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Premier League transfer window summary

Benjamin Ukpabi

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Premier League transfer deals

Jose Mourinho and Tottenham had a positive window but Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left frustrated
Deadline Day has passed and it is time for supporters of Premier League clubs to reflect on their transfer business. Many will be excited, some unsure, and others frustrated.

Everton and Aston Villa are first and second respectively in the Premier League table with new signings playing a key part in their strong starts to the season.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s poor results at the beginning of the campaign have highlighted the weaknesses in their squad that have still not been addressed.

As for Burnley, what must Sean Dyche make of it all?

Here, we pick out some of the winners and losers of the 2020 summer transfer window

 

THE WINNERS
Everton business transforms Toffees
James Rodriguez is congratulated by Carlo Ancelotti as he's substituted in the second-half
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James Rodriguez has made an excellent start under Carlo Ancelotti
Everton made it four wins out of four with their 4-2 victory over Brighton and it has escaped nobody’s attention that their summer signings have played a vital role in their bright start to the season.

The midfield, previously a problem area under Carlo Ancelotti, has been transformed by the arrivals of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford.

 

Suddenly, Everton look like a balanced side, and their new recruits are also helping to bring the best out of the players already in place at Goodison Park. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s free-scoring start to the season has earned him an England call-up, while Richarlison has been similarly impressive. The hope will be that the late arrival of Robin Olsen on loan from Roma will see Jordan Pickford up his game too.

There is even reason for optimism at the back. The £20m Ben Godfrey endured a difficult season with Norwich last year, but it gave him invaluable Premier League experience and, at just 22 years old, there is plenty of scope for him to fulfil his considerable potential on Merseyside.

Godfrey is a ball-playing centre-back in the mould of Mason Holgate, and, like his new Everton team-mate, he is viewed as a future England international. He may not go straight into the team, but Ancelotti will certainly hope to build around him in the future. He’ll also hope his other defenders benefit from the increased competition for places.

Added firepower as Spurs strengthen
Spurs loanee Gareth Bale in the stands for their match against Newcastle
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Gareth Bale is one of six new signings at Tottenham this summer
Jose Mourinho can have few complaints about the club’s summer dealings.

Gareth Bale was the headline addition, of course, sealing a sensational return to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid. And with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son starting the season in such explosive form, Spurs fans are entitled to feel optimistic about what will be possible when Bale is fit to start too.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has brought leadership and combativeness to Tottenham’s midfield, but it’s the signings of Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon which are perhaps the most significant. The pair are attacking wing-backs who will allow Mourinho to switch between a back four and a back three.

Doherty and Reguilon will aim to provide ammunition for Carlos Vinicius as well as Kane, Son, Bale and the rest. The Brazilian has joined Spurs on loan with a £36m option to buy having averaged a goal every 101 minutes for Benfica last season and should ease Mourinho’s reliance on Kane in the central striking position.

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All the Deadline Day deals

With Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso also at his disposal, and with Dele Alli staying at the club despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain, it is little wonder Mourinho has been heard purring over Tottenham’s “absolutely incredible” attacking options.

If there was one area that Tottenham still wanted to strengthen going into Deadline Day it was the centre of defence, having failed in an effort to bring in Milan Skriniar from Inter Milan.

Joe Rodon remains a target and while a deal for the Swansea defender could not be done on Monday, the window for signings from the EFL does not close until October 16. There is still time for Spurs to make an impressive summer of business even better.

Chelsea’s big push shows title-winning intent

Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner are among Chelsea’s new signings
With their transfer ban finally lifted, Chelsea went all out this summer.

Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech arrived in attack, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell were added in defence, and there was even a deal for a goalkeeper, with Edouard Mendy arriving from Rennes to provide a much-needed alternative to Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Suddenly, Frank Lampard’s squad looks well-equipped to aim higher than just a top-four finish.

It has not been a straightforward start to the season, of course, with defeats to Liverpool and Tottenham as well as a crazy 3-3 draw against West Brom. But the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday was the first sign of Frank Lampard’s new-look side coming together.

