1. Tottenham Hotspur – The one thing AVB always did well was scouting. He has a great eye for finding talented players. His coaching ability is a different story. Aside from the two big name sales (Modric and VdV) Spurs did well with a lot of little sales. They did fail to bring in another striker and AVB wanted Willian and Hulk, but that would have likely hurt their transfer grade.
Best Move: Jan Vertonghen – The guy is one of the most talented CBs in the world and he was courted by some of the biggest clubs in the world. At £9.5m, Spurs have bought a very reliable CB for many years to come.
Worst Move: Luka Modric – No matter how much they sold him to Madrid for, they waited too long to sell him. They hoped he would change his mind and they ran out of time to replace him or fund a real bid for targets Willian and Damiao.
2. Chelsea – Chelsea did almost everything correctly. They found a place for developing talents Chalobah, McEachran and Lukaku while landing the window’s exceptional talent, Eden Hazard. Almost all the deals make sense with the exception of Oscar. Oscar is an immense talent but he was a luxury buy, a player Chelsea didn’t really need. They also failed to offload Malouda.
Best Move: Not buying Hulk – It wasn’t a move that Chelsea did make, it was the one they didn’t. I don’t know what fans think they see in Hulk, but they’re wrong. He clashes with our new system and, generally speaking, really isn’t that good. I don’t think Chelsea even made an actual bid for the player – we were just hearing a lot of annoying tabloid garbage.
Worst Move: Gael Kakuta – Chelsea need to give up on this project. Rather than sending him to a top French club with a chance to really shine, they sent him to Vitesse. Marseille were interested and Chelsea wanted Remy and bought Azpi. They could have made something work.
3. Everton– Jack Rodwell is a good player and they may have undersold a little on his value but losing a player like Fellaini would have been more damaging. Rodwell only played 14 league games last season anyway. Picking up Naismith from the Rangers liquidation sale for nothing was a steal and Kevin Mirallas was a good buy from another financially struggling team.
Best Move: Kevin Mirallas – The guy has one less cap than Hazard for Belgium but one more goal. Just because he played for Olympiakos doesn’t mean he’ll struggle in England. £6m is good business for a player who will help out a surprisingly solid squad.
Worst Move: Steven Pienaar – Ohhhh, what are you thinking David Moyes? £4.5m is a lot of money to spend for a club like Everton and he blew it on a 30-year-old that they sold for £3m two year ago. This was an exceptionally poor move.
4. Manchester City – People have questioned the purchase of Rodwell but I’d be really excited as a City fan to finally be rid of Nigel de Jong. The guy could ruin any game for you and he was a major liability. If you think about it there, good switch. They got Maicon for next to nothing and Marija Nastasic will be an absolutely fascinating player to watch in the coming years.
Best Move: Nigel de Jong – I’m not fully sold on Javi Garcia or Jack Rodwell but they’re both a major step up from de Jong in terms of security. De Jong was great when City were in the developing stage but he’s just not a right fit for them anymore and they did well to move him away.
Worst Move: Eden Hazard – Losing the Hazard sweepstakes at the start of the window was a huge blow to City’s buying power. One might claim that it made things more difficult for Mancini going forward trying to buy new players. They salvaged it at the end but the Hazard blow could have ruined the entire season.
5. Newcastle – Who did Newcastle sign that makes them rank so high? Well, no one. They’re in the top 5 because they kept all their pieces together while making money on Leon Best and Fraser Forster. They might have been better served investing some money with a Europa League campaign ahead of them but keeping their stars was more important.
Best Move: Demba Ba – How on earth did they keep him with a £7.5 buyout clause? Almost every major team took a look but stayed away. His goal again Spurs proved that he is worth at least twice that amount.
Worst Move: Vurnon Anita – Figures that the only significant buy they made was their worst move. I feel like they expected to lose Tiote but the big offer never came. Now they’re stuck with a surplus player that they overspent on.
