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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Chelsea losers and Swansea winners: Premier League transfer business report card

Richard Jolly looks at which clubs won and lost as the 2017/18 summer transfer window came to a close.

Renato Sanches moved from Bayern Munich to join Swansea City. Christof Stache / AFP
Renato Sanches moved from Bayern Munich to join Swansea City. Christof Stache / AFP

WINNERS

Swansea City Renato Sanches’ arrival from Bayern Munich may rank as the most surprising signing of the summer. In one respect, it may not even be the most significant of Swansea's day. Bringing Wilfried Bony back from Manchester City for less than half the fee they sold him for gives them a striker who averaged a goal every other game in his first spell in Wales.

Swansea lost Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson this summer, the two men who preserved their Premier League status, but they can at least console themselves with the thought that they secured premium prices for both and, by making a couple of late, potentially vital buys, they do not look a club condemned to spiral downhill as a result of sales.

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Tottenham Hotspur It is all comparative and, as Tottenham signed Moussa Sissoko on deadline day in 2016, they can regard its 2017 counterpart as a step in the right direction. Right-back Serge Aurier completed his move from Paris Saint-Germain. More surprising was the swoop for Swansea’s Fernando Llorente which has the footballing benefit of giving Spurs a superior back-up to Harry Kane to Vincent Janssen and the psychological boost of beating Chelsea to the forward. And as Ross Barkley rejected Chelsea, the possibility remains that Spurs will be able to sign the midfielder for a reduced fee in January or on a free transfer next summer.

Ross Barkley, right, had attracted interest from Chelsea. Paul Ellis / AFP
Ross Barkley, right, had attracted interest from Chelsea. Paul Ellis / AFP

Leicester City It depends, admittedly, if the move for Portugal midfielder Adrien Silva is ratified. But if so, Leicester would seem to have pulled off a coup by selling Danny Drinkwater for a distinctly inflated fee of £35 million and replacing him with a classier player for less. As it is, the loan signing of Austria international centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic looks an astute piece of business and, with fellow newcomer Harry Maguire starting the season superbly, suggests Leicester are moving on from the defiant but declining title-winning pair of Wes Morgan and Robert Huth. And they kept Riyad Mahrez whose attitude, unlike some unsettled players elsewhere, has been excellent. Leicester should be confident he will remain committed to the cause.

LOSERS

Chelsea Getting players to join some clubs may be difficult. When the club in question are the reigning champions and have a sizeable budget, they ought to have considerable pulling power. Yet Chelsea found it oddly hard to land their targets at the end of the window. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preferred Liverpool. Ross Barkley rejected a move from Everton after undergoing a medical. Tottenham sprung a surprise by poaching Antonio Conte’s long-term target Fernando Llorente. The Chelsea manager did bring in Torino right-back Davide Zappacosta and Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater, but it is still easy to imagine Conte feeling frustrated.

Danny Drinkwater's move was one of the few positive stories to come out of Chelsea's summer transfer business. Carl Recine / Reuters
Danny Drinkwater's move was one of the few positive stories to come out of Chelsea's summer transfer business. Carl Recine / Reuters

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Manchester City As a whole, the transfer window may be seen as a success for City. They addressed many of the issues, revamped the full-back department, brought in a new goalkeeper, in Ederson, and a high-class midfielder, in Bernardo Silva. But there was disappointment at the last. Alexis Sanchez would have been the marquee signing to give City much the most feared forward line in the country. Jonny Evans would have offered the defensive cover they wanted. Instead neither deal happened and, while it is a moot point if City needed Sanchez, they are short of quality centre-backs. Instead of Evans, they are left with Eliaquim Mangala, scarcely the perfect player for Pep Guardiola.

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Newcastle United Perhaps the window finished in fitting fashion for Newcastle. Rafa Benitez has endured, rather than enjoyed, the summer. There is little pretence the players he did get were his first choices. Nor did he fill every gap in his squad. A late loan move for Southampton’s Matt Targett fell through, meaning Newcastle lack a fit specialist left-back. Attempts to bring in Arsenal’s Lucas Perez were similarly unproductive and United did not get the upgrade in attack that Benitez needed. Had they bought Perez, they could have sold Dwight Gayle for a sizeable profit. But that, too, did not happen and Benitez has been left with a Championship squad.

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