Tag Archives: Window

October Playlist: Music Reviews

Music; it’s not all One Direction and Fine Young Cannibals. Jonathan O’Shea shares his singles of the month, and there isn’t a Zayn Malik themed barbershop quartet in sight.

Window Shades – U.S. Girls

Skilfully structured around an irresistible deep disco beat ‘magpied’ (i.e. ‘nicked’) from Gloria Ann Taylor’s cult classic ‘Love is a Hurting Thing’, ‘Window Shades’ begins with a intriguingly haunting piano refrain and builds to a heart-rending tale of love lost. Accompanied by another bewitching (and self-directed) video, following the similarly mystical ‘Woman’s Work’ promo, this genre-defying single release confirms U.S. Girls as considerable new creative force.

Somehow this track seems just a smidgen under-cooked though; slightly running out of steam mid-way through. Still, it’s another stimulating taste of the idiosyncratic delicacies to expect from Toronto-based Meg Remy’s debut album ‘Half Free’, recently released on 4AD Records.

 

Kuma KitaDeerhoof

Deerhoof

Confuse and astound your neighbours as you jangle your flesh to the frantic, demi-demented electro-wibblings of the loveably strange Deerhoof. A malfunctioning futuristic story-bot tells a twisted tale of an encounter with a brown bear amid intermittently pulsing beats. It’s massively infectious, unreasonably joyous and can be found on the Post Tangent compilation, released in aid of Syrian refugees stranded in Calais.

Not convinced? OK, the lyrics:

Once upon a time/Kumanakumanakuma/Am I safe here?/Is that is that a bear?/Let’s play dead. Play dead!/That is that is a bear. Big and brown head!/Saying Gao Gao/Showing teeth and menacing bang bang bang/Cruel nature, eat or eaten/Everyone waltz.

Resist that.

Fever Elvis Presley & Michael Buble/
Bad Blood – Ryan Adams

Ever dug up your beloved pet rabbit – let’s call him Snowy – and sinisterly waggled his mangy, mangled remains around in the pretence that the once-lovely bundle of fluffy fun is still alive? No, neither have I. But Michael Buble has. Well, effectively.

This pseudo ‘duet’ between the super-syrupy auto-tuned crooner (AKA Micky Bubbles) and the greatest hip-swinger in rock history makes a sick mockery of the King’s considerable legacy. Presumably prompted more by desperation and greed than any desire to produce something enduringly special, this is the latest of innumerable covers of Little Willie John’s 1962 standard. In fact, Elvis obviously once recorded it himself – y’know, when he was alive and all – so why not just leave it at that?

Similarly, what can alt-crooner Ryan Adams’ motivation really be for recording – and actually releasing – an entire Taylor Swift album (‘1989’), so soon after it was initially a hit for the new queen of pop? Sure, he’s made a pleasant enough job of the universally adored Tay-Tay’s ‘Bad Blood’, but what’s the point? And she’s not even dead (yet)!

Coming soon: Harry Styles jives with the decomposing corpse of Ginger Rogers, while Miley Cyrus twerks malevolently in Marlon Brando’s rotting face…in the exclusive video for Bing Crosby and Peter Andre’s new festive EP, ‘Bing & Pete’s I’m Dreaming of an Insania Christmas’.

 

Also recommended this month

 

Paydirt – Horse Party

Singularity – New Order

A Change – Participant 

Let us know your tracks of the month and win a free iPod! Golf bag! Date with a pop-star! Old phone with nude photos of ex-gf that I can’t find a charger for! Sainsbury’s carrier bag worth 5p!

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

Transfer Window 2015: How did your club do?

With the Summer transfer window now slammed shut for Premier League sides, it’s time to reflect on the increasing, surely unsustainable spending that’s occurred during two crazy months.

