The 2015 summer transfer window has closed, and it will be remembered as a record breaking window that saw Premier League clubs spend more than they ever have before – but there were some players who stayed at their current clubs, despite intense speculation.
The most notable of these, and in many ways the non-transfer that was the most surprising, was the David De Gea saga. Throughout the window most people expected De Gea to make the move back home to Madrid, but incredibly the documents were submitted to the proper authorities too late for the transfer to go through. Exactly what happened, and who was at fault, is likely to be another long running saga that we can look forward to over the next few months.
Two more players who were expected to leave were Saido Berahino and Charlie Austin. In the latter’s case, it seems to be the simple case of QPR being in no desperate need to sell, and no other club willing to match his reported £15 million valuation. In Berahino’s case, Tottenham reportedly had four bids in excess of £20 million turned down for him on Deadline Day, to which Berahino responded with an angry outburst on Twitter, threatening not to play for West Brom again while Jeremy Peace (the man responsible for blocking the move) was at the club.
It wasn’t all missed opportunities and failed moves in this transfer window though, as five Premier League teams broke their transfer record. Newly-promoted Bournemouth splashed out £8 million on Tyrone Mings as they looked to build a squad capable of staying in the league, while others aimed higher, looking for players who could allow them to challenge for Europe. Crystal Palace pulled off a remarkable coup in signing Yohan Cabaye from PSG for £13 million, and both Stoke City and West Brom forked out £12 million on Xherdan Shaqiri and Salomon Rondon respectively.
Manchester City were the fifth team to break their transfer record, and they actually did it twice with the two biggest deals of the window. First they agreed a deal rising to £49 million for Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, before shelling out a reported £55 million for Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg. Both signings leant weight to the idea that Man City were looking to increase their attacking potency, and while Sterling appears to have made a positive impact, it remains to be seen how De Bruyne will settle in at the Etihad. City did also strengthen at the back, paying £30 million for Nicolas Otamendi, leaving them in a very strong position to challenge for honours this season.
It was most likely a frustrating window for Arsenal and Manchester United fans. Arsenal strengthened in a key position with the acquisition of Petr Cech, but that he was the only signing will be of concern to the Gunners’ faithful. In fact, Arsenal were the only Premier League team to sign fewer than five players, and the only side in the top five European leagues not to sign an outfield player. Meanwhile, the red side of Manchester started off the window well, securing Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian before they even left for their pre-season tour. However, with numerous departures towards the end of the window as well as some lacklustre displays in their opening league games, United fans will have been hoping for more high profile signings to invigorate their attack than 19 year old Anthony Martial, especially having been heavily linked with the likes of Pedro, Gareth Bale and Neymar.
Pedro did end up in the Premier League, but he ended up moving to the defending Premier League champions Chelsea. Jose Mourinho could probably have been forgiven for not spending big this summer, as last season his squad looked bereft of weaknesses. However, Didier Drogba moving on again encouraged Mourinho to bring in Falcao on loan, and Felipe Luis’ return to Atletico Madrid meant extra cover at left back arrived in the form of Baba Rahman. Prolonged chases of John Stones and Paul Pogba proved unsuccessful, forcing Mourinho into the signings of unfancied centre backs Michael Hector and Papy Djilobodji on Deadline Day.
It was definitely a year of heavy investment, with spending breaking the £850 million barrier. Many clubs will be relying on successful seasons to justify heavy investments, including Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa, West Brom and Liverpool. Interestingly, newly promoted sides Bournemouth and Watford were two of the busiest clubs, as they looked to inject Premier League quality into inexperienced squads.
North of the border, the biggest movers seemed to be Rangers, as new manager Mark Warburton set about rebuilding the squad in an effort to secure promotion this year. He’s bought well from England – sticking to what he knows – and has invested in young, hungry players who should be good enough to see them go up. Unsurprisingly, it was the other half of the Old Firm that were the biggest spenders, splashing out a combined £3 million on Nadir Ciftci and Dedryck Boyata, as well as pinching Scott Allan from under the noses of their biggest rivals. However, losing star man Virgil Van Dijk on Deadline Day will be a massive blow, and it remains to be seen how Celtic will cope without him. They have attempted to replace him with Jozo Simunovic, but with the Croatian youth international being a complete mystery, it really could go either way.
In the rest of Scotland, Aberdeen have bought cleverly, with the likes of Graeme Shinnie improving the first team they will hope to challenge Celtic all the way in the league this year. They have also invested in young players, signing the likes of Joe Nuttall from Manchester City. St Johnstone did well to get in first to sign John Sutton after he was released by Motherwell, but it could be Billy McKay joining Dundee United on loan that proves to be the signing of the season in Scotland, as the Northern Irish striker returns to the country after a seven month spell with Wigan.