GK: Mat Ryan (Valencia to Brighton)
Forget Jordan Pickford, Ederson and Joe Hart – Brighton’s new shot-stopper may prove to be the best value of them all. Purchased for an undisclosed fee (believed to be around £6m), Australia’s No.1 impressed on loan at Genk earlier this year and will need to carry that form through to help the Seagulls survive their first year.
Ryan made a howler in Brighton’s 3-2 friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid, but he’s much better than that – and at 25, the New South Wales-born glovesman still has his best years ahead.
CB: Nathan Ake (Chelsea to Bournemouth)
Following a successful loan last season, the Cherries’ permanent signing of Ake ticks every box. He’s young, versatile, knows the club, can pass out from the back comfortably and can actually defend.
Having been capped twice by the Netherlands earlier in 2017, Ake is now in the right place to kick on and establish himself as a regular for club and country. At £20m, he's a player for the here and now – but also someone Eddie Howe can depend upon in years to come.
CB: Harry Maguire (Hull to Leicester)
Leicester’s recruitment was horrible after their 2015/16 title win and – among various other poor decisions – they paid for failing to bolster their ageing backline. Both Wes Morgan and Robert Huth looked off the pace for large parts of 2016/17, and while Yohan Benalouane often stood in admirably, the Foxes now have a fresh-faced recruit to compete with them in the 24-year-old Maguire.
After winning Hull’s player of the season last term, Maguire will be looking to kick on and add his name to the list of potential candidates for England’s 2018 World Cup squad. It's not unrealistic.
CB: Jairo Riedewald (Ajax to Crystal Palace)
Davinson Sanchez hogged the spotlight for most of last season at Ajax, so Riedewald may not be such a familiar name. At just £8m, though, he could represent the signing of the summer.
The 20-year-old boasts fine technical abilities and can also play in defensive midfield, while this move reunites him with former manager Frank de Boer at Selhurst Park. “Jairo is a young player but already has a lot of experience,” said De Boer, understandably pleased with his capture.
RWB: Kyle Walker (Tottenham to Manchester City)
While a fee of £50m can in no way be considered a bargain, Walker’s potential contributions to Pep Guardiola’s masterplan make his selection here a no-brainer.
The England man has performed to an exceptional standard for the past two campaigns under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, and offers a huge upgrade on the outgoing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna. On the opposite flank, Benjamin Mendy is a similarly team-changing arrival – and if we’re being frank, should mean City win the league.
LWB: Sead Kolasinac (Schalke to Arsenal)
In a summer of extortionate fees, Arsenal have got themselves a bargain – what with having paid diddly-squat for Kolasinac. The Bosnian – only 24 – was voted into the official Bundesliga team of 2016/17, having commandeered Schalke’s left flank with a mixture of explosive strength and lung-busting stamina.
He’s also versatile and can slot into a back three if required, but it’s his attacking prowess that will excite Gunners fans most - he weighed in with a joint-high (for a defender) five assists in the Bundesliga last term. “Sead looks an absolute tank,” squealed new team-mate Theo Walcott. “Honestly, he is an absolute animal.”
CM: Will Hughes (Derby to Watford)
It feels like a very long time since a 17-year-old Hughes was one of English football’s most sought-after youngsters. It’s been five full seasons since then, in fact, and only now is the 22-year-old getting his shot at the Premier League.
At just £8m he’s a steal, though: Hughes has been one of the Championship’s best players for years, having stood out with his line-breaking passes and classy ball-carrying. In Marco Silva, he has a manager who believes he can help take the young midfielder's career to the next level.
CM: Roque Mesa (Las Palmas to Swansea)
Dubbed the ‘Canarian Xavi’, Mesa is indicative of Paul Clement’s preference to revert back to the slick passing game that brought Swansea such success in their early Premier League years.
The Spaniard – who stands at just 5ft 7in – offers a sizeable upgrade on the 34-year-old Leon Britton; a ticking metronome in midfield who distributes possession with comfort (91.4% passing accuracy in La Liga last season). Simply, Mesa is a classy player who, for £11m, looks like a very shrewd addition in south Wales.
FW: Mohamed Salah (Roma to Liverpool)
On the growing list of stars who didn’t get a fair crack at Chelsea, Salah is back – and with a point to prove. The Egyptian returns having been one of Serie A’s best players for the last two-and-a-half years, first in a successful loan spell at Fiorentina from Stamford Bridge, and then permanently at Roma.
His blistering pace and dead-eyed finishing will help add goals to Liverpool’s already lethal attack – Salah’s Serie A record stood at 43 goals in 109 appearances – and Jurgen Klopp will be praying the 25-year-old’s pre-season form is a sign of things to come.
FW: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton to West Brom)
In early 2014, Rodriguez was a contender for England’s World Cup squad and in the form of his life with Southampton. Three and a half years later, he’s seeking a fresh start having been crippled by a pair of long-term injuries, and subsequently struggled to find a way back at St Mary’s.
But West Brom are an ideal club for the 28-year-old. The Baggies were hardly blessed with attacking riches last season – indeed, Salomon Rondon went 18 league games without a goal during one particularly bad run – and as such, Rodriguez should get the opportunities to make his mark. At £12m, he’s a smart buy for the Baggies.
FW: Sandro Ramirez (Malaga to Everton)
After netting 14 times in La Liga last season, it’s fair to say £5m is an absolute steal. Sandro is far more than just a clinical marksman – he’s a team player who doesn’t only score, but creates chances as well.
The Barcelona academy graduate likes trying his luck from range, can take a deadly set-piece (but good luck getting those off Wayne Rooney), and at just 22 it’s expected he’ll be able to grow into a bigger role for seasons to come. He’s confident, too. “I think my characteristics will adjust perfectly for the Premier League,” said the young Spaniard. “The league is perfect for me.”
Liked this? Try these...
- YOUR Premier League club’s most important player for the season
- 12 Premier League players who need to leave their clubs this summer
- Ranked! How prepared is your Premier League club for 2017/18?
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.