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Transfer window winners and losers: Mourinho, U.S. on top

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The latest transfer window in history has finally closed, and as you’d expect, some clubs and players have done better than others.

Some teams did their business early, while others left it to the last minute after scrambling around for deadline-day bargains — although time will tell whether they are canny transfers or expensive mistakes. Big moves that were supposed happen failed to materialise, while some unexpected deals came to fruition.

So as the dust settles on deadline day, who have been the winners and losers of the 2020 summer transfer window?

Deadline Day as it happened: Arsenal sign Partey, Man United busy
Transfer grades: Arsenal get A- for Partey deal
All the major confirmed deals from the transfer window

LOSERS

Football held its breath at the end of August when it became clear that Lionel Messi was ready to force a move away from Barcelona. He even sent a burofax to the club to prove his intentions.

As the days ticked by, it looked as though the unthinkable really was about to happen, with Manchester City waiting to strike a deal to reunite Messi with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. But when it came to the crunch, the prospect of a lengthy legal battle over his €700 million release clause prompted Messi to back down and abandon his plan to leave the Camp Nou. However, after seeing close friend Luis Suarez forced out of the club and transferred to La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid, the tension between Messi and Barca remains.

Messi and Barcelona: The inside story on how everything fell apart

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Manchester United manager went into the window wanting Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and a commanding centre-back but, despite saying that wealthy United could take advantage of football’s financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, he ended up with neither.

Solskjaer wanted quality and quantity this window. Donny van de Beek for £40m from Ajax represents good value, but the deadline-day signings of Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles were last-minute patch-up deals and teenagers Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo are unlikely to make a serious contribution anytime soon. (In Diallo’s case, he won’t join United until January.)

Solskjaer has been let down by those in charge of United’s recruitment, just as his predecessors were before him, and the end result is a squad once again ill-equipped to challenge for top honours.

– Ogden: Solskjaer’s future must be in question after Spurs humiliation
Man United’s new signing Cavani: The striker with a passion for ballet

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Mark Ogden reflects on the current predicament in the centre-half position at Man United.

The Lyon forward has rebuilt his career in France since struggling to succeed at Manchester United following a big-money move in 2015, to the extent that new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman wanted to sign his fellow Dutchman.

Negotiations with Depay and Lyon progressed enough for Barca to believe that a deal could be done on deadline day. But Barca’s failure to find a buyer for Ousmane Dembele meant they could not sign Depay, so the Netherlands international must now focus on another campaign in Ligue 1.

Remember him? The Arsenal midfielder has not kicked a ball for the club, or even been selected for a matchday squad, since March and manager Mikel Arteta has made it clear that he has no future at the Emirates. But with a year still to run on his £350,000-a-week contract, Ozil has proved impossible for Arsenal to offload during the window as nobody will pay even half those wages for a talented, but unpredictable, 31-year-old.

With Arteta building for the future, Ozil is highly unlikely to play again for the club. He may strike a deal to move in January, but by then he will have missed 10 months of football when he could have been playing elsewhere.

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Stewart Robson says Thomas Partey’s arrival at Arsenal makes the Gunners serious top-four contenders.

The Manchester United goalkeeper is now third-choice at Old Trafford following Dean Henderson‘s return from loan at Sheffield United to challenge David de Gea for the No. 1 spot.

The Argentina international was desperate for a move away, but despite interest from Everton, Romero remains at United with little prospect of competitive football for the next three months.

And to make matters worse, his wife, Eliana, took to social media on deadline day to criticise United for their failure to find a club for her husband.

Norwich City defender Max Aarons has a big future in the game and you will certainly be hearing plenty about him in years to come, but this was a window that saw the 20-year-old targeted by Barcelona and Bayern Munich and miss out on a move to both.

The full-back remains a Norwich player, with a season in the EFL Championship ahead of him, rather than the prospect of playing in the Champions League with, and against, the world’s top clubs. His time will come, but when you are linked with Barca and Bayern and fail to get the move, it must be a tough one to swallow.

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WINNERS

Everton

Until this transfer window, Everton had been of those clubs that made terrible decisions in the market by spending way too much on players whose previous club had only been too happy to bid farewell to them — Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean being recent examples.

