EPL: Liverpool the big winners

Mamadou Sakho is a full France international and a potential longterm solution at centre back for Liverpool.

DEADLINE DAY DEALS:

Our columnist analyses the transfer market performance of the Super Six

ARSENAL

Deadline day signings: Mesut Oezil (Real Madrid)

At bloody long last!

And boy, did Arsene Wenger leave it late.

The Frenchman had hinted at a big move or two in the transfer market on deadline day but given Arsenal's inactivity in recent years, no one was really banking on that to happen.

On top of that, the Emirates Stadium is no longer perceived as the destination of choice among players, with Wenger missing out on Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye before this.

But the capture of Germany international playmaker Mesut Oezil from Real Madrid, believed to be for a fee in the region of £42.2 million ($83.5m), may turn out to be the signing of the season.

He is the playmaker the Gunners have been crying out for since the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona two years ago.

The earlier signing of old boy Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer also seems to be a shrewd one, as he adds not just steel into the side, but some badly-needed leadership. Late yesterday, Palermo also confirmed that goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano is set to join Arsenal on a year-long loan deal with an option to buy.

Perhaps the squad need strengthening still, especially in attack and defence where they lack quality depth. But Arsenal fans, I suspect, are learning to be a contented lot.

Transfer market performance: 4/5

CHELSEA

Deadline day signings: None at press time

When Jose Mourinho put out his team against Man United a week ago, he didn't field a single recognised striker.

Some saw it as a ploy to publicly tell the owner of his desire to sign one, but it also revealed his dissatisfaction with his current lot.

Forwards Demba Ba and Fernando Torres have no longer been linked with moves out of the London club, which tells you how significant they rank in his future plans.

The pursuit of Wayne Rooney ended in a whimper, with the England international eventually making a U-turn and deciding that he will stay at Old Trafford.

The signing of Samuel Eto'o, while not as highly anticipated as one involving Rooney, can be seen as a shrewd move.

But that's providing the Cameroon striker turns out to be an instant hit.

Apart from that, Mourinho appears to be well-stocked in the other departments.

In particular, the arrivals of Willian and Andre Schurrle boost an attacking midfield so talented that there are bound to be a few unhappy souls on the bench this season.

Otherwise, Chelsea seem to be building for the future, with the likes of young Christian Atsu and Cristian Cuevas signed and immediately loaned out to gain experience.

But it is a big-name striker the fans crave for right at the death. Can Chelsea oblige?

Transfer market performance: 3/5

LIVERPOOL

Deadline day signings: Tiago Ilori (Sporting Lisbon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Victor Moses (loan, Chelsea)

Manager Brendan Rodgers is attempting to address the issue of a lack of depth on the bench.

At last count, eight new players have arrived at the club since the end of last season.

And from the looks of it, he hasn't fared too badly, bringing in some decent names and at the same time clearing off plenty of deadwood.

The triple swoop on deadline day will be music to the fans' ears.

Attacking midfielder Victor Moses joined from Chelsea on loan, but it is the additions of defenders Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho from Sporting Lisbon and Paris St Germain respectively that brought about much relief.

The retirement of Jamie Carragher and injuries to new centre back Kolo Toure and defender Aly Cissokho have left Liverpool woefully short at the back.

Sebastian Coates is out for the rest of the season because of a knee injury, while youngster Andre Wisdom is not deemed experienced enough to handle a regular spot in the team.

The inconsistent Martin Skrtel is not yet back at 100 per cent fitness after just recovering from a knee injury, which leaves Daniel Agger as the only experienced and fit centre back.

Sakho, a full France international, can slot into the team quickly and is also a potential long-term solution.

Ilori, also a centre back, is one of the most sought-after young players on the continent.

Transfer market performance: 4.5/5

MAN CITY

Deadline day signings: Martin Demichelis (Atletico Madrid)

Defensive deficiencies in their last couple of league games have erased the euphoria of the opening-game 4-0 win over Newcastle.

An injury to skipper Vincent Kompany in that match saw City shorn of one of their best players.

It certainly didn't help that Joleon Lescott has been looking out of sorts in the middle of the backline.

A shock 3-2 loss to Cardiff was followed by an unconvincing 2-0 win over Hull City over the weekend.

It is why manager Manuel Pellegrini swooped in on Martin Demichelis, the former Bayern Munich defender who was most recently at Atletico Madrid.

Last-minute deals can be risky business, as players may not turn out to be what the manager expects, but maybe not in this case.

Demichelis and Pellegrini worked together at Malaga in the Spanish La Liga for two years.

This is his fifth signing of this transfer window, and it takes the club's spending past the £90m mark.

If Demichelis can plug the big hole in their defence, City do seem to have the best squad in the top flight.

Before this, they had acquired Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, to add to their already star-studded collection.

Transfer market performance: 3.5/5

MAN UNITED

Deadline day signings: None at press time

The pressure is building on David Moyes probably faster than he would have thought.

A goalless home draw with Chelsea and a 1-0 away loss to Liverpool in their last two games added to a growing belief that Man United must add to their squad or kiss their title chances goodbye.

Moyes may see the retention of Wayne Rooney's services as a victory to savour, but most fans think that is not enough.

And they may be right.

An inability to make much headway in the transfer market is worrying. Save for the signing of Guillermo Varela, no one has yet joined the Moyes revolution.

The manner with which United failed to break down Chelsea and Liverpool also highlighted their need for a classy, creative midfielder who can provide the sort of ammunition that striker Robin van Persie deserves.

Rumours were rife that United were about to make a move for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera yesterday, with Moyes agreeing to trigger the 24-year-old's release clause (£31m).

However, nothing was official as of press time.

The attempts to sign midfielder Marouane Fellaini and fullback Leighton Baines also continued to hang in the balance.

To rub salt in the wound, United fans even has to suffer the ignominy of watching Arsenal sign Mesut Oezil.

Transfer market performance: 0/5

TOTTENHAM

Deadline day signings: None at press time

The possession of a prized asset such as Gareth Bale obviously gave Spurs plenty of money to play with.

As it turned out, Bale went to Real Madrid for a whopping world record fee of £85.3m ($168m).

But Spurs played it smart by going for many of their players early, before the Bale sale, to avoid paying inflated fees.

There was late speculation that the Lilywhites might go for Brazilian striker Hulk but the £10million loan fee which Zenit St Petersburg were demanding could be a stumbling block.

There is reason for Andre Villas-Boas to feel inadequate in the strikers' department.

While Roberto Soldado has already proven to be a promising buy, with two league goals in three games, the Portuguese is eager to widen his attacking options.

It seems he doesn't see Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor featuring in his long-term plans.

But given their prior success in the transfer market before yesterday, it won't be the end of the world for Spurs even if they fail to land another striker.

Shrewd purchases such as Etienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Paulinho have already turned their squad into one of the most formidable in the country.

Transfer market performance: 3.5/5

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