It helps, of course, that he still has a stellar collection of young players at his disposal too. He will need to find a way to continue giving them opportunities to grow and improve, but recent evidence suggests the influx of new additions has served as a motivation for them.

It was, after all, only thanks to goals from Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham’s that Chelsea salvaged a draw against West Brom, and two of that trio then kept their places in the side for the 4-0 win over Palace.

Chelsea’s strength in depth could prove invaluable in a gruelling season.

Villa address flaws and boost prospects

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich says he was “completely stunned” after seeing his former side thrash Liverpool 7-2 in the Premier League
Aston Villa signed no fewer than 12 new players last summer, but they have taken a ‘less is more’ approach this time around and their brilliant start to the season suggests they were right to do so.

There has been no hint of panic buying, instead their recruitment has simply targeted the flaws in their squad. Emiliano Martinez has provided an instant upgrade in goal following his arrival from Arsenal, while it has been a similar story with Matty Cash at right-back.

It is further forward, though, that their summer dealings look most inspired. Villa were well short up front last season – Jack Grealish was their top scorer in the Premier League with eight goals – but Ollie Watkins already looks like the right man to lead the line having adapted to the division seamlessly and hit a perfect hat-trick in the 7-2 demolition of Liverpool.

Bertrand Traore offers added depth in the position and showed his class with his brilliant strike against Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, while Ross Barkley has provided an injection of physical power and technical quality in midfield. The 26-year-old, signed on loan from Chelsea, was outstanding on his debut on Sunday.

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Villa only survived by a point last season, but they look more like top-half finishers this time around and that’s thanks to an excellent summer in the transfer market. Having beaten the reigning champions in such exhilarating fashion, some supporters might in fact be aiming even higher.

Arsenal’s Partey raid caps strong summer
Thomas Partey
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Thomas Partey joined Arsenal in a £45m deal from Atletico Madrid
Arsenal’s deal to sign Thomas Partey – the biggest of Deadline Day at £45m – capped an extremely encouraging summer for the Gunners.

There was no Houssem Aouar, who stayed put after Arsenal’s negotiations with Lyon came to nothing, but Partey joins Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes at the Emirates Stadium while the Gunners also struck deals to ensure Dani Ceballos, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares extended their stays in north London.

Mesut Ozil remains at the club, meaning Arsenal will likely have to continue paying his huge wages until his contract ends next summer, but they did succeed in moving some others on, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. They also raised £20m from the sale of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa.

The result is that Mikel Arteta is now equipped with a squad which looks far more like his own, and what’s most important of all, of course, is that he was able to tie Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new contract. There is a long way to go before they will be considered genuine title contenders again, but their summer business should at least set them up for a top-four push.

THE INBETWEENERS
Mixed window for Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut at Chelsea on September 20
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Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut against Chelsea
Liverpool sit somewhere between the winners and the losers of this summer’s window.

On the one hand, they have signed Thiago Alcantara, a genuinely transformative midfield signing, for a paltry £25m from Bayern Munich. In Diogo Jota, they have also recruited a high-quality back-up option for their front three. Konstantinos Tsimikas, meanwhile, provides depth at left-back.

But on the other, there is concern that they remain short in key areas.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip injured and Dejan Lovren sold, they started the season with only one fit centre-back in Virgil van Dijk. Fabinho filled in ably in the win over Chelsea, but Gomez endured a calamitous afternoon in the 7-2 thrashing by Aston Villa and a lack of depth in the position is a gamble with such a hectic schedule to come this season.

There are also question marks in goal.

Adrian struggled again when deputising for Alisson against Aston Villa – he has now made five errors leading to goals in his 21 appearances for Liverpool – but with the Brazilian facing four to six weeks out with a shoulder problem, Klopp is short on alternatives to the former West Ham goalkeeper.

