This summer’s transfer window has been one of the most high profile in recent times and will arguably be remembered more for the deals that weren’t done than those that were (Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Lemar, Virgil van Dijk etc.).
However, the transactions that weren’t made should not completely overshadow the arrival of some fantastic players to the Premier League as well as the reshuffling of some of its current stock.
So without further ado, here’s the best XI of players who found new clubs in the Premier League in the most recent transfer window.
Ederson – Benfica To Manchester City (£36 Million)
Coming in to take the place of the error-prone Claudio Bravo, who will be his under study, Willy Caballero, who has left the club, and Joe Hart, who has once again been farmed out on loan, this time to West Ham, Ederson has conceded a solid if not spectacular two goals in three games.
The Brazilian fee smashes the record paid by a British club for a goalkeeper, beating the previous record of £18.9 million paid by Manchester United for David De Gea six years ago.
Kyle Walker – Tottenham To Manchester City (£54 Million)
The writing was on the wall for the English defender for some time now due to his long running dispute with his former boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss expressed his doubts over Walker’s fitness and his performances in training on numerous occasions.
The 27-year-old left Spurs after eight years at White Hart Lane, during which time he made 228 appearances.
His £54 million price tag is also a world record fee paid for a defender. David Luiz previously held that title, following his £50m switch from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014. Walker also becomes the most expensive Englishman of all time, taking over the mantle from Raheem Sterling. City now have in their squad the top three English record transfers with Walker joining John Stones and Sterling.
Michael Keane – Burnley To Everton (£26 Million)
In fairness, there weren’t many centre-halves on the move in the most recent window, but Keane probably tops the bill.
He was on the shopping list of a few clubs when he left Manchester United in January 2015 for Burnley but recently has signed a five-year deal with Everton. The 24-year-old has played twice for England and said that the opportunity to play for Ronald Koeman had played a big part in his decision to join the Merseyside club.
Benjamin Mendy – Monaco To Manchester City (£52 Million)
The Frenchman, who signed a five-year contract with City, had been identified as a key target by Pep Guardiola following the departure of Gaël Clichy at the end of last season and Aleksandar Kolarov, who left for Roma in this window after seven years at the club.
His signing completes a transformation of City’s defence since Guardiola’s appointment last summer and will take up his position in a formidable looking backline with the aforementioned Walker, who will be on the opposite flank, as well as Vincent Kompany and John Stones in the heart of the City defence.
Mohamed Salah – AS Roma To Liverpool (£44 Million)
The 25-year-old was a long-term target for the Reds, with Liverpool having missed out on his signature when he joined Chelsea before embarking on an underwhelming spell in the Premier League
However, after impressing in Serie A with 29 goals in 65 appearances for Roma, Reds boss Jürgen Klopp believes the winger has developed a more rounded game and will add depth to a squad which will be further tested this season with the challenge of Champions League football. He has hit the ground running on Merseyside scoring three goals in five competitive games, terrorising defences with his electric pace and acceleration.
Nemanja Matić – Chelsea To Manchester United (£40 Million)
This was a massive coup for Manchester United, who will no doubt find it hard to believe their luck at stealing one of the best players from their direct rivals Chelsea.
The type of midfielder that United have craved for years, he is a great player to accompany Paul Pogba in the Red Devils’ midfield as he provides great cover for the Frenchman when he gets forward.
Renato Sanches – Bayern Munich To Swansea (Loan Fee: £4 Million)
His loan move to Swansea rivals the move of his midfield partner in this side, Matic, for the title ‘steal of the summer’. The Portuguese prodigy joined Bayern from Benfica last summer with much fanfare in a €35 million deal, which could rise to €80m, with the German club beating the likes of Manchester United to his signature.
He failed to settle at the German giants, however, and so was offered this opportunity to find his form under the guidance of his former assistant coach Paul Clement. The Swans are paying a loan fee of €6m for the Portugal international, who was one of the stars of Euro 2016, but such a price is small change for a player of his undoubted quality.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Swansea To Everton (£45 Million)
Many eyebrows were raised at the valuation of the Icelandic attacking midfielder, but hey that’s modern day football. Sigurdsson, who scored nine goals and provided 13 assists in the league last term, pulled out of Swansea’s pre-season tour to the United States after Everton’s interest became clear.
He’s been Swansea’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons, has made 50 appearances for Iceland and played a key role in their run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
Alvaro Morata – Real Madrid To Chelsea (£55 Million)
Links back up with his former boss Antonio Conte after a relatively unsuccessful return to Real Madrid. One of the most underrated strikers in the league, he has hit the ground running with two goals and two assists from his opening three games.
Romelu Lukaku – Everton To Manchester United (£100 Million)
The big Belgian is exactly what the doctor ordered at Manchester United. A big, strong, quick forward with a proven Premier League scoring record. He scored 85 career goals before arriving at United and has added to his tally with three league goals and one in the European Super Cup. He has obviously done enough to win over Jose Mourhinio who sold him when both were at Chelsea a few years ago as upon his signing the chosen one said:
“Romelu is a natural fit for Manchester United, He is a big personality and a big player. It is only natural that he wants to develop his career at the biggest club.
“He will be a great addition to the group and I know they will make him very welcome. I am really looking forward to working with him again.”
Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon To Arsenal (£52 Million)
The Frenchman arrives in north London amid a period of uncertainty surrounding the future of key players and manager Arsene Wenger. At £52 million, he is the most expensive player in the club’s history, so is under pressure to deliver for his new employers, especially with the downright toxic atmosphere which is radiating from the dressing room right now.
He is a proven goalscorer, as evidenced by the fact he had the highest chance conversion rate in Europe’s top five leagues last season (38.9 per cent), scoring 37 goals in 45 games as Lyon secured a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1 and reached the Europa League semi-finals.
His record of 28 league goals last term was more than the combined tally of Arsenal quartet Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez.
For what it’s worth, this team cost a staggering £512 million to assemble based on the fee they were sold for during the summer, although this is distorted as it only included Sanches’ loan fee and not his actual valuation, which could rise to an eye-watering £80 millon.
Michael Keaveny, Pundit Arena