Arsenal, Aston Villa and Liverpool dominate this XI of best Premier League summer signings, but a Luton Town newbie has also made the cut.
GK: Andre Onana (Inter Milan to Man Utd, £47m)
The Red Devils have done the bulk of their transfer business early this summer, which is quite out of character but another sign that Erik ten Hag has the club moving in the right direction.
It was always going to take a few transfer windows for us to see what Ten Hag’s Man Utd will truly look like and the addition of Onana is a major step towards their end goal.
The Cameroon international earned plaudits during his time at Ajax and Inter Milan and he is certainly an upgrade on David De Gea, who has been on a downward spiral for quite a while. The Spaniard’s replacement is far more capable as a ball-playing goalkeeper and he should give the defenders playing in front of him more confidence.
RB: Jurrien Timber (Ajax to Arsenal, £38m)
Timber would have signed for Man Utd last year if Ten Hag got his way, but the talented Dutchman has instead been snapped up by Arsenal this summer.
Mikel Arteta is not lying down after their unexpected title charge in 2022/23 and he is securing their future with signings like Timber. The new Gunners star’s athleticism makes him capable of playing at right-back and centre-back so it’ll be interesting to see where he will slot in this season.
Arsenal’s issue in recent years has been a lack of strength in depth but the arrival of Timber will help Arteta as he attempts to remedy this problem ahead of their return to the Champions League.
CB: Pau Torres (Villarreal to Aston Villa, £33m)
Aston Villa have come a long way over the last year. Before the 2022/23 campaign, Steven Gerrard was still in charge but they are now on the rise with Unai Emery and Monchi at the wheel.
Emery’s rough spell at Arsenal is the only major blot on the respected manager’s résumé and he rebuilt his reputation during his stellar spell at Villarreal. He clearly feels he has unfinished business in the Premier League and he’s now brought Torres with him for the journey.
This signing is a statement of intent from Aston Villa, who have acquired a former Man Utd and Arsenal target for a fee much lower than his £51m release clause.
CB: Axel Disasi (AS Monaco to Chelsea, £38m)
A decent portion of Chelsea’s £600m spend in 2022/23 went on defenders but Wesley Fofana suffering *another* serious injury forced them back into the market to beat Man Utd and Newcastle United in the race to sign Disasi.
Disasi’s recent form for Monaco has earned him his debut for France, which is no mean feat considering how spoiled for choice Didier Deschamps is at the moment. He will certainly hope that he fares better than Kalidou Koulibaly, who was one of last season’s biggest flops.
LB: Ryan Giles (Wolves to Luton Town, £5m)
I did not have many options at left-back so I’ve decided to give Luton Town their flowers.
The newly-promoted side have gone about this summer in the perfect way as they’ve not broken the bank with their play-off earnings. Instead, they have wisely opted to stock their squad with top-level Championship players who have a point to prove heading into their dream year in the Premier League.
Luton will give it their all in trying to stay up but if they do go down, they will have a squad that’s ready-made to p*ss the Championship next season while also saving funds for a new stadium and an improved training ground. Assist machine Giles is among their better summer buys and had it not been for their financial difficulties, Wolves would have been wise to keep him.
CM: Declan Rice (West Ham to Arsenal, £105m)
£105m (including add-ons) is a huge investment from Arsenal for Rice but they have signed a elite-level midfielder who will only get better when he’s playing alongside teammates of a higher quality.
Rice has shown in an England jersey at major tournaments and in big moments for West Ham that he is worthy of the hype and as Arteta has predicted, the midfielder is set to be Arsenal’s “lighthouse” as they attempt to progress to the next level and maybe (eventually) end Man City’s long reign as Premier League champions.
CM: Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton to Liverpool, £35m)
Arsenal are ahead of Liverpool in terms of their respective stages of progression, but the Anfield rebuild under Jurgen Klopp is in full swing.
Former Brighton standout Mac Allister has kickstarted this overhaul after his stunning form helped Roberto De Zerbi’s side finish sixth last season to earn a spot in the Europa League.
Mac Allister was among the best players in the Premier League last season and he’s a bloody snip at £35m as he’s realistically worth double that.
RW: Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen to Aston Villa, £52m)
Torres is a calibre of player that Aston Villa would have only been able to dream of singing a year ago and the same goes for Diaby.
It has felt like only a matter of time before the winger ends up in the Premier League through his stellar form for Leverkusen, but it was always assumed that he’d end up at a supposed Big Six club. So it says a lot about the direction Villa are heading in that they have won the race for Diaby.
Villa are surely Europa Conference League winners in waiting with Emery in charge and Diaby is a player capable of leading their assault on the top six in the Premier League.
CAM: James Maddison (Leicester City to Tottenham, £40m)
With Harry Kane nearing the exit door (next summer at the latest), Tottenham’s current crop of attackers will have to step up to fill the huge void left by the England captain and Maddison is capable of doing just that.
Spurs are facing uncertain times ahead of Ange Postecoglou’s first season in charge but the arrival of Maddison is a big positive they can take into the 2023/24 campaign.
He grabbed 19 goal involvements in the league last season and he deserves huge credit for these silly stats as he was part of a poor Leicester side. A move to a Big Six team is long overdue for Maddison, who will soon become a major fan favourite at Tottenham.
LW: Harvey Barnes (Leicester City to Newcastle United, £38m)
No-one was going to top Maddison’s performances in a Leicester shirt last season, but Barnes came bloody close. He went under the radar compared to his former teammate but 13 goals was an excellent return from the flanks.
Barnes is being tasked with replacing the exciting Allan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle. While the latter is arguably capable of more unique moments of magic, his replacement is a clear upgrade in consistency and will provide Eddie Howe with a much-needed goal threat from wide areas.
ST: Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal to Chelsea, £30m)
Man Utd could really do with signing Harry Kane from Tottenham because I have been left with a far less impressive option to line up in this XI.
That’s not to say Jackson is not a good signing for Chelsea because he should be. The 22-year-old fits the mould for the Blues as an up-and-coming talent yet to reach their peak and he is coming off a strong breakout season in La Liga that saw him contribute with 12 goals and four assists for Villarreal.
This is a problem position for Chelsea and it was smart business from the board to activate Jackson’s release clause to get him for £30m but another marquee striker signing – Dusan Vlahovic, maybe – is needed before the summer window closes.