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Yesterday’s transfer deadline day proved to be anything but dull as England’s top-flight clubs once again opened their plush cheque books at the eleventh hour in a bid to make one final, stellar signing. The day saw Premier League spending top £210 million thanks to a flurry of late deals, despite a number of high-profile moves failing to materialise.
With top-flight club’s total summer outlay reaching an astronomical £1.4 billion, a new record figure, we take a look at the top deadline day dealings at some of the league’s high fliers.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Arsenal to Liverpool – £35 million
The England International could appear to represent a shrewd piece of business for Jurgen Klopp’s flourishing Liverpool side. Having initially rejected Chelsea’s advances, with a fee being agreed in principle, the former Southampton man opted for Merseyside as he looks ahead to cementing his place in a more centralised attacking position.
The 24 year old made an impressive 198 appearances for Arsenal following his £12 million move from the Saints, and his positive influence on the pitch was undoubtedly clear for all to see. His pace, power and attacking flair made him a defender’s nightmare on many occasions and Arsenal fans will surely be ruing his late exit. Time will tell though on whether Chamberlain will force his way into Liverpool’s central trio and the England man may find himself relying on his ability to stay patient. The current midfield partnership of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum looks to be a relentless force at the moment, with all three starring against Arsenal and in the fabulous Champions League play-off victory.
That being said, the former Gunner will undoubtedly add a valuable layer of creativity to Klopp’s thriving midfield contingent and the Anfield faithful can certainly be optimistic about this deadline day deal.
Danny Drinkwater: Leicester City to Chelsea – £35 million
Drama at the eleventh hour saw reigning champions Chelsea add to their splendid midfield collection with Leicester City man Danny Drinkwater becoming the latest star recruit. The England International, who signed for the Foxes in 2012, enjoyed the highlight of his career in 2016 as his spirited Leicester team lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in their history, a tremendous feat which astonished the footballing world. It became the fairy tale on the lips of every avid sports fan, and a story in which midfield maestro Drinkwater played a pivotal role.
The 27 year-old fashioned a formidable partnership with former Fox, N’golo Kante, also now of Chelsea, as they dispatched sides with ease to romp to the Premier League title in 2016. Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, will be eager to see the fascinating partnership revitalised as he looks to win his second successive league trophy this year. In Drinkwater, Blues fans can expect a dogged performer whose superb vision and passing capabilities surpass many of the league’s top-drawer players. It is certainly a signing that will give Chelsea fans added confidence ahead of the enthralling season.
Serge Aurier: PSG to Tottenham Hotspur – £23 million
Following the lucrative sale of Kyle Walker to rivals, Manchester City, Mauricio Pochettino became eager to find an impressive, attacking minded right back to fill the void. It was found in the form of Paris Saint Germain defender, Serge Aurier, an Ivory Coast International and devastating attacking outlet. The Ivorian possesses outstanding speed, stamina and is also a diligent defender, but his contribution at the other end of the pitch is what will leave Spurs’ fans drooling.
The 24 year old has a profound talent for creating chances in the opposition half and his impressive six goals and six assists in his final season at Toulouse, before his consequential move to PSG, demonstrates just how effective he can be in the final third. Whilst Tottenham Hotspur fans may still be licking their wounds after the reluctant sale of Kyle Walker, they certainly have much to look forward to with new man Aurier.
Fernando Llorente: Swansea to Tottenham Hotspur – £12 million
Paying out £12 million for a 32 year old may be viewed as a gamble by some Spurs fans, but the towering Spaniard will undoubtedly view age as just a number, especially when considering his impressive 15 goal tally in the Premier League last season. Llorente’s qualities and track record suggest that he could provide a significant threat that differs greatly to those in the squad.
With main man Harry Kane likely to dominate proceedings with regards to team selection, the 6ft 5in striker could potentially act as Spurs’ archetypal plan B. Having scored 3 goals in 5 substitute appearances for Swansea last year, the Spanish International has demonstrated the devastating late impact he can have against tiring opposition. After coming off the bench against Crystal Palace in December, he inspired an emphatic late turnaround at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea snatched a last-gasp 5-4 victory in stoppage time, with Llorente scoring twice. The Spaniard certainly represents a fantastic alternative for any coach, which is why Antonio Conte has been left frustrated on missing out on him – the Chelsea manager enjoyed a successful stint with the striker at Juventus and is thus fully aware of his valuable strengths.
Mamadou Sakho: Liverpool to Crystal Palace – £26 million
Palace fans will be delighted to see the colossal Frenchman make a return to Selhurst Park. The 27 year old made a remarkable impact whilst on loan with the Eagles last season, and they have remained persistent on retaining his services throughout the summer. His immensely impressive loan stint saw him nominated for Palace’s Player of the Year award despite him only making eight appearances on his arrival. It is sentiment to how swiftly the French International ingratiated himself with the Palace faithful and it provides clear justification for why owner, Steve Parish, was so keen to acquire him.
Standing at 6ft 2in, the former Liverpool man represents a towering aerial presence and defensive stronghold. A partnership with the esteemed Scott Dann could give the Eagles a sturdy platform from which to build on and Palace fans can certainly take great optimism as they look to the future.
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