Premier League clubs have spent over £1.7bn on signings this summer, but this XI features big-money Liverpool and Manchester United targets who are still on the market.
Whether you think the transfer window requires reform or not, it has been littered with drama this time around but a few clubs (Liverpool, in particular) still have a lot of work to do.
Disclaimer: The fees stated below are taken from reports on the proposed transfers by several media outlets (some reliable and some not so) rather than transfermarkt…
GK: Diogo Costa (£64m, Chelsea and Manchester United)
Chelsea and Man Utd were always going to sign new goalkeepers this summer and Costa had been mentioned as a potential addition after he burst onto the scene (Micah Richards-style) at Porto.
The Blues have instead opted to snatch Robert Sanchez from Brighton as a low-cost option, while Man Utd have gone for Andre Onana, who will slot perfectly into Erik ten Hag’s system at Old Trafford.
Costa has been overlooked as he is currently on the market at a higher price but it’s safe to assume that he will end up at Chelsea soon. And with Kepa Arrizabalaga joining Real Madrid, it would not be a surprise if the Portugal international heads to Stamford Bridge as early as this summer. On a 12-year contract.
RB: Denzel Dumfries (£43m, Chelsea and Manchester United)
The flying wing-back could prove to be one of those players (like his compatriot Wesley Sneijder) who never signs for a Premier League club despite perennially being linked with a move to England.
But several Premier League clubs would benefit from Dumfries’ presence, with his reputation rocketing following his brilliant performances for Inter Milan and the Netherlands.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s resurgence has reduced United’s need for a right-back, while Chelsea rely on Reece James despite the talented Englishman’s recent injury woes. Wing-backs are vital to Mauricio Pochettino’s system and should Todd Boehly manage to find even more ways around Financial Fair Play regulations, Dumfries would be a superb addition.
CB: Edmond Tapsoba (£50m, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur)
Spurs have often leant on Harry Kane to get them out of trouble when their defensive woes have impacted them, but with the striker jumping ship to join Bayern Munich, new boss Ange Postecoglou needs to hang his hopes on other players.
£40m James Maddison is a signing of the season contender and after acquiring the playmaker, the former Celtic manager has been focused on signing new centre-backs. Liverpool-linked Micky van de Ven has been snapped up for a significant fee and they are also monitoring Bayer Leverkusen stand-out Tapsoba, who is also admired by Newcastle United.
His former teammate – Aston Villa’s Moussa Diaby – has already headed to the Premier League this summer and Tapsoba could be next in line to give up life at the Bundesliga outfit for the English top flight.
CB: Goncalo Inacio (£39m, Liverpool)
Liverpool have been uncharacteristically lax in the transfer market this summer as Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia have slipped through their fingers, with the midfield pair opting to accept longer contracts (and presumably a higher salary) at Chelsea.
These setbacks have left Liverpool chasing their tails as they look to sign a replacement for Fabinho and they also reportedly remain in the market for a young centre-back.
Inacio has emerged as a leading option and his £39m release clause *should* make this deal an easier one to negotiate for the under-fire Liverpool hierarchy.
LB: Theo Hernandez (£70m, Arsenal and Manchester United)
While the previous inclusions in this team are potential transfers that are pretty feasible, it’s hard to see Arsenal or Man Utd signing Hernandez, especially for the crazy £70m fee that’s been mentioned.
In truth, Hernandez’s links to Arsenal and Man Utd have come from not-so-reliable outlets in Italy and Spain, who need to be taken with a pinch of salt. The Frenchman is no doubt an excellent left-back, but the Premier League pair are focused on strengthening in different areas.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni (£60m, Liverpool and Manchester United)
If you fail once, try again…
In an alternative reality, Liverpool’s midfield rebuild would have begun in the summer of 2022 with the signing of Tchouameni from AS Monaco, but Real Madrid dealt yet another blow to the Premier League giants as they snatched Jurgen Klopp’s top target.
Real Madrid have got in Liverpool’s way once again this summer to sign England star boy Jude Bellingham and the 20-year-old’s arrival in Spain has refuelled talk linking Tchouameni with a move to Anfield.
Tchouameni is reportedly not for sale this summer but it remains to be seen whether his situation will change if Bellingham outshines him. Liverpool will certainly be hoping that happens…
CM: Sofyan Amrabat (£30m, Manchester United)
While the Red Devils have also been linked with Tchouameni, a move for Amrabat is far more realistic and he’s available at half the price.
A new central midfielder is required at Old Trafford with Donny van de Beek likely to follow Fred out of the door in the coming weeks. Judging by his performances at last year’s World Cup, Amrabat would certainly be a solid addition and he’d take some of the pressure off Casemiro.
RW: Jeremy Doku (£45m, Manchester City)
Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan leaving are blows to Man City but Pep Guardiola is being provided with funds for replacements and former Liverpool target Doku has emerged as the likeliest candidate to succeed the Algeria winger.
Man City have also been linked with Michael Olise, but he is set to sign for Chelsea instead after the Blues triggered his £35m release clause.
While Doku has caught the eye when playing for Belgium, he has flattered to deceive when playing at club level, but Guardiola’s track record suggests he will help to get the maximum out of the wide man.
CAM: Lucas Paqueta (£95m, Manchester City)
Having already earned a huge fee through selling Declan Rice to Arsenal, West Ham are in line to claim a massive profit on Paqueta, who cost them around £51m last summer.
The Brazil international was viewed as a coup for West Ham when they bought him from Lyon and he enjoyed a dream debut season for the Premier League outfit that resulted in them becoming European champions.
The Paqueta-Man City reports initially came as a surprise but this is a move that makes an awful lot of sense for the player/club and West Ham should snap their hands off at £95m. Though his exit would be a fresh blow to David Moyes, who looks to be on borrowed time at the London Stadium.
LW: Kylian Mbappe (£137m, Chelsea and Liverpool)
The PSG superstar has caused quite a stir this summer and the prolonged battle for his services started with him refusing to extend his contract beyond 2024.
Mbappe has had plenty of options this summer, with the Saudi Pro League unsurprisingly featuring among his list of potential destinations.
Following his refreshing decision to snub a big-money move to the Middle East, Chelsea and long-term admirers Liverpool have expressed their willingness to bring him in on loan.
As great as it would be to see Mbappe in the Premier League, these loan deals were never likely and after weeks of drama, he’s made a ‘shock U-turn’ and looks set to stay where he is for another year before *finally* joining Real Madrid next year.
ST: Victor Osimhen (£150m, Chelsea and Manchester United)
Napoli were a major surprise package in 2022/23 as they won the Serie A title at a canter and Osimhen was among Luciano Spalletti’s star performers.
Osimhen is due to sign a new contract to extend his stay in Naples until 2026 so the Italian champions are under no pressure to sell their prized asset, as proved by their ludicrous asking price.
Chelsea and Man Utd will both surely be desperate to sign Osimhen when the time is right, And while they are pretty daft, they have not been silly enough to pay £150m to sign the 24-year-old this summer.