Grading January signings for Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Spurs

The January transfer window has ended, and after a ton of speculation for the past few months, all of the transfers in and out have been completed.

But which top Premier League clubs did better than others? I’ve rated Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Spurs below:

 

ARSENAL
Grade: A

Transfers in (former team listed in parenthesis)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)
Konstantinos Mavropanos (PAS Giannina)

After plenty of speculation, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have been reunited under Arsene Wenger. Considering the dearth of goals from Alexandre Lacazette since the start of the season, the Gunners needed a striker who could find the back of the net more consistently.

Aubameyang has proven to be a pacey, instinctive striker. In the past two seasons in the Bundesliga, he’s scored 25 goals and 31 goals, respectively, edging Robert Lewandowski for golden boot honors in 2017. With Mkhitaryian again at his side, Aubameyang is sure to give the Gunners a boost in the goal department. In their last season together at Dortmund in 2015-16, they combined to score 59 goals and assist on 31 others. Alongside Mesut Ozil, the two should infuse a sense of confidence across the club as evidenced by the 5-1 win over Everton this past weekend.

Konstantinos Mavropanos is a promising 20-year-old center who’s spent the last two seasons in Superleague Greece. He’s a strong, fast, athletic center back who’s excellent in the air and will provide the Gunners with more options in the back beyond Rob Holding or Calum Chambers. Don’t be surprised is he’s loaned out to accelerate his development, but he has what it takes to do well in the Premier League.

 

CHELSEA
Grade: C+

Transfers in (former team)

Ross Barkley (Everton)
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Emerson Palmieri (Roma)

While Chelsea’s signings are solid, don’t expect them to give the Blues an immediate boost. These moves were about improving the club’s depth.

Barkley is a fantastic player but it’s unlikely that he’ll break into the starting 11 often considering that Eden Hazard has fulfilled a role in the #10 position as of late. Unless Hazard moves to striker over Alvaro Morata, Barkley probably not start in the near term.

Antonio Conte made it clear that he wanted a big, tall striker over the January transfer window as he went after veteran players like Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch. Giroud’s move to Stamford Bridge will allow Chelsea to play more direct, but as with Barkley, the Frenchman will almost always come off the bench. He’s made his name by being a super sub, who can come on, provide energy, and change the pace of the game. But Chelsea should be looking to dominate games without having to revert to a backup plan. Since the arrival of Barkley and Giroud, Chelsea have lost 3-0 to Bournemouth and 4-1 to Watford, not exactly an ideal start.

Transferring from Roma, Palmieri is a Brazilian left-back/wing-back who was merely an acceptable signing. Recently returning from an ACL injury, he has the ability to play up and down the left side and reads the game well. He will fit in to Conte’s style of play as the Italian favors to play with five in the back, but Palmieri should not expect to see much game time behind Marcos Alonso, one of the best left-backs in the league.

 

EVERTON
Grade: B-

Transfers in (former team)

Cenk Tosun (Besiktas)
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Eliaquim Mangala (Man City)

Everton’s three signings over the January transfer window were unremarkable.

The Toffees have struggled to score goals this season so signing a striker was what they needed, but was the Tosun the right move? Big Sam has described the Turkish international as “an all-rounder.” According to Allardyce, Everton “looked at the qualities of the player, his talent and goal scoring, and his resilience. I don’t think you can look any more than we have done and, for the price, he is the best in Europe at the moment.” That might be overstating it a bit. Tosun will have to prove his worth as he steps into the world’s most competitive league.

Allardyce likes the experience and competitiveness that Walcott brings to Goodison Park. Walcott has said that he believes he can “push Everton to the next level” and showed what he’s capable of as he scored a brace against Leicester on his debut.

Mangala was a bit of an odd signing for the Toffees. Ever since signing with Man City in 2014, he’s struggled to earn playing time in the Premier League. The Cityzens sent him out on loan to Spanish side Valencia in 2016-17, and have now sent him out on loan to Everton. His past performances in England have been meager, but perhaps a fresh start in an Everton kit will be a panacea for his career. Unfortunately, the Frenchman’s debut for the Toffees didn’t go well as Arsenal dismantled Everton, 5-1.

 

LIVERPOOL
Grade: A-

Transfers in (former team)

Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
Tony Gallacher (Falkirk)
Anderson Arroyo (Fortaleza CEIF)

Liverpool have struggled with defensive breakdowns for too long. Perhaps van Dijk will finally help solve those issues. Since his time with Southampton, the Dutch international has shown why he’s regarded as one of the best center backs in the league. At 6’4”, with an exceptional reading of the game and the ability to push forward, the one-time Celtic star will provide Liverpool with much needed security in the back and should take the Reds back to Premier League prominence.

Gallacher is an 18-year-old Scottish left-back who will join the developmental squad while Arroyo is a young defender from Colombia. Arroyo has already been sent out on loan to Real Mallorca in the Spanish second division. Both signings indicate that Liverpool are making an effort to strengthen the back line.

 

 

MANCHESTER CITY
Grade: B+

Transfers in (former team)

Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)
Jack Harrison (New York City FC)

Considering their outstanding form this season, it’s no surprise that Man City were relatively quiet over the January transfer window. They currently sit 13 points clear at the top of the table and these signings will provide them with additional firepower.

Laporte is a 23-year-old French defender who can play as either a center back or left back. His versatility will serve Man City well as they haven’t had a set left-back all year. Moving over from La Liga, he’s regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in the world who’s known for his calm demeanor and his ability to play the ball out of the back, one of the primary reasons Pep signed him. Laporte, who fits perfectly in Pep’s system and style of play, will augment City in the last four months of the season.

Harrison’s signing from the NYCFC may have been a shock to many, but he’s shown signs of his talent in 50 MLS games. At just 21 years old, he’s considered to be one of the best players in Major League Soccer following an outstanding 2017 season. Playing usually as a winger, Harrison uses his pace to consistently take on the outside back, which prevents them from pushing forward. He’s been sent out on loan to Middlesbrough, but his time in the Championship will help him get acclimated to the style of play in England and better prepare him for what lies ahead in the Premiership.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED
Grade: A

Transfers in (former team)

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson recalled from loan (Leeds)
Matej Kovar (FC Slovacko)

The signing of Alexis Sanchez might finally be the missing piece that will bring Man United back to winning trophies. The fact that United beat Man City in the race for his signature is a bonus. There’s no question about the Chilean’s exceptional skill, competitive fire and ability to create an opportunity given the slightest space. Alexis will provide a needed spark to the Reds considering their often lifeless style of play under Mourinho.

A former U21 Player of the Year for the Reds, Borthwick-Jackson has been away on loan since the start of the 2016 campaign when he left for Wolves. He was recently called back to United from Leeds, where he played for the first half of this season. His return is understandable considering that Man United left-backs Ashely Young and Luke Shaw have battled injuries. Though questions about his attitude and ambition remain, the 20-year-old has shown flashes of potential in 10 appearances for United in 2015 under Louis van Gaal.

Kovar is a 17-year-old goalkeeper from the Czech Republic who has featured in the Czech Republic U-18 national team. He will hone his skills with United’s U-18 academy team.

 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Grade: B

Transfers in (former team)

Lucas Moura (PSG)

Mauricio Pochettino obviously didn’t see a need to spend big and bring in loads of players. His Tottenham roster is already filled with talent so Lucas’ arrival adds another threat to an already dangerous attacking side. Lucas may not get many starts behind Eriksen, Son and Alli, but his capacity to come off the bench is a massive boost for Spurs. With an exceptional work rate, he will fit well in Pochettino’s high-press system.

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