6 Swansea City – Let’s ignore the fact that Swansea are 2nd and let’s ignore the £2m purchase of Michu: Swansea are thieves. Joe Allen is not worth £15m and Scott Sinclair is not worth £6.2m. Swansea haven’t made the best purchases (aside from Michu) but they did really well in holding onto their actual stars while overselling their false ones.
Best Move: Michu – This is a tough one because they really did rob Liverpool (the irony) with the Joe Allen deal. Michu has already paid for himself and will get better with time. For next to nothing, he could be the biggest value of the season.
Worst Move: Gylfi Sigurdsson – They were always going to have a tough time keeping their player of the year from last year and losing out to Tottenham was really sad news for Swansea fans. They fought for Sigurdsson, so give them credit, but he really was a lot better than most of the squad.
7. West Brom – For a smaller club with a new manager, they did really well. The big story for them was bringing in £13m striker Romelu Lukaku in on loan, but they added a few more nice pieces, including a dirt-cheap Claudio Yacob and another loan talent, Goran Popov. Some really nice business conducted.
Best Move: Romelu Lukaku – It’s not everyday a club like West Brom has such an incredible talent at their disposal. West Brom supporters have been going crazy, as have the coaching staff. There have been only incredible reviews for the player that “comes from the Bridge” and is “built like a fridge.”
Worst Move: Ben Foster – The coaching staff had one chance to splurge and they spent it on Foster. Foster is an okay goal keeper but he’s proven he’s not Premier League class. At 29 and £4m, they should have looked abroad for their own Michel Vorm.
8. Sunderland – Sunderland really decided to go all-out this transfer window by spending £24m. It’s debatable whether Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson are worth all that money but it’s a good idea for them to get some quality in their side. Danny Rose is not a bad last minute pick-up either.
Best Move: Adam Johnson – Johnson just was not Mancini’s cup of tea. Johnson is a dazzling, if not frustrating player at times. City fans knew he was capable of the fantastic but also saw some real lows. Take pressure (and defending) off of Johnson and he could be a good investment for Sunderland.
Worst Move: Asamoah Gyan – Gyan was never going to play another game at Sunderland – that’s nothing new. The issue I have with Sunderland letting him go for £6m is that he still had two years left on his contract. It would have been in their best interest to make more money off another loan deal. They probably just wanted to cash in and end the nightmare.
9. QPR – It’s extremely tough to decide what to think of QPR’s dealings. They signed so many big names. These are Champions League winners. The huge names they picked up for free include Rob Green, Andy Johnson, Junior Holiett, Fabio (on loan) and Jose Bosingwa. They also paid next to nothing for Park Ji-Sung, Esteban Granero and Julio Cesar. Did other teams just not want these players?
Best Move: Joey Barton – It doesn’t matter how talented a player like Barton is, he is toxic for a team. He was suspended for 12 games anyway and he was probably going to cost QPR more points than he would gain for them. That deal needed to be done.
Worst Move: Jose Bosingwa – Bosingwa was test trialed at a few French teams as well as some smaller teams in the middle of nowhere. They didn’t pick him up. That should have been a major warning sign. He was bailed out by a strong Chelsea defense last year. Bosingwa won’t have that luxury again this year.
10. Manchester United – It is really hard to put United in the top 10 because Fergie might have endured the most frustrating transfer window ever. Losing out on Hazard and Lucas made him look bad, but the loss of Pogba and Fryers made him look even worse. By the end, his activity consisted entirely of rolling the dice on RvP, Powell and Buttner. The dice are often kind to Fergie though.
Best Move: Shinji Kagawa – Hands down a great pick-up. The fee was believed to be £11m or something along those lines. Fergie settled for Kagawa after losing Hazard, but Kagawa is a great second prize. He was let go cheap by BVB because of Gotze and Reus. This move was by far their saving grace.
