Jose Mourinho didn’t have the best times this summer, but others actually did enjoy things.
The English transfer window has drawn to a close, and while not everything went exactly according to plan for English teams, their early date to close their transfer activity has created a strange and almost disjointed end to the transfer window, with surprisingly little activity from many of the bigger clubs. That said, there’s clearly a few big winners among both clubs and individual players — and with that, a few clear losers as well.
Of all the promoted teams, Fulham easily had the most fun summer by a comfortable margin. Luciano Vietto, Jean Michael Seri, Aleksandar Mitrovic, and Alfie Mawson are all entertaining and young players — Seri is the oldest by multiple years at just 26. The additions of Fabri, Maxime Le Marchand, and Andre Schurrle are solid veteran pickups with low degrees of risk involved given their relatively low fees. It’s been a smart approach, and it’s given them a great base to work from to stay up and build from in the future.
Naby Keita. Fabinho. Alisson. Liverpool managed to fill all three of the gaping holes in their squad this summer, and they filled them with top-notch players to boot. All three fit Jurgen Klopp’s style well, and in pre-season matches they’ve looked as hungry as ever. It’s premature to call them favorites in the title race, of course — Manchester City is still a silly-good team — but they look like they could be well-positioned to take advantage if City ever slip up, and that’s more than can be said of any of the other top six teams in England right now.
Mahrez was one of the stars of the show when Leicester City won the Premier League title in shocking fashion a few years ago. Since then, though, Leicester have mostly been stuck in the mid-table, despite Mahrez continuing to improve and shine. Now after more than a year of rumors and reported efforts, Manchester City have signed him while he still has some prime time left in his career, and he can show off just how good he really is for a team fighting for glory across all fronts.
After years of scuffing along with mediocre transfers and mediocre results, Everton are finally showing some signs of maybe starting to turn it around. Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne, and Bernard are all young and talented players that Everton can build around as a core for the next several years, and the signings of Mina and Digne are particularly important given how beleaguered and poor Everton’s back line has been the past few years. With those signings coupled with Everton getting rid of some dead weight and getting an interesting manager in Marco Silva at the helm, things might finally be looking up for the Toffees.
Manchester United did get their hands on a good player in Fred, but they had to spend far too much to get him. Other than that, they got a good-but-pricey teenaged prospect in Diogo Dalot, and had to sell a valuable defensive depth piece in Daley Blind. It’s far from the kind of window that Mourinho wanted from his club, lacking any kind of real impact acquisitions, and not doing much at the deadline but flailing about aimlessly. This summer has certainly done little to dispel the belief that Mourinho is not long for the Manchester United bench… and it’s also getting tough to see just where he goes next after this.
Chelsea had a good transfer window, signing Jorginho, loaning in Mateo Kovacic, and replacing Thibaut Coutois with the talented — but expensive — Kepa Arrizabalaga. But thanks to his acrimonious relationship with Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, Sarri wasn’t allowed to join Chelsea until much later in the summer than would be considered ideal, and given how demanding he is with his preparations and of his players, Chelsea needed a lot more time than the few weeks they got before the season starts. We’ll have to see what this means for their season from here, but things may not be as smooth as their fans are hoping for.
Through no fault of his own, Keylor Navas is on the outs in Real Madrid after the Spanish mega-giants went out of their way to acquire Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea. It’s obvious that their plan is to replace the Costa Rican with Courtois despite him being very, very good for Madrid on their path to three straight Champions League titles. Since the move was completed, Navas has been quoted as saying that he is “as enthusiastic of leaving as I am of dying.” That’s… not a great place to be in. Sorry, Keylor.
One bizarre outlier — Tottenham Hotspur
While it cannot be denied that Spurs had a strong squad last season, it also seemed as though they could stand to improve in at least a few years. But despite that, Tottenham did… nothing. They didn’t sell anyone. They didn’t buy anyone. All they did was get Vincent Janssen back from his loan to Fenebahce last season, and he’s not even likely to be played much. Other than signing Harry Kane to a new contract — which was very important! — this transfer window was basically met with a shrug from Spurs, and it’s hard to know quite what to make of it right now.