This summer's Premier League transfer window marked a period where clubs at either end of the league standings were prepared to spend significant amounts of money on attempting to strengthen their first-team squads at a time when it has never been so lucrative to hold a place in England's top flight. The likes of Liverpool and Chelsea spent more than Cardiff City but the scenario remains the same for each of the 20 clubs. Clubs are relatively content with ensuring that their short-term goals are met but some teams have chosen to roll the dice with long-term investments.
Athletic Bilbao feel that they have hit the jackpot with Chelsea having taken a gamble on the signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Blues are said to have shelled out a fee of £71.6m - the figure in the goalkeeper's release clause - and have handed the Spaniard a seven-year contract to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, and that has resulted in a mixed reaction with it being perceived that Chelsea have overspent on the 23-year-old. However, the Blues have secured the services of a player - who had been interesting the likes of Real Madrid - for the best years of his career while also possessing the option of being able to sell Arrizabalaga on for a large fee should things not work out in West London. Shelling out such money looks a rash piece of business but if it all works out, Chelsea can focus their attention on other areas of the pitch going forward.
The same can be said about Everton's acquisation of Richarlison. There is no doubting that the young Brazilian starred during his early months in the Premier League with Watford but the second half of the last campaign saw the winger struggle to cope with the unforgiving intensity of the division. Paying the Hornets a fee of in excess of £40m and handing Richarlison a long-term deal is a risk, but the fact that the 21-year-old has already helped deliver points on his own means that Everton have already recouped some of their transfer outlay. Marco Silva will also be reassured that he is not the only coach who appreciates the talent of the attacker after he made his debut for Brazil during the most recent international break.
Arrizabalaga and Richarlison have both cost more money than Manchester United have spent on Diogo Dalot but on the face of it, there appears less justification for United paying £19m to sign a player who made just seven first-team outings during his time with Porto. Dalot is still six months short of his 20th birthday too, and Jose Mourinho has brought in a prospect who does not currently rate in the price bracket that United were willing to pay. However, with Antonio Valencia now 33 years of age and Matteo Darmian longing for a return to his homeland Italy, Dalot is perfectly placed to learn his craft before becoming United's first choice at right-back without the pressure of being rushed into regular action, although the Portuguese's first-team debut could potentially come against Watford this weekend.
David Brooks has been tipped as one of Wales' next big stars but the creative midfielder ended the 2017-18 campaign with just 13 starts to his name for Sheffield United. The now 21-year-old had hardly been commanding the kind of football which would result in a £11.5m transfer to a Premier League club, but Bournemouth went against the logic of Brooks perhaps benefitting from another year in the Championship by identifying the youngster as a first-team player for this season. That approach has already resulted in Eddie Howe giving Brooks three starts in the top flight and from those games, Bournemouth have registered almost a quarter of the points that will probably be required to remain in the division for at least another 12 months. Brooks still has a long way to go, but it appears that both the club and player can benefit greatly from having done business together.
Arsenal fans will already feel that they are getting value for money from Matteo Guendouzi. The young Frenchman was unknown to the majority of English football supporters before his arrival in North London for a fee in the region of £7m, and the decision to sign the 19-year-old was heavily questioned. Unai Emery has surprised pretty much everyone by using Guendouzi ahead of Lucas Torreira in the centre of his team's midfield, but the France Under-20 international is now the cult hero of the Gunners and there are calls for Guendouzi to partner Torreira rather than Granit Xhaka. Guendouzi remains nothing more than a prospect, but making a positive impression having being thrown into the limelight has resulted in the former Lorient man now being regarded as one of the coups of the summer.