Originally published on Sixth Feb
Praise be the gods, club football is almost back! After enduring a summer that was somehow both packed with football and had nothing interesting to watch at the same time, we get to look forward to the excitement of the Premier League! I mean if Leicester City - the greatest underdog story ever© - could win it, anyone can right? It's not like the Euros or the Copa America where the obvious favourites keep winning. In that vein, the ignorant fan is going to make completely informed judgments* on the upcoming season based on clubs' transfers so far!
*Judgments may not be complete or informed. Or even judgments, honestly.
Ins: Leroy Fer, Mike van der Hoorn, Tyler Reid and Mark Birighitti
Outs: Alberto Paloschi, Eder, Matt Grimes, Raheem Hanley, Oliver Davies, Liam Shephard, Kyle Bartley, Ryan Hedges, Daniel Alfei, Kyle Copp, James Demetriou, Stephen Fallon, Alexander Gogic, Henry Jones, Lee Lucas and Gareth Owen
You have to applaud Guidolin and Swansea, they weren't put off by superstition. Leroy Fer's last two clubs may have been relegated the season they bought him, but that's no reason to ignore his obvious talent. After all, Swansea do need to add some serious steel to their midfield, and Fer provides it plus a decent amount of silk as well. Fair play to them for going after what they needed, without wondering if successive relegations has hindered the Dutchman's development. Then again, you can get 17-4 odds that Swansea will get relegated this season...
Ins: Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama
Outs: Filip Lesniak, Christopher Paul and Emmanuel Sonupe
For the last couple of years, Tottenham had been obviously trying to sign Morgan Schneiderlin to shore up their midfield. Last summer, the Frenchman even went on a mini-tantrum online after the Saints refused to sell him to the London-based club. Finally, last season Manchester United signed Schneiderlin as Tottenham waited to long. Luckily for Spurs, the midfielder proved unable to make that crucial step up, as he was unable to displace Fellaini from the United lineup. This summer, they're on the verge of creating a title-winning side, so signing Schneiderlin's inadequate replacement is obviously the perfect transfer. That may be the most Spursy response to an opportunity.
Ins: Isaac Success, Christian Kabasele, Jerome Sinclair, Brice Dja Djedje and Juan Camilo Zuniga
Outs: Miguel Layun, Jose Manuel Jurado, Gabriele Angella, William Byers, Josh Doherty, Joel Ekstrand, Uche Ikpeazu, James Johnson, Javion Martin, Ayitey Mensah Jnr, Thomas Simpson and Mac Young
Watford had a phenomenal season last time out, but flew under the radar because of the greatest underdog story ever©. However, since they lost the rights to that copyright, the Pozzo family that own the club clearly felt that a change was needed. They replaced the brilliant Flores with Walter Mazzari, who achieved amazing success at Napoli. Mazzarri, who seems to think it's still 2013 (Inter? What do you mean Inter? He's never even been to Milan), has signed Zuniga. The Italian has clearly never heard of either Geremi or Newcastle United.
West Bromwich Albion
Ins: Matt Phillips
Outs: Callam Jones, Anders Lindegaard, Victor Anichebe, Samir Nabi and Stephane Sessegnon
Tony Pulis is a proud man, with a proud tradition of being able to organise a defence. However, last season West Brom conceded 48 goals, the seventh worst in the league. Never mind the fact that they finished in 14th place, this was clearly unacceptable. The only possible solution is to get rid of all those pesky attacking players who keep losing the ball by trying to score goals. No more Anichebe and Sessegnon, Pulis needs Matt Phillips. Never mind that he only scored 8 goals in the championship last season, he tracks back. And just to assure that the defenders are at their best, Pulis got rid of any real competition for Ben Foster. Now that Foster can relax with no pressure on his position, that attitude is surely going to filter through to the defense. I mean, that strategy works so well for Joe Hart in the England goal, doesn't it?
West Ham United
Ins: Manuel Lanzini, Toni Martinez, Havard Nordtveit, Domingos Quina, Sofiane Feghouli, Gokhan Tore and Ashley Fletcher
Outs: James Tomkins, Stephen Hendrie, Elliot Lee, Kyle Knoyle, Antonio Brown, Alexander Chambers, Nathan Mavila, Lawrence Nasha and Martin O'Brien
West Ham have been real lucky this summer, taking advantage of so many different unknown factors to sign players of quality like Feghouli and Tore. Ever since Gary Neville left Valencia after a scintillating few months, Feghouli has been unable to forget his time there. The Algerian refused to sign a contract extension, and jumped on the first train bound for England. Why else would he want to leave Champions-League chasing Valencia for the maybe-we'll-get-into-Europe Londoners? Tore, too, was persuaded by the English charm. According to an interview shortly after joining the Hammers, the winger claimed that passion of the West Ham fans convinced him to join. It's a good thing he was playing in Turkey before, where the fans are notorious for their lack of noise and support.
To read parts 1, 2 and 3, click here