It’s nearing the end of July, and the transfer window is well underway. Newspapers have had a feast on some players like David De Geas homecoming to Real Madrid, Fabian Delphs loyalty, and Raheem Sterlings desire to leave Liverpool. These stories are just the tip of the iceberg, there have been many more rumours, deals and mind games played by clubs. I’m here trying to pick out the best and worst deals, for the players and clubs.
So let’s sift through some of the biggest deals so far, starting with an English stud who had a tantrum, Raheem Sterling.
Raheem Sterling: From Liverpool to Manchester City- £49 million.
Manchester City grade: C. City needed more, quality English players, and Sterling has certainly ticked that box. He is a young talent with his whole career ahead of him, but this deal has many drawbacks. I think City have overpaid for him, he’s worth half the money they have paid, but the “English player interest rate” has bumped his price up. He also has attitude issues, and the tantrum he pulled at Liverpool doesn’t look too good on his CV, what if he pulls the same stunt at City?
Liverpool grade: B. Liverpool have done well to get nearly £50 million for a player who attracted a lot of bad press, but they have just lost arguably the most talented player in their ranks. Having this amount of money is good, you can sign world class players for that, but will Liverpool? Their spending of the Suarez money was head scratching in terms of where it went. Liverpool need to reinvest wisely, but will they?
Raheem Sterling grade: D. This deal has been ugly to say the least, and Sterlings contract saga does not help his cause. His desire to move to a “bigger” club was a head scratching statement, considering where he’s come from. In the short term Sterling has joined a better team with Liverpool in a rebuilding phase, but he has no need to rush as he is still very young.
Prediction- In 5 years time: I see Sterling playing regularly for City, but this move does not help further his career at all. I see him playing at the same level he has played at in the last two seasons for Livepool with more pressure mounting on him to improve on his performances as he enters the prime of his career.
Christian Benteke: From Aston Villa to Liverpool- £32.5 million.
Aston Villa grade: B. I feel Villa have cashed in at the right time on their hot and cold striker, and they have managed to get a good sum for him aswell. He can score goals but has had his problems with form and injury over the past two seasons. Villa need to reinvest this money wisely, otherwise they could find themselves short of goals next season. A player like Jordan Rhodes would make sense for Villa.
Liverpool grade: C. Liverpool have overpaid here, Benteke has more potential to be a massive bust rather than a massive coup. It’s also an odd signing aswell, as Benteke doesn’t really fit into Liverpools style of play. But at least Liverpool have signed a good striker, it ticks off one thing from their to do list coming into the transfer market. Liverpool needed reinforcements up front, and Benteke provides another option for Rodgers to utilise.
Christian Benteke grade: C. Benteke does have chance to perform on the big stage with this move, as he is going to be given many opportunities to shine due to Liverpools dismal forward play last year. His biggest obstacle will be adapting to the teams style of play, it will be hard for him but he has the capability of doing it. He also needs to stay injury free and keep his form consistent to avoid the wrath of the fickle Liverpool fans for this move to work out.
Prediction- In 5 years time: I see Liverpool cutting their losses about 3 years into Bentekes stay, as the move wouldn’t have worked out. I see Benteke back at a mid tier Premier League side or at a similar quality club abroad.
Morgan Schneilderlin: From Southampton to Manchester United- £25 million.
Southampton grade: B. Southampton have a great record in the transfer market in recent times, and this deal is another example of it. They got a reasonable price for Schneilderlin, it’s around the sum I would pay for him. Southampton have already signed his replacement aswell, Jordy Clasie, for £8.4 million. That leaves them with over £15 million left to play with, to bolster other areas of the squad. Schneilderlin had constant transfer rumours about him so it must also be a relief to the Saints that the unwanted media attention has been diverted elsewhere.
Manchester United grade: A. Just the guy they needed. A brilliant deal for all parties concerned. United havent overpaid either, which is the cherry on top for them. They needed to rejuvenate their midfield with Michael Carrick on his last legs, and Schneilderlin, entering the prime of his career, has the chance to become a household name. United lacked consistency & stability at times last season, and Schneiderlin provides both those traits. There aren’t many bigger stages than Old Trafford, this is the perfect situation for Schneilderlin and a great deal by United. Top work.
Morgan Schneilderlin grade: B. It was clear a while back that Schneilderlin wanted to further his career by moving to a bigger club, and there aren’t many more bigger than the Red Devils. He has the chance to win trophies with United’s new look side and establish himself in the starting eleven with a slightly weak United midfield before him, this could be the perfect move to take him to the upper classes of midfielders in the world
Prediction- In 5 years time: I see this move having paid off greatly, I see Schneiderlin at the helm of United’s midfield, commanding them about after taking over from Michael Carrick and Bastien Schweinsteiger. I see him winning a few trophies in this time, and I see him being considered one of Europes best defensive midfielders.