Arsenal

Total spent: £11m
Notable addition: Petr Cech (Chelsea, £11m)
Notable departure: Abou Diaby (Released)

Arsenal addressed the need for a top quality custodian by acquiring Chelsea’s second choice stopper, Petr Cech, who promises to add stability to the set-up. Unfortunately they still look a striker and midfield destroyer short of challenging for the title, and an additional central defender wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Aston Villa

Total spent: £52.5m
Notable addition: Jordan Amavi (Nice, £10m)
Notable departure: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32.5m)

Christian Benteke’s departure was inevitable, but Fabian Delph’s transfer to Manchester City was a little more contentious, with the England midfielder, having rejected City’s initial advances, pledging his allegiance the Villains, only to perform an about turn and join the Eastlands club less than a week later. Villa have raided France, bringing in some promising talent; most notably Jordan Amavi from Nice.

Bournemouth

Total spent: £23.8m
Notable addition: Max Gradel (£6.8m, Saint-Etienne)
Notable departure: Brett Pitman (£1.2m, Ipswich Town)

The Cherries have picked up from where they left off last season, playing aesthetically appealing football and getting decent results along the way. On paper their squad looks short of quality, although the likes of Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are astute additions. With Eddie Howe at the helm anything seems possible, and perhaps their best piece of business was retaining the talented Callum Wilson.

Chelsea

Total spent: £69m
Notable addition: Pedro (Barcelona, £21.4m)
Notable departure: Petr Cech (Arsenal, £11m)

A quiet, by Chelsea standards, transfer window, coupled with some disappointing results, has emphasised the need to reinvigorate a declining squad. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic in particular have looked as if they’re on the slide. The ultimately fruitless pursuit of Everton’s John Stones will have left Jose Mourinho bitterly frustrated.

Crystal Palace


Total spent: £25.3m
Notable addition: Yohan Cabaye (PSG, £12.8m)
Notable departure: None.

Palace have quietly assembled one of the most thrilling squads in the Premier League, having enjoyed an excellent transfer window, whilst remaining under the radar. Their capture of Yohan Cabaye could be one of the deals of the summer; the diminutive playmaker already having made an impact for the Eagles.

Everton

Total spent: £21.75m
Notable addition: Ramiro Funes Mori (River Plate, £9.5m)
Notable departure: None.

Everton have decided to keep their powder dry for the most part this summer, adding five new faces without spending (relative) big bucks. Keeping John Stones away from Chelsea may prove a short-term victory; that said, a reported £40m offer for the defender was exorbitant, and unlikely to be matched in future, less frenzied times.

Leicester City


Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz, £7.2m)
Notable departure: Esteban Cambiasso (Released)

The unexpected departure of manager Nigel Pearson left a gaping hole in the Foxes’ recruitment drive in the early weeks of the window, but that soon picked up when former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri took the reigns. The ‘Tinkerman’ has made half a dozen useful signings, the best of which looks to be talented Japanese marksman Okazaki.

Liverpool

Total spent: £80.5m
Notable addition: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa, £32.5m)
Notable departure: Raheem Sterling (Man City, £49m)

The Reds started the summer as if they planned to purchase an entirely new squad, perhaps with one eye on the impending departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. Benteke has the ability to become a club legend, and the signings of Danny Ings, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne provide value for money, although none are exactly marquee purchases.

Manchester City

Total spent: £154m
Notable addition: Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg, £55m)
Notable departure: James Milner (Liverpool, free)

The Citizens have resumed the spendthrift stance that was temporarily foiled as a result of the club besmirching FIFA’s “Financial Fair Play” regulations. Stockpiling players once again, they appear to have all bases covered, and anything less than European glory will probably result in Manuel Pellegrini receiving his marching orders.

Manchester United

Total spent: £115.8m
Notable addition: Memphis Depay (PSV, £24.4m)
Notable departure: Angel Di Maria (PSG, £44.8m)

A whirlwind deadline day saw United secure the services of prodigiously talented teenage attacker Anthony Martial from Monaco for an initial £36m and a deal to trade David De Gea to Real Madrid thwarted by tardy paperwork. Despite all of that, their best business was agreed before the window opened, with exciting winger Depay swapping Holland for England.

