The English Premier League is back in full swing after an ill-timed international break. The coming weeks will likely weed out the pretenders (read: Hull City) from the real title contenders.
While Manchester City have gotten off to a flying start, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea aren’t too far behind with Eden Hazard rediscovering the form which saw him take home the 2014/15 PFA Player of the Year award.
By the time the transfer window had shut, all 20 Premier League sides combined to spend a record £1.1 billion… that’s nearly $2 billion Australian dollars.
So let’s go through and see if the new boys were worth all the cash.
Arsene Wenger has constantly been criticised for being stingy, but having spent nearly £90 million before the deadline, it seems the Frenchman might finally be willing to dip into his own pocket.
German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi has already impressed, filling in for compatriot Per Mertesacker alongside Laurent Koscielny.
Meanwhile, Lucas Perez has started off well, filling in for Olivier Giroud and makeshift striker Alexis Sanchez.
However, Arsenal’s shortcoming for the off-season is certainly derived from their lack of a world-class striker, with both Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette being heavily linked to the Gunners, but neither deal coming to fruition.
No one expected the Cherries to be big spenders this offseason, but some smart buys for Bournemouth might be crucial for their Premier League survival.
The signing of Jordon Ibe for £15 million from Liverpool was a good bit of business, considering the potential of the 20-year-old winger. While certainly on the expensive side, the Englishman could establish himself as a future international with the increase in game time under Eddie Howe.
Quite possibly the most surprising transfer would have to be Jack Wilshere signing with Bournemouth on loan from Arsenal. It’s a move nobody saw coming but hopefully we’ll see the injury-plagued 24-year-old finally get some time on the football pitch and not in the medical rooms.
Chelsea started the transfer window strongly, signing N’Golo Kante from reigning champions Leicester City for a fairly reasonable £30 million.
While the Frenchman’s style of play might not suit Chelsea exactly, his defensive presence has been crucial in the Blues’ counter-attacking style football.
In what could be one of the better signings of the season, David Luiz returned home after two years away in France playing with PSG. The £30 million price tag is 40% less than the price that Chelsea sold him for originally, astounding considering what Luiz has done with the French champions.
Finally one of the more underrated signings of the offseason; Michy Batshuayi was picked up for an inflated £33.2 million. With many clubs chasing the Belgian’s signature, Chelsea were forced to overpay slightly but it seems that the gamble has started to pay off.
Liverpool kicked off the Transfer Window with two great signings – Sadio Mane from Southampton for £36 million and Geoginio Wijnaldum from the relegated Newcastle for £25 million.
Both players have had an immediate impact, starring in the season opening 4-3 victory over Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium.
Throw in Joel Matip for free from Schalke and Ragnar Klavan for an ‘undisclosed’ fee, Liverpool have immediately solidified their defence following the departures of Martin Skrtel (Fenerbahce) and Kolo Toure (Celtic)
Manchester City: A+
The Manchester Derby didn’t quite live up to expectations, but there were plenty of headlines surrounding all the new signings for both teams.
The Blue half of Manchester signed young Englishman John Stones from Everton for a record £47.5 million, the most money ever paid for a centre-back in the Premier League. Unsurprisingly, the record was also previously held by City for deals involving Eliaquim Mangala and later Nicolas Otamendi.
Stones has formed a robust partnership with Nicolas Otamendi across the backline but moving forward, City have made a litany of other signings.
Leroy Sane, Claudio Bravo and ‘Australian Jesus’ Aaron Mooy headline the rest of the £168 million.
Manchester United: A+
Last but certainly not least is Manchester United, who have been playing well outside of the loss to bitter arch rivals City.
The world record signing of Paul Pogba for £89 million from Juventus sums up the offseason for United quite well – willing to spend almost anything to get their man.
The signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been phenomenal for them and Eric Bailly continues to shine as one of Jose Mourinho’s best signings.
The 22-year-old has often displayed his versatility, demonstrating a strong ability to move up the pitch comfortably with the ball but also track back if needed.
Which of these deals could change the Premier League? Is Pogba worth the money? I’m looking forward to yet another exciting Premier League campaign that will hopefully go down to the wire once again.