The 10 best Premier League signings of the summer transfer window
Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria to Arsenal, £26.4m)
Everything makes sense in pre-season, but especially so in this case. Arsene Wenger used to approach the transfer market with far too much deference to his own ideals, and that probably prevented him from signing the kind of midfielder which Arsenal so obviously needed.
Torreira is that midfielder. The Uruguayan can play a bit, Sampdoria supporters will tell you as much, but his principle attributes will be focused on making his new team far more secure without the ball. Not before time, he’ll provide Unai Emery’s defence some much-needed protection.
Alisson Becker (Roma to Liverpool, £67m)
Here’s why he deserves to be on this list: there’s a lot of merit in a team recognising that they have a deficiency and then spending a lot of money to correct it. It’s actually very smart.
It took over £60m to bring Alisson to Anfield but, given how long the goalkeeping issue has existed at Liverpool, they can hardly be criticised for paying top dollar for one of the finest players in Europe. The Brazilian’s transition into English football might not be smooth, as goalkeepers do traditionally struggle with that adaption, but the theory is very sound indeed.
Jurgen Klopp now not only has far greater security at the base of his formation, but also - crucially - a far better standard of distribution too.
Jean Michael Seri (Nice to Fulham, £25m)
Let’s be realistic: if Seri starts well at Fulham and enjoys a prominent first season at Craven Cottage, he’s not likely to still be there a year from now.
But so what? At £25m and at 27 years old, Fulham could very well flip him for an enormous profit should they want to. And, realistically, paying that kind of fee in the first place is hardly extortionate. In 2018, £25m for a continental-class midfielder who provides a two-way contribution is actually very reasonable - particularly so when considering the calibre of suitors who were also pursuing Seri and the fees attached to other, inferior players this summer.
And, of course, that ignores the more pressing, football need. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has some talented pieces – not least Ryan Sessegnon, Tom Cairney, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle – but he needed more ability in the centre of midfield if they were to be prominent at the higher level. It’s ability he definitely now has, though. Seri is potentially a top-six player and Fulham have pulled off a coup.
Joao Moutinho (Monaco to Wolves, £5m)
It might not be the best transfer but it’s certainly one of the most interesting. Moutinho is possibly past his absolute best but, still just 31, he’s hardly past it. Jorge Mendes would, of course, have been instrumental in greasing the transfer wheels and Moutinho is presumably on a considerable basic wage, but positioning him alongside Ruben Neves in the Wolves midfield has helped to make them arguably the best-prepared newly-promoted side in Premier League history.
The Portugal international is still a very fine player and his metronomic distribution, playmaking and defensive attributes are arriving for a very reasonable price.
Max Meyer (free transfer to Crystal Palace)
Meyer is in a bit of a Marko Marin situation. Once thought of as the next great German midfielder, his stock has sunk. His drawn-out and acrimonious departure from Schalke clearly caused a significant distraction and so, in a sense, he’s a reclamation project for Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace.
But he’s still the right player moving to the right place. Palace have needed a central attacking midfielder for several seasons now, and with Ruben Loftus-Cheek back at Chelsea, Meyer should help to cover that loss. There’s a sense that this will either go really well or really badly, but the 22-year-old has the talent to make this move a success and, in Hodgson, now has a vastly experienced coach who understands football players better than most.