Forget Arsenal, Liverpool & Man United - Chelsea & Man City have better balance.
The transfer window has closed with Premier League clubs spending over £800m to set themselves up for the long season ahead. Arsenal, L...
The transfer window has closed with Premier League clubs spending over £800m to set themselves up for the long season ahead. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all spent big but still, waking up this morning, You have to look at Chelsea and Manchester City as the squads with perfect balance.
Manchester United - Spend £150m -Received (Approx £16m) - Net £-134m.
It will be really, really interesting to see what would happen if (god forbid) Manchester United win the league this season after spending £150m on new players. Would we all have a right to claim that they have "bought the league" - a term which is thrown at Chelsea fans on a daily basis?
Not that I think Manchester United will win the league because for some reason or another, Louis Van Gaal failed to see the problem that has been staring him smack in the face for the last month - He needs world class defenders to replace three quarters of the back four that served the club so well for so long!
You can throw as many attackers as you like into a team but if you do not have a strong core built on solid foundations, you won't win anything. Surely there are United fans among you lot reading this that had to have thought to yourselves last night "What about a Defender?"
For years I have been talking on this blog about the impact of the TV money in Football and riches clubs could receive especially with Champions League participation in addition. United paid the price last season and have spent massive this term just to ensure they get back into the top four. You would have to believe a finish outside the top four this season could cause real problems!
Arsenal - Spend £80m - Received (Approx £18m) - Net £-62m.
That leads me to Arsenal and their spending in this window and although they have made some impressive signings I again have to question the managers decisions. OK, I am aware that Thomas Vermaelen wasn't first choice of late but he was still important cover. Chambers has come in and is under enormous pressure as cover for Mertersacker and Koscielny . With only three centre backs, Arsenal could face really problems.
However, that still isn't the main problem with the Arsenal for me. It's their defensive midfield position and the fact that Alex Song was made available on loan but signed for West Ham. Flamini is Arsenal's only naturally defensive minded midfielder and if he's unavailable, you are telling me that Mikel Arteta's game is to play defensive midfield?
Arsenal had to cope with the emergence of Liverpool as genuine title contenders and were able to capitalise on Man United's decline to maintain their top four position. Wenger has invested again to ensure that they are in and around that top four again.
Arsenal as with Manchester United are STILL lacking in certain areas despite spending around £230m between them in this window.
Liverpool - Spend £117m - Received (Approx £80m) - Net £-37m.
Everyone is looking at Liverpool this season to see how they are going to replace Luis Suarez and his goals. Have they done that with Mario Ballotelli and Ricky Lambert? - No.
What Brendan Rogers has done though is invest heavily in numbers to bolster competition for places. I personally cannot believe that Daniel Agger was allowed to leave the club and for as little as £3m!
Rogers has breathed new life into his squad with important additions throughout the spine of his side to supplement the talent of Sterling and Sturridge up top.
Liverpool's investment into their squad has been impressive (if you compare what Spurs did with the money last summer) and you feel that each player that has been brought in will play a part this season.
With the amount spent by United, the pressure is on Liverpool to maintain their position at the top of Premier League. I personally think they had their chance and blew it last season if you consider how they fared at Manchester City last week.
Manchester City - Spend £50m - Received (Approx £25m) - Net £-25m
Manchester City have been very, very quiet but that's because of their FFP restrictions after being found guilty of breaking the new rules. However, the players they have brought in have been good signings.
We all look at City and thought they were not as strong as they could have been at centre back and Eliaquim Mangala has come in. With departure of Gareth Barry, Fernandinho seemed to be their only defensive option in midfield and that has been addressed with the signing of Fernando.
Frank Lampard has been added on loan for six months but I cannot see Lamps being used as often as he would like and Willy Caballero has come in to replace Pantilimon in the squad.
City didn't need much though did they but the decision last last night to allow Alvaro Negredo to leave could provide costly with only Aguero (with his constant injury problems), Dzeko and Jovetic as their options up top.
City will be up there because they already had a pretty well balanced squad last season. The additions this term has made them stronger but the lack of strikers could prove to be the difference this time around.
Chelsea - Spend £88m - Received (Approx £84m) - Net £-4m.
Chelsea's transfer policy since last January has been more than impressive. If you forget all the loanees that have left the club during that time and concentrate on purely player purchases and player sales, it has been one in, one out as below.
Jose Mourinho has slowly but surely looked at his squad, identified areas that he felt we needed to improve in to make us realistic challengers and just look at us now!
Thibaut Courtois returning from three years in Spain in addition to the signings of Costa, Fabrgeas and Matic are the most important as all four have slotted straight into the core of Mourinho's team. Cesc Fabregas gives Mourinho exactly what his side was lacking from that deeper midfield position last season - a killer ball.
Mourinho bemoaned the three strikers we had last season for their lack of goals and to his credit, has got rid of all of them! Now at his disposal he has three strikers that are very different. Drogba is all about power and strength at this stage in his career. Loic Remy is all about movement and pace and Diego Costa is the perfect blend of both.
Felipe Luis comes in at left back to replace Ashley Cole and Kurt Zouma comes in to replace David Luiz.
With the likes of Azpilicueta, Oscar, Willian, Schurrle and Hazard in the squad, Chelsea have a perfect balance throughout the squad and in my view, as strong as Manchester City this season. There isn't an area that is weak and that will prove to be the difference between us and our rivals this season.
The pressure of expectation combined with the riches on offer to finish in the top four has drastically changed the approach to transfer policy of Arsenal in recent windows, Liverpool of late and Manchester United now they are faced with a fight to get back into the big league. Will it be enough or do you honestly feel as I do that Chelsea and City are the teams to beat once again this season?
(Transfer values received are all approximate as many deals have been concluded as undisclosed)