The European transfer window has finally, finally shut and not without the usual deadline day dramatics. Allow The Correspondent to venture a guess as to who the most impactful final day players will be for the 2020/2021 Premier League Season.
5. Theo Walcott – Everton to Southampton (Loan)
What a reunion for the Saint Mary youth product; deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti at Everton after the arrival of James Rodriguez, the former England international has sealed what could be a mutually beneficial loan cum potential transfer. With Southampton in need for a genuine wide man, Walcott could provide serious competition for Stuart Armstrong down the right wing of the attacking midfield duo. He offers pace and directness should the Saints need a plan B, particularly in games against more established PL teams where they will have less of the ball. He joins them now a more complete player than he was 14 years ago when he left, but whether this fairy tale has a happy ending, we’ll have to wait and see.
4. Joachim Andersen – Lyon to Fulham (Loan)
At 30 million Euros, not only was Andersen the most expensive player Lyon had ever purchased, he was the most expensive Danish player ever. Fulham, therefore, look to have made a shrewd deadline day investment by luring him to West London. The versatile ball playing central defender can contribute not just at the heart of the back line, but also in midfield as a destructive line breaking anchorman. It is no secret that Fulham have been in the market for a central defender for quite some time (looking at you Tony Khan) and having shipped 11 goals in 4 PL games their concerns seem all the more understandable. Andersen possesses all the tools to improve this leaky back line and should be a success for what is probably going to feel like a very long season for Scott Parker’s men. His 88.8% passing accuracy from last season is excellent considering the number of long passes he plays per 90, and his all-around technical ability should enable the Cottagers to build from the back quicker and more securely. We are pretty confident Andersen will prove to be a great addition to Fulham’s squad this season; whether he can keep them in the division come May however, we aren’t as confident.
3. Ben Godfrey – Norwich City to Everton (GBP 25 million)
Norwich were something last season weren’t they, from the Pukki Party in the fall to the goalless streak late April onwards, Daniel Farke’s men certainly provided us with a lot of entertainment, even if they didn’t provide their fans with a lot of points. One of the few bright lights from last season though was England under 21 skipper Ben Godfrey; the right back was a standout player for the Canaries last term and it is no surprise clubs were interested in snapping him up following Norwich’s relegation. A proven PL talent, Godfrey could offer versatility to the already impressive Everton team by challenging club captain Seamus Coleman for the right back berth as well as allowing Carlo Ancelotti the option to play with a back five with him at right wing back and with Coleman in the right centre back position. Quick, hungry, attack minded and defensively aware, Godfrey has all the time to establish himself firmly in Merseyside folklore; who knows, him and his new teammates could even make some history this season.
2. Alex Telles – Porto to Manchester United (GBP 15.4 million)
Though it would be a bit harsh on Luke Shaw and the young Brandon Williams, Manchester United do lack the quality of full back required to challenge for major silverware in the modern era. Simply put, teams now rely on their full backs to provide width and goal contributions as much (if not more) than they rely on them for defensive coverage; with this is mind, the 7 goal contributions Shaw and Williams mustered between them in the 38 games last season, shows just how far behind the Old Trafford outfit are from teams like Liverpool and Manchester City. Alex Telles had 9 assists on his own in League NOS last season, meaning he should get just as many in the PL, if recent Man United Portuguese speaking signings are anything to go by. Telles has been one of the standout attacking fullbacks in Europe for the last three seasons, and at 27 he should be at the peak of his powers. Porto’s loss could turn out to be a big gain for the Red Devils and could even be the difference between them missing out on Champions League football and finishing in the top 4 of the most competitive PL seasons we have seen in recent years.
1. Thomas Partey – Atletico Madrid to Arsenal (GBP 45.6 million)
Arsenal, oh Arsenal; where do we start with you? The recent termination of Gennersauras’ contract and Ozil’s possible exclusion from their 25-man PL squad may have been the rage these last 24 hours, but we should not forget that during all that mayhem, they have made arguably the signing of the season. Thomas Partey’s long awaited arrival at the Emirates sees them go from struggling ‘Big Sixers’ to serious Top 4 contenders and should see the 27 year old Ghanian slot immediately into a midfield that now is short of Lucas Torriera (who went the other way as part of this deal) and Matteo Gendouzi (where in the world is Matteo Gendouzi by the way?). His ability to turn over possession, break up opposition play, cut out passing lines and eye for a forward pass should give the Gunners the ‘steel’ in midfield they have sorely lacked since Patrick Viera left. They already have a decent attack and Arteta has gone some way into tightening up their defence, but midfield was still a weak link in the North Londoner’s side. If he gets up to pace quickly, Partey could make this season’s top 4 race a lot more interesting.