capital to bring in Vladimír Coufal. Fair play. 

RICHARD JOLLY Why this is a transfer window defined by deadwood more than big signings

Getting the likes of Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and goalkeeper Roberto off the books was vital, as was keeping Declan Rice this summer. West Ham angered the fans (and Mark Noble) by flogging Diangana but overall, this has been a good window for the club. 

Why? Because they haven't done anything too stupid. Which says a lot. But though depth was needed, it’s better not to buy than buy badly when it comes to West Ham.


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nuno Espirto Santo

(Image credit: PA)

FFT said they needed: a winger

This was always going to be a busy summer for Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty. Fittingly, Wolves have scoured the depths of Portugal and come up trumps in a number of areas - particularly Nelson Semedo, who may well be an upgrade on what they had at right-back. 

Ki-Jana Hoever and Fabio Silva are astute signings for the future, while four left-backs have been brought in, either permanently or on loan (four left-backs, Wolves? That’s insane). No winger and no only Vitinha on loan in midfield mean this hasn’t been the perfect window - still, the most important signing is that Nuno has extended his contract. Well played on that front.


While you’re here, why not subscribe to the mag - and get your first five issues for just £5!


RANKED! The top 10 FUT icons in FIFA 21

CHRIS FLANAGAN Forget the Premier League: it’s fans of clubs like Harrogate who are being robbed of their moment

GUIDE Premier League live stream best VPN: how to watch every game from anywhere in the world 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.