Newcastle United

Total spent: £48m
Notable addition: Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV, £13m)
Notable departure: Jonas Gutierrez (released)

The Toon Army have (finally) been treated to a host of exciting additions, as well as a much needed revamp in coaching set-up and management. Wijnaldum is, literally and figuratively, the biggest name addition to the group, although both Chancel Mbemba and Floran Thauvin have impressed thus far. Aleksandar Mitrovic should become the number nine supporters have long craved… If he can stay on the pitch for long enough.

Norwich City

Total spent: £12m
Notable addition: Robbie Brady (Hull City, £7m)
Notable departure: Mark Bunn (Aston Villa, free)

Norwich haven’t managed to attract anyone particularly exciting to Norfolk, but what they have done is embellish their midfield with stable top-flight performers. Irish full-back/winger Robbie Brady is a gifted player who deserves the chance to fulfil his undoubted ability, but there is a feeling that the Canaries will end up relying heavily upon the jet-heeled Nathan Redmond.

Southampton

Total spent: £42.5m
Notable addition: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord, £10.5m)
Notable departure: Morgan Schneiderlin (Man United, £27m)

Saints have had a wonderful knack in recent seasons of getting top dollar for outgoing players and replacing them with better, cheaper alternatives. Jordy Clasie may prove to be another coup, although he’s not in the Schneiderlin mould just yet. Nataniel Clyne is a loss, but hanging on to Spurs target Victor Wanyama on deadline day was vital, while the late addition of Virgil Van Dijk is savvy.

Stoke City


Total spent:
£29.8m
Notable addition: Xherdan Shaqiri (Inter Milan, £12m)
Notable departure: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea, £8m)

The evolution of Stoke City continues apace, with the addition of skilful innovators such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel to the ranks. Mark Hughes has assembled a quality squad at the Britannia Stadium. The departure of the brilliant Asmir Begovic has afforded the promising Jack Butland an overdue opportunity.

Sunderland

Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Fabio Borini (Liverpool, £10m)
Notable departure: Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace, £9m)

The Mackems don’t appear to have sufficiently addressed their leaky defence, conceding 13 goals in their five league and cup matches so far this season. The additions of Fabio Borini, Jeremain Lens and Yann M’Vila have at least given Dick Advocaat’s men a previously absent cutting edge.

Swansea City


Total spent:
£15m
Notable signing: Andre Ayew (Marseille, free)
Notable departure: Nathan Dyer (Leicester City, loan)

The Welsh side have been among the shrewdest Premier League operators this summer, picking up high calibre signings with minimal or zero transfer fee attached. Andre Ayew has immediately settled, while Eder provides important backup for on song target man Bafe Gomis.

Tottenham Hotspur

Total spent: £51.3m
Notable addition: Son Heung-Min (Leverkusen, £22m)
Notable departure: Aaron Lennon (Everton, £5.2m)

With Spurs fans crying out for additional fire power, Daniel Levy was only able to conclude deals for support acts and defenders. The club have done well to trim much of the fat from an inflated squad, but may rue the as of yet fruitless pursuit of West Brom’s Saido Berahino.

Watford


Total spent:
£31m
Notable addition: Etienne Capoue (Tottenham, £6m)
Notable departure: None

The most active top-flight team in this transfer window, the Hornets made no less than 15 signings during the summer. On the surface it appears to be a case of quantity over quality, although the likes of Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami at least have the capacity to supply sufficient ammunition for Troy Deeney and co. to trouble the scorers.

West Bromwich Albion


Total spent:
£33m
Notable signing: Salomon Rondon (Zenit, £12m)
Notable departure: Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa, £1m)

The Baggies have had a successful window, retaining the services of star striker Saido Berahino against his will, while adding real quality in the shape of Salomon Rondon, Johnny Evans and James Chester. Tony Pulis has steered clear of panic deals, upgrading key areas. With Rickie Lambert now on the books, Albion have a mouthwatering three-pronged front-line available if they can get Berahino to stop sulking.

West Ham United


Total spent: £35.6m
Notable addition: Dimitri Payet (Marseille, £10.7m)
Notable departure: Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough, £5m)

A new manager and a dozen additions to the playing staff may seem excessive, but the Hammers needed revolution rather than evolution this term. Multiple deadline day deals so often spells impending disaster, but the quality of players such as Alex Song and Victor Moses can’t be questioned. Dimitri Payet holds the key to unlock any defence in Europe.

