F365's Top Ten Transfer Window Winners

After a long old summer there are plenty of gloomy fans around at the close of the transfer window. Daniel Storey has a top ten to try and focus on the positives...

Last Updated: 02/09/14 at 14:22 Post Comment

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10) Hull City Excitement
After the huge disappointment of their Europa League exit came a deadline-day fillip for Hull supporters feeling understandably peeved that their promised European adventure had ended before they finished packing their passports and cameras.

Hull's continued stay in the Premier League has been very enjoyable for all connected with the club, but the ultra-greedy may point to a slightly turgid return of 117 goals in their 117 Premier League matches spanning two top-flight spells. We want excitement, dammit. We want to feel the tingles.

The club's late business changed all that, with the arrival of Hatem Ben Arfa, Gaston Ramirez and Abel Hernandez adding a sprinkling of flair to a squad otherwise leaning towards solidity.

There is little guarantee that any of the signings will work, of course. Ben Arfa has an attitude that appears to be almost unfathomably frustrating, whilst Ramirez has started just three Premier League games for Southampton since April 2013.

But who cares? Hull were in the bottom tier 11 years ago and can now pick a front six of Mo Diame, Tom Huddlestone, Ramirez, Ben Arfa, Hernandez and Nikica Jelavic, with Tom Ince waiting in the wings. It's an exciting time to be a Tiger.


9) Swansea

With the inexperienced Garry Monk in charge and the vultures circling over Wilfried Bony, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, Michu and Jonathan de Guzman (whose loan was ending), there seemed to be much to worry about for Swansea fans this summer, with the eventual departure of Davies, Michu and De Guzman doing little to abate those concerns.

However, since then Monk and Swansea have managed to create an air of great positivity. Late reported interest from Monaco for Bony was rebuffed, whilst the arrivals of Federico Fernandez, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero and Bafetimbi Gomis have added genuine quality to side that eventually finished in mid-table last year.

A top-half finish looks achievable, hopes raised by a perfect start to the season. Many (myself included) may be forced to re-write their appraisals of Monk.


8) Mathieu Flamini

"I like Flamini, I signed him to the surprise of everybody," Arsene Wenger said in March. "He did extremely well and gives us the balance and qualities which are needed in the team."

If the signing of 29-year-old Flamini on a free transfer from AC Milan raised eyebrows at Arsenal last year, that the Frenchman (without a single competitive international cap) remains one of the club's most important players 12 months later is extraordinary.

Given the club's lack of squad depth, Flamini is now the third choice at right-back and left-back and behind only Calum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and untested Isaac Hayden in central defence, with Nacho Monreal also an unideal option. He is also the leading option to play as a holding midfielder when it becomes apparent that Mikel Arteta cannot play all 50 matches of the season. That already seems obvious to most.

This is not to dismiss Flamini's ability, but it all rather seems so underwhelming. "We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number," was Wenger's claim a fortnight ago when asked about the arrival of a defensive midfielder. Given that nothing has materialised, Flamini's standing has grown considerably.


7) Southampton

When Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren left Southampton, there was widespread wringing of hands and shaking of heads, with some even suggesting that they would be relegated. As it happens, Southampton simply sold their most valuable assets at the top of their potential value. It may not sound romantic but, for clubs below the elite, this is the way to exist sustainably.

In response, Ronald Koeman and the club have made exciting moves. Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Fraser Forster, Shane Long, Florian Gardos, Toby Alderweireld, Sadio Mane and Ryan Bertrand have all arrived, with eight first-team players leaving and eight arriving in total. This is another lesson in why it is worth waiting until the dust has settled before making predictions of doom.

Southampton have also made £40m profit on transfers this summer. If everyone wasn't spending so much time saying how bad it looked, they would be praising the Saints for their logic and prudence.


6) Jorge Mendes

Let's run through a list of some Gestifute clients, the sports agency founded by Jorge Mendes:

James Rodriguez, Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Diego Costa, Eliaquim Mangala, Carlos Vela, Nani.

Seven players, all with moves this summer, the first five costing around £200m. It's been a good summer for Jorge Mendes, as usual. He is the standard bearer for a very modern football entity, the super-agent.

Mendes is now the most powerful individual in modern football. He has the potential to not just gain huge personal wealth but also directly determine the future of Europe's highest-profile clubs and the game's best players. Such individuals have the opportunity to make the biggest names look foolish (Mendes reportedly received €3.6m following Bebe's transfer to Manchester United) and significantly alter a club's future regardless of history or status, despite having little responsibility or allegiance.

What's more, Mendes is now a snowball rolling down a hill, as both his profile and importance continue to grow. Bow down to your new king.


5) The Premier League

£835m. Eight hundred and thirty-five million. It has been a summer of incredible spending, one in which Hull have spent more than Napoli, and Manchester United more than any other club in the world. The British transfer record has been broken, the transfer record for a teenager has been broken, and the total summer spend by Premier League clubs exceeds the previous record by some £200m.

