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Window Watching - EPL Edition: Hello and Goodbye

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird is the Senior Soccer Editor for RotoWire, as well as a fantasy football and college basketball contributor.

With the somewhat shocking news that Clint Dempsey has decided to take his talents to Seattle, it seems like a great time to review the transfers that have occurred so far during the summer transfer window. There have been big names mentioned in rumors but only a few have actually occurred.

Saying Goodbye
One of the earliest transfers of the summer occurred right at the beginning of the open window when Manchester City sent striker Carlos Tevez to Juventus for a reported £10 million. The 29-year old Argentinian was a solid fantasy contributor last season, scoring 11 goals and assisting on eight others. He had some trouble with the law and City’s desire to get younger up front indirectly led to Tevez’s move to Serie A.

While the Dempsey move made significantly more ripples in the United States than it did in England, it was still an interesting development from the Tottenham side. Dempsey was a fairly regular player for Spurs, although the writing was on the wall that he’d have to perform better for any chance at a consistent spot in the Starting XI. He scored only seven times last season and never found the grove that he’s shown in his recent time with the U.S. national team. One would think he would have gotten more playing time if Gareth Bale were sent packing but now we’ll never know for sure.

Pepe Reina has been a mainstay in Liverpool for almost a decade but he was sent out on loan this year to Serie A side Napoli. After finishing tied for second with 14 clean sheets last season in Premier League action, and allowing only 34 goals, the Spanish keeper will be reunited with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez in Italy.

Welcome Aboard
With Tevez off to Italy, Manchester City made a number of moves to replace his offensive prowess. Two names that will be a big part of filling the void are Alvaro Negredo and Steven Jovetic. Both have a scoring pedigree coming into the Premier League, with the former recording 31 goals in all competitions last season for Sevilla and the latter 13 times in Serie A action for Fiorentina. New City manager Manuel Pellegrini has plenty of talent now up front, with Negredo and Jovetic joining incumbent strikers Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

After having great success bringing in Michu last season, Swansea decided to bring in another goal-scorer this summer to help reduce the scoring load of their Spanish star. Incoming forward Wilfried Bony was excellent at finding the back of the net last season in the Dutch Eredivisie, scoring 31 times in 30 games. In order to bring in the Ivory Coast striker, Swansea shattered its transfer fee record, ponying up £12 million for his services. If Bony can produce even half the goals for Swans as he did for Vitesse Arnhem last season, the price will certainly be worth it.

Bony wasn’t the only high scorer from the Netherlands to move to England this summer, as U.S. national team star Jozy Altidore made the switch from AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland in a $13 million move, a record for an American. Altidore was linked to a number of clubs after a few solid performances for the national team, with Lazio and Sunderland the front runners. The latter came up with the winning bid and Altidore is likely to see playing time immediately, as incumbent starting striker Steven Fletcher will miss at least the first month of the season working his way back from April ankle surgery.

When former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez took over the same job at Everton, it was only a matter of time before a few players followed him. Arouna Kone was an easy bet to be one of them after leading Wigan in scoring last season with 11 goals in 34 appearances. The transfer was reportedly for around £5 million, a more-than-fair figure if Bony can repeat his net-finding from a year ago.

Another mid-level club looking to increase its scoring is Norwich City, which brought in striker Gary Hooper from Celtic. The former Scottish Premier League player of the year netted at least 19 goals in three straight seasons and will be a main cog in Norwich’s attack this season as they try to improve on their 17th place finish in goals scored last year.

The biggest reason for Liverpool deciding to loan Reina to Napoli was their acquisition of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland in an £11 million move. Despite Reina’s success last season, the Reds clearly felt that Mignolet was a worthy investment and he’ll be the starting goalkeeper this year. With a strong defensive unit and a likely top-six finish, Mignolet could be a top fantasy keeper this year.

Welcome Back
If there is one player who greatly benefitted from the extra playing time from a loan spell, it was Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 goals in Premier League action last season for West Brom. The Belgian striker is a physical specimen who will be a great weapon for Jose Mourinho this season. He’ll have to compete for playing time against Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, but if he can find a consistent spot in the Starting XI, he could be a top-five striker this season.

Another loan success last season was Wilfried Zaha, who helped Crystal Palace earn a spot in the Premier League while on loan from Manchester United. Palace were very interested in bringing him back on loan this year but it appears that he’s done enough for United to stick around. Unfortunately, due to the talent already on the club, it’s unlikely that he’ll match his success from last season, at least from a personal statistical standpoint.

Still Waiting
It’s starting to look like a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ in regards to Gareth Bale moving from Tottenham to Real Madrid. The Spanish giant have already bid over €100 million for the reigning Premier League player of the year, although Spurs have apparently demanded at least £100 million. There are no other suitors who will go as high for Bale and Spurs would be missing out on tens of millions of pounds if they were to wait any longer on a move. With Dempsey also on the way out, Tottenham would have a massive war chest at its disposal to replace its midfield pieces.

Luis Suarez has been called many things during his time at Liverpool but there’s no denying that he’s one of the elite goal scorers in the Premier League. Despite missing four matches at the end of last season, he still finished the year as the second highest goal scorer behind Robin van Persie. He’s asked for a transfer out of England and yet his top suitor right now is Arsenal. Liverpool have been adamant that they will not sell their striker and Arsenal don’t appear to be willing to go high enough to make the offer impossible to refuse. From the looks of it, Suarez won’t be going anywhere.

Manchester United have a bit of a difficult situation when it comes to Wayne Rooney. They don’t seem intent on selling him to any team, Premier League or not, and yet new manager David Moyes hasn’t exactly given him a ringing endorsement about his playing time. Clearly van Persie is the top striker for United but Rooney still has elite-level skills. He is working his way back from a hamstring injury right now but should be ready for the opening of the Premier League season. Chelsea and Arsenal have shown some interest in Rooney but it would be quite surprising if United sold him to another English club, if at all.