Worst Move: Paul Pogba/Ezekiel Fryers – Pogba was the gem of the United academy a few years ago. The guy has incredible potential and a brilliant game. Fryers was another up and coming star with great potential. Fergie let both of their contracts expire and they walked away for nothing. Fergie didn’t hide his anger with losing either player.
11. West Ham – All the attention paid to West Ham will be on Andy Carroll and rightfully so. People would be foolish to call Andy Carroll a “bad player” – he just never found his feet at Liverpool. He’s still young and has a few English caps. There is more to their activity but Andy Carroll will grab all the headlines.
Best Move: Matt Jarvis – It’s hard to evaluate a “good player” on a “bad team” like Jarvis was with Wolves last season. He’s about to hit his best and he has better talent around him at West Ham than he did at Wolves last season. He was a costly buy, but a solid one nonetheless.
Worst Move: Rob Green – Swapping Green for Jaaselainen and Stephen Henderson is a little curious. Green is definitely the best goal keeper out of the three but West Ham went backwards on this move. It looks like goal keeping might be a liability this season for West Ham.
12. Wigan – The focus around Wigan was Victor Moses’ transfer to Chelsea but some nice signings like Ryo Miyaichi (loan) and Arouna Kone slipped under the radar. Wigan have come out and said that Moses could not be replaced at Wigan. He was simply too good. They will have a long season ahead of them if they can’t replace him, though.
Best Move: Ryo Miyaichi – There probably were more than a few suitors for Miyaichi but Wigan won the loan deal. Arsenal seem to think very highly of him, as do Bolton fans. He’ll likely be the guy they expect to fill Moses’ shoes, and has a tough task ahead of him.
Worst Move: Victor Moses – Wigan seem really torn up about the transfer. After initially demanding a £10m fee for him, they settled for around £9m. The problem is, relegation will cost them much more than the £9m they made from selling him. If they stay up, it wasn’t a poor move.
13. Reading – I’m not sold on Chris Gunther or Danny Guthrie being prized signings but I am sold on Pavel Pogrebnyak being a solid contributor to their squad. It doesn’t seem like Reading had a lot of money to work with this window and worked early to be prepared for the season. Not a bad way to invest.
Best Move: Pavel Pogrebnyak – The guy was pretty decent for Fulham. There were some contract issues and that led to Reading swooping in for free. He should be one of their best players, having plenty of experience for the Russian National Team.
Worst Move: N/A – There really wasn’t a bad move on Reading’s behalf. There wasn’t enough transfer activity.
14. Southampton – Pundits are putting down Southampton for not spending enough money but Gaston Ramirez is an absolutely fantastic signing for them. People have compared it to the Tevez move to West Ham. It’s nice to see a nice phenomenal young talent at a small club. Adding Steven Davies from Rangers is also a nice pick-up.
Best Move: Luke Shaw- Arsenal and Chelsea fans are going to be disappointed this move didn’t go through because he will only be “club-trained” for Southampton now. Teams were lining up £4m+ bids for the 17-year-old. He will be worth triple that amount in a few years. Keeping him was extremely important.
Worst Move: Spending – Southampton are one of the favorites to get relegated. Ramirez is a very nice pick-up but he’s in another class from the rest of the team. Southampton should have either backed it up with more deals or just used the £12m on getting a couple good players.
15. Arsenal – Selling Robin van Persie with one year left on his contract, good. Selling Robin van Persie to one of your biggest rivals, bad. They also watched Alex Song leave, and they didn’t bother to replace either player. There must be a shortage French 12 year-olds for Wenger to sign.
Best Move: Santi Cazorla – No second thoughts to this one, he’s definitely worth the money. He’s a brilliant player with some nice speed. He fits into the Arsenal system and has already proven he will be the heartbeat of the team. He will have a huge burden to carry until Wilshere can come back and help (if he’s ever fit again).
Worst Move: Alex Song/RvP – Good for Arsenal. They got more money then they should have for both of these players given the circumstances. The problem was, they didn’t spend the money or replace these players. There was no attempt to replace Song and Giroud is very similar to Emirates flop Chamakh. Arsenal fans will be disappointed.