Leicester lose Chilwell but still strengthen
Timothy Castagne celebrates after scoring for Leicester at West Brom
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Timothy Castagne celebrates after scoring for Leicester at West Brom
When Leicester reached September having yet to make a major addition to the squad, despite selling England left-back Ben Chilwell to Chelsea, there was some unease. Throw in the poor finish to last season that saw Brendan Rodgers’ side miss out on Champions League on the final day and anxiety levels were rising in the East Midlands.

While it would be an exaggeration to say that Leicester’s business since then has wowed supporters, some of the concerns have since been addressed. Timothy Castagne can play in either of the full-back positions and has already won over fans after a strong start. Cengiz Under adds that little bit of creativity in the final third that is always welcome.

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But it is the late acquisition of Wesley Fofana that Rodgers will hope solves the problem of a lack of depth in defence that saw Wilfred Ndidi pressed into action at centre-back on the opening weekend of the season. With three wins from four games to open their Premier League campaign too, the Leicester ship looks to have been steadied again.

Wolves shake things up in hope of progress
Nelson Semedo challenges Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Nelson Semedo joined Wolves from Barcelona to replace Matt Doherty
Wolves reshaped their squad during the transfer window and it will be intriguing to see whether the ins and outs see the team progress under Nuno Espirito Santo or compromise the cohesion so that has been such a factor in their success over the past two seasons.

Matt Doherty was sold to Tottenham with Nelson Semedo coming in from Barcelona, while Diogo Jota departed for Liverpool after Wolves invested £35m in teenager Fabio Silva.

The loan signing of Rayan Ait-Nouri looks to be a clearer case of the club strengthening, with Ruben Vinagre making way to join Olympiakos on what is initially a temporary deal. Whether the manoeuvrings are enough to take Wolves forward remains to be seen.

THE LOSERS
Man Utd leave it late, fail in Sancho pursuit
Harry Maguire during Manchester United's 6-1 defeat to Tottenham
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Manchester United’s problems were laid bare against Tottenham
The frustration surrounding Manchester United’s transfer window hit new heights as they were thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham on the penultimate day of the window. At that point, their only new signing was midfielder Donny van de Beek, a £37m addition from Ajax who is yet to start a Premier League game.

More reinforcements arrived on Deadline Day, with Alex Telles sealing his move from Porto, Edinson Cavani joining, and youngsters Amad Diallo from Atalanta and Facundo Pellistri, but there was no deal for Jadon Sancho despite their summer-long pursuit and supporters are entitled to wonder why it took until the final hours of the window for Manchester United to get their business done.

The spotlight is firmly on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for his role in what has been another difficult transfer window for the club, with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville leading the criticism. “Not good enough,” was his blunt assessment of Woodward’s dealings during Sunday’s miserable thrashing by Spurs.

The club will hope the players they have signed can make a difference – the club’s recent record in the transfer market before this window has certainly not been bad – but performances will need to improve rapidly in order to change the mood.

Burnley up against it once again
Burnley's Robbie Brady (centre) celebrates scoring the winning penalty with his teammates at the end of the Carabao Cup second round match at Turf Moor, Burnley. 17 September 2020
Spare a thought for Sean Dyche.

The Burnley boss has been operating on a shoestring budget throughout his time in charge at Turf Moor, but this summer has surely been the most difficult yet.

His depleted squad saw him unable to name the full complement of substitutes at times after the lockdown last season, and despite an urgent need to bring in reinforcements, the club reached Deadline Day with back-up goalkeeper Will Norris and 31-year-old midfielder Dale Stephens as their only senior signings of the transfer window.

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Kelechi Iheanacho Sends Leicester To First FA Cup Final Since 1969

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Leicester City book their place in the FA Cup final against Chelsea as Kelechi Iheanacho’s second-half strike seals Wembley win over Southampton

Leicester City have reached their first FA Cup final since 1969 after Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike saw off Southampton at Wembley.

The striker converted from close range in the 55th minute after good work from Jamie Vardy set him up during a counter attack.

