This article will assign grades to each Premier League’s team summer transfer window. These grades are not based on the quality of the teams themselves, but rather how they did in buying and selling players in order to improve (or in some cases worsen) their squads.
Arsenal (B+): Adding Willian, Gabriel, and Thomas Partey were all good moves for an Arsenal team with immense attacking skill. However, this team is still limited in its midfield and defensive depth. Who’s their second-best midfielder after Partey? Ozil (who has not featured much recently) or perhaps Granit Xhaka? Arsenal could certainly pull something off going into a season that appreast to be wide open. This window certainly helped but losing out on Houssem Aouar in the midfield may come back to haunt them. Their best bit of business was extending Aubameyang’s contract.
Aston Villa (B+): Villa have strengthened where needed by signing a keeper (Emiliano Martínez) and findings support for Jack Grealish (Ollie Watkins, Adam Traoré and Ross Barkley). While not being huge names, they will help them in their bid to stay up and thrive in the Premier League. Perhaps it would have been wise to sign a top defender which would take Villa from a team fighting off relegation towards a mid-table side. Their best move was surely extending Jack Grealish’s contract on a 5-year deal.
Brighton (C+): Lallana and Tariq Lamptey (perhaps one of the baingans of the window) are both solid additions to this squad. Getting Ben White back from loan bolsters Brighton’s defence also. However, losing Aaron Mooy, Shane Duffy, and Glenn Murray is not great (especially given their experience). Could they have added more quality? Yes. Are they in a worse position than last season? No. In this league, not improving your squad can come back to bite you (look at Watford last season), however it seems Brighton has done just maintain its position (hovering above relegation).
Burnley (D): Poor Burnley, their squad looks essentially the same with no new additions to their starting XI. As mentioned above, this likely will not bode well for them going forward. They should have added some players to their midfield and attack. Only time will tell regarding how this season unfolds for them (perhaps not too well).
Chelsea (A): On signings alone, Chelsea exceeded their fans’ expectations. They have added depth all over the pitch, meaning they now have one of the strongest squads in the league. Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner all bolster the attack, while Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy shore up the defence and keeper positions. With plenty of options to experiment with, manager Frank Lampard now has to find his best starting XI.
Crystal Palace (C+): Adding Eberechi Eze and Michi Batshuayi (albeit on loan) certainly help to improve the team going forward and as well as take pressure off Wilfried Zaha. Adding some more overall depth may have been a good idea (as their squad is fairly small), but rumour has it that Saïd Benrahma is heading their way (which would bump them up half a grade). With Roy Hodgson at the helm, it unlikely Palace will go down.
Everton (A): Possibly the best transfer window by any team and certainly the one which changed the squad the most. Key additions include an entirely new midfield of James Rodriguez, Allan, and Abdoulaye Doucouré. Signing the young and promising Ben Godfrey to add depth at the back was also crucial. With the experienced and successful Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, this squad can easily break into the top six.
Fulham (D): Unfortunately, the worst team in the league also had arguably the worst transfer window. They added very little class (their best additions being Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Alfophonse Areola) to a team which limped into the League to begin with. Also, why they added Areola (a keeper), in one of the positions they were already strong in, is puzzling. The squad needs a major overhaul to compete in the league and clearly no investment was made to do so.
Leeds (B+): They were already a very solid team and probably the best promoted team since Wolves a few years ago. The additions up front of Rodrigo, Raphinha, and Hélder Cost bolster a squad with defensive depth (hopefully the signing of Robin Koch can help fill the void left by Ben White returning to Brighton). This was a team that knew what they needed and as a result now has an extremely solid squad.
Leicester (B): Leicester’s outgoings are just as impressive as their new signings. Selling Chilwell and replacing him for Timothy Castagne (who so far has filled in seamlessly) for a fraction of the price was brilliant business. They added depth in defence with Wesley Fofana (although he is slightly inexperienced). Perhaps one oversight would be not aquiring more attacking depth, especially for the aging Jamie Vardy. Leicester’s team is good, but their depth is a concern and injuries to the wrong players could spell trouble (especially given the hectic Europa League schedule). Expect some movement from them in the winter window, but it would have been nice to see higher-ups in the club back manager Brendan Rodgers more going into this season.
