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Premier League transfer window grades – Which team did the best business?

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With the transfer window now shut, it’s time to look back on the summer of transfer activity and assess how each Premier League time fared.

Over $1.4 billion was spent this summer, as the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool splashed the cash, but did they improve their squads?

[RELATED: Latest transfer window news]

[RELATED: Every Deadline Day deal]

Below we have given each PL team a grade and broken down some of their key ins and outs during the summer.

Lets us know if you agree.

SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW 2014-15 – GRADES

Chelsea – A

No doubt that the big winners from this window have been Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has managed to get rid of David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres and replace them with Loic Remy, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Cesc Fabregas… plus, he made a profit. Remarkable summer for the Stamford Bridge club.

Hull City – A-

Steve Bruce worked wonders in the final few days of the window. They signed Abel Hernandez from Palermo for a club record fee, grabbed Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez on loan, plus got Mohamed Diame from West Ham after offloading George Boyd. The Tigers spent the $20 million they got for Shane Long wisely. Great deals all round.

Southampton – B+

Southampton handled a mass exodus superbly and are arguably stronger than they were in May. Lallana, Shaw, Lambert, Chambers and Lovren left, but players like Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle and Fraser Forster have arrived to help Ronald Koeman build a new team. Deadline Day buys Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane were great pieces of business as the Saints looked well stocked and made a profit of over $50 million during the summer.

Liverpool – B+

Brendan Rodgers has spent over $200 million this summer, but he did rake in over $128 million for selling Luis Suarez. Lallana, Lambert, the main man Mario Balotelli, Lovren, Lazar Markovic, Alberto Moreno and others have arrived as Rodgers has brought in quantity. Liverpool look stronger across the board and with a European campaign coming up, the Reds will be better off for it.

Arsenal – B+

The Gunners bagged Danny Welbeck on Deadline Day and his capture was crucial. He will compliment Alexis Sanchez superbly and with Sanchez’s $65 million signing, Welbeck, Calum Chambers and Matheiu Debuchy, the Gunners did very well overall. However, Wenger probably should have brought in a striker of Falcao or Edinson Cavani’s caliber. That said, big, big money has been spent.

Manchester United – B+

The Red Devils left it late but have brought in six new players over the summer. Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao have arrived. The latter will be influential, as Falcao’s goals could be the differnce. Louis van Gaal has also got rid of plenty of veterans such as Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, as the squad looks a lot younger and fresher. Work to do defensively but the summer moves has seen over $200 million spent at Old Trafford. LVG’s revolution is well underway but they missed out on Mats Hummels and Arturo Vidal.

Everton – B

Roberto Martinez spent his entire loot on Romelu Lukaku this summer and it could come back to haunt him. Look, Everton got Gareth Barry in and locked down Lukaku, but elsewhere they have only signed Mohamed Besic and Samuel Eto’o. More defensive players were needed.

Queens Park Rangers – B 

Harry Redknapp, of course, wheeled and dealed on deadline day. He lives for it. QPR brought in Sandro from Tottenham and Niko Kranjcar on loan from Dynamo Kiev. After signing two Chilean internationals on loan, Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas, plus the likes of Leroy Fer, Steven Caulker and Jordon Mutch, Rangers are a lot stronger.

Crystal Palace – C+

On Deadline Day, Palace moved to sign James McArthur for a club record fee of $13 million. They also added young defender Zeki Fryers from Tottenham, plus former star Wilfried Zaha via a loan deal late in the window. New boss Neil Warnock has a solid core of players to build from in South London.

Aston Villa – C+

A few seasoned pros arrived at Villa in what has been a quiet yet steady summer. Roy Keane arrived as assistant boss, while Alan Hutton, Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent all come back into the fold after falling out with manager Paul Lambert. Philippe Senderos, Aly Cissokho, Carlos Sanchez and Joe Cole all arrived, plus they held onto Ron Vlaar. Not bad at all for Villa.

Swansea City – C

Garry Monk had an uneventful Deadline Day and that was just the way he likes it. Wilfried Bony had been the subject of plenty of inquiries but the Swans held onto him, plus added the likes of Federico Fernandez, Jefferson Montero and, most importantly, Gylfi Sigurdsson. He has been a revelation on his return to South Wales from Tottenham and the Swans are in fine shape.