It is the fifth time the Foxes have reached the FA Cup final and they will now face Chelsea next month after the Blues defeated Manchester City in the other semi-final on Saturday.

Iheanacho’s strike was the 14th he has scored in this competition since 2015 and no player – not Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane – has scored more FA Cup goals during that time. The cup has become his playground.

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David de Gea ‘could leave Manchester United on loan’

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Manchester United could reportedly loan out goalkeeper David de Gea ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

The 30-year-old was between the sticks for his team’s Europa League clash with Granada on Thursday night but appears to have dropped behind Dean Henderson in the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Henderson is expected to start Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur, with De Gea set to drop back down to the bench.

The Spain international has recently been linked with a move away from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side, but he still has more than two years left to run on a lucrative contract at Old Trafford.

According to ESPN, Man United are unlikely to find a buyer for De Gea in the upcoming market and could therefore decide to loan him out for the 2021-22 season.

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The former Atletico Madrid youngster has made 435 appearances for the 20-time English champions in all competitions, including 30 outings during the current campaign

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NXT takeover stand and deliver results 7th April 2021

Benjamin Ukpabi

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NXT takeover stand and deliver results 7th April 2021

Here are the results for the NXT takeover pay per view

Zoey Stark vs. Toni Storm (Pre-show): Stark continued to impress as she has in a series of matches with stop stars, hitting some nice early moves, including a good-looking springboard missile dropkick. Storm took over the match after the strong start, using some power offense with snap suplexes and a body slam, but before she could capitalize, Stark hit a superplex from the second rope to start a comeback. A half-nelson suplex set up a running knee for the first convincing near fall of the match. Stark continued to keep up the pressure until Storm hit a series of German suplexes before going for Storm Zero, which was countered awkwardly by Stark into a small package for the victory.  (NXT takeover)

Pete Dunne vs. Kushida: An exchange of submission attempts opened the match as both men were attempting to establish their technical superiority early. Kushida had a small edge in the grappling until the action spilled outside where Dunne hit an X-plex onto the ring apron. Dunne brutally went after the arm of Kushida for a brief run, but Kushida fired up and ran the length of the entrance ramp for a kick. After an exchange of strikes, Dunne went back to work on the arm — and the fingers — of Kushida.

The action continued to flow back and forth, with Dunne’s aggression being met by Kushida blow-for-blow. Kushida hit a superplex while holding his Hoverboard Lock, switching to an armbar, but Dunne managed to get a foot on the ropes for a break. Kushida continued going for Dunne’s arms, locking in another Hoverboard Lock and then switching arms with the hold when Dunne reached the ropes. Dunne went back to the fingers, softening up Kushida for a kick to the head and Bitter End to bring the match to a close.

Leon Ruff vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Bronson Reed vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Dexter Lumis vs. LA Knight (Gauntlet Eliminator for North American championship opportunity): Scott jumped Ruff before the match, getting off to an early advantage when they were the first two men in. Ruff eventually hit a cutter on Scott, springboarding off the announce table to hit the move. That wasn’t enough to keep Scott down, as he continued to blitz Ruff with big moves until Ruff countered a top rope powerbomb into a rana before Reed entered the match. Reed ran wild until hitting a double-German suplex on Scott and Ruff. Grimes came into the match and paid off Scott to help him go at the other competitors. During Lumis’ entrance, Scott was able to quickly pin Ruff to take him out of the match. Lumis delivered suplex after suplex until running into Reed with the two big men exchanging strikes and neither getting the upper hand. Knight made his entrance as the final man into the match and soon pinned Lumis as Lumis had Grimes locked in Silence. Reed eliminated Knight moments later after a senton, leaving Scott, Reed and Grimes as the final three in the match. (NXT takeover)

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Grimes and Scott teamed up against Reed, but Reed shrugged off strikes from both men until the temporary alliance fell apart and Scott rolled up Grimes with a handful of tights — reversing Grimes’ own attempt to grab Scott’s tights in a pin — for the elimination. Reed went to the top rope, but Scott caught him with a kick and then slammed Reed from the top rope onto the ring apron. Scott followed up with a 450 splash for a near fall. Reed fired up through a trio of House Call kicks from Scott before hitting Tsunami for the victory.

