The English Premier League 2020 summer transfer saga
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic around, football returned to action in June and fans finally got something to bank on.
However, a lot of teams had plans to rebuild from the scratch at the beginning of the 2020-21 season but were afraid of the fact that the market will be down as almost every club had been affected financially due to the pandemic.
The English top-flight though didn’t show any signs of holding back. In fact, this transfer window was one of the most speculated and talked about compared to the past three to four years.
The league not only saw many high profile players coming in but also witnessed the spending power of several clubs. Out of the top six, Chelsea were the most active party in the business and they did not shy away from anything.
Having undergone a transfer ban for two windows, the Blues made sure that proper shopping was done before they could set on the pitch to challenge for the title.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds looked like planning another season of no transfers to prove their supremacy but they were constantly linked to two-three players in the window. Let’s see how the clubs fared in their transfer window.
It started with the Reds bidding farewell to players to make room for their new signings to come. Adam Lallana was sold to Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer.
Dejan Lovren was also sold to Zenit for about £10m. Back-up for their explosive full-back was bought. Konstantinos Tsimikas, another left-back joined the Reds from Olympiacos.
However, these were not the transfers Liverpool fans were waiting for. The Reds were rooting for the UCL champions and a phenomenal mid-fielder Thiago Alcantara to arrive but reports had emerged that the player might stay, while some reports mentioned Manchester United to be bidding for the player too.
The midfielder did make a move to Anfield, while Manchester United kept negotiating about his wages. Soon after, Liverpool showed interest in Wolves forward Diogo Jota and within a few days, the Portuguese became a Red.
Players like Rhian Brewster and Loris Karius with uncertain futures were sold and loaned respectively.
2. Manchester City
After a big let down in the 2019-20 season, Pep was ready for the reinforcements. Before that happened, Leroy Sane completed his move to Bayern Munich.
Guardiola wanted an instant replacement and the result was Ferran Torres’ signing from Valencia. The winger was under Pep’s radar for a while and as an opportunity arrived, the player was signed.
Centre-backs were also a huge concern last season and thus, Pep signed Nathan Ake from the recently relegated Bournemouth as an enormous upgrade for the defender. Angelino was loaned to RB Leipzig, while Nicolas Otamendi departed after some beautiful achievements with the club.
The defender joined Benfica, while Pep saw barely any signs of improvement in his backline and lined up another move for a centre-back.
Tall and robust Ruben Dias was hired from Benfica to solve the defensive crisis of Pep Guardiola’s star-studded team.
3. Leicester City
The Foxes were among the most disappointing clubs towards the end of the 2019-20 season as they missed the top four spots after being there for almost the entire season.
Perhaps, it was time for some business. Timothy Castagne, an impressive full-back from Atalanta was brought to the King Power Stadium to make room for Ben Chilwell to depart.
The Brendan Rodgers side also succeeded in their efforts to bring Cengiz Under from Roma after weeks of negotiations.
The Blues were the dictators of the transfer window in the Premier League. Lampard welcomed a wide range of players under his circle and some pretty big names made their way to the Stamford Bridge.
It all began with Hakim Ziyech making a move from Ajax. RB Leipzig’s superstar Timo Werner also snubbed champions Liverpool to make commitments with Frank Lampard.
Chelsea also signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, while veteran Willian departed on a free transfer to the Gunners.
Everyone thought that they were done but with every passing week, Chelsea had new targets and the personal terms barely took any time to be agreed.
While Pedro moved to Roma on a free transfer too, another Bundesliga superstar made his way to the Premier League. Kai Havertz arrived at the Bridge from Bayer Leverkusen on a big-money move. While permitting a number of players to leave on a free transfer, Chelsea finally signed an experienced player on a free transfer.
The 36-year-old Thiago Silva signed for the Blues from PSG to solve their defensive problems, while Chelsea also signed a Kepa replacement Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
Malang Sarr was signed too but he will join the Blues in the next season. However, irrespective of the impact the transferred players have had until now, Chelsea did do a lot of business in the market this season.
5. Tottenham Hotspur
It was a delightful window for Jose Mourinho, especially after the strong reluctance of the Manchester United board to back him. Tottenham showed full trust and support to the Special One and signed some really good players this season.
It started with Jan Vertonghen leaving as a free agent. Spurs then signed Matt Doherty from Wolves and took a huge step in building their backline.
Joe Hart signed as a free agent too. However, it was time for something big. Jose Mourinho shared his desire to welcome Gareth Bale, answering a question in an interview after Bale’s agent revealed that the Welsh would love a comeback.
Just after Mourinho’s interview, things speeded up and what was considered only as a rumor, came to be true. Bale joined Spurs, not only increasing the star value of the English top-flight but also enhancing Mourinho’s attack as the Portuguese wishes to build a high-tempo counter-attacking team.
Sergio Reguilon, a transfer prospect of Manchester United was signed by Mourinho too, while United faced something that Chelsea did when Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic signed for the Red Devils.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was one of the key signings Mourinho made, perhaps a very underrated one. Spurs also signed Vinicius from Benfica as a back-up for Harry Kane.
6. Manchester United
United were one of the very few clubs who did their maximum business on the deadline day. However, the Red Devils were also one of the clubs that loaned or sold a huge amount of players.
Tahith Chong joined Werder Bremen on loan, Alexis Sanchez joined Inter on a permanent transfer, James Garner was loaned to Watford, while Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot were loaned to Lazio and AC Milan respectively.
Chris Smalling also left the club for Roma after a long service. Donny Van de Beek was the club’s first signing of the window but they had to wait a lot for the others.
The deadline day saw United Alex Telles joining in from Porto, Edinson Cavani from PSG, Amad Diallo Traore from Atalanta, and Facundo Pellistri from Club Atletico Penarol.
Mikel Arteta had some valuable additions to his arsenal as well. The biggest deal for the Gunners was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new contract.
The team also signed Gabriel from Lille, Willian from Chelsea, Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon, and finally Thomas Partey, their long-term target from Atletico Madrid on the deadline day.
Apart from the top clubs, Everton empowered the star value of the Premier League too. Allan from Napoli, James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Abdoulaye Doucoure joined from Watford to Carlo Ancelotti’s squad, and the Premier League table is the proof of how effectively Ancelotti has managed his side.
To conclude the window, the Premier League spent a total of £1.25bn with Chelsea spending £226.1m, Manchester City spending £147m while the others spent below £100m.
Featured image credits- skysports.com