But under manager Carlo Ancelotti, Everton have been transformed as a club that makes smart signings for good value. James Rodriguez from Real Madrid has been Everton’s headline signing this summer, but Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey are quality additions, with goalkeeper Robin Olsen arriving on deadline day to compete with Jordan Pickford. Everton have had a great window.

– Connelly: Everton’s perfect start — how have they done it, and how far can they go?

Jose Mourinho

Transfer windows and Jose Mourinho usually mean only one thing: trouble!

In his last two jobs, at Manchester United and Chelsea, Mourinho’s frustration over summer transfer dealings triggered fall-outs with his bosses at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge that eventually saw him lose his job. But at Spurs, despite the prospect of clashes with the notoriously parsimonious chairman Daniel Levy, Mourinho has enjoyed a summer that has seen him land a series of top targets, as well as Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale on loan. Mourinho has been a happy manager this summer and Spurs can only benefit from that.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting probably felt as though he hit the jackpot when he sealed a move to Paris Saint-Germain after a pretty unspectacular season in the Premier League with Stoke City in 2018.

But after two years winning trophies and playing with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in Paris, the Cameroon forward has done it again by completing another dream move to Bayern Munich.

At 31, the German-born forward could not have picked a better transfer than a return home to play for the Champions League winners.

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Archie Rhind-Tutt says Douglas Costa’s return to Bayern is about getting more depth in the squad.

The growing contingent of USMNT players in Europe’s big leagues has continued this year, but big moves secured by Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie points to an increasing value placed on American talent. Dest’s move from Ajax to Barcelona, which followed McKennie’s switch from Schalke to Juventus, means that the U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter now has players at some of the biggest clubs in the world, with Christian Pulisic having already made his big move to Chelsea in 2019.

Giovanni Reyna and Tyler Adams look set to continue their progress in Germany with Dortmund and RB Leipzig respectively, making these exciting times for the U.S..

Borussia Dortmund

German giants Dortmund probably won the January transfer window by beating Manchester United to the signing of Erling Haaland from FC Salzburg and they had a pretty good summer window at the expense of United too. Not only did Dortmund deny United in the race to sign teenager Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City, they also made it clear that they would not be railroaded into selling Sancho.

Dortmund set a deadline of Aug. 10 and stuck to it. United complained of Dortmund wanting too much for the England winger, but the winners are the team that ended up with Sancho. And it wasn’t United.

It is too early to say whether Chelsea’s £240m summer spending spree is a blessing or a curse for manager Frank Lampard, because he will certainly have to deliver a dividend after such a big outlay on new players.

But with the attacking talents of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech arriving at Stamford Bridge along with Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy coming in to strengthen defensively, Lampard has been given the backing most managers can only dream of.

Every area of weakness in Chelsea’s squad has been addressed, so the pressure is now on the manager to make it all come together and ensure silverware is won this season.

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Dodgers right-hander Gonsolin will start Game 2

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles Dodgers will start rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 8:08 p.m. ET.

Gonsolin, who will oppose Tampa Bay Rays lefty Blake Snell, faced 11 batters and threw 41 pitches in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and might not be able to provide much more than a couple of innings.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his other two young starters, Julio Urias and Dustin May, will also be available out of the bullpen in Game 2, though Urias and May combined to face 14 batters in Game 7.

Walker Buehler will start Game 3 on Friday; whoever is freshest among Gonsolin, May and Urias will probably take the ball in Game 4 on Saturday. Clayton Kershaw, who pitched six innings of one-run ball in Monday’s 8-3 victory in Game 1, lines up on normal rest for Sunday’s Game 5.

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Dominant Kershaw propels Dodgers in Game 1

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Forget the perception. Burn the narrative.

Clayton Kershaw can pitch just fine in October, thank you very much — and after his performance in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers are within three wins of their first championship in 32 years.

Kershaw carved through the Tampa Bay Rays lineup, retiring 17 of the final 18 batters he faced and leading the Dodgers to an 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the 116th World Series.

