EPL transfer window report card
The transfer window saw a flurry of activity on the final day. Here's a rundown of how each English Premier League club did this summer in terms of acquiring (and losing) players. Grades are on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best).
Arsenal -- 4/10
"Imagine the worst situation: We lose [Cesc] Fabregas and [Samir] Nasri. You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that," Arsene Wenger said earlier in the summer. Fabregas' departure was expected, but Nasri's came as a blow, as he had been tipped to be Arsenal's new creative force. Having been linked with Juan Mata, it was a disappointment to lose him to Chelsea -- Yossi Benayoun on loan was something of a consolation prize, and while Mikel Arteta is a good player, his form has dipped over the past 18 months. Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker and Park Chu-Young arrived late in the day, and Gervinho remains the most significant addition to the squad. Another good summer in terms of net spend, but Arsenal has lost real quality.
Aston Villa -- 4/10
It is hard to escape the feeling that Villa has gone backward. Shay Given is a like-for-like replacement for Brad Friedel in terms of position and ability, and Charles N'Zogbia is a good addition, but he can't replace Ashley Young or Stewart Downing. The promise of Marc Albrighton should make up for that. Villa has made money, but that will count for nothing on the pitch.
Blackburn -- 3/10
Linked with David Beckham, Juan Roman Riquelme and Raul ... and manager Steve Kean ended up with David Goodwillie. Phil Jones' departure provided a cash injection that hasn't been reinvested, and none of the newcomers are guaranteed successes. Radosav Petrovic is a good young player but, like fellow new signing Simon Vukcevic, will take time to adapt. The pressure of a relegation battle will not give them much time to do so. Scott Dann is a good player, but Yakubu seems past his best.
Bolton -- 6/10
Owen Coyle's best signings at Bolton have been loanees, and the pattern might continue this year. Tuncay Sanli, borrowed from Wolfsburg, was criminally underused by Stoke and might have a good effect, while Dedryck Boyata is a promising young center back from Manchester City. The losses of Johan Elmander, Matt Taylor and on-loan Daniel Sturridge weaken Bolton, however, and the likes of Chris Eagles, Nigel Reo-Coker, Darren Pratley and Tyrone Mears are bottom-half standard at best. The late capture of David Ngog could be a wise move -- with a run of first-team games, he might establish himself as a good goal scorer.
Chelsea -- 8/10
It all seemed so quiet for Chelsea until the season actually started. Then, Juan Mata arrived. He is set to become the creative hub Chelsea has lacked for years. He was joined by Belgian wunderkind Romelu Lukaku. Both are the younger players Chelsea so desperately needed, but both are able to have an effect immediately. Barcelona youngster Oriol Romeu is another interesting buy -- a more physical midfielder than we're used to Barca producing and maybe perfect for the deep-lying role. Raul Meireles is versatile, functional and a hard worker, but his arrival at the last hour of the transfer window is a strange one, as Andre Villas-Boas was happy to get rid of him when at Porto.
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Everton -- 2/10
No major arrivals, which didn't look so bad until the news from the final day of the transfer window, when both Jermaine Beckford and Mikel Arteta left the club. Beckford had a decent first season, and while Arteta's form dipped over the past couple of seasons, the loss of a key player with no replacement is a big blow. Hopefully, it will give the chance for youngsters such as Ross Barkley and Jack Rodwell to step up. Denis Stracqualursi arrives as the top scorer in the Argentina first division, but the last man to move to the Premier League with that accolade -- Wigan's Mauro Boselli -- didn't score a single goal.
Fulham -- 8/10
Martin Jol's side has started the season extremely poorly, but it's been impressive in the transfer window. John Arne Riise is an old Premier League favorite and still offers good energy down the left, and Marcel Gecov was one of the standout players of the European U-21 Championship for the Czech Republic, while Pajtim Kasami is physical enough for the Premier League and possesses good technical quality. Bryan Ruiz is the standout signing -- like many arrivals from the Eredivisie, he has been prolific elsewhere, but can he manage the physicality of England?
Liverpool -- 8/10
Roy Hodgson's flops have left. - Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole, Paul Konchesky and Milan Jovanovic are unlikely to be missed by anyone at Anfield, and they've been replaced by a bunch of fresh players with Premier League experience. The early signings of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing got the headlines, but Jose Enrique was a particularly astute buy, especially at a time when Europe lacks quality left backs. Craig Bellamy provides pace and energy. Center back Sebastian Coates shows Liverpool had its scouts out at the Copa America, where he had a very good tournament.
Manchester City -- 8/10
Sergio Aguero is the Premier League's most exciting newcomer, while Samir Nasri adds yet more technical quality, and Gael Clichy has endured a poor couple of seasons but might well simply need a new start and a fresh challenge. In all, City has made itself a contender for the title. There are only two caveats. First, Vincent Kompany still lacks a top-class center back partner, with Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure a little shaky and newcomer Stefan Savic an unknown. Second, Shay Given's departure means City doesn't have an established backup goalkeeper. This might well be irrelevant, but an injury to Joe Hart would be an issue.
