EPL Hits and Misses: The transfer deadline day edition
Manchester United land the biggest swoop on deadline day but still miss out, Chelsea earn points despite not doing much while Hull promise to make things interesting...
With all the guff being spewed about Arturo Vidal throughout the summer, it's hard to imagine any Man United fan who was thinking of their club getting Radamel Falcao on transfer deadline day. While not the midfield messiah or the defensive reinforcement United fans have been crying out for (we'll get to that later), it's hard to deny the much-maligned Ed Woodward some credit for pulling a veritable rabbit out of his hat by landing the Colombian hitman. It is a play straight from Sir Alex Ferguson's guide to the transfer market - you only need to look back to when United won the league in 2013 after the seemingly unneeded purchase of Robin van Persie. Louis van Gaal will find it hard to repeat Fergie's trick and win the title, but Falcao's presence at No. 9 - along with Angel di Maria - should give United some of their fear factor back as they look for an immediate return to the Champions League.
An exciting season beckons. Despite a premature end to their Europa League adventure, the Tigers were the busiest EPL club on deadline day in terms of arrivals as they facilitated four new players through the doors of the KC Stadium. Of the four, loan signings Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez have points to prove after seeing their reputations burn out at Newcastle and Southampton. And anyone who isn't excited to see what happens to a club record signing like Abel Hernandez is probably dead inside. If the £10 million (S$20.7 million) Uruguayan international from Palermo proves to be a hit, Steve Bruce should get some deserved credit for landing him at £2m less than what they got from Southampton for Shane Long.
A relaxed day for all concerned at Stamford Bridge. While other EPL clubs scrambled about on deadline day, all Chelsea had to do was finish the paperwork for their B-listers heading out on loan. Indeed, Jose Mourinho was mostly right when he declared that the Blues' transfer business was done ahead of the new season with their main additions in Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas secured long in advance. With his team humming along like a well-oiled engine, the Special One can be well-afforded a trademark smirk of his with Chelsea sitting pretty at the top of the table going into the international break.
A move beneficial for all involved. Arsenal landed the striker they were craving for, United pocketed a cool £16m for an unwanted player who split opinion and Welbeck himself got the top move he was holding out for. While time will tell if it was money well spent, it is worth pointing out that even though he's 23, Welbeck is an England international and has several years of Premiership experience under his belt. And while Welbeck has his critics, there's probably no better manager than Arsene Wenger when it comes to ironing out the kinks in an up and coming player's game.
Harry Redknapp goes back to his former players. Who would've thunk it? At least in Sandro and Niko Kranjcar, QPR have been strengthened their midfield with proven EPL experience.
And here we are again. While landing Falcao as well as the confirmation of Danny Blind's signing will give United a lift, it still doesn't fix a number of glaring problems at United. Even if van Gaal is still holding out for a move for Kevin Strootman, the Red Devils are still sorely lacking a specialist midfield enforcer till January. Further back in defence, United still have not replaced the lost experience at centre-back with the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Indeed, Jonny Evans is the oldest central defender at van Gaal's disposal at 26. To compound matters, young defender Michael Keane was loaned out to further deplete United's defensive ranks despite van Gaal's insistence on playing three at the back. While Blind is versatile enough to operate in either role, the Dutchman can only fill one role at any time. Even though United fans will be hoping for more activity in this area in the future, it should be worrying that the only squeaks about these problem areas on transfer deadline day were unverified failed bids for Arturo Vidal.
Unwanted by Liverpool, the Italian now faces a long wait till January for another crack at first team football after he turned down moves to Sunderland and QPR.
Feeling the full force of the backlash brought about by financial fair play. Apart from a lack of fitness, Manuel Pellegrini was left ruing his side's lack of creativity as they were downed by Stoke City over the weekend. Looking through City's ranks, the Chilean might have a point with the burden of midfield creativity mostly shouldered on David Silva and Samir Nasri, who both started at the Emirates against the Potters. Instead of getting a boost in attack, the Citizens' main transfer business on deadline day was to loan out defender Micah Richards and striker Alvaro Neegredo as they missed out on reported target Falcao to their Manchester rivals. Even though City have strengthened with the purchases of Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, it might not be enough for them to retain their title.
The direct opposite of United's conundrum. With the squad crying out for a striker, Mauricio Pochettino opted to sign defensive midfielder Benjamin Stambouli from Montpellier instead.