Did we nail it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Messi to City? Bale to United? Tales of the Transfer Window.

With a couple of week remaining in the Premier League’s January transfer window, Wilfried Bony’s £28m move from Swansea to Manchester City has been the highest profile switch of the month.

With the market trading until midnight on February 2nd, speculation is rife that a flurry of late deals could be in the offing – Dom Kureen looks at a host of the most eye-catching rumours.

Lionel Messi 

Barcelona to Manchester City
Price Tag: £210m

Lionel Messi

In order for this deal to go through City would need to flaunt the Fifa Financial Fair Play rules and risk accruing a seriously lengthy transfer embargo. Lionel Messi has been unhappy at his treatment under new manager Luis Enrique, and both have hinted at a future away from the Nou Camp for the 27 year-old Argentinian superstar.

Credibility: 2/10
Even for oil-funded City, the proposed fee and weekly wages of £480,000 seem astronomical, and at 27 there’s a suggestion that Messi’s peak years are alreay behind him, with injuries and inconsistency seeing him usurped as the best footballer in the world by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid to Manchester United
Price Tag: £96m 

Gareth Bale

Welshman Bale has received sporadic abuse from the Bernabeu stands for electing to shoot rather than to pass to better placed team-mates in recent matches, but is generally seen as integral to Real’s long-term success. United would love to add him to their roster, although all signs point to Britain’s finest player staying put.

Credibility: 1/10
Bale still has plenty of unfinished business in Spain, but rumours of homesickness are likely to continue until he’s been in Spain for a few more seasons.

Papiss Cisse

Newcastle United to Swansea City
Price Tag: £8.5m

With Bony gone and Bafetimbi Gomis out of favour, the Swans need to invest in at least one new striker. Newcastle’s Cisse is capable of the spectacular, and a return to form has seen the Senegalese forward nab 9 goals in only 14 league appearances this term.

Credibility: 7/10
29 year-old Cisse is currently representing his country at the African Cup of Nations, having publicly stated his frustration at being used as a substitute in recent months – a relocation to Swansea could be mutually agreeable to all parties.

Danny Ings

Burnley to Tottenham Hotspur
Price Tag: £5.5m

Danny Ings

Burnley and England U21 talisman Ings is a man on whom the Turf Moor club’s survival hopes are pinned. With his contract set to expire this summer there will be no shortage of interest in the 22 year-old.

Credibility: 8/10
Ings is likely to leave Burnley, albeit possibly in the summer rather than January. Spurs could provide the platform the youngster needs to become a regular member of the full England squad.

Saido Berahino

West Brom to Liverpool
Price Tag: £18m

Berahino

Berahino has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak campaign for the Baggies, with 14 goals to his name already this season. The 21 year-old is being groomed as an England star of the future.

Credibility: 9/10
This one seems nailed on. The Reds are crying out for a new striker, and Berahino would surely be tempted by a move to such an illustrious club. West Brom, meanwhile, could use the windfall to invest in their threadbare squad.

Luca Modric

Real Madrid to Chelsea
Price Tag: £25m

Modric

Jose Mourinho might have a stockpile of diminutive, skilful attacking players at his disposal already, but the opportunity to swoop for Modric, who he worked with at Real Madrid, would undoubtedly appeal to the Chelsea manager.

Credibility: 8/10
The creative Croatian’s wife has intimated that they are unsettled in Spain, paving the way for a return to the Premier League. Chelsea will possibly consider Modric to be the final piece of an expansive attacking jigsaw, and one that wouldn’t break the bank.

Scott Sinclair

Man City to Aston Villa
Price Tag: £2.8m

Scott SinclairScott Sinclair’s once promising career has gone into free-fall since he ditched Swansea City for a lucrative transfer to Eastlands in 2012. The winger, who can also play as a support striker, has only made 13 league appearances (two starts) for The Citizens in the 29 months since that switch.