Memphis Depay: From PSV to Manchester United- £25 million.
PSV grade: B. It’s hard to keep your young, star player when you’ve got major clubs like Liverpool and Manchester a united sniffing around, but I feel PSV could have kept their top scorer of last season for at least another season, to get a bit more performance out of him and to bump up his transfer value. Having said this, £25 million is a lot of money and it can be used to find a replacement and invest in the youth system to find more gems like Depay.
Manchester United grade: A. £25 million is a reasonable fee to pay for Depay, who was PSVs top scorer last season. Depay has the potential to become a Ronaldo-like figure at United, he could fill the void that was always left open by Ronaldos £80 million move to Real Madrid. Depay already knows boss Louis Van Gaa from his Netherlands tenure, so this isn’t really much of a gamble from the Red Devils. With United lacking in wing play last year, with Juan Mata moving across there, Depay is the just the right player to bring in. By pairing him with Adnan Januzaj, United have two very promising young wingers who they can build their team around.
Memphis Depay grade: A. Depay has stepped onto one of the biggest stages in the footballing world to showcase what he’s capable of, but along with this talent comes pressure. My only concern of Depay is his his attitude and will he be able to cope with the pressure? I think he will be fine though, as he has been reunited with Van Gaal. Depay has a real chance to hit the ground running and earn a regular starting place from the beginning, with Antonio Valencia operating as a right back and Ashley Young as a left back, Depay can step into either of those roles that were never properly filled last season. Also, with a LOT of rumours about Angel Di Maria moving to PSG, this move would be financially funded to keep United within Financial Fair Play regulations.
Prediction- In 5 years time: I see Depay as a first team regular and as the main playmaker in the team, replacing the descending Wayne Rooney. I see him as filling Ronaldos void, as I really believe he can succeed here. He will have a few adjustment problems in his first season, as he must learn that he can’t be the centre of attention and that he has to play for the team, but after that I think he will thrive at United.
Roberto Firmino: From Hoffenheim to Liverpool- £21.3 million.
Hoffenheim grade: B. Firmino was arguably Hoffenheims standout player last season, and it showed in the international stage with his first 10 appearances and 4 goals over the past 2 years for Brazil. Hoffenheim have got a good price for him, at just over £20 million. Hoffenheim are a strong team all round, as they finished 8th last year, so I doubt this will put them in a relegation battle next year. This money can be spent to improve the overall squad quality, with players like Kevin Volland and Jonathan Schmid stepping up. I believe Hoffenheim will be around the same place next season, but in order to improve they must keep hold of their star players in the future.
Liverpool grade: B. This is a savvy signing by Liverpool, they have paid the right price for a talented midfielder who has flourished in the Bundesliga, so he should thrive in the Premier League. Liverpool needed reinforcements to spark their midfield, the strikers were poor last season, so the signing of Firmino should help create more chances for Danny Ings, Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli (If he’s still there). Firmino should slide “moveable chess piece’ that was played by Sterling, and I believe Firmino will suit the role better than Sterling did, as Firmino is a more central player. This is an under rated signing.
Roberto Firmino grade: B. He could have chosen a higher quality club who are in a better position, but Firmino chose Liverpool. I think Firmino will be an instant starter for Liverpool, as their midfield last season was sub par at best (barring dazzling displays every now and again from Coutinho and Henderson). He doesn’t have a hefty price tag to live up to and other signings have overshadowed this one,so there isn’t as much pressure on their new star man as there usually would be. I think this is a good fit for Firmino as he will get regular game time, and he will be working with a very tactical manger in Brendan Rodgers, who I think will get the most out of him due to his versatility. He also has fellow countryman Coutinho to help him settle in on Mersyside so it should be a smooth transition. This was a good choice by Firmino who had plenty of clubs sniffing round him.
Prediction- In 5 years time: Due to the vast turnover of Liverpools squad in recent times, I don’t see Firmino here in 5 years. I see him at a top-of-table European side like Barcelona, Bayern or Juventus. I see him playing some stellar football at Liverpool and really taking the Premier League by storm, until he catches the eye of the real powerhouses and Liverpool get an offer they can’t refuse. I see them almost gaining around double the amount they paid for him, so maybe a transfer in the region of £40 million.
Anyway, there’s my take on the 5 blockbuster deals of the Premier Leafue so far.
Thanks for reading,