Who bought well and who has gambled this summer?

It was the transfer window of Bebe, Bramble and Bellamy for free, while City spent big - again


Best buy: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)

In 2003, when Chelsea dazzled the transfer market by spending £100m in a single summer, Sir Alex Ferguson went out and bought Cristiano Ronaldo for a modest £12m. Seven years later, as his noisy neighbours blot out the sun with their spending, the United manager acquired a little-known Mexican striker, whose father and grandfather had both played international football – Ferguson, as a horse-racing man, appreciates pedigree. Hernandez shone at the World Cup and has displayed a touching combination of humility and enthusiasm at United.

Bravest buy: Titus Bramble (Sunderland)

Bramble is a nice guy and a fine defender but, as Steve Bruce kept wearily pointing out during their time at Wigan, every error he makes invariably seems to lead to a goal that is replayed over and over again for the amusement of Alan Hansen on Match of the Day. He was also a prominent member of the young Newcastle side Sir Bobby Robson built; so for both player and manager this was the summer's ballsiest piece of business.

Biggest risk: Bebe (Manchester United)

On the face of it, to pay £7.4m for a 20-year-old who has yet to kick a ball in the Portuguese top flight, whom you have never seen play even on video and who was not fit enough for reserve football is a real punt by Ferguson. However, he comes on the recommendation of Carlos Queiroz, who was right about Nani and very right about Ronaldo. We probably won't know the answer for another three years.

Best value: Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City)

Seeing him return to his native city put you in mind of Kevin Keegan signing for Newcastle as a player in 1982. It had a touch of romance to it – not a noun you would ordinarily associate with Bellamy – while the fact that Manchester City are paying most of his wages made this an exceptional deal for Cardiff. Keegan took two years to see Newcastle promoted; Bellamy will hope to return to the Premier League in half that time.

Most surprising signing: Joe Cole (Liverpool)

As wedded to London as Tower Bridge, it seemed inevitable he would turn up at Arsenal. Instead, Cole arrived at Anfield, energising the opening days of Roy Hodgson's regime with his enthusiasm, although getting himself sent off and missing a penalty in his first few games for Liverpool was not how he imagined it. Crystal Palace signing a 37-year-old Edgar Davids just after coming out of administration seemed crazy. Employing him as a left-back in the 3-0 defeat at Scunthorpe at the weekend represents a form of madness.

Least surprising signing: James Milner (Manchester City)

Were you amazed to see James Milner in a City shirt? Neither was Martin O'Neill.

Best overall business: Birmingham City

Unaccustomed as Birmingham are to public spending, Alex McLeish has invested the first slice of Carson Yeung's transfer budget pretty well. Few imagined Alexander Hleb would ever don a Birmingham shirt while Sir Alex Ferguson rates Ben Foster the best English goalkeeper in the Premier League. The giant Serb striker Nikola Zigic and the Spartak Moscow captain, Martin Jiranek, complete a powerful-looking roster.

Worst overall business: Aston Villa

Having lost Martin O'Neill and James Milner, the two men who were most central to their recent success, it has not been a good summer at Villa Park with only Stephen Ireland to show for it. At another home of claret and blue, the failure of any one of the six men signed by new manager Avram Grant to make the starting line-up at Old Trafford on Saturday is, to put it mildly, slightly worrying for West Ham's future.

Who could have done more?

A whole summer and Harry Redknapp has signed three players. Strike a light, how long before he's down to the bare bones? More seriously, you wonder about their nearest and not so dearest in north London, who have made it clear all summer that they need a keeper, thus unsettling Manuel Almunia, but then failed to sign either Mark Schwarzer or Shay Given.

Who has done too much?

Leeds have signed an entire team but they have been overshadowed by another club's acquisitions – they play in blue, are owned by a sheikh and are going to take over the world. Apparently.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?