Sunderland – C

Gus Poyet has done okay this summer with Jack Rodwell the main signing, but you do wonder if Sunderland have enough strength to stay away from a relegation battle. Ricky Alvarez has arrived from Inter Milan on loan and the Argentine winger could be a star for the Black Cats. He needs to be.

Manchester City – C

Man City have spent the summer signing their experienced players to new deals. They have also added a few new players with young defender Eliaquim Mangala arriving from FC Porto for $54 million, plus midfielder Fernando also arriving from Porto. They let Alvaro Negredo leave on Deadline Day. Will Manuel Pellegrini rue that decision?

Newcastle United – C

An okay window for the Magpies. They failed to bring in a new top class striker, which is a real worry for Alan Pardew’s men. They signed Daryl Janmaat, Remy Cabella, Siem de Jong and Emmanuel Riviere but you do wonder where the goals will come from after losing Loic Remy.

Tottenham Hotspur – C

Mauricio Pochettino has added Federico Fazio, Benjamin Stambouli, American defender DeAndre Yedlin and Eric Dier but all four are solid defensive players. Spurs were looking to add a pacey wideman and couldn’t get a deal for Jay Rodriguez done on Deadline Day. They will be okay, that’s for sure, but Spurs fans were hoping for a lot more.

West Bromwich Albion – C-

Alan Irvine brought in 11 new players at West Brom, but the new manager has a lot of unknown quantities. Nigerian international Brown Ideye looks a real handful but plenty of other signings have yet to shine. Let’s see how this plays out but the Baggies should have signed some more experienced faces.

Leicester City – C-

Esteban Cambiasso, Leonardo Ullo and Marc Albrighton were the big arrivals as Nigel Pearson decided to stick with the core squad he had in place from their Championship success. You have to think the newly-promoted squad didn’t bring in enough players. Will it cost them dear?

Burnley – C-

Sean Dyche found it hard to sign players on a shoestring budge at Turf Moor. George Boyd arrived on Deadline Day for $5 million, but plenty more players arrived looking for a second chance in the PL. A mixture of youngsters and veterans came in, with Matt Taylor, Steven Reid and Michael Kightly arriving. Not a great window.

Stoke City – D-

The Potters are going to be okay, but only Oussama Assaidi came in on loan from Liverpool on Deadline Day. Mark Hughes’ men finished ninth last season and you would have hoped to see big money spent by Stoke’s board. Bojan arrived from Barcelona and Diouf looks like a gem up top, but they didn’t add the quality we would have expected.

West Ham United – D-

Sam Allardyce is under pressure and the Hammers’ moves this summer leave a little to be desired. Alex Song coming in on loan from Barcelona is a good deal but I’m not convinced Enner Valencia can score the goals they need up top. West Ham’s squad looks weaker than last season. The January window will be vital for the East London club.

Premier League Playback: Ranking the chance of relegation

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With 12 games to go in the Premier League season, the bottom seven teams are starting to get cut off from the rest of the league.

Just like at the top of the table, this is the “business end” of the campaign and strange things start to happen.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Team who looked dead and buried start to rise (see: Hull and Swansea, already) and others start to sink from midtable and towards the abyss with Bournemouth and particularly Leicester City struggling.

[ MORE: Premier League standings | Schedule

Below is a look at the seven main contenders for the three relegation spots, focusing on the toughest games they have remaining, their reasons for optimism and a percentage chance of relegation.

[ MORE: Full PL Playback archive ]

Even if you have points on the board right now, momentum means everything at this time of the season…


Bournemouth

Points: 26
Reason for optimism: The quality Eddie Howe‘s side possess on the ball will see them create chances, so there’s that. However, they have to score two or three goals a game recently to get a win. They have four of the the current top six coming up, then finish the season with four of their last five games against relegation rivals. That will test the nerve of this talented yet inexperienced team.
Toughest games remaining: at Man United (Mar. 4), at Liverpool (Apr. 5), vs. Chelsea (Apr. 8), at Tottenham (Apr. 15)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Swansea City

