Premier League Transfer Window Review, Part I: Arsenal to Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Juan Mata of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

A team-by-team review of the Premier League's transfer activity, with complete lists of ins and outs. Part 1 covers Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton, and Chelsea.

After a busy transfer window, Premier League clubs maanged to spend £485m between them on players ranging from free transfers from lower-league clubs, to foreign youngsters worth tens of millions of pounds. Here you can find a complete review and run-down of the window, with full lists of all ins and outs from clubs, and a grade given to how much a team has improved (or declined) with their business this summer. This is Part I, which takes us from Arsenal to Chelsea.

Arsenal

Even though Arsene Wenger has finally caved in to pressure and signed an array of experienced players, it has taken the departure of two key players and an 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Manchester United to force his hand. Make no mistake, this was a traumatic window for Arsenal, and though they have brought in some experience, they have not managed to find players of the calibre of Nasri and Fabregas, and adding to an overall weakening of the team and squad will be the question marks over the likes of Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos and their ability to settle quickly in the Premier League.

Grade: E-

In: Carl Jenkinson (£1m, Charlton), Gervinho (£10.6m, Lille), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£12m, Southampton), Joel Campbell (£1m, Saprissa), Chu Young Park (undisclosed, Monaco), Andre Santos (£6.2m, Fenerbahce), Per Mertesacker (undisclosed, Werder Bremen), Yossi Benayoun (loan, Chelsea), Mikel Arteta (£10m, Everton)..

Out: Gael Clichy (£7m, Manchester City), Tom Cruise (released), Roarie Deacon (free, Sunderland), Mark Randall (free, Chesterfield), Denilson (loan to Sao Paulo), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (£1m, Ipswich), Kyle Bartley (loan, Rangers), Pedro Botelho (loan, Rayo Vallecano), Cesc Fabregas (£27m, Barcelona), Emmanuel Eboue (£3m, Galatasaray), Carlos Vela (loan, Real Sociedad), Samir Nasri (£24m, Manchester City), Armand Traore (undisclosed, QPR), Henri Lansbury (loan, West Ham), Joel Campbell (loan, Lorient), Gilles Sunu (undisclosed, Lorient), Nicklas Bendtner (loan, Sunderland).

Aston Villa

It's a case of both quantity and quality for Villa, in what has undoubtedly been a bad window for them. Individually, there's little wrong with their signings - Charles N'Zogbia and Shay Given are fine acquisitions, whilst Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton give extra numbers and solidity to a side that was uncharacteristically flimsy last season. However, they do still have a tiny squad for a club of their stature - perhaps a hangover from the Martin O'Neill years, but also a sign of a new era of austerity. They look particularly light on wingers and creative players, and were N'Zogbia to be injured for a significant length of time they could face serious problems.

Grade: E

In: Shay Given(Man City, £3.5m), Charles N'Zogbia (Wigan, £9.5m), Alan Hutton (Tottenham, undisclosed), Jermaine Jenas(Tottenham, loan).

Out: Nigel Reo-Coker(Bolton, free), John Carew (West Ham, free), Robert Pires, Moustapha Salifou, Isaiah Osbourne (all released), Brad Friedel (Tottenham, free), Ashley Young (Manchester United, £16m), Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £20m), Luke Young(QPR, undisclosed), Jean Makoun (Olympiacos, loan).

Blackburn Rovers

Despite the chaos that has resulted since the takeover by Venky's, Blackburn's new controversial owners, the club has not done too badly at all this year. The actual amount of money spent, when the Jones sale is factored in, is very small - but the squad has undoubtedly improved. David Goodwillie and Yakubu should just about score enough goals to keep the side up, whereas Scott Dann is a fine and solid replacement at the back for Jones. Petrovic and Vukcevic, in contrast, are somewhat unknown quantities, with Petrovic untested outside of Eastern Europa and Vukcevic an inconsistent but occasionally brilliant player. The Kalinic sale was curious, and Jones was an inevitability but Rovers have otherwise only gotten rid of the deadwood.

Grade: C+

In: David Goodwillie(Dundee United, £2.8m),Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade, undisclosed), Simon Vukcevic (Sporting Lisbon, undisclosed), Scott Dann(Birmingham, undisclosed), Yakubu(Everton, undisclosed), Jordan Slew (Sheffield United, £1m)

Out: Phil Jones (Man Utd, £17m), Frank Fielding(Derby, £300,000), Jason Brown, Zurab Khizanishvili, Maceo Rigters (all released), Benjani Mwaruwari (Portsmouth, free), Keith Andrews(Ipswich, loan), Nikola Kalinic (Dnipro, undisclosed), Brett Emerton(Sydney FC, free).

Bolton Wanderers

A good transfer window for Bolton saw them get in experience in Nigel Reo-Coker, as well as some talented and creative players in Kakuta, Eagles, Tuncay and Pratley. They may not be of the highest level, but they are exciting signings nonetheless, and Bolton have a wide array of attacking options now. They also did well to hang onto key players such as Chung-Yong Lee, Gary Cahill, and Stuart Holden. The only black marks on an otherwise excellent window were the loss of Johan Elmander on a free transfer, and that the sale of the excellent Ali Al-Habsi could look like a mistake if Jussi Jaaskelainen's poor form begins to look like a decline.

Grade: B+

In: Darren Pratley(Swansea, free), Nigel Reo-Coker(Bolton, free), Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears (Burnley, joint £3m), Tuncay Sanli (Wolfsburg, loan), Dedryck Boyata(Manchester City, loan), Gael Kakuta (Chelsea, loan until January), David Ngog (Liverpool, £4m).

Out: Joey O'Brien (West Ham, free), Johan Elmander, Jlloyd Samuel, Tamir Cohen (all released), Ali Al-Habsi (Wigan, £4m), Matt Taylor (West Ham, £2.2m), Danny Ward (Huddersfield, £1m).

 

Chelsea

A curious transfer window for Chelsea - though the quality of the players obtained in Lukaku, Mata, and Meireles is indisputable, it's difficult to see how they'll fit into the team exactly. Mata will likely be deployed out wide, when Chelsea need creativity in the centre and are crying out for a more traditional winger to offer genuine width, and Meireles will help address their midfield problem but not solve it. In short, they continue to have a squad in which it is all but impossible to get their best players in one system, and for that reason they may not do as well as their outlay and undoubted quality would suggest. In the fullness of time, these will surely be excellent signings, but it wasn't what was needed this season.

Grade: B-

In: Thibaut Courtois(Genk, £7.9m), Oriol Romeu(Barcelona, £4.35m*, Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Juan Mata (Valencia, undisclosed), Ulises Davila (Chivas Guadalajara, undisclosed), Raul Meireles (Liverpool, £12m).

Out: Michael Mancienne (Hamburg, £3m), Thibaut Courtois(Atletico Madrid, loan), Gokhan Tore (Hamburg, undisclosed), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, season loan), Jack Cork (Southampton, £750,000),Fabio Borini (Parma, free), Yury Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala, £13.2m), Slobodan Rajkovic (Hamburg, undisclosed), Ulises Davila (Vitesse Arnham, season loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Wigan, season loan), Gael Kakuta (Bolton, loan), Yossi Benayoun (Arsenal, season loan).

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