For years, the Premier League has had a set top six. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur have always interchanged the first six places among them.
Although times have changed somewhat with big teams underperforming, and the rise of the likes of Wolves and Leicester City who now challenge for these positions, the 'big six' remain ahead of others in terms of monetary power and squad quality.
Let's look at the transfer business conducted by these clubs, in order from worst to best.
#6 Manchester United
United went into the window needing a RW, a CB, and a CDM. They came out of it with signings that do not fulfil any of the criteria. The signings of Alex Telles and Donny Van de Beek are good, but they are not signings United needed.
United failed to land their top target as identified by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jadon Sancho. The Sancho transfer saga went on all summer, but Borussia Dortmund remained adamant and did not sell the player below their asking price which Manchester United were unwilling to pay. The signings of two 18-year-old wingers instead will not appease fans.
This might be a little harsh considering that Liverpool signed one of the best midfielders in the world. But there were some missed opportunities for the Reds. They only bought Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota to deepen their squad depth.
With teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal buying multiple players to strengthen their weaknesses, the defending champions needed more reinforcements to launch a title defence.
Liverpool's squad is a bit thin, and their flaws were out for everyone to see as Aston Villa smacked them 7-2 before the international break.
#4 Manchester City
City has had a decent window. They replaced the outgoing Leroy Sane with the very talented Ferran Torres for cheap. However, they again brought out the big bucks for defenders, signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias as CB options.
While these are good signings, it remains to be seen if City will regret not getting their first two choices at the right-footed CB spot - Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Sevilla's Jules Kounde. However, their signings are quite astute and fit in nicely into the squad, and might just help them get past Liverpool.
Under Arteta, Arsenal finally looks like they have a proper project. They have made good signings this window. They got Willian on a free transfer (albeit on massive wages), signed Cedric and Pablo Mari permanently, and re-signed Dani Ceballos on loan. They also signed Brazilian CB Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille, who will no doubt improve their shaky defence.
The icing on the cake was getting a long time target Thomas Partey from Atletico, a world-class central midfielder. He can break down attacks with ease, and can create chances out of nothing. They also replaced the outgoing Emi Martinez with Alex Runarsson from Dijon.
#2 Tottenham Hotspur
Finally, after quite a long time, Spurs seem to have had a great window. They made 5 signings, and for a change all of them make sense. Joe Hart was brought in as a third keeper, bringing with him tonnes of experience. The second signing was that of Pierre Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton as a destroyer in the middle of the park. So far he's looked great and has successfully liberated the very talented Tanguy Ndombele from the shackles of last season.
Sergio Reguilon is probably the best signing of the lot. He's a young left-back who has the potential of being world-class, and will straight away be one of the best in his position in the league. Carlos Vinicius is an underrated signing who will provide good cover and be a rotation option for Harry Kane. Although he's not as highly touted as some other big names, he was the top scorer in the Portuguese league last season.
Then comes the big one. Gareth Bale returns to North London, to the club where he arguably played his best football. While it is a transfer that has a lot of risks, Mourinho will be hoping that regular game time and the genuine adoration from the Spurs faithful will provide a contrast to Bale's time at Real Madrid. If Mourinho can bring out Bale's best form, it will be hard to stop him this season.
Not a single team in the world has had a better window than Chelsea. They replaced the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga with Edouard Mendy from Rennes. They also brought in the hugely experienced Thiago Silva and the raw, talented Malang Sarr, both on free deals.
Ben Chilwell from Leicester was overpriced, but still is an upgrade on what the Blues had at LB. But is their signings up front that take them to the No. 1 spot. Hakim Ziyech arrived after having signed a pre-contract earlier. He is a fantastic player, and his performances in the Eredivisie and the Champions League have been outstanding.
Lampard also brought in the young Bundesliga duo of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. Both Germans had been tearing the Bundesliga apart, and will definitely be among the best in their positions over the next 6-7 years.
Published 09 Oct 2020, 18:37 IST