Premier League clubs spent 150 million pounds on Wednesday, breaking the 2011 record for money spent on the deadline day for January transfers. When the dust had cleared, all three top London clubs had new attacking players.
The teams up north, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool, have topped the table so far this season. But have any of their London rivals made the move that will allow them to break into a direct Champions League berth? Let’s look at all three signings–in order of expenditure.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal, 56 million pounds
Ever since Dortmund’s appearance in the 2014 Champions League Final, Aubameyang has been linked with nearly every top European club. Despite what must have been many tempting offers, Dortmund had been able to hold on to their star striker. And he has not disappointed, gradually rising to 31 goals in 32 matches last season. He already has 13 in 16 so far this season.
The question lies though whether he will be able to bring the same production to Arsenal. Summer signing Alexandre Lacazette scored 28 goals in 30 matches in 2016-17 at Lyon, but his production has dropped drastically to just 9 in 24. Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and the now transferred Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud have also seen a dip in production. This team seems to have such a lack of motivation and fire that not even one of the best strikers in the game could fix it.
Arsenal still sits fifth in the Premier League in goals scored and tenth in goals allowed. It’s unlikely they will change their sixth place status without a shocking change at manager.
Lucas Moura, Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham, 23 million pounds
Despite having his best year at the club last season, Moura has only played six matches so far this year as a result of the big Neymar move. With Harry Kane scoring 46 percent of the club’s goals this season, Tottenham certainly needs some help in attack. But it’s unlikely Moura’s play can improve Delle Alli. The 21 year-old attacking player has lost his temper more than once this year and earned four yellow cards. That kind of discipline is unacceptable when he has only managed 5 goals, down from 18 last season. Moura may provide a few more goals for the North London side. With only a two-point margin to third place Liverpool, that might be enough. Sunday’s match at Anfield could be crucial in deciding the top three.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal to Chelsea, 18 million pounds
It’s always surprising when players move among the Premier League’s top clubs. Olivier Giroud and his meaty french forehead may be a joke among some PL fans, but his production is not. His role would be marginalized after the Aubameyang signing though, so moving him makes sense. However, sending him to an archrival in the midst of a race for the top three is ridiculous. Since joining Arsenal in 2011, the 31 year-old has scored at least 11 goals in five straight seasons. His production is down a little bit this season, but as I mentioned earlier the cause is the overall lack of motivation in the club.
He has a chance for a real resurgence at a Chelsea club that is off last season’s title-winning pace. With only 45 goals, they rank last in that category among the top six. They have already been shutout five times this season, most recently in a 3-0 loss to Bournemouth. Chelsea are in terrible form lately. They drew five straight before trading wins and losses in all competitions. But the additions of Giroud, Emerson Palmieri, and Ross Barkley may be enough to get them back on track. However, they still must face four of the top six including back-to-back trips to Manchester. Liverpool’s slightly easier schedule should give them an edge, but the race for third is truly wide open.