Winners and losers (and Arsenal) from the Premier League transfer deadline

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Arsene Wenger head coach during Interreligious Match for Peace at Olimpico Stadium on September 1, 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

ROME, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 01: Arsene Wenger head coach during Interreligious Match for Peace at Olimpico Stadium on September 1, 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

2 September 2015

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We’ll get to the Premier League’s winners and losers from transfer deadline day in a moment. But first, there’s a special class of loser from this window, an undisputed champion of staggering inactivity.

Congratulations Arsenal, you’re finally top of the league.

In an era of unprecedented spending, no other team can lay claim to the level of failure Arsene Wenger has engineered during this transfer window, which has left Arsenal fans fuming more than usual.

The lone first-team signing, prying away goalkeeperPetr Cech from arch rival Chelsea, was a great bit of business and no one’s denying that. Despite his sloppy debut, Cech is already rescuing points for Arsenal and he will continue to bolster the back.

It’s just this squad is so close to challenging for major silverware, so close to giving Manchester Cityand Chelsea a run in England and maybe even Barcelona and others a run in Europe, that the failure to improve in the transfer market will linger over Arsenal like a storm cloud, ready to start pouring violently the next time Olivier Giroud misses a sitter or the club lacks the spine to grind out an away win against a relegation battler.

It’s fairly obvious that Arsenal still needed to strengthen in the midfield and especially at striker. Not only did a top-class player fail to arrive at either position, but nobody arrived besides Cech, period. Of every team in the top five European leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1), only Arsenal didn’t sign an outfield player during the summer window. One club, out of 108.

It’s not just the net spending of a paltry £10.7 million that’s troubling. It’s that every Premier League team did more total business than Arsenal except Norwich City, which many are tabbing for relegation, and Swansea City, whose numbers are a bit skewed because budding star attackerAndre Ayew signed on a free transfer.

So what’s the explanation? It’s certainly not a good look for Wenger, whose frugality in the transfer market has drummed up the vitriol of Arsenal supporters before. Barcelona, which is currently under a transfer ban, signed more players this window than Wenger. At best, he’s stubbornly rooted to his principles, determined to prove wrong the legions of fans and pundits who believed he needed to sign a top-class striker and midfielder, and who were left heads tilted and jaws slacked when he didn’t.

At worst? Well, the term “comical disconnect with the present-day game” comes to mind. Fans are already organizing anti-Wenger rallies and promising to turn the Emirates into a library. Hard to see a huge spike in Arsenal apparel in the near future. Fans don’t want to be caught spending more on the club than their own manager.

WINNERS

Manchester City

Though the business was done well before deadline day, let us join the chorus of those congratulating City on winning the Premier League before Sept. 2.

DeAndre Yedlin

It became increasingly apparent that the 22-year-old American wouldn’t see the field much withTottenham Hotspur, and a season-long loan deal to Sunderland could prove an ideal outcome for both parties. Yedlin gets to stay in the Premier League, play for a manager who got a ringing endorsement from USMNT legend Claudio Reyna, and feature more regularly than he would have in North London. Whether Sunderland uses him at right back or wing midfielder, this move could shape Yedlin for years to come.

Everton

It’s not so much who the club bought as how the club went about its business. After years of placeholding under David Moyes, Everton now fancies itself as contender for Champions League spots, and from that vantage point, fending off Chelsea’s lucrative offers for 21-year-old John Stoneshas to be seen as a victory. The Toffees have watched young talents leave and rack up trophies before (Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott), and right or wrong, they’re not about to do it again. Although Stones, viewed by many as a future England captain, reportedly handed in a transfer request, manager Roberto Martinez says the issue has been smoothed over. Everton also addedAaron Lennon on deadline day to provide width and pace.

Javier Hernandez

“I left to feel happy and wanted again,” the 27-year-old Mexican international told reporters after sealing a £7.3 million deal with Bayer Leverkusen. There, he’ll provide support up top for Leverkusen mainstay Stefan Kiessling and get to play in the Champions League once again. Perhaps more importantly, Chicharito is leaving a rather directionless Manchester United club where he didn’t figure into the future plans, anyway.

West Ham United

Nobody was more active on deadline day than the Hammers, and few teams will likely reap more benefits from this transfer window. Versatile attacker Michail Antonio arrived from Nottingham Forest and, joining loanees Alex Song and Victor Moses, who will fortify the midfield, and Nikica Jelavic, a veteran Premier League goal scorer. Adding depth to a squad with wins at Arsenal and Liverpool already, West Ham could contend for the domestic cups and a Europa League spot.

LOSERS

David de Gea

Regardless of whom you blame for the festival of mud-slinging ineptitude also known as de Gea’s transfer saga, the fact remains the Spaniard is stuck at Old Trafford until at least January, if not longer. Because Manchester United, Real Madrid and FIFA couldn’t figure out the paperwork situation, the 2014-15 PFA Team of the Year goalkeeper will have to deal with the erratic Louis Van Gaal, who may continue to punish his supposed insubordination within the club. It’s hard to see a player of de Gea’s caliber bolted to the bench as United battles for another Champions League spot, but it’s also easy to see the situation becoming even more untenable.

Jose Mourinho

A pair of late center halve reinforcements notwithstanding, Mourinho missed out on the big targets Chelsea normally acquires. Everton rejected the offers for Stones, while Paul Pogba will continue to ply his trade for Juventus despite a reported pursuit. With Chelsea stumbling out of the gates this season, Mourinho already seems to be getting impatient with some of the key contributors to the club’s Premier League title run of last season. The coming months may prove that massive changes to certain positions were needed to repeat, and failure to do more than bring in Pedro, Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao could prove costly.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs desperately needed a striker to relieve the goal-scoring burden of Harry Kane, and while they signed Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-min and Lyon’s Clinton N’Jie, they shelled out more than £30 million to get them. Son had a couple decent seasons in the Bundesliga, but the N’Jie buy is based solely on potential. Both are Plan Bs after West Brom rejected repeated bids for rising star Saido Berahino. Speaking of which …

West Brom

This is not a club with eyes on Europe, it’s a club whose steady recent decline will culminate in a relegation battle this season. Already less talented than most other sides in the Premier League, West Brom needed to strengthen in several areas, and the refusal to sell Berahino has drawn his fury and may lead to a cut-rate departure in January. What’s worse, bringing in Johnny Evans and Rickie Lambert were positive moves that could help keep West Brom in the Premier League. That will be much harder if the club can’t count on its 20-goal man, and it likely can’t thanks to its own questionable actions.

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