Manchester United -- 9/10
United's three main signings -- David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young -- were all wrapped up before the window officially opened, which allowed the squad to settle quickly. De Gea hasn't covered himself in glory so far but will become a fine keeper, while Jones looks at home and Young has surprised even his biggest admirers. The one question mark about United is experience. Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar, John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves have all left in the past year, and don't discount how important that influence is around the training ground.
Newcastle -- 6/10
It's tough to summarize Newcastle's transfer business. You have to separate it into two parts. On one hand, it let some of its best performers from last season leave for peanuts -- Joey Barton on a free transfer, Jose Enrique for just 6 million pounds and Kevin Nolan for 4 million pounds to a Championship club -- but then Newcastle has bought very intelligently. Yohan Cabaye was key in Lille's title success and will suit English football, while Sylvain Marveaux is highly rated. Davide Santon was once cast as the new Paolo Maldini and is ready to restart his career after a good loan spell with Cesena. Demba Ba impressed with seven goals in 11 West Ham appearances after signing in January. He's another clever buy.
Norwich -- 4/10
The main problem with Norwich's signings is the lack of Premier League experience; Ritchie de Laet and Daniel Ayala join from Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, but rarely got near the first team. Steve Morison might be a surprise up front, but it is the likes of Wes Hoolahan, John Ruddy and Grant Holt -- all at the club last season -- who will determine Norwich's chance of survival.
Queens Park Rangers -- 5/10
QPR looked doomed before Tony Fernandes took over the club and started spending -- injury-prone signings such as Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon hardly got fans excited. Joey Barton's arrival, despite his reputation for trouble, is exactly what QPR needs, a committed, quality player who can take control of a game. Shaun Wright-Phillips could go either way; he has the talent but has done little in recent years.
Stoke -- 7/10
Tony Pulis sometimes likes to play four center backs in a very physical side, so picking up Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson without spending a penny represents good business, even if the former comes with fitness concerns and the latter hasn't been at his best for a couple of years. Wilson Palacios is a big-name signing who suits the team's physical game, while Peter Crouch has been signed mainly for his height. The acquisition of fellow striker Cameron Jerome seems a little pointless.
Sunderland -- 7/10
Where to begin? Steve Bruce signed more players than any other Premier League manager this transfer window, with highly rated youngster Connor Wickham now set to lead Sunderland's attack, although Jong Di-Woon is also one to watch and Nicklas Bendtner will score goals if given playing time. Bruce also brought in experience in the shape of John O'Shea and Wes Brown, and good quality in midfield in the form of Sebastian Larsson, David Vaughan and Craig Garnder (although all three were on teams that were relegated last year). Jordan Henderson's departure was a shame, but 20 million pounds was too good to refuse.
Swansea -- 6/10
Quietly, Swansea has done well this summer. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm is a Dutch international, and Danny Graham has shown real quality in the Championship over the past two seasons. Wayne Routledge and Leroy Lita have had mixed Premier League experiences, but they both suit Brendan Rogers' system.
Tottenham -- 6/10
A slightly underwhelming summer in terms of recruits, but let's remember that the main aim for the window, keeping Luka Modric, was achieved. Last year, Spurs seemed a lone striker away from a complete team, and the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor could turn out to be a masterstoke -- on his day, he's a superb player, and the nature of his loan deal means that if he causes any dressing room problems, he can be ditched at no cost. Brad Friedel was a free transfer but is an improvement on error-prone Heurelho Gomes. And the acquisition of Scott Parker to join Gareth Bale means Spurs have both the current Football Writers' Player of the Year and the PFA Player of the Year at the club.
West Brom -- 6/10
Scott Carson's leaving and Ben Foster's arriving change little, although the return of former fan favorite Zoltan Gera, with whom Roy Hodgson worked at Fulham, is more positive. The key arrival is Irish international Shane Long, who has performed well in the Championship and deserves his chance in the Premier League. He's netted twice already.
Wigan -- 4/10
With Charles N'Zogbia gone and loanee Tom Cleverley also no longer available, it has been a poor window for Wigan, rather at odds with its unbeaten start to the season. David Jones' arriving on a free transfer from Wolves is a solid signing and will help replace Cleverley, while speedy winger Albert Crusat looks to suit the system well. On paper, however, Wigan is weaker than last season.
Wolves -- 8/10
Such a high rating might seem odd for a side that has spent money on only two players, but Mick McCarthy has played the transfer window well. In addition to securing the permanent signing of Jamie O'Hara for 5 million pounds, he has strengthened the weakest area of the side with the addition of 7 million pound center back Roger Johnson. Already, Wolves have two clean sheets from three games -- they managed only four in the whole of 2010-11.
Michael Cox is a freelance writer for ESPN.com. He also runs zonalmarking.net.
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