Points: 24
Reason for optimism: Things are looking much more solid in defense since Paul Clement arrived. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente continue to score and assist, plus the Swans look dangerous on the break. Plenty of reasons to believe they’ll continue to pull away from the bottom three. Will complacency set in though? Swans next four games are against Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth and Boro. Huge few weeks ahead and then an easier finish to the season, on paper.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Tottenham (Apr. 4), at Man United (Apr. 29), vs. Everton (May 6)
Relegation percentage: 20%

Middlesbrough
Points: 22
Reason for optimism: They’ve got the fifth defensive record in the PL, so they can hang in there. That’s a good trait to have when the pressure is on. They just need a goalscorer to pop up with the goods. A run of three games against relegation rivals at the beginning of April is likely to decide their fate with four very tough games to finish the season.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Man United (Mar. 19), vs. Arsenal (Apr. 15), vs. Man City (Apr. 29), at Chelsea (May 6), at Liverpool (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Crystal Palace
Points: 22
Reason for optimism: Big Sam has never been relegated as a Premier League manager. Simple. That said, this task is tougher than he thought. The 1-0 win against Boro proved they can grind out a victory when they need to. Still, they have five of the current top six left to play in their final 12 games of the season. It will be a flip of the coin for the Eagles.
Toughest games remaining: At Chelsea (Apr. 1), vs. Arsenal (Apr. 8), at Liverpool (Apr. 22), at Man City (May 6), at Man United (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Leicester City

Points: 21
Reason for optimism: Scrapping the barrel here… Their incredible runs to safety in 2015 and then for the PL title in 2016 (that did happen, right!?) gives them experience in high-pressure situation. One big marquee win can help get momentum going again, either in the PL or by getting past Sevilla in the return leg. Claudio Ranieri‘s sacking could give the Foxes the jolt they badly need but it must happen soon.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Liverpool (Feb. 27), at Everton (Apr. 8), vs. Tottenham (Apr. 22), at Man City (May 13),
Relegation percentage: 50%

Hull City

Points: 21
Reason for optimism: Marco Silva’s side are much improved and have just two games remaining against the big boys. So many relegation scraps coming up. They look tough to break down and dangerous on the break. That’s a great combo at this point in the season. They have momentum among the teams at the bottom.
Toughest games remaining: at Everton (Mar. 18), at Man City (Apr. 8), vs. Tottenham (May 21),
Relegation percentage: 30%

Sunderland

Points: 19
Reason for optimism: Well, just look at pretty much the last four seasons. Down and out time and time again, somehow Sunderland survive. That’s the only reason for optimism. Oh, and Jermain Defoe‘s goals. David Moyes needs a miracle, especially what those remaining games…
Toughest games remaining: vs. Man City (Mar. 5), vs. Man United (Apr. 8), at Arsenal (Apr. 22), at Chelsea (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 70%


Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here.

VIDEO: Remembering Jamie Vardy’s magic vs. Liverpool

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Just over 12 months ago Leicester City beat Liverpool on a raucous evening at the King Power Stadium to ignite real belief into their Premier League title charge.

We all know how that turned out…

[ PREVIEW: Leicester host Liverpool

A year on and boy, Leicester could use some magic from Vardy as they host Liverpool on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Foxes fired Claudio Ranieri last Thursday and the reigning champions have slipped into the relegation zone over the weekend as they’re in freefall with five defeats on the spin and they’ve failed to score in their last six PL games.

Click play on the video above to see Vardy’s wonderful volley from distance as the England international was in full flow on his way to 24 goals for the season. He has just five in the PL this season, three of which came in the 4-2 win against Manchester City at the KP back in December.

Again, caretaker Craig Shakespeare needs some magic from somewhere on Monday if the Foxes are going to gain momentum in their battle against relegation.

Report: Jordan Henderson out with foot injury

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 27:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool embraces Jordan Henderson of Liverpool after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on December 27, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson for the clash at Leicester City on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) according to multiple reports.

[ PREVIEW: Leicester host Liverpool ]

Sky Sports are reporting that Henderson suffered a “badly bruised foot” injury in training over the weekend and will not be available to lead Jurgen Klopp‘s side against a Leicester side in freefall.