NXT UK Championship — WALTER (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa: Ciampa looked to try to neutralize WALTER’s strength with speed early but eventually snapped and blitzed WALTER with a flurry of strikes. That only served to anger the champion, leading him to deliver a series of titanic chops. WALTER tried to deliver another chop as Ciampa was leaned on the announce table, but Ciampa moved out of the way, causing WALTER to chop through a portion of the table. Ciampa tried to take advantage of the now-injured hand of WALTER but ran into a big boot. When WALTER had trouble locking in submissions due to not being able to use any strength in his grip, he resorted to delivering more big kicks to the face of Ciampa. Ciampa delivered clothesline after clothesline, trying to take WALTER off his feet, sending the champion stumbling before falling into the ropes where Ciampa’s clotheslines continued until WALTER delivered a chop. Ciampa came right back with yet another clothesline, finally driving WALTER to the mat. After another flurry of offense, Ciampa hit the Fairy Tale Ending for a near fall.

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WALTER came back with an attempt at a choke before a German suplex and lariat for a two count of his own. Ciampa continued his incredible performance, blasting WALTER with strikes and forcing the big man to turtle up. Another strike exchange followed shortly after before WALTER focused in on the neck of Ciampa with a series of stomps and powerbombs, again resulting in a near fall. Walter hit another suplex and a big chop, this time putting Ciampa down for the three count, retaining his title.  (NXT takeover)

Tag Team Championship — MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Legado Del Fantasma: This match was for the vacant title. Pure fire from the jump with everyone in the match flying around the ring at full speed. Every team in the match got early spots to shit, with Grizzled Young Veterans taking the early action before MSK took over and Legado del Fantasma finally took control with simultaneous dives and then a pair of Van Terminators (without the chair) on Nash Carter for a near fall. Legado continued their run of control by continuing to take the fight to Carter until he finally made a tag to Wes Lee, who took out all four men on the other teams before a huge dive and a series of backflips into a Pele kick to the back of James Drake’s head. (NXT takeover)

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Zack Gibson finally involved himself to take out Lee, holding his hand inside the turnbuckle pad so Drake could deliver a dropkick to the already inured hand. Gibson locked up Lee’s hand and Lee was ready to tap until Carter was able to crawl through a Drake choke to grab his partner’s hand. Things broke down to GYV vs. MSK, with Lee hitting a double cutter and then a twisting blockbuster while Carter had Gibson lifted up to score the win and take home the titles.

Women’s Championship — Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel Gonzalez: Gonzalez used her power early, forcing Shirai to have to resort to slick defensive maneuvers and quickness, hitting a rana and then taking the fight to Gonzalez in the corner. Gonzalez caught a Shirai stomp and tried to reverse the momentum but found herself on the outside, getting knocked to the floor after a Shirai asai moonsault. Gonzalez was finally able to slow down the champ by driving her into the ring post before going back to the ring where she began to toss Shirai around the ring.

Every time it seemed Gonzalez had Shirai on the defensive, the champion would find a way to counter and launch into her own high impact offense, including a Code Red for a near fall. Gonzalez caught Shirai on the top rope and tried to walk her to the center of the ring for a chokeslam, but Shirai managed to counter and roll into a crossface, forcing Gonzalez to crawl to the ropes for the escape. Shirai followed up with a moonsault from the top rope onto the entrance ramp. Shirai wandered out of the ring area before appearing on top of the giant skull that made up the set background on the ramp, hitting a diving crossbody onto Gonzalez. (NXT takeover)

Gonzalez refused to stay down, coming back to hit a chokeslam outside the ring and throwing the champion in for a near fall. Moments later, Gonzalez managed to hit a big lariat and then another chokeslam to score the pinfall and win the belt.

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