By Tony Attwood
A recent article in the Guardian had brief reports from the writing of various blogettas about how they felt regarding their club’s involved in the transfer window.
I had hoped they might invite Sir Hardly Anyone to comment on Arsenal but no, they went where they knew they would get complaint. Actually I didn’t actually understand all of the Arsenal comment but it seemed as if Coquelin was being compared with a “water carrier” without any reference to where all the international comparison stats on him had got it wrong, but the writing was a bit obscure at that point.
Anyway, what interested me particularly was what other club blogetta writers thought about their club’s transfer window. Were they all dancing in the street, while just some Arsenal fans were miserable? Or were they feeling much like the little bunch of aaa’s were – that we were doomed before the first kick of the season, and the pre-season and charity shield was just a myth.
Here’s a quick summary
Aston Villa. Net spend: £9.3m
I’ll stick with my pre-season 16th place prediction: it’d be a decent achievement given the turnover in playing staff.
Apparent Rating: Same old same old. 5/10
Bournemouth Net spend: £21.5m
Another midfielder would have been great but Jonathan de Guzmán didn’t get on the plane, so what can you do?
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Apparent Rating: South coast realism. 8/10
Chelsea Net spend: £32.1m
You finally get a booking at the Michelin-star restaurant you’ve been trying to get into for six months – you order the lobster, the filet mignon, and a dessert so fantastical it must have been dreamed up by Nasa. What you actually get is boiled spam, tripe and banana instant whip.
Apparent rating: Sounds like Chelsea have their own aaa. 1/10
Crystal Palace Net spend: £21.5m
It’s been another brilliant window for Palace. Signing Yohan Cabaye was a real statement of intent, and the deals for Alex McCarthy and Connor Wickham reinforced it…With the best squad in our history, dare we dream of Europe?
Apparent rating. Wow! 10/10
Everton Net spend: £12.95m
There’s still no No10. But we’re still on for a top-eight finish – and keeping John Stones was a big plus.
Apparent rating: Not perfect but we kept our man. 7/10
Leicester City: Net spend£20.2m
Ranieri has built on the earlier excellent signings of Shinji Okazaki, Christian Fuchs and Robert Huth by bringing in tough-tackling N’Golo Kante, winger Nathan Dyer, rock hard Yohan Benalouane, and Gökhan Inler for around £5m.
Apparent rating: Wow! 10/10
Liverpool: Net Spend £10.3m
We spent £78m, recouped £68m, and again go into the season with a squad of maybes and could-bes. Performances so far tell it like it is.
Apparent rating: Herumph. 3/10.
Manchester City: Net spend £124.4m
What a window… We’ve signed the best player in the Bundesliga last season, England’s best prospect since Wayne Rooney in Raheem Sterling, La Liga’s best defender from last season, and Fabian Delph.
Apparent rating: Wow! 10/10
Manchester Utd: Net spend £33.6m
It was a decent window but the elephant in the room has been the centre-forward position with Rooney still misfiring… We lack the creativity to break down a bang-average team. I honestly think this will be Rooney’s last season at United.
Apparent rating 5/10. We’re still in transition.
Newcastle Utd: Net spend £46m
We’ve been crying out for new defenders since dinosaurs roamed the earth and, as usual, we’ve been let down… Key players have stayed, Ashley has splashed out, but the team needed further strengthening.
Apparent rating 4/10. Not as bad as we feared but we need more.
Norwich City. Net spend £9.9m
It was a transfer window that started badly, fell away in the middle and ended disastrously… the deadline day failure to land a bona fide, Premier League quality centre-back caused the collective brow to furrow.
Apparent rating 3/10. Going to be tough.
Southampton: Net income £0.8m
Yet again we’ve lost some serious talent this summer, but some of the arrivals look really promising… Overall, we have more depth in the squad now, and it was refreshing, too, that we stood firm and refused bids for Wanyama and Mané.
Apparent rating 8/10. Not bad, and we made a profit.
Stoke City. Net spend £3.1m
The major success of the window was Shaqiri… The failures, though, are quite evident. We’ll do well to finish in the top 10 considering the signings our table-neighbours have made.
Apparent rating 5/10. Should have done more.
Sunderland. Net spend £22.4m
Given that we’re not the most attractive proposition in the division, and that the owner is wary of managers who spend money on players who make little impact, Messrs Advocaat and Congerton seem to have done OK. We still need to move failed players out.
Apparent rating 5/10. So so
Swansea City. Net spend £9m
Our total spend is one of the lowest in the division and yet we’ve brought in some top class players, and the squad is looking very capable of at least matching last season’s eighth place.
Apparent rating 9/10. Excellent work considering our resources.
Tottenham Hotspur. Net Spend £5.3m
Two months of Daniel Levy-led tactical negotiations and we still didn’t land a proven back-up for Kane….Having sold four from midfield, we now play a centre-half there. Teams don’t qualify for Europe with deficiencies in all three outfield areas of so I’m revising my pre-season prediction of a fifth-place finish to the tune of 10 places below.
Apparent rating 1/10. Arsenal will be singing “It’s happened again” in February.
Watford. Net spend £23.8m
The transition from irresistible force to immovable object is well under way but only time will tell whether the current attacking bluntness is temporary, and whether the difficult goodbyes to erstwhile key players were justified…now we just need a quiet, dark room to lie down in for a bit
Apparent rating 7/10. Goodness knows what’s going to happen.
West Brom. Net spend £27.5m
Pulis would have liked more in midfield but the budget was used and the only way of financing further moves was receiving an acceptable for Berahino. We’re left worrying what impact it will have on our season.
Apparent rating 6/10. It’s Tottenham’s fault.
WHU Net spend £26.9m
A good window for the Hammers. Credit Sullivan and Gold with spending £34m – if nothing else it should ensure the Olympic Stadium sees Premier League football.
Apparent rating: 8/10. We’re not going to win anything but we’re holding on.
My point in all this (and you can of course read the whole thing in more detail in the Guardian) is to see which fans felt good about the window.
Among the clubs who most fans would not expect to get a place in the top five
- Bournemouth, Palace, Everton, Leicester, Southampton, Swansea, Watford, WHU.
Among those who might expect to get a place in the top five
- Man C
And who thought they had done very badly?
Among the clubs who most fans would not expect to get a place in the top five or six…
- Norwich, Newcastle.
Among those who might expect to get a place in the top five
- Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U, Tottenham,
Now of course this is a very crude, rough and ready analysis, but it more or less reflects what I have been reading in the papers and on blogs through the close season. Man C with their infinite resources have bought exactly who they wanted, and the fans are delirious. The other teams that might hope for a top finish are not so happy. Many of the smaller teams are thinking this is a dream come true, only a couple are worried.
One can argue with the details – Newcastle fans might be happier than this one report for example, likewise Man U. But I think there is a genuine point here, and that is that there is a feeling among clubs nearer the top that they ought to be buying more, and they have screwed up.
What also comes across if one reads the full reports, or indeed the blogs from other supporters, is an over riding view that the solution is obvious, and it is just bizarre that the management can’t see it. If only the writer were manager, then the club would be sorted.
So maybe that is how it is – doom and gloom is the feeling if you support one of the top clubs, generally some considerable excitement further down the league.
Perhaps fans are similar everywhere.
A footnote on contributions. It has been pointed out to me by several correspondents that whereas we used to be quite strict on applying the rules laid out on the home page, particularly in relation to debating the point made in the article, we’ve become very lax. So I’m going to try and ensure that those who want to discuss the issue raised in a post get the chance. To help, let me point out that this is an article about how fans of clubs other than Arsenal see their team in the coming season.