The summer transfer window of 2013/14 had the potential to be the most dramatic of all transfer windows. But was it?
At the start of the summer (how long ago does that feel?), for the first time in the history of the Premier League the top three teams changed their manager.
The return of the Special One, the arrival of the Chosen One and the introduction of the Holistic One completely changed the landscape at the top of the table.
The Gareth Bale saga, which lasted an extraordinary 110 days, culminating in a world record transfer and was the back page dominator. Then there was Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, with protracted but ultimately fruitless sagas of their own.
So let’s looks at the biggest winners and losers of the window.
Best Signing Of The Window: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
There are a few reasons Ozil gets the nod as the best transfer of the window, and that’s without factoring in the fact that he is the best player to arrive into The Premier League. The main reason is that finally, Arsene Wenger signed a world class player rather than sold one.
Arriving at transfer deadline day having only signed two players – both on free transfers, after admitting they had money burning a hole in their pocket – had the potential to make an already volatile Emirates Stadium implode.
However, Wenger finally delivered. He signed a player for £27.5 million – or one Marouane Fellaini – more than their previous transfer record and got a player regarded as one of the best in Europe right now. Just ask Jose Mourinho, who once label Ozil the best number 10 on the planet.
A player whose stats all add up, a player who will make a difference, a player who they didn’t need? Arsenal are blessed with midfielders, a goalscorer and a defender is what they really needed.
But Ozil is a rare breed. He’s a player who you accommodate, who excites and who may well have saved Arsene Wenger his job.
Worst Signing Of The Window: Jozy Altidore
This was one of the most surprising transfers of this window. Then again, should we be surprised by anything Paolo Di Canio does?
This is a player who, on the strength of a couple of good seasons in Holland, Di Canio has splurged fee rumoured to be north of £8million. Altidore couldn’t hit a barn door on loan at Hull City when the Tigers were last in the Premier League. Although he did manage to score against Man City, that was his only goal in 28 outings.
From 2008 through to 2011, he only played 49 games (28 of which were for Hull) for four different clubs, scoring three goals. Di Canio is expecting goals to flow from him, but we can’t see it.
And Sunderland had two or three contenders for this spot. Andrea Dossena. Need we say more?
Bargain Of The Window: Nathan Redmond
Norwich City manager Chris Houghton has done some astute business this window and over the last year he’s been developing a lovely little team at Carrow Road.
Nathan Redmond seems to be the snip of the window at only £2million. He is quick, direct, not short of a trick or two and full backs know they have been in a game with him.
He also has a pretty decent record in front of goal, scoring seven in 62 games for Birmingham, something he can improve going into the future. At only 19 years of age, he looks like an England regular in the making and a potential big profit awaits Norwich when the big clubs come calling.
Best Club In The Window: Everton
A lot of credit has to go to Bill Kenwright and Robert Elstone for the way Everton has been run over the past few years.
The Toffees are a club who don’t sell cheaply – just ask David Moyes. This window Everton again excelled in demonstrating how to run a club on a shoestring budget.
They sold Marouane Felliani – a player who had looked disinterested ever since Moyes moved down the M60 – for £27.5million. That’s some £4 million more than his then expired buy-out clause. Whether this was good business by Everton or poor from Manchester United is irrelevant as £27.5million is going into Everton’s bank account either way.
Add to that £5million for an under-achieving Victor Anichebe and that’s enough to keep the bank manager happy.
So to replacements. James McCarthy is a quality midfielder who has the potential to go to the very top. He was well priced at £12million. Then add three quality loan signings in Romelu Lakaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Gareth Barry, as well as decent competition for places in Joel Robles, Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz, then you see the makings of a very good squad.
Barry will offer real quality and experience in the middle of the park, and one thing Lakaku guarantees you is goals (unless its from the penalty spot in a Super Cup). Just look at the 18 he bagged for West Brom last season. Take note, this is how to do business in the transfer window.
Worst Club In The Window: Newcastle
There were only two words Newcastle United fans didn’t want to hear when the club announced its new director of football. So trust Mike Ashley, the most popular of chairman in the land to utter those very words: Joe Kinnear.
Super Joe, the man who stumbled into Newcastle babbling on talkSPORT about Yohann Kebab and Shola Ammamobi, was to be in charge of player recruitment. This is the man who failed to get Darren Bent, Bafetimbi Gomis, Demba Ba, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Downing, Pele and Diego Maradona through the door. The last two he had most chance of signing. The two deals he did get done were Loic Remy, a player injured and on loan from the club who finished bottom of the table last season, and youngster Olivier Kemen.
So that’s the best and worst of the transfer window. And we didn’t even mention the half-a-squad Tottenham signed, the five players Man City spent more than £90million on and the 10 club record transfers completed this summer.
The window has slammed shut and we can finally talk about matters on the pitch. Well, until January at least.