Best of the summer transfers

Nick Hext picks out his best deals of the summer from the Premier League and Sky Bet Football League.

Last Updated: 09/09/13 at 08:20 Post Comment

Ozil, Kranjcar, Cuvelier and Roberts: Some of this summer's top signings

Ozil, Kranjcar, Cuvelier and Roberts: Some of this summer's top signings

Our Nick Hext picks out his best deals of the summer from the Premier League and Sky Bet Football League.

Barclays Premier League clubs spent a record £630million during the summer transfer window and there were plenty of high-profile additions amongst the big spending.

It was also another busy summer of signings in the Sky Bet Football League but which deals catch the eye from the top four divisions of English football?

Here are my top five acquisitions from the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2.


Barclays Premier League


Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid to Arsenal, undisclosed)

This is definitely the most exciting of all the summer deals in English football. Ozil's arrival provides the Premier League and most interestingly Arsenal with a new star and he might just be the man to get the Gunners in the title mix. The Germany midfielder's stats make thoroughly impressive reading with the joint-most assists in European football over the last two years - tied with Lionel Messi - just one of his claims to fame. Real Madrid now have Gareth Bale but how much will they miss their departing star?

Roberto Soldado (Valencia to Tottenham, undisclosed)

The striker already has four goals in four games since his arrival from Valencia for a club-record fee of around £26million and much more is expected. Tottenham needed a real quality forward in their squad and Soldado more than fits the bill with both Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe failing to do enough to take top-billing. There have been plenty of worries over how much Gareth Bale's exit will hinder the men from White Hart Lane but Andre Villas-Boas hasn't mucked about in his extensive transfer dealings. His new Spanish goal-getter is the pick of the recruits.


Back Soldado at 11/1 with Sky Bet to be top goalscorer


James McCarthy (Wigan to Everton, undisclosed)

Marouane Fellaini finally departed Everton on Deadline Day but Toffees fans shouldn't be too worried with McCarthy sure to shine in their midfield for years to come. The Republic of Ireland international established quite a reputation as a key member of Wigan's side during Roberto Martinez's tenure at the DW Stadium. Now he is back working under the Spaniard at Goodison Park and joins Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku as strong last minute-recruits. It might take a little bit of time for Everton to adjust to their new style of play but McCarthy will make that transition quicker.

Nathan Redmond (Birmingham to Norwich, undisclosed)

The England Under-21 international established himself as one of the Championship's most sought-after players during his time at Birmingham and now he can take the plaudits at a higher level. There were plenty of impressive additions from Norwich boss Chris Hughton this summer - Leroy Fer also standing out - and Redmond is the pick of the lot. He's already endeared himself to the Carrow Road faithful with the only goal of the game in the victory against Sunderland. Canaries fans are sure to enjoy watching the livewire winger perform with plenty more memorable moments predicted for the rest of this season.


Back Norwich at 7/2 with Sky Bet to finish in the top half


Steven Caulker (Tottenham to Cardiff, undisclosed)

This was one of the most surprising transfers of the summer. Nobody thought Tottenham were going to cash in on the highly-rated defender but they did and it was a big shock to see him end up at top-flight new boys Cardiff. A fee of around £8million will prove value if Caulker helps keep the Bluebirds up and he already has success in Wales under his belt from an impressive loan spell at Swansea in the 2011/12 campaign. The England international made 28 appearances in all competitions for Spurs last season and now he has the chance to take on an even more integral role at his new club.


Sky Bet Championship


Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev to QPR, loan)

"Niko's a crowd pleaser - he gets people off their seats." The words of QPR boss Harry Redknapp after he added the Croatia midfielder to his squad on Deadline Day. It's fair to say the Loftus Road outfit have an incredibly talented player at their disposal and that will make all the difference in the push for promotion. Having Paul Merson in his squad worked wonders for Redknapp as Portsmouth won the First Division title back in the 2002/3 campaign and now it's another talented playmaker who can take centre stage in the second tier of English football.

James Vaughan (Norwich to Huddersfield, undisclosed)

Huddersfield knew just what they were getting when signing Vaughan on a permanent basis this summer. The striker spent last season on loan at the Yorkshire outfit from Norwich and plundered 14 goals - including a vital five in the final three matches of the season - to keep the Terriers in the Championship. The new term sees the forward in fine fettle with eight goals to his name already and the Sky Bet Player of the Month award on his mantelpiece. He's definitely the key player for Mark Robins' side.


Back Vaughan at 11/1 with Sky Bet to be top goalscorer


Darren Randolph (Motherwell to Birmingham, free)This summer saw Birmingham's highly-rated goalkeeper Jack Butland finally depart for pastures new with Stoke. The England international established a burgeoning reputation at St Andrew's and his replacement is well on his way to doing the same. Randolph was a key figure in the Motherwell side that has impressed in the Scottish Premiership over recent seasons and getting him in on a free transfer is a tremendous bit of business. Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was full of praise for his fellow Irishman after drawing 1-1 against Blues and quite a few opposition managers will be similarly impressed and frustrated in the coming months.

Simon Church (Reading to Charlton, free)

Last season wasn't a great one for Church as Reading's promotion to the Premier League saw him fall out of favour at the Madejski Stadium. A loan move to Huddersfield saw the striker net only once before returning to Berkshire to sit on the sidelines. It was clear a new challenge was needed and that is what the Welshman now has after joining Charlton on a free transfer following a successful trial in pre-season. The 24-year-old has three goals from his first five games for the Addicks and can only benefit from more first-team football.