Credibility: 9/10
Villa are desperately lacking creativity, so Sinclair would likely appeal to spend thrift chairman Randy Lerner. The 25 year-old would probably welcome the move, and could be a decent foil for the Midland club’s main man Christian Benteke.

Rudy Gestede

Blackburn Rovers to Crystal Palace
Price Tag: £5m

Rudy Gestede

Powerful striker Gestede has been prolific in the second-tier since moving from Cardiff City to Blackburn Rovers. There are question marks over whether the 26 year-old can hack life in the top-flight, but Palace appear to be fully backing new manager Alan Pardew’s judgement, as he seeks to embellish the Eagles’ squad.

Credibility: 10/10
With Blackburn currently under the dark cloud of a transfer embargo, their need to sell is clear for all to see. Gestede has been their leading light in 2014, and will fancy the opportunity of showcasing his talent among the elite.

Winston Reid

West Ham United to Arsenal
Price Tag: £2.5m

Winston Reid

Out of contract in the summer, 6 foot 3 inch Reid has been a key member of the Hammers’ defence this season, gaining a host of admirers for his wholehearted displays in central defence. His stats are far superior to any of Arsenal’s centre backs during 2014-15.

Credibility: 9/10
New Zealand international Reid would be a cheap, talented addition to Wenger’s side, and is ostensibly running down his contract to become a free agent. Big Sam might choose to cash in now, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.

Aaron Lennon

Tottenham Hotspur to Stoke City
Price Tag: £6m

Aaron Lennon

Once regarded as a future international star, Lennon has been reduced to a supporting act at White Hart Lane. Despite links to West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, it is Stoke City who are current front-runners to secure the 27 year-old winger’s services.

Credibility: 8/10
Lennon’s signature would prove a coup for Mark Hughes, his creating a potentially potent front three alongside Peter Crouch and Bojan Krkic. Spurs have a few squad players that are dispensable; former Leeds United graduate Lennon is one of them.

What transfer rumours have you heard about? Let us know in the comments section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier League Deadline Day – who needs what?

The Premier League kicked off more than a fortnight ago, with Manchester United’s woeful start forcing them to splurge a British transfer record £59.7m on Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup.

Other clubs, such as Arsenal and Everton, have embellished their squad with a handful of high-calibre additions, while Newcastle United and Liverpool have been amongst this summer’s most active deal brokers.

How has each club fared during the 2014 summer transfer window? Dom Kureen takes a look at the ins and outs of all 20 top-flight sides.

Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez
Best addition: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £35m)
Notable departure: Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m)

Last season’s FA Cup winners have operated shrewdly in market this summer, with the marquee signing of attacking maestro Alexis Sanchez adding yet more flair to an already heaving creative hub.

The likes of Matthieu Debuchy (£12m from Newcastle) and Calum Chambers (£16m from Southampton) were probably overpriced additions, although both improve what was, at times, a leaky Gunners back line last term.

What they need: A striker is a must now that Olivier Giroud has gone down for up to five months with a broken leg – Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon would be an excellent addition to Arsene Wenger’s squad.

8/10

Aston Villa
Joe Cole

Best addition: Carlos Sanchez (Elche, £4.8m)
Notable departure: Marc Albrighton (Leicester City, free)

A strange window has seen the Villains snap up veterans Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Phillipe Senderos – all of whom are past their best.

On the flip side Paul Lambert has managed to conclude deals for Colombian defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez Moreno and pacy French full-back Aly Cissokho, both of whom should command regular first-team spots at Villa Park.

What they need: a creative player such as Newcastle’s out of favour Hatem Ben-Arfa would add an air of spontaneity to an ostensibly uninspiring group of players.

5/10

Burnley

Best addition: Matthew Taylor (West Ham, free)
Notable departure: Chris Baird (West Brom, free)

Newly promoted Burnley have been active in the market this summer, adding seven new faces to the ranks without spending more than £1.5m on any of them.

The free acquisition of versatile veteran Matthew Taylor adds a glaze of experience to a youthful setup, although the Clarets still look well short of possessing the quality to stay up.

