Best Premier League signings
Premier League clubs spent a total of £1.24 billion in the summer transfer window, which closed last Thursday ahead of the opening weekend of the 2018/19 campaign. In this slideshow, we pick out the 15 best signings made by teams from England’s top flight.
Alisson Becker (Roma to Liverpool, £67m)
It took over £60m to bring Alisson to Anfield but, given how long the goalkeeping issue has plagued 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. Liverpool’s title hopes have improved significantly since they snapped up the Brazilian.
Yves Bissouma (Lille to Brighton, £15m)
Brighton spent £15m to bring Bissouma to the south coast – the third-highest fee paid in their history – but it could still prove to be a bargain. The ex-Lille man has never played in England before and it could take him a few months to bed in, but there’s no doubt Albion have acquired an extremely talented young player.
The 21-year-old has all the attributes needed to succeed in the Premier League: he’s quick, skilful and physical enough to cope with the rough tactics he’ll inevitably face. His surges upfield are eye-catching and he should become a fixture in the Brighton XI sooner rather than later.
Jonny Evans (West Brom to Leicester, £3.5m)
Leicester’s decline in the years following their title win was hastened by a creaking defence; the Wes Morgan/Robert Huth axis wasn’t built to last, and the latter departed at the end of last term. Morgan may have started the Foxes’ opener against Manchester United, but his place in Claude Puel’s first XI looks vulnerable after the signing of Evans – a snip at £3.5m.
The former United man arrives with bags of experience and ability, and his underrated passing qualities are likely to be an important part of Leicester’s game plan. Evans has been a little tainted by West Brom’s decline, but there’s also been a collective failure to recognise what a good – and modern – defender he is.
Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough to Burnley, £15m)
Middlesbrough were relegated in 2016/17, but that was really more to do with how offensively anaemic they were. For the most part, they defended pretty well – and Gibson was a key part of that.
His performances in the top tier clearly didn’t escape the attention of Sean Dyche, who duly snapped up the centre-back for £15m this summer. The Burnley boss has an excellent track record of improving defenders – Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Michael Keane have all got much better under his tutelage – and there’s no reason why Gibson can’t follow the latter pair's lead and earn himself an England call-up.
Jorginho (Napoli to Chelsea, £40m)
At £40m this was hardly a bargain, but that doesn’t make it any less smart. Chelsea have signed a player who was fundamental to Maurizio Sarri’s work at Napoli, but also one who might revolutionise the way they play.
This ideological shift might take some time, so nobody should be surprised if the Blues - and indeed, Jorginho - look a bit awkward for a few months. But he’s such a neat player, one who always seems available for a pass – and able to find one – that in time he can’t fail to alter the aesthetics at Stamford Bridge.
Martin Dubravka (Sparta Prague to Newcastle, £4m)
After spending the first half of 2017/18 switching between Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow in goal, Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez snapped up a new shot-stopper in the January window. Dubravka, who moved to St James' Park on loan until the end of the campaign, turned in a series of superb showings after his mid-season arrival, helping the Magpies climb away from relegation trouble and into mid-table.
There was never any doubt that Newcastle would take up their option to sign the Slovakian permanently this summer. Costing just £4m, Dubravka goes down as one of the bargains of the transfer window.
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 Palace.
But he’s still the right player moving to the right place. Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are no longer around, which leaves Meyer free to assume creative responsibilities in central midfield. The 22-year-old will no doubt benefit from working with the German-speaking Roy Hodgson, a vastly experienced coach who understands footballers better than most.
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 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. His big-game experience will no doubt help in the dressing room, too.
Jean Michael Seri (Nice to Fulham, £25m)
Seri was on the verge of joining Barcelona last summer, so it’s hard to overstate how well Fulham have done to tempt him to Craven Cottage. The midfielder may not stick around for long if he excels as many expect him to, but at £25m this is undoubtedly one of the best deals of the summer.
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 his side were to be prominent at the higher level. The all-action Seri fills that void, and is a big part of the reason why many are backing the Cottagers to comfortably stay up.
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, but his principle attributes will be focussed on sitting in front of the back four and making his new team far more secure out of possession. He’ll provide the sort of bite and tenacity which the Gunners have long missed in the centre of the park.
Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach to Southampton, £22.1m)
Southampton struggled after losing Virgil van Dijk last January, with their resultant defensive problems contributing to a slide down the table in 2017/18. Mark Hughes recognised the need for a new centre-half this summer, paying Borussia Monchengladbach £22.1m for the services of Vestergaard.
The 26-year-old is an obelisk of a defender, more Trojan war hero than footballer, and he’ll be an enormous presence in both penalty boxes this season. Strong in the tackle and dominant in the air, the 6ft 7in man-mountain will win his fair share of individual duels this term.
Ricardo Pereira (Porto to Leicester, £17.5m)
Heavily linked with a switch to Tottenham last summer, Pereira instead remained at Porto for another year before joining Leicester in May. This deal highlights the Premier League's appeal, with the winger - who can also play at full-back - willing to give up Champions League football in order to move to the East Midlands.
Still only 24 but with plenty of high-level experience under his belt, Pereira possesses tremendous pace, energy and technical ability. In today's market, £17.5m is an excellent fee for a player who will continue to get better in the coming years.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle to Fulham, £22m)
After an average start to the season, Fulham were a team transformed in the second half of 2017/18; sitting 15th in the Championship at the start of November, Slavisa Jokanovic's side went on to win 18 and draw five of their final 24 fixtures to finish third, before dispatching of Derby and Aston Villa in the play-offs.
Key to their turnaround was the January arrival of Mitrovic on loan from Newcastle. The burly frontman provided the Cottagers with a much-needed focal point up top, and his 12 goals in 17 games were vital to their ultimately successful promotion bid. Tying up a permanent deal for the Serbia international was a no-brainer.
Naby Keita (RB Leipzig to Liverpool, £52.75m)
This transfer was agreed last August but only went through at the end of 2017/18, when RB Leipzig's sixth-place finish in the Bundesliga knocked £6.25m off the fee. Keita impressed in his Liverpool debut against West Ham on Sunday, demonstrating the dynamism, skill and versatility which made him such a hit in Germany.
The Guinea international is a well-rounded, all-action operator in the centre of the park, capable of both regaining and retaining possession for his team. He may not have come cheap, but Keita improves Liverpool's midfield and could help them sustain a title tilt this term.
Rui Patricio (Sporting CP to Wolves, free)
Chaos engulfed Sporting CP at the end of last season, when several players ripped up their contrasts after being attacked at the training ground by a group of supporters. Rui Patricio, the Lisbon-based outfit's long-serving goalkeeper, was among those who walked out, paving the way for him to join Wolves on a free just weeks after the newly promoted side failed with a £16m bid.
Sporting are challenging the move and could yet receive compensation from the West Midlanders, who have landed a hugely talented and experienced custodian. Portugal's No.1 will be a key player as Wolves attempt to finish in the top half of the Premier League this campaign.
Premier League, Transfer news, Lists, Arsenal, Lucas Torreira, Alisson Becker, Jean Seri, Fulham, João Moutinho, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Max Meyer, Crystal Palace, Jonny Evans, Leicester City, Yves Bissouma, Brighton and Hove Albion, Jorginho, Chelsea, Jannik Vestergaard, Southampton, Ben Gibson, Burnley, Martin Dúbravka, Newcastle United, Rui Patricio, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Naby Keita