Luke Murphy (Crewe to Leeds, undisclosed)

This swoop is a great statement of intent from Leeds manager Brian McDermott. Murphy was the vital cog in the Crewe side that has won promotion from League 2 and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy over the last couple of seasons and plenty of bigger clubs took note. McDermott had to beat off lots of competition to get the midfielder to sign on the dotted line and the Elland Road supporters are glad he did. His 94th-minute winner on the first day of the season against Brighton definitely made a good impression!


Back Murphy at 4/1 with Sky Bet to be Leeds' player of the season



Sky Bet League 1


Florent Cuvelier (Stoke to Sheffield United, undisclosed)

Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the new co-owner of Sheffield United and that means we can expect plenty more investment in the club. Cuvelier made the move to Bramall Lane just before the end of the transfer window and offers plenty of potential. The Belgium Under-21 international has already made his mark in League 1 during loan spells with Walsall so won't be taken by surprise by any of his new surroundings. David Weir made the midfielder one of his top targets and making it a done deal provides the rest of the division with plenty to worry about.


Back Sheffield United at 33/1 with Sky Bet to win League 1


Ryan Mason (Tottenham to Swindon, loan)

Swindon's prospects of success this season have been massively enhanced by their blossoming relationship with Tottenham. The Robins had three players on loan from Spurs - Mason, Alex Pritchard and Grant Hall - starting in the weekend's 1-1 draw against MK Dons, while Nathan Byrne and Massimo Luongo both made permanent moves from White Hart Lane during the summer. Mason has already made headlines with a hat-trick in the 5-0 victory against Crewe and it will be interesting to see how his campaign in Wiltshire compares with his efforts for Lorient in France during the second half of last term.

Chris Humphrey (Motherwell to Preston, free)

There looks to be plenty more to come from Preston this season with League 1 promotion expert Simon Grayson in charge at Deepdale. Grayson has taken sides up from this division three times during his managerial career and that has North End fans optimistic for the future. Humphrey is one of his impressive summer recruits and a return to English football has easily been taken in the winger's stride. The 25-year-old was linked with plenty of clubs during the summer and he's sure to gain more admirers if his early form continues.

Will Grigg (Walsall to Brentford, undisclosed)

This deal made all fans in League 1 sit up and take notice. Brentford need to bounce back after the double heartbreak of missing out on promotion on the final day of last season and then losing the play-off final. Acquisitions like Grigg help the Bees look to the future with optimism and two goals in the 3-1 win against Sheffield United prove the forward means business. He bagged 20 goals last term for Walsall and a similar return will see his new club right in the promotion shake-up.


Back Grigg at 33/1 with Sky Bet to be League 1's top goalscorer


Marlon Pack (Cheltenham to Bristol City, undisclosed)

Pack has been a vital part of the Cheltenham side that has been in the mix in League 2 over the last few seasons. Now the midfielder gets to ply his wares on a bigger stage and strong performances are needed if Bristol City are to jump up the table. The 22-year-old had come close to leaving Whaddon Road before this summer but the wait may have done him good after getting plenty of first-team experience. A move from Robins to Robins will work out well.


Sky Bet League 2


Gary Roberts (Huddersfield to Chesterfield, free)

Chesterfield sit top of League 2 and the recruitment of Roberts is one of the main reasons why. The experienced winger has netted three goals in his first seven games for the Spireites and the quality that has seen him shine for Huddersfield and Swindon in recent years is still there. Paul Cook is in charge of the team to beat in this division and Roberts will provide plenty of entertainment for the fans on the way to promotion.

Mark Roberts (Stevenage to Fleetwood, free)

There are plenty of candidates from Fleetwood in with a shout of a place in this feature - Antoni Sarcevic and Ryan Cresswell also deserve a mention - but Roberts is the player who makes the cut. The 29-year-old has been THE main man during Stevenage's recent success and even enjoyed a spell as caretaker player-manager at Broadhall Way. The Cod Army have all the tools in place for a sustained promotion challenge and the experience their skipper provides will be vital.


Back Fleetwood at 4/1 with Sky Bet to win League 2


Jamie Cureton (Exeter to Cheltenham, free)

It has been a poor start to the season from Cheltenham but things will improve when Cureton returns to action. The experienced striker netted against Burton on his debut but it was a bittersweet goal as he dislocated his shoulder in a collision with the goalkeeper while scoring. He has been ruled out since then and the Robins haven't prospered in his absence. The striker was only behind Tom Pope in the League 2 scoring chart last season and more of the same will see the smiles return at Whaddon Road.


Back Cureton at 25/1 to be League 2's top goalscorer


Chris Hussey (AFC Wimbledon to Burton, free)

Burton needed to replace the departing duo of Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma during the summer and the arrival of Hussey has gone some of the way to doing just that. Rene Howe and Rory Delap are also notable additions but it's the more unheralded former AFC Wimbledon defender who's made the headlines. The 24-year-old scored both goals in the 2-1 Capital One Cup win at Sheffield United and his adventures down the wing provide plenty of the Brewers' attacking threat.

Johnny Mullins (Rotherham to Oxford, undisclosed)

It was a lovely surprise for all Oxford fans when former loanee Mullins was tempted back to the Kassam Stadium just before the start of the season. The defender made eight appearances for the U's last term before returning to Rotherham to play a major part in promotion to League 1. Steve Evans has now allowed the centre-half to go on a full-time basis and Chris Wilder has reaped the benefits during a strong opening to the campaign.


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