16. Stoke City – Stoke made some surprisingly high-level signings this transfer window, including a former Arsenal target, Steven N’Zonzi, at the deadline. They also added Americans Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu to go with Liverpool flop Charlie Adam. While it sounds good on paper, they’re not really plugging their holes.
Best Move: Geoff Cameron – Cameron seems like a natural fit for Stoke given his size. He was pretty cheap (£2.5m) and has put in some pretty good performances recently. Stoke are a very defensive team and Cameron has a very good shot of breaking into the first team.
Worst Move: Michael Kightly – A case can be made for Charlie Adam but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Kightly isn’t a Stoke player. They might be trying to change their system but it requires a lot more than one player. It’s tough to say what role Kightly will play this season.
17. Liverpool – Apparently Liverpool didn’t learn their lesson with Downing, Henderson, Adam, Carroll and so many others. You shouldn’t take a risk on unproven players. Rodgers is a smart manager but one of the biggest dangers of managing a new team is buying your old players at expensive costs. He fell into that trap twice.
Best Move: Nuri Sahin – The guy is a super talent. Beating out Arsenal for him might be their biggest victory of the year. He struggled to break into Madrid’s XI, but he’s still one of the best players at his position in the world. He might need to shake off some rust but he will be a tough player for opposing teams.
Worst Move: Joe Allen – £15m…..wow. The guy is honestly valuated at around £3.5m. Rodgers would likely admit that Sigurdsson was his best player last year and Spurs paid half the price (£8m) for the better player that’s the same age. Allen is an average player at best. This has worst buy of the season written all over it.
18. Fulham – Things were looking so good for Fulham and then Dembele played well against Manchester United. Losing Pogrebnyak for nothing was a tough loss but Dembele was one of their best players and Dempsey made their lives hell. Berbatov is also a very odd transfer move. No one really knows that to make of that transfer yet.
Best Move: Moussa Dembele- The guy is terrific but they did oversell him to Spurs. Tottenham supporters seem to think they got a steal but Dembele’s value tops out at about £12m. They didn’t replace him, and they should have, but they might be able to invest that money one day if things go well.
Worst Move: Clint Dempsey – Ohhhh Dempsey. Fulham would find a team and you wouldn’t move. Dempsey was Fulham’s best player for a few years now but he let that go to his head. He sorta got what he wanted but Fulham lost a lot of money given Dempsey’s actual market value, as well as some of their pride.
19. Aston Villa – Villa spent over £20m on players but not a single one is an incredible buy. That money was spent on a bunch of players most people have never heard of, including a third of that on 21-year-old Christian Benteke. They didn’t do themselves a lot of good in the transfer window with some very odd moves.
Best Move: N/A – It’s so odd that a team can make so many moves that defy logic. Who are these people that they bought and how did they manage to spend so much money? Benteke may be a bright talent but he’s valued at around £3m.
Worst Move: Jordan Bowery – This one just makes no sense. Bowery scored eight goals in 40 appearances last year…..in League Two. Why would they pay for a striker that couldn’t find the back of the net in the 4th division and expect him to score in the 1st division. Wow.
20. Norwich – It looks like Norwich has a legitimate shot at finishing as the lowest goal scoring team this season. All they did was buy defensive-minded players. I understand that Fulham put five past them, but they also didn’t score in that game. Grant Holt might get lucky and score another 15 this season, but those might be 90% of their goals scored.
Best Move: Steven Whittaker – Another player from the Rangers liquidation sale. He’s a very serviceable right back and will bring in some good experience for the team. He’s not going to set the league on fire but he will help a pretty weak team.
Worst Move: Sebastien Bassong – I’m sure AVB is laughing somewhere that he was able to get rid of a player he didn’t want without any retaliation. Bassong seemed like a good player once….but he’s not. I guess Norwich felt like he had good experience, but he fought a losing cause to help Wolves get relegated last seaon.