After the transfer window slammed shut last week, here are 10 of the best signings made by English clubs this summer.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City)
Leicester’s poor recruitment 12 months ago contributed to their disappointing first half of the 2016/17 season, but the Foxes have had a much more successful summer this time around. Along with Kelechi Iheanacho and Eldin Jakupovic, Maguire has moved to the King Power Stadium from another English club; a proactive and aggressive defender, the former Hull City man is also composed with the ball at his feet and a frequent instigator of attacks from the back.
Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)
Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea agreed to sell Matic to Manchester United, and the Serb’s performances in the early weeks of the season have done little to disprove the notion that the champions made a mistake by willingly strengthening a domestic rival. The two-time Premier League winner has impressed at the base of Jose Mourinho’s midfield, breaking up opposition attacks and providing the likes of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan with the freedom to attack.
Will Hughes (Watford)
Hughes is still awaiting his first top-flight start for the Hornets, but the signing of the England Under-21 international looks like a very shrewd one indeed. Although still only 22 years old, the midfielder arrives in the Premier League with plenty of experience behind him, having made almost 200 appearances for Derby County since his first-team debut in 2011. An excellent passer of the ball who is also capable of evading opposition challenges with his dribbling skills, Hughes is one for the future as much as the present.
Sandro Ramirez (Everton)
Even in the current climate, there are still bargains to be had if you pay enough attention. Perhaps the best example of that fact is Sandro, who joined Everton for a relatively miniscule £5.4m after the Merseysiders activated the buyout clause inserted into the forward’s Malaga contract. The former Barcelona man found the back of the net 14 times in La Liga last term and, at the age of 22, has plenty of time on his side for further improvement.
Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City)
Mendy did not come cheap at £51.75m this summer, but he could prove to be the difference between the Premier League title and a top-four finish for Manchester City in 2017/18. Full-back was a problem area for Pep Guardiola in his debut campaign in English football, as Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov proved unable to carry out his demands. Kyle Walker has been added to the ranks to solve the issue on the right-hand side, but the 23-year-old Mendy – a speedy, attack-minded left-back – is the more exciting acquisition and could be a key player for City for years to come.
Steve Mounie (Huddersfield Town)
Mounie hit the ground running following his £11.4m switch from Montpellier to Huddersfield, scoring twice in David Wagner’s men’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace on the opening weekend. The 6ft 3in centre-forward made the net ripple on 14 occasions in 37 Ligue 1 outings last time out, and a similar tally for Town could be enough to keep the newly promoted outfit in the top tier for at least another year.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Speedster Salah looks like the ideal fit for Jurgen Klopp’s high-tempo, heavy-pressing style of play at Anfield. The Egypt international may have struggled to make much of an impact during his previous stint in English football – he spent 12 months at Chelsea between January 2014 and February 2015 – but a return of 15 goals and 11 assists for Roma last term is evidence of his quality in the final third. His pace and direct running has already aided Liverpool’s transition game, too.
Renato Sanches (Swansea)
Arguably the coup of the summer, Paul Clement’s existing relationship with Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti helped Swansea secure a loan deal for the young Portuguese talent. A box-to-box midfielder who’s immensely gifted but still raw, Sanches could be a revelation at the Liberty Stadium in the weeks and months to come.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace)
Matic was not the only midfielder Chelsea let go in the summer, with Nathaniel Chalobah joining Watford on a permanent deal and Loftus-Cheek loaned to Crystal Palace for the duration of the 2017/18 campaign. The Eagles have not got off to the best of starts under new manager Frank de Boer, but the 21-year-old has been a rare bright spot early on, showcasing a range of skills in the engine room which suggest he could one day become an all-round midfield star at Stamford Bridge.
Javier Hernandez (West Ham United)
Many modern managers demand far more from their centre-forwards than what Hernandez offers, which is to say very little outside the penalty area. The ex-Manchester United marksman has never been one to drop deep and link the play, instead preferring to base himself in the danger zone and wait for chances to come his way. There are few better when it comes to finishing off opportunities inside the 18-yard box, though, which is why Hernandez could prove a steal for the Hammers at £16m.
By Greg Lea
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer for FourFourTwo, The Blizzard and various others. Follow his Twitter account @GregLeaFootball for anything and everything related to soccer and more.