The dust has now settled on the 2018 summer transfer window in the Premier League. With the first handful of games in the new season now having been played, it's a good time to take a brief look back at the betting markets on which players were going where, and then who did actually move as predicted — as well as those who ended up somewhere unexpected.
Some major summer signings were essentially a fait accompli, in that the deals were largely done before the window even opened. Most notable of these was the move of Algerian international Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City to champions Manchester City for a fee of £60m. All the leading bookmakers (see playright.co.uk updated ranking list) had this move priced as an odds-on certainty from the end of the previous transfer window in January, when a highly-anticipated deal failed to get done. This was essentially a transfer deal that every bookie in the country got right when it finally went through.
Other big blockbuster deals that largely went as the bookmakers were predicting were Fred's move from Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United (for £52m), Chelsea's signing of Jorginho from Napoli (for £57m), and Liverpool bringing in Naby Keita from Leipzig and Fabinho from Monaco (for £52.75m and £43.7m respectively).
All of these transfers were signalled well in advance of their happening, and so virtually all the bookies were offering short odds if you were looking to have a punt on these moves going through.
On the other hand, a big move that no-one managed to predict was that of Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri to newly-promoted Fulham. Many betting sites had Chelsea or Arsenal as being the likely destination for the Ivorian if he moved to England - so much so that there wasn't even a betting market available on his moving to Craven Cottage, which he ultimately did on deadline day for a fee thought to be in the region of £21m — much to the chagrin of the new managers at Stamford Bridge and the Emirates. Anyone who got a bookie to take their bet on this move would no doubt have got some very generous odds indeed.
Similarly, a big summer transfer that bookmakers were offering very shorts odds on, but which didn't happen, was that of Willian from Chelsea to Manchester United. At times during the summer it looked as if it were a done deal, and sports books were offering a best price of around even money, but negotiations stalled and so the Brazilian is staying put at Stamford Bridge - for the time being at least. For punters, anyone who thought they were betting on a relatively sure thing lost out, no doubt leaving the bookies smiling on this one.
Overall, the spending frenzy that is the Premier League summer transfer window is a fairly volatile and febrile betting market and so anyone who wants to wager on it should always remember not to believe everything they read in the papers!
Who 'won' the summer transfer window?
In terms of who got the best deals in the summer transfer window, the early suggestions are that the £40m Everton paid Watford for the Brazilian winger Richarlison could turn out to be the best value buy of the summer, despite the initial scepticism expressed in many quarters. With three goals in his first three appearances (plus a controversial red card), if this form continues, the 21-year-old looks to set to prove his vocal critics wrong.
Other deals that look as though they might have been worthwhile include Jorginho, who has been impressive in his first handful of starts for Chelsea (although whether he's been £57m worth of impressive is debatable), while the £25m Leicester City paid Norwich City for James Maddison thus far looks to be pretty good value. Jean Michael Seri's move to Fulham could also prove to be one of the steals of the summer.
In terms of big money deals that haven't yet worked out, there are plenty of people looking at Anfield and wondering if the £65m Liverpool paid Roma for Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becket really represents good value.
Who do the bookies think will be on the move in the 2019 January transfer window?
If you are tempted to dabble in transfer betting, the markets are still in the early stages of being framed on players who might be on the move in the January transfer window, which opens at midnight on Tuesday, January 1 and closes at 11pm on Thursday, January 1. The betting opportunities will increase once the first 10 games or so of the Premier League season are done and clubs look to either consolidate or revitalise their playing squads.
However, that doesn't stop the rumour mill, and although it is still only early doors and the Premier League season is only a handful of games in, there is already speculation flying around about players who might be on the move in January.
Probably the biggest name in the mix is Paul Pogba, with the Manchester United midfielder locked in an increasingly acrimonious public spat with manager Jose Mourinho. Some reports are suggesting that the World Cup winner will be on the move in January and that he wants to re-join Juventus to play with Cristiano Ronaldo (you can get 6-1 on this happening), although the odds-on favourite destination continues to be Barcelona. You can also currently get 9-2 on Pogba ending up at Paris-Saint Germain in January.