Five things learnt from Premier League transfers

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Five things we learned from English Premier League transfer window in which a record 1.165 billion pounds ($1.54 billion/1.39 billon euros) was spent:

Same old story at Arsenal

Mourinho and Wenger
Mourinho and Wenger

Arsene Wenger left it late again to rush through transfers on the final day of trading and the jury is out on whether his new boys will finally bring a title. While Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said the squad was good enough to win the Premiership, Arsenal are only eighth after three games. Wenger ended up outlaying more than £50 million (60 million euros/$66 million) for striker Lucas Perez, a player they apparently earlier discounted, and German defender Shkodran Mustafi, who has yet to nail down a regular place in the German national side. Wenger is in the last year of his contract and his future could largely depend on if these two — along with Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding — provide the last pieces of a Premier League winning side puzzle.

Loan sharks find Premier League bargains

Loans provided a convenient way for Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola to rid himself of ballast even if the club is going to pay the wages of England goalkeeper Joe Hart at Serie A side Torino. It also allowed Guardiola to offload the troublesome Samir Nasri, who is all sweetness and light when he is playing but left kicking his heels could provoke discord. Liverpool took a different tack, cutting their losses by reportedly allowing misfit Italian striker Mario Balotelli to leave on a free transfer to Ligue 1 side Nice — two years after they paid 25 million euros ($27.9 million) for ‘Super Mario’. However, not every star played ball. Manchester United’s German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger declined a loan move to Sporting Lisbon infuriating Jose Mourinho. Schweinsteiger is seemingly content to train on his own and pick up a reported £190,000 a week salary.

Second chances

The Premier League can be a forgiving place as several players have been offered a second chances, some returning at a vastly higher price. Prime among those is Paul Pogba, leaving for a song to Juventus and returning for a world record 89 million pounds (105 million euros, $116 million). Arsenal’s new 35 million pound signing Shkodran Mustafi almost gave up football after a dispiriting spell at Everton as a teenager and will hope this is a far more positive experience. Chelsea have offered two players a second opportunity. The biggest surprise was the return of the rampaging if intemperate Brazil centreback David Luiz, whom Jose Mourinho had no regrets about selling in 2014. Spanish left-back Marcos Alonso arrives from Serie A side Fiorentina for a reported £23m. The 25-year-old is in somewhat more glamorous surroundings than his previous English forays, a loan spell at Sunderland and three seasons at Bolton.

Tougher foreign grip on Premier League

England manager Sam Allardyce received a largely hostile press for his remark he would consider selecting foreign-born players for England if they met the criteria. However, the apparently ceaseless demand for foreign imports could add weight to his argument. About £720m of the £1.165 billion spent in the two months up to Wednesday went to foreign clubs, up from £585m in 2015. The likes of champions Leicester (Islam Slimani of Algeria), Southampton (Sofiane Boufal of Morocco) and perennial strugglers Sunderland (Didier Ndong of France) all broke their transfer records to sign foreign internationals rather than English talent.

Cherries harvest English talent

Bournemouth may be the one shining light in putting English talent in the shop window. They signed 20-year-old Jordon Ibe from Liverpool, for a record fee for them of £15m, highly-regarded teenager Lewis Cook from ailing football giant Leeds and took the talented but fragile England midfielder Jack Wilshire off Arsenal on loan. With a young English manager in Eddie Howe, who was mentioned in connection with the England job after Roy Hodgson’s resignation, it is almost an English dream team.

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