Crazy end to the transfer window?

The build up to the end of the summer transfer window always gives fantasy managers plenty to think about. What normally happens is that, after months of rumours but relatively little activity, the real transfer action (often frantic and sometimes dramatic) occurs close to the deadline.

For fantasy managers, after investing considerable time agonising over a 15-man squad before Gameweek 1 starts, the last few weeks of the transfer window can be frustrating. Managers’ minds can work overtime about whether to stick or twist – whether to keep faith with their initial squad or dip into the market to buy some of the newly-signed players, especially top internationals. Even the most level-headed managers can be tempted to make several changes or even to play an early wildcard.

Before looking at what big name transfer activity we might see at some of the top Premiership sides before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday 2 Sept, let’s recap on the deals completed since Gameweek 1.

Done deals

Of the 8 new signings since the season began on 17 August, managers will be most attracted by Brazilian Willian who Chelsea have bought from FC Anzhi Makhachkala for a reported £30m (FPL price likely to be around £10m) and stealing him from under the nose of a livid Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. Southampton’s new striker Pablo ‘Danny’ Osvaldo (£8m) arrives at St Mary’s with a good Serie A and La Liga goalscoring record whilst Norwich’s Johan Elmander (£5.5m), on loan from Galatasaray, is a cheap but not exactly free-scoring striker.

Of the new FPL midfielders, Scott Sinclair (£6m) West Brom’s loan signing from Manchester City, will appeal to many. Crystal Palace’s new loan signing Jason Puncheon (£5.5m) did well for Southampton last season in terms of goals and assists. Scott Parker (£4.5m) signed by Fulham from Spurs is cheap but may not hold much appeal given his likely deep midfield role.

Two new £5m defenders, Charis Mavrias (Sunderland from Panathinaikos) and Aly Cissokho (Liverpool on loan from Valencia) may possibly not be first-team regulars.

Top club transfer rumours

Whilst we await the confirmation of Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid, our minds are kept occupied by never-ending transfer speculation affecting our top Premiership clubs. I think we can expect some interesting, possibly dramatic, developments in the last few days of the transfer window. Why? Well this season, many top clubs seem determined to strengthen their squads as a means to increase their chances of qualifying in one of the Champions League places at the end of the season.

Up North

Manchester City have so far led the way in the spending stakes but their defeat at Cardiff may have sent out alarm signals about a lack of central defensive cover. Neighbours Manchester United have so far huffed and puffed chasing unavailable targets like Cesc Fabregas. With Wayne Rooney possibly on his way (to Chelsea?) rumours are rife that David Moyes will strengthen his midfield with top targets Chelsea’s Juan Mata (offered by Chelsea to lure Rooney to Stamford Bridge?) and Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.

Liverpool, who have already completed several deals, may yet spend big money on a striker if Luis Suárez gets his wish and joins Real Madrid. Everton may find it difficult to hold on to both Fellaini and Baines, but the expected £35-£40m windfall could provide manager Martinez with options, including buying another ex-Wigan player James McCarthy.

Down South

Rumours suggest Tottenham’s spending spree is not yet complete. As I write the transfer of Erik Lamela from Roma looks almost finalised. Spurs could buy a defender and another striker, with Zenit St Petersburg’s Brazilian Hulk said to be a top target. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has once again shown shrewd judgement by carefully identifying and signing players before sanctioning Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid.

Chelsea may make another big money signing before the window closes in the form of either Wayne Rooney or FC Anzhi Makhachkala’s Samuel Eto’o. However, after the signing of Willian the Chelsea squad looks overloaded, particularly in midfield. As Mourinho has stated he wants a maximum 22-man squad, we can expect several players to be sold or loaned before the deadline. Victor Moses name has been linked with several clubs including Liverpool and Everton. Despite repeated denials from Mourinho, rumours persist that Juan Mata and, possibly David Luiz, could leave the club.

Arsenal, as ever, are an enigma in the transfer market. But this year, you sense Wenger, however reluctantly, may have to spend some of his reputedly enormous transfer kitty. Rumours suggest several top players could be in the Gunners’ sights including Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Real Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil. Should we expect the unexpected from Arsene Wenger this time?

So that completes my round-up of the transfer window activity and rumours affecting some of the top sides in the Premiership. Whilst we fantasy managers will be keeping a close eye on transfer developments in the next few days with a view to strengthening our squads, we will no doubt be kept in suspense until close of play on 2 September to find out whether the many rumours become reality.