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Transfer grades: Man United had a poor window, but a few teams aced the test

With the buying season over for clubs in England, ESPN FC's Nick Miller grades how each Premier League team fared in the summer window.


New transfer maestros Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi had a bit of a run-up to this window, thus they broadly got their business done early. None of their buys have been the type to blow off socks, rather potentially shrewd recruits such as Lucas Torreira and Sokratis Papastathopoulos; they should all improve the team, but who knows by how much? Grade: B


It was a neat coincidence and a mark of how far they've come that on the 10-year anniversary of their League Two 17-point deduction for financial problems, Bournemouth spent upward of £25 million on Jefferson Lerma. The Colombian midfielder should be quite lively good fun, if nothing else (he was booked 16 times last season), while young playmaker David Brooks is extremely promising. A striker might have been useful -- only Callum Wilson broke double figures last season. Grade: B-


Brighton seemed to spend most of the summer stockpiling young talent and "Chelsea-ing" them out on loan, but of the players who will make a difference to the first team, Iranian flyer Alireza Jahanbakhsh and midfielder Yves Bissouma are the most eye-catching. Who knows whether they'll take to Brighton/the Premier League, but you're inclined to trust the club who bought Pascal Gross for £3 million. Grade: B+


A weird window. They left things late, making their first purchase five days before deadline day, and the moves they did make were a mixed bag. Ben Gibson was a very Burnley move, but the purchase of Joe Hart seemed odd: Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are injured, but when fit, they already had a goalkeeping conundrum, so why spend a good slice of their budget on another goalie? It felt like a man buying a new shirt simply because a button fell off. Grade: C

Cardiff City

On the face of things, recruiting a group of players from the Championship to strengthen a newly promoted side doesn't look like sterling business. But Cardiff have learned lessons from last time they were in the Premier League, when they spent like drunken sailors, still got relegated and were lumbered with significant debt. They're being more parsimonious this time. That said, at £4 million keeper Alex Smithies could be a bargain, and Harry Arter on loan is a smart pick-up. Grade: C


It's pretty hard to know what to make of Chelsea's summer. Mauricio Sarri clearly thought they needed more craft in midfield, addressed by the additions of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacevic, but replacing Thibaut Courtois with Kepa Arrizabalaga is at best a neutral, and that's all they did. Otherwise, Sarri has to make do with the squad that finished fifth last season. Grade: C

Crystal Palace

Palace's signings could go either way, really. Max Meyer was touted as a boy wonder in his early days, but with respect to Palace, there's a reason he's at Selhurst Park. Cheikhou Kouyate did well at West Ham initially before losing his way, while Jordan Ayew isn't anything much to get excited about in theory but every now and then throws you something to keep you alive. The real win in this, or any other transfer window, was keeping hold of Wilfried Zaha. Grade: B-

Transfer news must-reads

- Man United had £100m to spend on defender - sources
- Sanchez wishes United had signed more world-class players 
- Navas compares leaving Madrid to dying 
- Pochettino unfazed about signing nobody 
- Real Madrid complete Courtois signing 
- Done deals


A frantic last day pulled this back from the brink a little. Of course, Richarlison looks hugely overpriced, but if Marco Silva can get him playing like he did when the two were together at Watford, he'll be a good addition. But the late purchases of Bernard, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina filled a few holes, but they probably could have done with a goal scorer. Grade: B-


How many of their new signings will actually work out remains to be seen, but good lord are Fulham all-in. The wisdom of a freshly promoted club spending north of £100 million is a matter worthy of concern, but 11 arrivals filled every need and then some, from the coup of Jean Michael Seri to the handy purchase of Joe Bryan (useful not just in himself, but in ensuring Ryan Sessegnon doesn't have to play at left-back) to the low-key but very smart loan of Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Fulham now have a squad to take on the top flight. Grade: A

Huddersfield Town

A little underwhelming, perhaps? A few loanees from last season have been purchased, and Erik Durm might turn out to be an extremely shrewd recruit, but nobody is going to get excited about Ramadan Sobhi and the others -- Juninho Bacuna, Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza -- who to one extent or another sound like wild cards. Grade: C

