After some phenomenal summer business, Aston Villa dominate this Premier League XI found outside the monied elite.
The names come from Transfermarkt but their valuations are way too low to include here.
GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
After David Raya was snapped up by Arsenal to put much-needed pressure on Aaron Ramsdale, Martinez takes the reins here. Inter supposedly made a laughable bid for the World Cup winner earlier this summer.
RB: Aaron Hickey (Brentford)
Linked with Manchester City – dismissed by Thomas Frank, who said “We will not sell him. He’s not even been here a year” – is the Scottish full-back who joined the Bees for £18m last summer. Frank thinks he will “get there” in terms of the elite clubs but for now he is just 21 and another season in west London will serve him well.
CB: Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)
Strongly linked with Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle but Palace seemingly want £60m for the England international and the conversations ended there. He has already been on the books of a Big Six club and Chelsea f***ed it.
CB: Pau Torres (Aston Villa)
What a coup that is. A signing that would walk into just about any XI in the Premier League and he’s joined Aston Villa for just £27.5m.
Also worth a mention is West Ham’s Nayef Aguerd, apparently a target for Liverpool.
LB: Pervis Estupinan (Brighton)
“I would sum up my first season here using the word pride,” said the Colombian after being nothing short of phenomenal for the Seagulls as they claimed Europa League football for the first time. And Brighton’s sound planning means that he will be due a move to a Big Six (plus Newcastle) club in 2025.
CM: Amadou Onana (Everton)
Amadou Onana could have been the £55m bargain in the Premier League midfield arms race. But real interest was not there so he stays at Everton for another relegation battle.
CM: Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa)
We would be tempted to argue that Fulham’s Joao Palhinha would fetch more on the open market but Ramsey is young, English and homegrown, and that trifecta comes with a premium. Currently injured but Paul Scholes is a fan, posting on social media during England’s Under-21 triumphant tournament: ‘Surprised no big clubs are coming in for this lad!’
RW: Moussa Diaby (Aston Villa)
Villa really did some tremendous business this summer. As we wrote here: ‘It is baffling how Aston Villa’s only competition for Moussa Diaby’s signature came from Saudi Arabia. Thankfully the Frenchman made the right decision and has hit the ground running in the Premier League.’
AM: Lucas Paqueta (West Ham)
Seemed to be on the verge of moving to Manchester City but that was scuppered by an investigation into alleged betting breaches, so West Ham will be able to keep him until the situation becomes a little less murky, at least. For now he is central to the Hammers’ post-Rice era.
LW: Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton)
Another unbelievable piece of transfer wizardry from Brighton saw them sign the Japanese international for less than £3m. Try buying him for less than £60m now, if you dare. He’s the reason why the Seagulls were happy to take Arsenal’s cash for Leandro Trossard in January.
ST: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
After a 15-goal Premier League season for Villa, Watkins’ stock had never been higher. His start to 23/24 has been somewhat less impressive, a hat-trick v Hibs aside.