With Premier League action around three weeks away, managers should have done the majority of their summer business by now.
There are very few who find themselves in the position Arsenal do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean early deals haven’t been large gambles.
Here, Discount Football Kits gives you the run-down on which clubs have taken serious chances in the transfer market so far. That’s not to say they’ve been bad buys—a gamble is something every football manager takes—but they are risks given the fees they go for.
Alvaro Negredo, Manchester City
Ask any La Liga follower and they’ll admit that Alvaro Negredo is not even close to the best striking prospect in the division.
The €25 million spent on the Spaniard—who despite a grounding at Real Madrid and consistent first-team football at Almeria and Sevilla has only achieved 14 national caps—seems a lot at this point in time.
He’s not that mobile, his linkup is only OK and he hardly represents the all-encompassing striking prospect many top teams are looking for.
Yet, Manuel Pellegrini has years of experience in La Liga and stands an elite tactician. He must have a plan for how to use Negredo to maximise his strengths, and the fact that former teammate Jesus Navas has also joined the Citizens will aid him greatly.
Dejan Lovren, Southampton
There was once a time in which Dejan Lovren was considered one of the best defensive prospects in Europe.
But the 2012-13 season soon saw to that, as Lovren crumbled under the expectation and faltered badly in a Lyon shirt. His performances dropped off alarmingly, and ended the season on the bench.
Lyon and Remi Garde promoted Samuel Umtiti and pinned their hopes on him instead, while Lovren was allowed to move to Southampton for approximately £8.5 million.
It’s a lot, and it’s the very definition of a gamble, but it could well be a stroke of genius from Mauricio Pochettino.
Centre-back was the Saints’ No. 1 concern coming into the window, and clearly the Argentine head coach believes he can coax the best of out this underperforming raw piece of talent.
Marco van Ginkel, Chelsea
For the club, and for Jose Mourinho, this deal is fantastic: Seal the deal for a promising young Dutch midfielder who could well be the heir to Frank Lampard’s throne.
The total fee is supposedly €8 million, but sources suggest the up-front payment is as little as €3 million. Whichever way you look at it, that’s great business.
Unless your name is Marco van Ginkel, and if that’s the case you’ve taken a colossal risk.
In the year before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, van Ginkel has traded assured starting at Vitesse and UEFA Europa League action to fight for a place at Chelsea.
He flattered to deceive at the U21 European Championships, and now faces an uphill task in displacing John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Ramires and Lampard.
He has reportedly been given assurances of a starting spot by Mourinho himself, but what if he has six bad games in a row? At Vitesse he wouldn’t be dropped, at Chelsea he most certainly would.
Talk about having faith in your own abilities!
Vito Mannone, Sunderland
Losing Simon Mignolet, for a bargain fee of £9 million, is a bitter blow for Sunderland.
In their current state they’ve struggled to attract a replacement of equal quality, and instead landed former Arsenal backup Vito Mannone.
Mannone has impressed in loan spells at Hull City while biding his time at the Emirates, but jumped at the chance of first-team football on Wearside.
Paolo Di Canio is clearly impressed with the young Italian and has poured faith in him ahead of the new season, but the Black Cats’ safety mechanism in Mignolet is now gone.
How reliable is Mannone over 38 games?
Dwight Gayle, Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace may have Glenn Murray to welcome back from injury after a 31-goal season, but Dwight Gayle probably isn’t the name the fans were hoping for when dreaming up striking reinforcements.
He’s coming off a stupendous season in the Championship, netting 13 times in vain while trying to keep Peterborough up, but he’s an incredibly raw prospect that could go one of two ways.
Hull’s loan deal for Premier League proven Danny Graham looks a far better transaction at this point.
Gayle could take to the Premier League like a duck to water, and Palace fans will be hoping Ian Holloway can see the same potential in lower-league recruits as Paul Lambert does, but if it goes wrong the Eagles will have to spend big in January to rectify it.