As a comparison, the Premier League dwarfs the total of other European countries. La Liga clubs spent £425m, with Italy's Serie A next on £260m. The Bundesliga then follows on £250m, with France's Ligue 1 on £100m.

Before this summer, there was a criticism of the Premier League's ability to attract the top players, with stars typically preferring Spanish climes or the financial might of Paris St Germain or Monaco. The arrival of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa must surely cause a revision of that opinion. Business, as if there was any doubt, is booming.


4) Brendan Rodgers

There are few in the Premier League with a more optimistic outlook than Brendan Rodgers, but his continued chirpiness owes much to the willingness of owners FSG to appreciate that the departure of Luis Suarez would require investment far beyond the figure received for the Uruguayan's services.

Rodgers' management style, based on motivation and a squad buying into his sunny optimism, also determined that doing business early would be vital to avoid a sluggish start to the season, and here too the manager got his way. Mario Balotelli was the only arrival at Anfield in the final fortnight of the window, completed with a week still remaining.

Liverpool's manager deserves huge praise for Liverpool's recent resurgence, but this summer Rodgers was forced to place his faith in the ambition of the club's owners and their desire to continue the Reds' progress. One would have forgiven Rodgers for the broadest of smiles on Monday evening, as he watched the madness unfold.


3) Arsene Wenger (but not Arsenal)

Perhaps it may sound too black and white, but where there are losers it must logically follow that there must be winners. With Arsenal fans widely heard effing and jeffing their way through deadline day, we must conclude that they consider themselves strongly part of the former camp.

On the flipside, therefore, must sit Arsene Wenger. "Of course we can be successful. Why not?" was his reaction to questions regarding the impact of the injury suffered by Olivier Giroud. "If I give you the number of strikers we have at the moment, it's absolutely unbelievable. We have Yaya Sanogo, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski. Giroud will be back during the season and Joel Campbell can play centre-forward as well."

Fast forward four days and, after a dreary draw against promoted Leicester, Wenger had stuck to his guns. "Buying one player doesn't mean you win the game today," he insisted. "Let's not fool ourselves that every time the solution to not winning a game is buying a new player."

And yet buy a striker they did. Danny Welbeck may well be successful at the Emirates, but there is little doubt that he wasn't on Arsene Wenger's wish list before deadline day appeared. It seems that Welbeck was simply in the right place at the right time - that doesn't say a great deal for Wenger's planning.

"The success of the season does not depend on one player that you buy or not," is the final evidence to file in the manager's prosecution. No Arsene, but leaving yourself with six first-team defenders and no replacement for Mikel Arteta's ageing legs for a season of 50+ matches is a huge, huge call.

Wenger is a winner for now for getting his own way, but for quite how long that continues depends on Arsenal's performances and much-discussed injury list.


2) Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling

While the departure of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand initially looked to be a positive sign for Manchester United's second-string defenders Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, had they been told that their club would then spend over £150m in one summer, the pair would have been forgiven for believing that packing their bags was the only way to gain regular first-team football.

Not a bit of it. The only central defender signed by Louis van Gaal, Marcos Rojo, played at left-back during Argentina's World Cup campaign and has still failed to secure international clearance. With Van Gaal persevering with three central defenders, one of Evans and Smalling seems certain to stay as a first-team regular, and both may well often be used.

Amazingly, they have actually moved up in the pecking order despite United's significant spend. Having surely assessed Smalling's questionable form over the past 18 months and Evans' rickets this season, you can't say that Van Gaal wasn't warned. It's going to be fascinating to watch.

For Jones, the future at least appears more certain. Having been used as a central midfielder, right-back and central defender during various attempts to cover for issues regarding injury and form, earning a slightly unfair 'jack of all trades' tag, Jones is now in the remarkable position of being the first-choice centre-back at Old Trafford. A chance to forge a reputation at both club and international level - it's easy to forget that he's still only 22.


1) Chelsea

Jose Mourinho may have labelled his side a "little horse" last season, but there is little doubt that such excuses, equine or otherwise, will fly this time around. Chelsea have been ruthless and efficient in their business, addressing each and every one of the flaws in their squad.

Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis all arrived before the start of the season, with Loic Remy replacing the thankfully departing Fernando Torres. Mourinho presumably got the locks changed after shutting that particular door.

Importantly, Chelsea have also created space by making some difficult decisions (and others less so). The news that Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole would be leaving Stamford Bridge came as an initial shock, but a return of £78m for David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku allowed for FFP boxes to be ticked with vigour.

Eleven goals in three matches, a new striker to rectify the woes of last season and a growing sense, even this early in the season, that these are the champions elect. As one F365 Mailboxer said this week "Can we just give Chelsea the trophy now and save ourselves eight months of rage, heartache and sh*t banter?"

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m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

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Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

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unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

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A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

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his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

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Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

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