LONDON (AFP) – Premier League clubs embarked on a final flurry of spending on Monday before the international transfer window slammed shut.
Manchester United and Arsenal made the biggest headlines on deadline day with deals for Edinson Cavani and Thomas Partey respectively.
AFP Sport looks at how the top teams fared in the summer market:
What do you give the manager who has everything?
Heading into the final days of the transfer window, it seemed Jurgen Klopp’s desires had been well catered for as he bolstered a squad that powered to the title last term and won the Champions League just two seasons ago.
Klopp’s headline addition was Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who arrived from Bayern Munich in a GBP20 million (USD25 million) swoop.
The Reds boss also spent GBP41 million on Wolves forward Diogo Jota, while Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas arrived from Olympiakos as back-up for Andrew Robertson.
But Sunday’s astonishing 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa has cast a fresh spotlight on Liverpool’s squad and the glare wasn’t entirely flattering.
Liverpool have conceded 11 goals in just four league games this season, with Joe Gomez looking especially vulnerable amid suggestions Klopp should have brought in a centre-back to provide competition for the berth alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence.
Frustrated by the defensive deficiencies that ruined City’s bid for a third successive title last season, Pep Guardiola spent over GBP100 million on a pair of centre-backs.
Nathan Ake was signed from Bournemouth for GBP41 million, but after the Dutch international was part of a back four that conceded five goals at home to Leicester, Guardiola decided to double down on the position with a GBP61 million move from Benfica’s Ruben Dias.
Dias is regarded as a natural leader and he will need to live up to that billing as City have looked bereft of organisation and fight since Vincent Kompany’s departure to Anderlecht last year.
Ferran Torres’s GBP20 million arrival from Valencia seemed an extravagance given City’s wealth of options on the flanks.
Lurching from one bungled deal to another, United endured a troubled transfer window that added to boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems on the pitch.
United’s third place finish last season raised hopes of a big leap forward fuelled by a host of star signings, but instead they became embroiled in a protracted and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho.
Ed Woodward, who takes the lead on United’s transfer deals, also failed to land Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish and Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.
Signing former Paris Saint Germain striker Edinson Cavani, 33, on a free transfer on deadline day smacked of desperation and did little to appease frustrated fans still fuming after Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham.
Porto left-back Alex Telles also arrived on Monday for GBP13.5 million, but neither he nor Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, who joined for GBP40 million in the close-season, are likely to set pulses racing.
Snap judgement suggests Frank Lampard was the window’s big winner.
Looking to close the gap on Liverpool, Lampard convinced Blues owner Roman Abramovich to bankroll a GBP200 million spree that landed German forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, Leicester defender Ben Chilwell, Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy, plus Thiago Silva on a free transfer.
Whether Lampard will be able to gel those new signings into a cohesive unit is the question that will define Chelsea’s season as a success or failure.
THE CHASING PACK
The teams hoping to break into the top four all strengthened their cases with some astute deals.
Arsenal met a GBP45 million release clause to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey just minutes before the deadline, a deal that followed their signings of Chelsea winger Willian and Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes earlier in the window.
The return of prodigal son Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid was a coup for Tottenham, who also signed Matt Doherty, Sergio Reguilon and Pierre- Emile Hojbjerg.
Unbeaten table toppers Everton have been revitalised by the arrival of Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, while Carlo Ancelotti’s rebuild included deals for Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Ben Godfrey and Robin Olsen.