Liverpool (B+): Liverpool finally added some quality backup to their front three in Diogo Jota, strengthened in midfield with the world class Thiago and acquired cover for the fullbacks in Kostas Tsimikas. This team has the depth and quality to stay at the top, but their defence has appeared shaky so far. If this continues, a partner for Virgil Van Dijk will most likely be brought in. Some may say this grade is too high, but this is one of the best teams in the world, let’s not forget their dominance the last two years. In terms of transfers, they have covered their blind spots (except for a backup goalkeeper, especially after their 7-2 loss to Villa).
Manchester City (D): After being rumoured to have almost signed Messi over the summer, one would think Man City knew where they needed depth. They added two quality centre backs (which were much needed) and a winger in Ferran Torres. But come on, they were going for Messi. No consolation player? They lost one of the best players in their squad in David Silva as well Leroy Sane on the wing and provided no amplereplacement. Furthermore, Sergio Aguero is a year older and more injury prone than ever. They have a good team and Pep Guardiola cannot be counted out, but instead of closing in on Liverpool, it seems they may have fallen further behind. It is likely there will be some signings for Man City in the winter window.
Manchester United (D): Signing Telles at full back and Cavani up front (a desperate consolation signing, but a solid and experienced one nonetheless) are good signings, however that is where the good signings end. They signed attacking midfielder Donny Van de Beek to provide cover for a position where they already have plenty of players. What did United really need? A dominant enforcer to play at the base of midfield and a top-quality centre back. It will be interesting to see how United’s season turns out, what but you cannot fix everything with duct tape. This could have been the transfer window to propel United back to the top, but it was not to be.
Newcastle (A-): Newcastle made some great signings: Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson up top, Jeff Hendrick in the midfield and Jamal Lewis at the back. Furthermore, they did not lose any key players. This window was subtly fantastic for them and they are a team that improved a lot, which is not something many teams can say. Steve Bruce’s style fits this team well, so Newcastle could perhaps be the squad to surprise fans this season.
Sheffield (D): Although Sheffield added the young Rhian Brewster to help their attack, it seems too much responsibility will be put his shoulders. Sheffield has been bargain-hunting, but after their poor form in the restart, this seems not to have been a wise move. Aaron Ramsdale is a solid keeper, but will not bring the protection Dean Henderson offered last season. These signs point towards a drop in form this season.
Southampton (B): Adding Theo Walcott in attack, Ibrahima Diallo to replace Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in midfield and shoring up some of their defence is solid work. Southampton is young and fierce, but unproven. This could work to their benefit, their detriment, or both. Overall, spending their money wisely resulted in Southampton making some solid moves without paying much.
Tottenham (A): After years of thrifty spending, Spurs splashed out for manager Jose Mourinho in the transfer market. Their additions add incredible depth to their squad: Joe Hart as a backup keeper, two new fullbacks in Sergio Reguilón and Matt Doherty, a fantastic holding midfielder in Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, bringing back Gareth Bale and finally providing Harry Kane some cover with Carlos Vinícius (the Portuguese league’s highest scorer last year). All of this whilst losing nobody significant, means Tottenham now possess the depth to step up and maybe win some trophies. After an almost a perfect transfer window, Mourinho should be very pleased with his players.
West Brom (D): The newly promoted side have certainly added some depth in Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana, but that is about as far as quality-added goes (Branislav Ivanović is just too old). This team looks destined face a relegation battle this season and the transfer window did little to change that, there is just a huge lack of quality across the board.
West Ham (F): Whilst West Ham’s team may not deserve an F, their transfer window certainly does. West Ham added nobody of note (aside from Tomáš Souček who they signed on loan). They also lost Felipe Anderson on loan and young talent Grady Diangana. Furthermore, they released Jack Wilshere meaning they lack further depth. West Ham needed the quality striker they have spent the last few years looking for and once again failed to sign one. The team definitely lost quality over the summer, however the squad remains decent and David Moyes is a top manager.
Wolverhampton (C): Losing Matt Doherty at wing back and replacing him with Nélson Semedo could be said to be a fair exchange or perhaps an upgrade. However, on the other hand, Wolves sold striker Diogo Jota and replaced him with the untested Fábio Silva (who has less than 20 senior games to his name). Wolves already had a squad on the smaller-side, and they failed to add much-needed depth in attack and midfield especially. An all-round upgrade in quality is likely needed for them to mix it among the other big names in the top six.