August 8, 2022

The Lakeside News

The Lake Region Writers

So far, who wins the window?

With two weeks remaining before the league starts, which team amongst the traditional top four teams has had the best window yet? Let’s delve into each one of them.

A deal has been agreed upon.

CHELSEA.

What did they need? 

For a team that won the UEFA Champions League in the last edition, it’s not easy to improve further, right?  Chelsea does have a very strong squad, not just their first eleven but also their options off the bench. You’d agree that Chelsea does not have a lot of areas to improve, but the single area that’s blatantly open for improvement for the Cobham blues is the striker position. With the consistent inconsistency of Timo Werner in front of goal and Tommy Tuchel’s lack of belief in Tammy Abraham, Chelsea often found themselves having to rely on goals from midfield and defence. They also got into periods where they had to shoehorn Kai Havertz into that position because the alternatives were akin to serving hot tea in a mug made of chocolate.

In this window, Chelsea is yet to address this issue, they’ve seen several bids for Erling Haaland turned down by Dortmund and recently, their approach for Inter’s Romelu Lukaku, albeit only one, yet, has been rebuffed.

Chelsea also needed some defensive reinforcements in light of Azpilicueta slowly turning grey. They sought to, and continue to seek to address this. Achraf Hakimi was their initial target, the marauding wingback would have allowed Reece James to permanently assume the role of a right-sided centre back in Tuchel’s back five(or three). That ship sailed though as Hakimi chose Paris St. Germain. Chelsea is now hot on the heels of Jules Kunde and a deal will see him join as a direct Azpilicueta replacement in the first eleven, leaving Reece James and Azpilicueta as the designated right wingbacks.

What have they got?

The only first-team signing for Chelsea so far this season is goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli whose contract expired at Fulham. The goalkeeper will replace Willy Caballero who left Chelsea as a free agent, basically being the third choice after Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Who has left?

Some academy graduates have left Chelsea on loan, highly rated Billy Gilmour has joined Norwich, with Nathan Baxter joining Hull City and Juan Castillo joining Birmingham. First team departures include the evergreen Olivia Giroud and Fikayo Tomori who have joined the Rossoneri and Willy Caballero who was released by the club.

Verdict?

Chelsea still has it all to do this window, the areas they seek to bolster are yet to be tended to and they will have to dig in deep into Roman’s pockets to get some things moving. 2/10

 

MANCHESTER CITY

What did they need? 

City, just like Chelsea did not need too much in the transfer window. After a season which can be said to be their best yet, where they won the EFL League Cup, The League title and also reached their maiden UCL final, the only area that seemed to be up for improvement for the Citizens was the striking position. This is after Aguero’s legendary stint came to an end. Gabriel Jesus does not seem to be of the calibre considered elite enough to lead such a world-class team. City’s attempts to improve their striking options have not yet borne fruits as Spurs’ Daniel Levy proves to be as hard as he’s ever been in rebuffing City’s advances towards Englishman Harry Kane, but this saga still has a lot of twists before it is closed.

What have they got?

City’s only acquisition so far this window is goalkeeper Scott Carson, a free agent from Derby County. Also, they look likely to complete a deal for Jack Grealish, one of the best players in the league.

Who has left?

Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia have both left on a free to join Barcelona. Lukas Nmecha has also joined Wolfburg permanently and there also are a flurry of loan releases for academy players.

Verdict?

The city does need to get a striker but will they still go after another prospective record signing English transfer of Harry Kane if/when they complete the Grealish deal?  Let’s wait and see. 3/10

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

What did they need? 

Unlike Chelsea and City, United had many areas to improve in after the close of last season. The areas included central defence, right-wing and midfield(defensive). United came unstuck severally last season due to the weak defensive partnership of skipper Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof. Although it was United’s strongest partnership, they still were not good enough to consistently guard their goalkeepers against the opposition’s attackers. They needed to inject some pace into that pairing. The red devils also needed a central defensive midfielder that would help the defensive structure of the team since the infamous McFred combination often got exposed on the ball and off it. The midfield also needed to improve its ball-handling capabilities as their existing preferred set of central midfielders, bar the inconsistent Pogba, have the first touch of a brick wall. Man United also needed an all-out right-winger to balance out their attacking flanks, as opposing defences often overloaded United’s left side as it was by far their most dangerous side.

What have they got?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 23: New signing Jadon Sancho of Manchester United is unveiled at Carrington Training Ground on July 23, 2021, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

So far, United have solved most of their problems from last season. Jadon Sancho, the highly-rated winger from Dortmund, addresses the issue of the right wing for the M16 club while the imminent arrival of Raphael Varane, a certified winner who has conquered almost every competition for club and country, looks like a player that will surely complement Maguire, at least on paper. United have also acquired Tom Heaton, the former Burnley goalkeeper who has United roots from his academy days. He will effectively replace Sergio Romero who was released by the club.

Who has left?

Sergio Romero has been released by the club while Joel Pereira, Arnau Puigmal and Aliuo Traore have also been released on free transfers. Several academy kids including Bishop, Chong and Bernard have left on loan.

Verdict?

United have addressed most of their issues and might even be the top team to have done the most this transfer window. That being said, they still have some dealings to make it a perfect window. 6/10

 

ARSENAL

What did they need? 

Arsenal had a rather indifferent season where they were marred by subpar performances in almost every area of the pitch. The only position that we can say had a bit of an okay season was left-back, with Kieran Tierney proving a formidable asset to Arsenal’s squad. With that being said, Arsenal went into this transfer window looking to improve in most areas of the pitch, but the defence was their main Achilles Heel. They needed to release a lot of players and get in some who would be considered improvements. They also needed to revamp their midfield and revitalize their attack. Other than that, they needed to hold onto their up and coming talent as with Arsenal, it is never a foregone conclusion that their best players will remain at the club. One can also say that they needed some managerial changes, but that is a topic for another day.

What have they got?

With left-back being one of their strongest positions, the addition of the vastly talented Nuno Tavares will further affirm that position as one of the best at Arsenal. Sambi Lokonga improves Arsenal’s midfield and Benjamin White moves The Gunners’ defence up a level, albeit slightly.

Who has left?

David Luiz is the most notable departure, much to the joy of many Arsenal fans. A flurry of academy departures, both permanently and on loan, has also happened.

Verdict?

Arsenal has had a silent but low-key good window so far. They’ve improved their defence and midfield but most importantly, they’ve kept some of their important players that were linked with moves away from the club like Granit Xhaka and Emile Smith Rowe. One or two more signings for the gunners and it will be a very good window. 7/10.

 

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