What they need: Three or four proven Premier League players would be helpful, although with their limited budget that may prove difficult and the pursuit of Watford’s Lewis McGugan isn’t likely to improve early season fortunes drastically should it prove successful.

2/10

Chelsea
Diego Costa

Best addition: Diego Costa (£32.2m, Athletico Madrid)
Notable departure: Romelu Lukaku (£28m, Everton)

A breathless turnaround for the always active Stamford Bridge club has seen the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Frank Lampard, Demba Ba, Ashley Cole, Fernando Torres and David Luiz depart – the latter to Paris Saint-Germain for an astonishing fee of £50m considering the regularity of the Brazilian’s mid-match brain farts.

Diego Costa has started well with goals in each of his first three league matches, and although Cesc Fabregas (£30m from Barcelona) has yet to sparkle, the ex-Arsenal man brings an abundance of pedigree to SW3. The return of ‘wunderkind’ custodian Thibaut Courtois, following a three year loan spell at Athletico Madrid, could prove the most pivotal addition of the lot.

What they need: Jose Mourinho would love to add Raphael Varane to the ranks, although it may take north of £30m to prise the central defender away from current club Real Madrid.

6.5/10

Crystal Palace
Neil Warnock

Best Signing: Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United, loan)
Notable departure: Danny Gabbidon (Released)

The Eagles lost their talismanic leader Tony Pulis this summer, whilst also missing out on most of their top targets, including free-scoring midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who snubbed a move from Spurs in favour of a return to Swansea City.

Newly appointed gaffer Neil Warnock has more than a whiff of the lower leagues about him, and the whole setup reeks of troubled times ahead – a lot will depend on the success of the returning Wilfried Zaha, with Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly the only other summer acquisitions of note.

What they need: A time machine to go back three months and draw up a more realistic list of targets, possibly placating Tony Pulis with the new faces that he desperately required.

2/10

Everton
Romelu Lukaku

Best signing: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, £28m)
Notable departure: None.

Christmas came early for Toffees fans when the club agreed a long-term deal with last season’s loan star, Romelu Lukaku, whose £28m jump from Chelsea almost doubled the club’s previous transfer record.

A less heralded loan deal made permanent was the free transfer of evergreen Gareth Barry from Manchester City – a fine player who fits the ethos at Goodison Park, although the short term signing of Samuel Eto’o may prove one move too many for the experienced forward.

What they need: Another central midfield option would be handy, with Manchester United’s want-away England international Tom Cleverley the subject of tug-of-war between Everton and Aston Villa.

8/10

Hull City
Tom Ince

Best signing: Harry McGuire (Sheffield United, £2.5m)
Notable departure: Shane Long (Southampton, £12m)

Steve Bruce has been a wily operator in pre-season, making Jake Livermore’s loan spell from Tottenham Hotspur permanent for a cool £7m, snapping up brilliant young central defender Harry McGuire from Sheffield United, nabbing the reliable Michael Dawson and stealing Thomas Ince from under the noses of a dozen or more other admirers.

Of the departing players only Shane Long was any great shakes, meaning that Tigers fans can expect another season of progression and some exciting months ahead.

What they need: With Long having headed south, the need for a new partner for Nikola Jelavic has grown more pressing, expect Palermo’s Uruguayan hitman Abel Hernandez to be announced later today.

7/10

Leicester City
Leonardo Ulloa

Best signing: Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton, £7m)
Notable departure: None

The Foxes have shown faith in the majority of the group that brought them success last season, as Nigel Pearson’s men romped to the Championship title to gain promotion to the Premier division with weeks to spare.

Leonardo Ulloa should add some muscle to a lightweight frontline, although at £7m the former Brighton and Hove Albion man is probably a little overpriced. Marc Albrighton and Esteban Cambiasso are two of the better free transfers of the summer.

What they need: One more experienced player could prove invaluable – something that should be addressed by the imminent arrival of Lokomotiv Moscow striker Dame N’Doye.

5/10

Liverpool
Mario Balotelli 2

Best signing: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan, £16m)
Notable departure: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £65m)

The departure of Luis Suarez hinted at an end to the controversial times at Anfield… and then they decided to sign AC Milan’s wild-eyed forward Mario Balotelli.

