There’s just a week to go until the transfer window closes. While Jose Mourinho is angry with Manchester United’s lack of business, Liverpool have spent big as they look to catch Manchester City.
The champions have added Riyad Mahrez to a squad that finished 19 points clear last term, while Arsenal start a new era with Unai Emery and Chelsea have Maurizio Sarri.
Here’s a look at what each of the top six clubs have done so far, a rating for their business and what needs to happen in the final days of the window.
Window rating so far: 6/10 — Pep Guardiola wanted two players in the transfer window, Leicester’s Mahrez and Napoli’s Jorginho. City got one but failed with the order, but have at least escaped any speculation over their own players.
Notable business: City broke their club record for Mahrez, paying £60 million, but it was significantly lower than the £95m they were quoted in January by the Foxes. Their stubbornness not to pay over the odds was successful in that deal but an unwillingness to be drawn into an auction with Chelsea over Jorginho saw them miss out on their top target.
What’s left to sort in the final days? A holding midfielder is the only possibility before the window shuts but it’s looking increasingly doubtful with alternatives including Mateo Kovacic and Southampton’s Mario Lemina proving too expensive for a backup to Fernandinho. The more significant business will be in outgoings with Joe Hart, Jason Denayer and Patrick Roberts among those needing to find a permanent move.
Who has had the best window so far? Liverpool have spent big to address the problems with their squad and the addition of an experienced and reliable goalkeeper in Alisson will spread confidence throughout their defence. Fabinho and Naby Keita will also significantly improve their midfield and Jurgen Klopp’s side look like they could be City’s biggest rivals for the title.
Window rating so far: 6/10 — Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant look like sensible signings but there are more problems to fix. Mourinho has also made his feelings about the lack of signings known during an often bad-tempered tour to the United States.
Notable business: Fred is the key signing. Michael Carrick has retired and Mourinho needed a replacement. They have been working on signing the Brazilian since January and were able to get the deal over the line early.
What’s left to sort in the final days? Mourinho wants a centre-back and a right winger before the deadline but he doesn’t think he will get both. A centre-back is most likely with Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld and Jerome Boateng among the options. Anthony Martial’s future is also a contentious issue. While no Premier League club would be able to sign him after next Thursday, foreign clubs could still make their move as the window will remain open for them.
Who has had the best window so far? Liverpool. They have done the bulk of their business early and solved a lot of the problems they had last season. Jurgen Klopp looks to have built a squad strong enough to challenge Manchester City.
Window rating so far: 3/10 — Spurs haven’t really started yet. On the upside, there have been no major departures so far.
Notable business: Tottenham are yet to sign or sell any first-team players, but they have at least secured the futures of some key men. Mauricio Pochettino signed a new five-year contract just before the Real Madrid job became available, while Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Erik Lamela, Davinson Sanchez and Harry Winks have also agreed new deals.
What’s left to sort in the final days? Plenty. Unfancied players need to be sold, while there was a feeling at the start of the summer that Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose could all leave. If that happens, Spurs will need three strong signings in those positions just to maintain their current level, let alone improve their squad. They need to add to their homegrown contingent too.
Who has had the best window so far? Probably Liverpool, who have again spared no expense in strengthening their weakest area. Having signed £75m centre-back Virgil van Dijk in January, they have now splashed out around £65m on goalkeeper Alisson. Xherdan Shaqiri could also prove to be a bargain at £13m. The Champions League finalists look strong.
Window rating so far: 8/10 — Liverpool have acted in a swift and decisive manner this summer, adding much-needed depth to their squad.
Notable business: The big-money arrivals of Keita and Fabinho have been somewhat overshadowed by the signing of Alisson, now the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. Liverpool will hope their long-standing goalkeeping issues are no more with the signing of the Brazil international for £65 million. It was a position that was a glaring weakness, and the club have attempted to address it with a statement of intent.
What’s left to sort in the final days? Despite the signing of Shaqiri from Stoke City, some Liverpool supporters believe they are still short of one further option in the final third. Nabil Fekir was expected to be Philippe Coutinho’s replacement until that deal collapsed, but Liverpool haven’t moved on to any alternatives since. Impressive outings in the preseason from Daniel Sturridge and young Curtis Jones may have Klopp believing he has enough in the arsenal for 2018-19.
Who has had the best window so far? Nearly all of Liverpool’s rivals may be a bit envious of the work they have done in the transfer market this summer. The spending spree began just a matter of days after the disappointment of losing the Champions League final, with Fabinho joining from Monaco. Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards had their act in order while Chelsea, for example, were still sorting out their managerial position.
Window rating so far: 6/10 — The signing of Jorginho was exactly what Chelsea’s midfield and Sarri needed, and had the added bonus of scuppering Manchester City’s plans. But where are Chelsea’s other reinforcements?
Notable business: Chelsea spent the first month of the summer paralysed by managerial uncertainty. Jorginho’s arrival alongside Sarri was trademark Marina Granovskaia opportunism, and he already looks set to be one of the most important players at Stamford Bridge in the coming years. Robert Green ticks a homegrown box as No.3 goalkeeper, but supporters are entitled to few disappointed at how little has been accomplished so far.
What’s left to sort in the final days? A decision needs to be made one way or the other on Thibaut Courtois, who is a long-term target for Real Madrid as he enters the final year of his contract. Chelsea’s position on Eden Hazard is stronger and, barring some serious agitation or a world-record bid, he should be retained.
A goalkeeper needs to be found if Courtois leaves and Sarri appears keen to bolster his defensive options with Daniele Rugani.
Who has had the best window so far? Liverpool, without a doubt. They identified their top targets early and moved aggressively to secure them. They’ve also turned the weakest spot in their starting XI (goalkeeper) into one of considerable strength if Alisson proves as good as advertised in the Premier League. They should be City’s closest challengers this season.
Window rating so far: 7/10 — Arsenal have plugged the holes that needed to be plugged, although it remains to be seen if they’ve added enough quality to challenge their rivals.
Notable business: Arsenal landed five signings by early July, which is almost unheard of and a sign of a more efficient approach under the new regime. But of the five, Lucas Torreira is the only one that could be viewed as a real difference maker. The Uruguayan gives the Gunners a ball-winning holding midfielder who could be the engine that makes the rest of the team tick. Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner are all solid signings but not massive upgrades on what was already available. Matteo Guendouzi looks like a great prospect for the future.
What’s left to sort in the final days? Arsenal are unlikely to sign anyone else unless a great opportunity arises, although the team still needs a natural winger. Fans are dreaming of a move for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, although that remains a long shot. There are plenty of outgoings to sort out, though, while the club must decide whether to keep Aaron Ramsey if he doesn’t sign a new deal.
Who has had the best window so far? Liverpool. Klopp’s team were already way ahead of Arsenal and may have widened the gap with the arrivals of Alisson, Fabinho and Keita — a trio that looks set to make a bigger immediate impact than the Arsenal equivalent of Leno, Torreira and Guendouzi.