Football’s summer transfer window closed on the evening of September 1 – for European clubs, the buying deadline was the day before – and so Premier League squads have now been confirmed for the 2015-16 season.
With no more wheeling and dealing to be done until the window re-opens in January 2016, the focus switches from the mechanics of the transfer deals themselves to the performances of those players who have switched clubs. How will the blockbuster signings fare at their new clubs – will they justify the huge amounts of money spent on them? Here’s a quick look at the marquee signings and what to expect:
Christian BentekeLiverpool fans seemed to have mixed feelings on the signing of Benteke – a top striker, sure, but was he worth the £32.5m the club paid Aston Villa for him? The fee wasn’t really open to debate, for that was the buyout clause inserted into his contract and Villa made it clear they wouldn’t entertain anything lower.
The powerful Belgian scored the winner – a goal that should have been ruled offside – against Bournemouth in August. It was his first in the Premier League for the Reds, but he’ll be expected to hit the 20-goal mark by the end of the season to be judged a success. He’s good enough, but will he fit into the Liverpool system?
Raheem SterlingAs Benteke arrived at Liverpool, Raheem Sterling was just leaving. His transfer to Manchester City was contentious, an acrimonious deal that amounted to £44m (which could rise to £49m) and a reputed £200,000 a week in wages. All round, absolutely crazy money for a 20-year-old and yet the sometime winger, sometime No.10, sometime striker is a very gifted player – manager Manuel Pellegrini described him here as ‘one of the best attacking players in world football’. His early season form was excellent as City won four out of four league games in August.
Anthony MartialRight at the end of the transfer window, a massive deal finalised by Manchester United. The Red Devils, back in the Champions League this season, spent big to bring in Anthony Martial from Monaco. How big? The figures seem to be an initial £36.3m – but that could reach as much as £58m if Martial scores a certain amount of goals, wins 25 full caps for France and wins the Ballon d’Or by 2019 (unlikely, but….) What is absolutely certain is that he’s the world’s most expensive teenager; what’s not is how the 19-year-old striker will perform in the Premier League. Let’s face it, other than seasoned Ligue 1 watchers and readers of World Soccer magazine – as seen here – not many people know much about him. With three goals in his first two appearances though, he made an excellent start.
Kevin De BruyneAnother hefty signing by Manchester City – funny, that – De Byrne was signed just before the closure of the transfer window. Formerly of Chelsea, who sold him to Wolfsburg, the Belgian thrived the Bundesliga and quickly established as rep as a playmaker with a record of 33 assists in 72 games for the club. He’s also capable of scoring himself – eight internationals goals – and all in all, will give an already awesome City squad yet another attacking option. He can play as a No.10, off a striker or as a winger, and will probably hit his stride very quickly.
Don’t feel too bad for the selling club. Wolfsburg paid £18m for him in 2014 and sold him to City for £54.5m 18 months later. What Chelsea think of seeing a player they once had in their squad and let go, returning to play for their title rivals, remains to be seen…