The Italian should prove a shrewd investment, likewise Dejan Lovren is a terrific defensive addition and Lazar Markovic has the potential to do well after his big bucks move from Benfica. In contrast Adam Lallana might find the going tough at such a high-profile club.

What they need: Not much. If anything the defence lacks a bit of depth, something that the potential signing of River Plate’s Eder Balanta would resolve.

7/10

Manchester City
Eliaquim Mangala

Best signing: Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, £32m)
Notable departure: Gareth Barry (Everton, free)

A quiet summer by Manchester City’s standards has been more courtesy of FIFA restrictions than design of the club, with the champions punished for a previous breach of financial fair play rules with a budget of ‘only’ £49m net expenditure allowed.

Almost two thirds of that amount was splashed on Porto’s promising centre-half Eliaquim Mangala, who should provide captain Vincent Kompany with a worthy partner. Midfield scrapper Fernando was signed from the same club, while the addition of goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Malaga provides decent competition for Joe Hart.

What they need: With Alvaro Negredo unsettled Manchester City might look to do a swap deal for Athletico Madrid’s creative starlet Koke.

6/10

Manchester United
Angel Di Maria

Best signing: Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid, £59m)
Notable departure: Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan, free)

Louis Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford having taken the Netherlands to an impressive third place finish at the World Cup, in theory his presence was intended to create a quick fix for David Moyes’ doomed tenure, in reality it is proving more difficult.

This is despite a massive summer outlay of around £140m, easily the most in the division, and the addition of half a dozen very highly rated players to the roster. There is still a sense that the shiny new Dutch boss has plenty of streamlining to do before the window shuts.

What they need: Clearing out dead wood such as Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Anderson would be progress, as would the expected conclusion of deals for Ajax schemer Daley Blind and long-term target Arturo Vidal from Juventus.

6/10

Newcastle United
Remy Cabella

Best signing: Siem De Jong (Ajax, £6.1m)
Notable departure: Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal, £12m)

Following two painfully reticent previous transfer windows, Newcastle have been busy this summer, capturing nine new players and allowing a slew of second rate performers to depart.

The £14m spent acquiring Remy Cabella from Montpellier and Siem De Jong from Ajax should prove a bargain, although both will take time to settle. One player who has adapted quickly is £5m full-back Darryl Janmaat, recruited from Feyenoord to replace outgoing incumbent Mathieu Debuchy. Jack Colback’s free transfer from arch rivals Sunderland is a genuine coup for the club.

What they need: a 15+ goals a season striker and a pacy centre back are paramount, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Virgil Van Dijk of Celtic are two players who could be the difference between a season of struggle and a top half finish for the Toon.

7/10

Queens Park Rangers
Rio Ferdinand

Best signing: Steven Caulker (Cardiff City, £7m)
Notable departure: Loic Remy (Chelsea, £10.5m)

Harry Redknapp made defence his priority this summer, pairing new signings Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker to add some much needed steel to last season’s play-off winners.

The versatile Mauricio Isla, on loan from Juventus, is a quality utility man and in Leroy Fer and Jordan Mutch the Loftus Road outfit have stoked up their engine room. Losing Loic Remy to Chelsea has severely depleted an already paper thin attack.

What they need: A replacement for Remy is vital to reduce the burden on Charlie Austin. Jordan Rhodes could probably be persuaded to take the step up, although Blackburn Rovers are demanding more than £12m for the Scotland international.

6/10

Southampton
Fraser Forster

Best signing: Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m)
Notable departure: Adam Lallana (Liverpool, £25m)

The summer started horribly for the Saints, with manager Mauricio Pochettino heading to Spurs and no less than four key players and exciting young defender Callum Chambers all exiting, albeit generally for massively inflated fees.

New manager Ronald Koeman has managed to snap up some nifty talent to alleviate much of the misery from St Mary’s. The most impressive of these are goalkeeper Fraser Forster, Dusan Tadic of FC Twente and £12m hit man Shane Long from West Bromwich Albion.

What they need: A couple more squad players and centre-half would fill some of the gaping holes in the squad. Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld would solve the latter issue and is expected to join on loan today.