Over six innings, Kershaw allowed two hits and one walk while striking out eight. His lone blemish was a Kevin Kiermaier home run that wound up of little consequence as the Dodgers’ offense spent the middle innings tagging Rays pitchers with a complement of longballs and small ball.

A crowd of 11,388 stuffed the concourses at Globe Life Field with Dodger jerseys, cheered the Dodgers’ big moments and unleashed vociferous boos on a check-swing strike call. The prospect of a partisan crowd for the remainder of the neutral-site series gives the Rays another obstacle — as if beating the team that went 43-17 during the regular season wasn’t enough.

When Kershaw is pitching as he did Tuesday, the task becomes even more herculean.

Rays batters swung at 38 of Kershaw’s 78 pitches and whiffed on 19. All eight of his punchouts were of the swinging variety, with the last seven on sliders, and they moved Kershaw into second place on the all-time postseason strikeout list with 201. Should the series get to a fifth game, Kershaw is likely to pass the leader, Houston‘s Justin Verlander.

While in past years Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ instinct has told him to send Kershaw out for the seventh inning, he resisted in Game 1. Even though Kershaw had allowed just two hits, even though Kershaw had generated 19 swings and misses, even though Kershaw had struck out eight, even though Kershaw had thrown only 78 pitches.

Kershaw had pitched into the seventh inning in 13 previous postseason games. He allowed opponents to score in more than half of them — 18 runs altogether.

Naturally, Roberts’ decision was followed by the Rays scoring a pair of seventh-inning runs and chipping away at Los Angeles’ lead, though by that point the Dodgers had flexed their offensive muscles in impressive fashion. Cody Bellinger, who hit the go-ahead home run in the Dodgers’ Game 7 victory over Atlanta in the National League Championship Series, blasted a two-run home run off Tampa Bay starter Tyler Glasnow in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie. Rather than celebrate with the forearm-bash celebration that dislocated his shoulder in the NLCS win, Bellinger executed a light foot-tap with teammate Max Muncy.

As much as the Dodgers love the home run, their ability to play small ball gave them their biggest inning.

Back-to-back walks by Glasnow to begin the fifth inning were followed by Mookie Betts and Corey Seager executing a double steal. Betts scored on a Muncy fielder’s choice, Seager on a Will Smith single, Muncy on a Chris Taylor single and Smith on a Kiké Hernandez single. And just like that, the Dodgers were ahead 6-1.

They piled on the next inning with a Betts leadoff home run and back-to-back doubles from Justin Turner and Muncy. And the favorites since the beginning of the original season — as well as the shortened one — were a quarter of the way to their first World Series title since 1988.

For months, as the coronavirus pandemic changed the world, the prospect of baseball staging a season, let alone the World Series, looked grim. The league and players fought over salaries. Commissioner Rob Manfred threatened to cancel the season. MLB ultimately imposed on the players a 60-game slate, and within the first two weeks a pair of teams suffered COVID-19 outbreak.

Since then, apart from the odd single case, MLB has operated with remarkable efficacy.

Playoff teams spent the last week of the seasons staying in hotels and, aside from travel to and from the stadium and from city to city if they advanced, haven’t left. No player on an active roster has tested positive since Aug. 28, according to the league.

Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday, with the Rays’ Blake Snell facing a yet-to-be-named pitcher. After an off-day Thursday, Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton will start against Dodgers ace Walker Buehler.

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Follow live: Kershaw, Glasnow face off in Game 1 of World Series

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7th Kiermaier singled to right, Wendle scored, Brosseau to second. 3 8 7th Brosseau singled to right, Margot scored, Wendle to third. 2 8 6th Muncy doubled to deep right center, Turner scored. 1 8 6th Betts homered to right (349 feet). 1 7 5th Hernández singled to left, Smith scored, Taylor to second. 1 6 5th Taylor singled to left center, Muncy scored, Smith to second. 1 5 5th Smith singled to center, Seager scored, Muncy to third. 1 4 5th Muncy grounded into fielder’s choice to first, Betts scored, Seager third. 1 3 5th Kiermaier homered to right (382 feet). 1 2 4th Bellinger homered to right center (378 feet), Muncy scored. 0 2

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