Transfers In – Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Owen Hargreaves, Costel Pantilmon, Stefan Savic
Transfers Out – James Poole, Andrew Tutte, Donald Mcdermott, Scott Kay, Shaleum Logan, Jerome Boateng, Jo, Shay Given, Craig Bellamy, Shaun Wright-Phillips
This was surely the summer in which Man City went from being the nouveau rich wannabes of the
Premier League, to bona fide contenders. As well as keeping hold of captain Carlos Tevez, signing fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero has taken them to another level. Their attacking options are now the envy of world football. Samir Nasri who joined from Arsenal (eventually) adds more creativity in midfield alongside David Silva meaning that City should be much easier on the eye this season.
They have also strengthened the defence, which for me is still the most questionable area of their team. The biggest shock of the transfer window perhaps was the deadline day signing of Owen Hargreaves, although you can’t imagine him playing that often but again it only highlights the ridiculous strength in depth that City now have.
Of the departures from the Etihad this summer, only Jerome Boateng’s £15m move back to Germany was perhaps unexpected. Overall it was a fantastic summer for City and one which may be looked back at as the tipping point, where City finally caught up with their neighbours. Only time will tell.
Transfers In – Phil Jones, Ashley Young, David de Gea
Transfers Out – Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves, Bebe, Ritchie de Laet, Nicky Ajose, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Corry Evans, Gabriel Obertan, Oliver Norwood
You can criticise Sir Alex Ferguson for a lot of things, but you certainly can’t when it comes to
how he embraces change. It is very much been a transitionary summer at United. With many members of the last golden generation retiring (Van der Sar, Scholes) or simply moving on for a final payday (Brown, O’Shea), many pundits feared the worst and wondered if the next batch of youngsters would be good enough.
You have to give Sir Alex credit as he has never shied away from giving the youngsters a chance and already this season we have seen the potential of the next generation of potential United legends. They have only added three players but both Ashley Young and Phil Jones already look well worth the price tag. Young goalkeeper David de Gea has some way to go to prove that he can adequately fill Van der Sar’s boots, but he has shown signs of the quality which persuaded United to buy him.
For me, United are still setting the standard for how to run a football club and will take some catching this season. It’s a brave man who bets against them securing their 20th league title.
Transfers In – Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux, Mehdi Abeid, Gabriel Obertan, Davide Santon, Rob Elliot
Transfers Out – Sol Campbell, Shefki Kuqi, Kevin Nolan, Kazenga LuaLua, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton
It’s certainly not been an easy summer for Alan Pardew at St James Park. He has had to deal with
ruptures between the players, fans and owner Mike Ashley. First captain Kevin Nolan was sold to West Ham after Nolan claimed that Ashley reneged on a verbal contract offer, then Joey Barton decided to use Twitter to air the club’s dirty laundry in public as he battled his own contract dispute.
Barton was eventually sold to QPR and left back Jose Enrique joined Liverpool leaving Toon fans up in arms and fearing the worst for the season ahead. It’s fair to say that the club’s incomings have all been something of a gamble. Striker Demba Ba reportedly has a ticking timebomb of a knee, Gabriel Obertan has never really been given the chance to show what he can do and both Marveaux and Cabaye who have come from the French league are unproven.
Looking at the start Newcastle have made you have to say that the signs are positive, but I do still think that Newcastle lack strength in depth and are probably only a couple of injuries away from a potential crisis. Mid table would represent a good season for the Magpies, and based on what we’ve seen so far they should have the capabilities to be nowhere near the bottom six.
Transfers In – James Vaughan, Steve Morison, Elliot Bennett, Ritchie de Laet, Bradley Johnson, Anthony Pilkington, Kyle Naughton, Daniel Ayala
Transfers Out – Luke Daley, Cody McDonald, Anthony McNamee
It’s been a fairytale couple of years for Norwich City, but few have predicted that the fairytale will continue in the Premier League. They have certainly bought in numbers to boost the depth of the squad but the owners have rightly been cautious this summer. They are not willing to put the club at risk by spending money on fees and wages that they can’t afford. Many other promoted clubs have stretched themselves and then paid the price afterwards for years.
Looking at the incomings into the club, you do have concerns simply due to the lack of Premier League experience in the squad. Manager Paul Lambert has worked wonders since taking the job and while Norwich have certainly started well, I can’t help but feel that they will find it tougher to compete as the season goes on. I hope I’m wrong, but if I were a betting man Norwich would currently be in my bottom 3 come May.
[box_dark]Queens Park Rangers[/box_dark]
Transfers In – Jay Bothroyd, Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon, Bruno Perone, DJ Campbell, Brian Murphy, Joey Barton, Luke Young, Armond Traore, Tommaso Trani, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand
At 5pm on August 13th,many QPR fans must have been fearing the worst. They had just lost 4-0 at home to Bolton and the only incomings so far had been Kieron Dyer (already injured), Danny Gabbidon (scored an own goal) and Jay Bothroyd with the board seemingly unwilling to invest further in the squad.
In the week afterwards, Tony Fernandes bought the club and spent the remainder of the window trying to give the R’s a fighting chance. In the last few days of the window, they secured the signing of Joey Barton from Newcastle, and whatever you may think of him, he adds undoubted quality to their midfield. On deadline day they also secured the services of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Anton Ferdinand adding the much needed Premier League experience that I think Norwich lack.
Manager Neil Warnock will now feel that he has been properly backed now that Fernandes is at the club. I think that QPR now have every chance of remaining a Premier League club come May 2012, it won’t be easy but if the signings gel then I feel that they will have just about enough.
Transfers In – Jonathan Woodgate, Matthew Upson, Wilson Palacios, Cameron Jerome, Peter Crouch
Transfers Out – Abdoulaye Faye, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ibrahima Sonko, Carl Dickinson, Andrew Davies
As Stoke enter their fourth consecutive Premier League season, manager Tony Pulis can be
extremely pleased with how the club have progressed. They are playing in the Europa League for the first time this season and are widely predicted to finish in the top half. There is no denying that Stoke play an uncompromising and often brutal style of football, but it’s effective. Why shouldn’t they play to their strengths?
The signings this summer prove that Stoke do not plan on changing their style of football any time soon. Midfield enforcer Wilson Palacios will ensure every opposition team leaves the Britannia with a few bruises and Peter Crouch is a perfect target for Rory Delap’s long throws and their old fashioned wing play with Pennant and Etherington providing the ammunition.
Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson add bags of experience to the back four and Cameron Jerome adds increased options up-front. Overall it was a very good summer for Stoke and I think that they have the potential to challenge for the Europa League once again. It will be a tough season, and they will need to balance the demands of an increased fixture list that the Europa League brings.