BPL Grades & Predictions: 1st-7th

In part one of this series, FF looks at how the top seven clubs’ business in the January transfer window might affect them in the second-half of the season, and more importantly, their final standings.

Manchester City

Major Signing: None

Major Sale: None

Manuel Pellegrini almost swooped for Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando. However, this miss should not hurt them that much as they sit atop of the table. They have sufficient defensive cover now that Martin Demechelis has somewhat adapted to English football, while Javi Garcia is still proving a decent holding midfielder. City fans can only hope their four strikers can continue firing, while Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure steer clear from injuries; if so, the title is theirs, but the Champions League is probably one step too far.

Grade: B

Predicted Position: 1st

 

Arsenal

Major Signing: Kim Kallstrom (Spartak Moscow, loan)

Major Sale: Emmanuel Frimpong (Barnsley, undisclosed)

Arsene Wenger has always identified a potential long-term injury to Olivier Giroud as a huge problem in their bid to land the title. With Theo Walcott out, his back-up options for Giroud are going to be Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner. He strengthened an area which Arsenal already has abundant quality. Kallstrom’s experience will help Wenger cope with the absence of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini for certain periods of time, but is Kallstrom what Arsenal need?

Grade: B-

Predicted Position: 3rd

 

Chelsea

Major Signings: Bertrand Traore (free), Mohamed Salah (FC Basel, 15m), Nemanja Matic (Benfica, 20m), Kurt Zouma (AS Saint-Etienne, 12m)

Major Sales: Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa, loan), Kevin de Bruyne (Wolfsburg, 18m), Juan Mata (Manchester United, 37m), Michael Essien (AC Milan, free), Kurt Zouma (AS Saint-Etienne, loan)

Making a huge profit on the unwanted Mata, albeit to a future title rival, while replacing him with Egyptian winger Salah, a player more fitting in Jose Mourinho’s plan, should be seen as good business by Chelsea. Replacing the ageing stalwart Essien with former Chelsea youth product Matic, while landing a long-term defensive replacement for John Terry in Kurt Zouma, Mourinho has both achieved short-term and long-term objectives, while cleverly waiting for the summer to purchase that top-class striker he still desires.

Grade: A*

Predicted Position: 2nd

 

Liverpool

Major Signing: None

Major Sale: Tiago Ilori (Granada, loan)

After missing out on Salah to Chelsea and then Yevhen Konoplyanka on deadline day, Brendan Rodgers will now have to rely heavily on his very thin squad to get the Reds over the line in their current position. It could be seen as a disastrous transfer window, with neither Nigel de Jong nor Yann M’Vila joining to provide cover for Lucas, while Rodgers’ search for a fleet-footed winger continues. The current squad should be able to secure 4th, but with Manchester United strengthening with Juan Mata and Tottenham still hot on their heels, this could turn out to be quite a battle.

Grade: C-

Predicted Position: 4th

 

Tottenham Hotspur

Major Signing: None

Major Sale: Lewis Holtby (Fulham, loan)

No major signings for Tim Sherwood, quite right after wasting all of the money from Gareth Bale’s transfer on players who so far has not made the grade in the Premier League. Record signing Erik Lamela has had no impact thus far, while even Roberto Soldado is being eclipsed by once-forgotten man Emmanuel Adebayor. Holtby’s temporary departure will not disrupt Spurs, but Sherwood will have to work with his current squad now in the fight for 4th, but with Manchester United’s signing of Juan Mata, Spurs may even drop out of the Europa League spots.

Grade: B+

Predicted Position: 6th

 

Manchester United

Major Signing: Juan Mata (Chelsea, 37m)

Major Sale: Anderson (Fiorentina, loan), Ben Amos (Carlisle United, loan), Federico Macheda (Birmingham City, loan), Fabio (Cardiff City, undisclosed), Wilfried Zaha (Cardiff City, loan)

The priority was definitely a central midfielder, but settling for a one Mata, David Moyes has no right to complain. Definitely one to lift spirits in the dressing room, coupled with the return of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, Moyes can finally play the team he has always wanted to and hope that the individual quality will help overcome the deficiencies in midfield. Getting rid of deadwood in Anderson, albeit on loan, was a good move, while Zaha’s loan move to Cardiff can only be beneficial to all party involved, including England and Roy Hodgson.

Grade: A-

Predicted Position: 5th

 

Everton

Major Signing: Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow, undisclosed), Lacina Traore (AS Monaco, loan)

Major Sale: Johnny Heitinga (Fulham, free), Nikica Jelavic (Hull, 7m)

Another wide men to provide competition for Kevin Miralles and co., and another burly striker to add to Everton’s frontline, Roberto Martinez has done some decent business. Offloading out-of-form striker Jelavic for a sizeable fee while getting Heitinga’s massive wage bill off the club’s finances should be seen as good business, off-the-pitch wise, as well. With Traore and Lukaku both out with injuries, Miralles will have to carry the fight for Everton in this key month of February, which could see the Blues from Merseyside slide down to where they will probably finish this season.

Grade: B

Predicted Position: 7th

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