Henderson has struggled with injuries recently, missing two weeks in January with a heel injury.

The 26-year-old has become the main holding player in Klopp’s fluid 4-3-3 system and has built up a formidable partnership alongside Georginio Wijnaldum. Henderson provides energy and a wide-range of passing and he would’ve been key against a Leicester which will be fired up following the departure of manager Claudio Ranieri last week and having slipped into the relegation zone over the weekend.

In his absence either Emre Can or Lucas Leiva will seamlessly slot in to the lineup, both can play Henderson’s more defensive role admirably and provide balance to Klopp’s somewhat top-heavy time when you think of Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ahead of them.

Klopp has options but it’s still far from ideal to lose your captain after two weeks off and following a break to Spain for training.

Why Mourinho needs Zlatan to stay at Man United

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United congratulates Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on December 14, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
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LONDON — Following Manchester United’s EFL Cup Final victory on Sunday, Jose Mourinho laughed off a question about Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s future at Old Trafford beyond this season.

He shouldn’t be laughing. He should be taking this situation very seriously. United need Zlatan. End of.

[ MORE: United, Mourinho get lucky

Ibrahimovic, 35, scored twice in the 3-2 win against Southampton at Wembley, including the game-winner with a late header, to hand Mourinho his first piece of major silverware as United’s boss. The veteran Swedish striker has now scored 26 goals in 38 games in all competitions this season, including six in his last four games.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

The incredible stats aside, his impact and influence on this team is clear for all to see. That’s why Zlatan needs to remain at United for at least one more season, and he could probably go on for longer. That said, he isn’t giving anything away about where he will be next season.

“We have another two months of the season to go,” Ibrahimovic said. “Let’s see how I feel, the situation. Somebody made up a story that if we don’t qualify for the Champions League I will not extend. It has nothing to do with that.”

Mourinho thinks otherwise.

“One day, Zlatan decided to [leave me and Inter Milan to join] Barcelona, I was very sad, but I did nothing to try to stop him to go, so I don’t beg for players,” Mourinho said. “But, if needed, maybe United fans can go to the door of his house, and stay there all night, if needed. We all want, and believe, that he is going to stay another season.”

It simply has to happen.

Zlatan has a contract until this summer with United with an option to extend it for another year. Mourinho has suggested in the past Zlatan will stay but we’ve never had too much of a definitive answer from the player himself.

Right now, aside from his play on the pitch, Zlatan is having a massive impact on the confidence and belief levels of his teammates. He has scored the game-winner on eight occasions this season and comparisons are being made about Eric Cantona and the impact he had.

Zlatan’s aura is helping United win games at the moment and even at the age of 35 he has played more Premier League minutes than any other United outfield player, plus he’s played in more games this season, in all competitions, than any other PL player.

He can play until he is 40. Mourinho said it last week and he’s right. Zlatan doesn’t rely on pace to play the game. He has always had power, panache and predatory instincts in abundance.

With United’s creative talents and other pacey forwards, not to mention the potential arrival of Antoine Griezmann in the summer, he not only brings the best out of them on the pitch but off it too. Mourinho clerly needs to rebuild parts of his defense to take United from top four hopefuls to title contenders next season and beyond, but without Zlatan’s goals this season they’d be in midtable.

United and Mourinho need Zlatan to stay next season, even if Griezmann arrives. Ibra knows it. He’s playing the game.

It would be a huge shock to see him anywhere other than Old Trafford next season. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him score the winner for United in the FA Cup and Europa League final this season, and then lead them to even greater glories next season and beyond. After his latest trophy, the 22nd of his playing career, Zlatan revealed he keeps all of his medals in one of his houses. He was also asked if United are building something special under Mourinho?

“I came. That’s special,” Ibrahimovic said.

Anyone who doubted Zlatan’s ability (something he has never done) last summer ahead of his move to the Premier League will be scratching their heads. Like United right now, he seems to always find a way to score goals and get the job done. In that sense, Mourinho needs him to be the focal point of United’s attack for as long as Zlatan can play.

And also, well, he’s Zlatan. In this mammoth rebuild of a roster and self-belief, he’s the X-Factor Mourinho can’t do without.