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Ranked! The 10 best signings of the 2017 summer transfer window

Renato Sanches Swansea

10. Jadon Sancho (Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund, £8m)

Whether this a good deal or not will be shown in time, but it’s certainly one of the more interesting moves.

England U17 star Sancho had grown frustrated with the cluttered pathways at Manchester City and spent the summer aggressively orchestrating his exit. While it was generally assumed he would be moving back to London, City reportedly priced both Arsenal and Tottenham out of a move, leaving the player heading for Signal Iduna Park. Manager Peter Bosz has only just arrived in Germany himself, having spent the last year tutoring Ajax’s collection of bright young things, and will now have the chance of moulding one of the most pliable prospects in English football.

Sancho is raw, but the speed with which he carries the ball and his determination to be productive with it should make him suited to the native style in Dortmund.

The underlying detail here is encouraging too. Yes, a young English player has been brave enough to move to a different country, but it’s heartening to see another adjudged to have the requisite technical ability to play for a continental giant. And how's this for confidence? Dortmund have given him Ousmane Dembele's vacant No.7 shirt. 

9. Patrik Schick (Sampdoria to Roma, loan)

Financially, this is a difficult one to read. Schick will initially join Roma on loan, but activate a permanent deal should his performances over the next season meet certain criteria. Theoretically, the transfer could be worth as much as £40m.

A big fee, but the 21-year-old Czech is a big prospect. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see shades of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his game and to imagine, with a few steady years of progress, that he could one day become a force in Serie A. The only reason Juventus didn't sign him this summer is because he failed two medicals due to cardiac concerns.  

The value for Roma wasn’t in trying to secure a ‘deal’ as such, but rather capturing a player of immense potential. They’ve done that - and, with the loan aspect, have even managed to build in a layer of protection for themselves.

8. Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea to Watford, £5m)

Chalobah’s reputation suffers somewhat from having been around for so long. Before moving to Watford mid-summer, he’d been stuck in Chelsea’s ‘maybe’ pile for what felt like an eternity.

Now liberated and a starter for Marco Silva's side, he’s already shown that he belongs in a Premier League midfield and, having been included in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad, is on the verge of a first senior England cap. The 22-year-old has been fast-tracked, certainly, but that isn’t to say that he’s undeserving or that there isn’t obvious merit in exposing him to that environment.

Watch him before passing judgement; this is a highly promising player capable of a brighter future than many assumed. A tip of the hat to Watford, too, for working his contract situation at Chelsea to his advantage and securing him for next to nothing.

7. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea to Manchester United, £40m)

Obvious, but consider the knock-on effects of this deal. Matic was a reasonably priced £40m, but that’s a fee which could unlock Paul Pogba’s potential, liberate some of Jose Mourinho’s wider players and also allow some of Manchester United’s defensive components (Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof) to grow to their potential.

From that perspective, Manchester United have bought far more than just a central midfielder, and on the evidence of their start to the season, have received far more than just a £40m upgrade.

6. Andrey Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev to Borussia Dortmund, £23m)

Finally. Yarmolenko is now 27 and it seems to have taken him an age to leave his native Ukraine. Borussia Dortmund have finally tempted him away for a very reasonable-looking €25m  - which ties the national record set by Dmytro Chygrynskiy’s ill-fated move to Barcelona  - and will subsequently load their forward line with one of the most watchable left foots in Europe.

He’s not the departed Ousmane Dembele and doesn’t possess anything like the speed or dynamism of Barcelona’s newest recruit, but Yarmolenko has every chance of being highly successful.

5. Mohamed Salah (Roma to Liverpool, £37m)

The charm of this deal was its simplicity: Jurgen Klopp knew what he wanted, Liverpool negotiated with Roma efficiently, and Salah arrived early in the summer and in time for a full pre-season. Tick, tick, tick.

The on-field advantage is obvious. Salah is not the mirror image of Sadio Mane, but he’s similar enough to duplicate his threat on the other side of the pitch. As a result, Liverpool now have pacey, direct players littered all over the attacking third.

The 25-year-old Egyptian is a very good player, but it’s the effect he’ll have on his new side that will make this such a success. It’s really no coincidence that now, after two years, Klopp’s football is starting to look as advertised.

4. Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht to Monaco, £23m)

In broader circles, Tielemans owes his reputation to the two fabulous goals he scored against Oostende last season. The twin strikes, barely two minutes apart, spread across social media like wildfire and tagged their author as one of the next great Belgian prospects.

But there's more to him than that: the 20-year-old Tielemans shimmers on the field. He’s a goal threat, but also a midfielder with a gentle weight to his passing and the ability to carry the ball through congested areas.

The fee which took him to Monaco wasn’t insubstantial, but the decision to work under new manager Leonardo Jardim seems particularly wise. Jardim took a young side to within touching distance of the Champions League final last season, and the growth of several players within that side (Kylian Mbappe, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar) was remarkable.

Tielemans is in the right place. As and when he becomes a full-time starter at the Stade Louis II, expect his ability to shine and his value to soar very quickly indeed.

3. Jeremy Toljan (Hoffenheim to Borussia Dortmund, £4.5m)

Sold by Hoffenheim for just €5m, Dortmund have themselves a steal.

Toljan may not possess kind of incendiary athleticism which is becoming a full-back’s pre-requisite, but he’s a very complete player. The 23-year-old right-back is skilful, certainly, but what catches the eyes is his positioning: he’s always in the right place at the right time, in both phases of the game.

Mark him down for 50 German international caps.

2. Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus to Milan, £35m)

Not particularly original, but extremely difficult to ignore. There’s a suggestion that the new wealth at Milan is not quite as it seems, but for now it’s novel to see them re-emerging as a credible Serie A power.

There has been no brighter emblem of that than their capture of Bonucci. The imperious centre-back is arguably the best defender in Europe and has also been one of the rocks upon which Juventus’s domestic dominance has been built. What happens now remains to be seen, but £35m for the player and the statement? Outstanding business in this market.

1. Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich to Swansea, loan)

An extraordinary deal - and actually one which is testament to Sanches’s character.

The opportunity to play should always rule a player’s decision-making, but that isn’t always necessarily true. In this case, Sanches has identified a coach who will help him improve and a team who, in spite of their lowly Premier League status, will allow him to start every week. Paul Clement’s close relationship with Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti may have made this possible, but the decision itself was made by the player - and it’s one for which he should be applauded.

And what a coup for Swansea. It may only be a loan, but the 20-year-old’s arrival could well be the difference between survival and relegation. There are other weaknesses at the Liberty Stadium and the lack of creativity is still an issue following Gylfi Sigurdsson’s departure, but Sanches is the complete midfield solution they could never have dreamt of.

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