5/10

Stoke City
Bojan

Best signing: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona, £6.8m)
Notable departure: None

In typical Stoke City fashion, the club have made a series of solid, dependable signings this summer embellished with a couple of less predictable ones.

Bojan Krkic was once regarded as the next great player from Barcelona’s youth academy and it’s a measure of how far his stock has plummeted that he now joins The Potters with a reputation in need of salvaging. Mame Biram Diouf and Victor Moses perpetually lurch between potential match winners and a state of ineptitude.

What they need: Mark Hughes has publicly stated that he doesn’t wish to add any more players to the squad, looking instead to offload the likes of Wilson Palacios and Jack Butland.

5/10

Sunderland
Jack Rodwell

Best signing: Jack Rodwell (Man City, £10m)
Notable departure: Jack Colback (Newcastle United, free)

The Mackems’ investment in Manchester City’s want-away midfielder Jack Rodwell has paid instant dividends and given the player a new lease of life, with his point salvaging goal against Manchester United serving as testament to that.

The departure of another Jack – Colback – caused consternation amongst Sunderland fans, with the 24 year-old, cheekily nicknamed ‘ginger Pirlo’, heading to arch rivals Newcastle United on a free transfer.

What they need: A quality central defender, with the club strongly linked to Celtic’s Virgil Van Dijk and Athletico Madrid’s (Southampton bound) Toby Aldreweireld.

5/10

Swansea City
Bafe Gomis

Best signing: Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free)
Notable departure: Michu (Napoli, loan)

The high flying Swans have attracted some quality players to the club this summer, including Lyon’s livewire forward Bafe Gomis and returning Gylfi Sigurdsson from Tottenham Hotspur.

Perhaps more crucially, they have so far hung on to star men Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey, despite intensive transfer speculation. Losing both Ben Davies and Michel Vorm to Spurs was disappointing, albeit unavoidable.

What they need: Jet-heeled Marseille winger Andre Ayew would add a sprinkle of dynamism to the Welsh side.

7/10

Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino

Best signing: Mauricio Pochettino (Southampton, £6m)
Notable departure: Michael Dawson (Hull City, £4.5m)

Luring new manager Mauricio Pochettino from Southampton seems to have breathed new life into Tottenham and should provide long-term dividends for the club going forward.

After last season’s wild spending spree, it was inevitable that the business would be a tad less hasty this time around. The likes of Ben Davies and Eric Dier are exceptional prospects and snapping up Sevilla defensive rock Federico Fazio is an astute piece of business.

What they need: Morgan Schneiderlin has been linked with Spurs all summer, although Southampton are for once proving reluctant sellers.

7/10

West Bromwich Albion
Brown Ideye

Best signing: Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m)
Notable departure: Billy Jones (Sunderland, free)

Eleven new faces should have put plenty of ‘boing’ into the Baggies’ step, only for closer inspection to reveal a dearth of quality among the new faces.

Brown Ideye has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League, although his mediocre goal scoring feats elsewhere suggest that he might not be one to hang your hat on. Craig Gardner, Chris Baird and the like are solid enough reinforcements. Georgios Samaras lacks the quality to set the division alight.

What they need: Someone with a touch of class in the centre of midfield wouldn’t go amiss. Will Hughes of Derby County has been a long term target of the club.

5/10

West Ham United
Enner Valencia

Best signing: Alex Song (Barcelona, loan)
Notable departure: Joe Cole (Aston Villa, free)

The Hammers pulled off one of the coups of the window 48 hours ago by bringing in Alex Song on loan for a year from Barcelona, although his arrival probably spells the end for Mohamed Diame, who has his sights set on Hull City.

Enner Valencia is another exceptional addition, arriving just in time to cover Andy Carroll’s latest injury setback. Aaron Cresswell and Mauro Zarate are technically gifted players who will hopefully steer ‘big’ Sam away from his usual tactical anti-football.

What they need: Another body at the back. Micah Richards is being strongly linked with a late move to Upton Park from Manchester City, so watch this space.

8/10

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Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.