Leicester City

Very strong. Of course, keeping Harry Maguire and getting Jamie Vardy to sign a new deal were two big wins, but they brought in a few very useful new players, too. James Maddison could be a star, Jonny Evans was a bargain at £3.5 million and Ricardo Pereira comes with rave reviews from Portugal. The two young defenders who arrived on deadline day -- Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu -- suggest they have one eye on the possibility of Maguire's departure at some point and they're planning ahead. Grade: B+


If you want to nit-pick, you could say some more dead wood could have been cleared and Emre Can might be missed more than people think. But ultimately Liverpool identified the weak areas in their team and bought essentially the best available players to bulk up those areas. Plenty of money they may have cost, but people will forget the outlay if Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri work out. Grade: A

Manchester City

When you're as good as City were last season, finding areas to strengthen is tricky. Riyad Mahrez addresses one issue -- a relative lack of depth in wide attackers -- but the question of who will help out and ultimately replace Fernandinho remains unanswered. After Jorginho's snub, Pep Guardiola might quite justifiably say there's no point in buying someone for the sake of it, and presumably Fabian Delph will be able to play in midfield more this term, but ultimately, City wanted a deep-lying midfielder and didn't get one. Grade: B-

Manchester United

If Jose Mourinho was grading this, he would probably give United a Z. But while it clearly isn't ideal that they didn't sign a central defender and perhaps a right-sided attacker -- plus, being played like a cheap banjo to get Diego Godin a new contract was embarrassing -- they really should have enough in their squad to be better this season. Fred beefs up their midfield, and Diogo Dalot is highly rated. Ultimately, a summer in which a team chooses not to spend north of £60 million on Harry Maguire can't be all bad. Grade: C+

Newcastle United

Awful. You can be as optimistic about Salomon Rondon's capacity to play as a battering ram as you like, or enthuse about another year on loan for Kenedy. But ultimately, Mike Ashley's policy of not paying more than £9.5 million for any player is another reason for Rafa Benitez -- one of the few good things Newcastle have going at the moment -- to contemplate walking out. Grade: F


Difficult to know what to make of their crop of arrivals. Everyone wishes Danny Ings well but fears his years of injuries might have kicked the best out of him; Angus Gunn is a promising keeper but untested in the Premier League; Mohamed Elyounoussi is an interesting recruit from Basel. But Dusan Tadic, as infuriating as he could be, was sold without really being replaced, and one wonders by how much a team who were nearly relegated last term will have improved. Grade: C

Tottenham Hotspur

There have been adorably optimistic types who have tried to dress Tottenham's transfer window up as a success, not least manager Mauricio Pochettino, who called it "brave." That camp said the team is already good enough, keeping hold of Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen et al. is a win, no point in signing for the sake of it. But Spurs signed absolutely nobody, the first club to "manage that feat" since transfer windows were introduced in 2003. It's either arrogant or complacent to think this very good team can't be improved, and the rest of Europe can still sign players, so the jewels aren't even entirely safe yet. Pochettino put a brave face on things, but this summer was a disaster for Spurs. Grade: F


It was a little odd that Watford didn't reinvest the Richarlison money, but then again, there's little logic to the modern-day iteration of Watford. Gerard Deulofeu, signed on a permanent deal, remains an enigma, while Ben Foster might be a handy purchase in goal. The big win of the window was nailing Abdoulaye Doucoure down to a new deal, but while that was shrewd, you can't help thinking they could have done more. Grade: C

West Ham United

In their favour, this was an improvement on last summer. But that's not especially hard, and you start to realise there are a good few big gambles in this list of "ins" at the London Stadium. Jack Wilshere is obvious, Andriy Yarmolenko could go either way, they paid upward of £30 million for Felipe Anderson, who wasn't a cast-iron first-teamer at Lazio last season, and Lucas Perez isn't that inspiring, either. Grade: C+

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Yes, indeed. A few people have apparently been unhappy with a lack of wing-back signings, but when you're a newly promoted club who can attract Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho -- for whatever reason -- you know life is reasonably sweet. Adama Traore is the most intriguing recruit; as one wag on Twitter put it, there's something delicious about a player who came through the Barcelona academy but produced his best football under Tony Pulis. Grade: A


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