For most of last fortnight i was waiting for Euro 2016 to end. The upcoming English Premier League season is expected to be too hotly contested, bloody and exciting. Fans can’t wait for that to start. With Jose, Pep, Klopp, Conte, Wenger, Ranieri, Pocchetino and Koeman, all set to go head to head – we are talking of the best amongst the best. Naturally the quality of EPL is expected to rise this year. Last year the best signings were an aging Bastian and an out of favour Pedro. This summer has already seen some of the best talents coming into EPL. The smarter managers would off course buy early – than wait for Euros to end, prices to go up, more suitors on the table, ugly bidding etc etc. So here’s a rating of which of the clubs have made the best early transfer moves.
1st: MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United, led by Jose Mourinho raided the markets early and swiftly. There’s little room for debate that they have got the best transfer deals early summer. The Zlatan move may go down as one of the deals for the season – and I have already listed 8 reasons why. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is rated 7.9 (out of 10) by Whoscored.com and can play at any position from middle of the field, winger to centre forward. The Armenian also ensures more Red Devils followers and jersey sales from Middle East region. Eric Bailly is from Ivory coast – that gets some more African viewership and jersey sales – centre back, and aged 22. Jose hasn’t sold any key performer yet.
In Zlatan Ibrahimovic (from PSG); Henrikh Mkhitaryan (from Borussia Dortmund); Eric Bailly (from Villarreal)
Out Víctor Valdés; Nick Powell; Tyler Reid
2nd : MANCHESTER CITY
Pep Guardiola has joined the sky blues amidst lots of hope and planning. This appointment has been plotted since 2013 and hence it better start giving big results early. 25 yr old German midfielder Ikay Gundogan is rated 7.5 by Whoscored while 19 year old Zinchenko is your
typical box to box player rated 6.8. Nolito is 29 yrs old and was a big flop in Euros. His 12 goals from 27 appearances for Celta Vigo got everyone interested. But can he deliver at age 29 in EPL will be a question. Also assuming he is an automatic starter in left wing, where would then Raheem Sterling be playing is another interesting aspect to look forward to. Await some defensive signings too.
In Ilkay Gundogan (from Borussia Dortmund); Nolito (Celta Vigo); Oleksandr Zinchenko (a promising signing from FC Ufa)
Out Martín Demichelis
3rd : TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Spurs finished 3rd last season, after seemingly, title chasing for long. They have made two fantastic signings. Victor Wanyama is rated 7.0 by Whoscored while 22 year old striker Janssen ie rated 7.5. Janssen scored 31 goals in 42 appearances for club and country, last season. While a 0.75 goals per game is tough act to maintain at Premier League, but even a 0.5 goals per game is enough to be a super star, a massive jersey seller and big clubs looming by end of the season. They haven’t sold any player yet.
In Vincent Janssen (a massive signing, from AZ Alkmaar); Victor Wanyama (a decent signing, from Southampton)
Joel Matip, aged 24 from Cameroon is the big signing here. He is rated 7.3 by Whoscored and was a rock in Schalke’s defence last season. Not to forget his 3 goals and 3 assists during the year. Senegal’s Sadio Mane scored 17 goals last season for club and country. He does have fitness issues but otherwise (rated 7.1) is a proven attacking midfielder/winger and can also play as striker. The question would then be where would Jurgen Klopp play him alongside a slew of similar players Liverpool have – Firmino, Coutinho, Ibe, Lallana; or are some of them going up for sale? Point to note is in selling Kolo Toure and Jose Enrique, Klopp may now be short on defensive backup resources.
In Joël Matip (a fantastic signing from Schalke); Loris Karius (a goalkeeper from Mainz); Sadio Mané (a great signing, from Southampton)
Out Jerome Sinclair; Kolo Touré; Jordan Rossiter; José Enrique, Sergi Canós
5th : LEICESTER CITY
Claudio Ranieri moves quietly and swiftly. He steals super deals right under everyone’s noses. Nampalys Mendy (rated 6.8) is a central midfielder and a clear sign Kante will be sold. Similarly rated Luis Hernandez is a big centre back signing and rightly experienced at 27 year. Ahmed Musa is the steal deal here – age 23, Nigerian and proven goal scorer in the Sadio Mane mould and positions.
In Nampalys Mendy (from Nice); Ahmed Musa (a goal scoring option, from CSKA Moscow); Luis Hernández (good signing, from Sporting Gijón); Ron-Robert Zieler (Goalkeeper, from Hannover 96)
Out Andrej Kramaric ; Mark Schwarzer; Paul Konchesky
6th : CHELSEA
Antonio Conte was the only EPL club manager who was busy with Euro 2016, which explains why his shrewd moves haven’t yet started. Given the fact he hardly had time, his capture of Michy Batshuayi is remarkable and hence I put Chelsea ahead of Arsenal, Southampton and West Ham, despite the numbers. Batshuayi is a 22 year old striker with 20 club goals in 38 appearances playing for 13th placed (in Ligue 1) Marseille. The Belgian is rated 6.9 in WhoScored.
In Michy Batshuayi (from Marseille)
Out Nathan Ake
Southampton continues their tradition of selling best players year after year, and yet staying well inside top half of the table. In Pelle, Mane and Wanyama, they have sold heart of the 2015-16 team that finished sixth in Premier League. They have brought Danish 20 year ole Hojbjerg who is rated 6.77, but their steal deal could be similarly rated, 22 year old Nathan Redmond. The attacking midfielder barely had 24 appearances (11 as substitute) and yet netted 6 goals and assisted thrice. The Englishman has chosen a great club to rise upto the next levels – those returns will increase the coming year.
In Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich); Nathan Redmond (a decent signing, from Norwich)
Out Sadio Mané; Graziano Pellè; Victor Wanyama; Juanmi; Gaston Ramírez
Arsene Wenger’s big signing is Granit Xhaka. Rated 7.4 by WhoScored and aged 23 is a typical Arsenal signing. However his 3 goals in 39 games last season may not be enough at Arsenal to succeed, where offcourse he will get more opportunities to score than what he got with Gladbach. Takuma Asano, aged 21 is a young Japanese striker with lot to prove. His signing and is more for the future and offcourse to get more Asian audiences hooked to Arsenal. Mathieu Flamini’s (aged 32) sale is the big news here as that’s some quality going away. However Arsenal are losing time and any comfort they maybe deriving out of the 2015-2016 squad, that finished second, could be misplaced. The League will be infinitely tougher this year.
In Granit Xhaka ( from Borussia Mönchengladbach); Takuma Asano (seems the Asian audience pulling signing)
Out Mikel Arteta; Tomas Rosicky; Mathieu Flamini; Isaac Hayden
9th : WEST HAM
In Toni Martínez (from Valencia); Havard Nordtveit (from Borussia Mönchengladbach); Gokhan Tore (from Besiktas); Sofiane Feghouli (a promising signing, from Valencia)
Out Joey O’Brien; James Tomkins
10th: STOKE CITY
Out Peter Odemwingie; Steve Sidwell