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