The Premier League’s summer transfer window has never been more important.
With so much at stake for all teams involved – title contenders, middle of the pack, or those playing for their Premier League lives – July and August is the time when clubs transform, often times at staggering financial rates.
But while all 20 Premier League outfits have been rigorously working to improve their rosters over the previous six to eight weeks, it’s last season’s top seven who have stolen the headlines this summer. Sure, the other 13 teams will have their eyes set on a Leicester City-type run to an unfathomable title victory, but it will be one of the top seven who’ll lift the trophy come season’s end, and it’ll likely be thanks to the moves they’ve made in the summer months.
In case you’ve missed some or all of the action, here’s a breakdown of the most important additions to the Premier League.
(All transfers and reported fees via Daily Mail.)
Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid, £70.6m)
Tiemoue Bakayoko (Monaco, £40m)
Antonio Rudiger (Roma, £31m)
Willy Caballero (Manchester City, free)
Nemanja Matic (Manchester United, £40m)
Nathan Ake (Bournemouth £20m)
Juan Cuadrado (Juventus, £17m)
Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth, £10m)
Bertrand Traore (Lyon £8.8m)
Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, £6.2m)
Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford, £6m)
Dominic Solanke (Liverpool, tribunal fee)
John Terry (Aston Villa, free)
Kurt Zouma (Stoke City, loan)
The champions have been one of the Premier League’s busiest sides this summer, making a trio of high-impact moves while selling and loaning out more than 20 players.
In Morata, the Blues have found a more-than-capable replacement for the embattled Diego Costa, who is likely on the way out after his relationship with manager Antonio Conte devolved rapidly over the winter. Morata notched 15 goals in 26 appearances last season at Real Madrid, and at just 24 years old he has his best football ahead of him.
After a dominant campaign for French champions AS Monaco, Bakayoko replaces Matic to team up with countryman N’Golo Kante with the potential to be one of the league’s best midfield duos. Finally, Rudiger gives Conte another option in the back-three defensive formation that was so successful last season, and the German may fit that style better than any of Chelsea’s other centre-backs.
Chelsea haven’t been as active as Everton or Manchester City in the lead-up to the new campaign, but the moves they made were significant and the champions could be a better team than the one that lifted the Premier League trophy in May.
Kyle Walker (Manchester City, £54m)
Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke, £16m)
Federico Fazio (Roma, £3.8m)
The best team in the second half of 2016-17 has made no additions to a squad that had its best top-flight showing since 1962-63, and it makes sense for Mauricio Pochettino to want to keep as much of his team intact as possible as it preps for a title run.
But Spurs have been weirdly quiet on the transfer market and still have positions of need, mostly in terms of depth. Vincent Janssen was a disappointment as Harry Kane’s backup, and given the latter’s unfortunate injury struggles, bringing in another goal-scoring option would make sense. Moussa Sissoko was one of last summer’s worst signings, so an addition in the midfield wouldn’t be a surprise and rumours surrounding Everton’s Ross Barkley continue to swirl. And while Kieran Trippier should fill in nicely for £50-million departure Kyle Walker, reinforcements at full back may be in the cards.
Another full-back leaving?
— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) August 10, 2017
Mohamed Salah (Roma, £39m)
Andy Robertson (Hull City, £8m)
Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, tribunal fee)
Kevin Stewart (Hull City, £8m)
Lucas Leiva (Lazio, £5m)
Andre Wisdom (Derby, £4.5m)
For a club that suffered through its fair share of defensive woes last term, Liverpool has done little to address those needs this summer after talks with Virgil van Dijk took an unfortunate turn. Scotland’s Andy Robertson was brought in to fill the glaring hole at left full back, but the centre-back position remains a question mark.
The Reds did, however, spend a club-record fee to add another dangerous attacker to an already potent offence. Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah contributed 15 goals and 11 assists for Roma last season, and has already displayed his value to a Liverpool club that struggled mightily after losing Sadio Mane to a season-ending injury in April. The addition of Salah may prove savvy should the transfer bids for Philippe Coutinho continue to rise.
Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur, £54m)
Benjamin Mendy (Monaco, £52m)
Bernardo Silva (Monaco, £43m)
Ederson (Benfica, £35m)
Danilo (Real Madrid, £27m)
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City £25m)
Enes Unal (Villarreal £12.5m)
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield £10m)
Nolito (Sevilla, £8m)
Fernando (Galatasaray, £5,5m)
Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma, £4.5m)
Olivier Ntcham (Celtic, £4.5m)
Pablo Zabaleta (West Ham United, free)
Gael Clichy (Basaksehir, free)
Willy Caballero (Chelsea, free)
Jesus Navas (Sevilla, free)
Bacary Sagna (released)
Jesus Navas (released)
Joe Hart (West Ham United, loan)
To say Pep Guardiola had a tough debut season in Manchester would be putting it mildly; at times the Citizens looked unstoppable, and at other times completely inept. An aging squad not fit for their new manager’s style of play was one of the chief causes of such strife in 2016-17, and Guardiola has been hard at work to fix that, spending more than 220 million pounds in the process.
Serious struggles at full back has seen Man City dole out more than half of that 220 million pounds on Walker, Mendy and Danilo, all of whom are vast upgrades of last season’s starters and offer versatility at the position that was sorely missed. Meanwhile, Silva is another Premier League addition from Ligue 1 champs Monaco and is expected to make an impact immediately after early praise from his new manager.
Pep Guardiola on Bernardo Silva: "Close to the box he has the quality to score, he’s going to help us during the season." pic.twitter.com/YssEJCtgaP
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) August 9, 2017
Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson will likely take over in goal after the duo of Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero made the easiest of saves a challenge.
Sead Kolasinac (Schalke, free)
Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon, £53m)
Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus, £10m)
Yaya Sanogo (released)
Just a few short months ago, the departures of Arsene Wenger, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil all seemed like a forgone conclusion. Then the Gunners beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final, and the summer of 2017 turned to one of relatively uneventful one for Arsenal.
Thanks to an upheld Atletico Madrid transfer ban, the Gunners acquired top striker Alexandre Lacazette. For the club-record fee, the North London club adds a player who has notched 90 goals over the past four seasons at Lyon. Along with Sanchez (should the Chilean remain) and Ozil, Lacazette forms a formidable trio up front as the Gunners look to get back into the Champions League.
Wenger has also been rumoured to be aggressively pursuing Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, but little progress has been officially made on that front despite a plethora of rumours.
And while the additions of Lacazette and fullback/wingback Kolasinac, plus a reported active presence in transfer talks, are positive for Wenger, there are still holes left to be filled as the season gets underway. Finding a midfield partner for Granit Xhaka may be the most important as Santi Cazorla has struggled to stay healthy and the remaining candidates, while capable, haven’t made the most of their opportunities. And, even if both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain, adding another attacking option on the wing would be wise along with centre-back depth.
Victor Lindelof (Benfica, £30.7m)
Romelu Lukaku (Everton, £75m)
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea, £40m)
Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad, £9.8m)
Wayne Rooney (Everton, free)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (released)
Despite a sixth-place finish, the Red Devils are back into the Champions League after missing out last season thanks to a Europa League title win. With his sights set on at least a top-four finish in the Premier League and a deep run in Europe, Jose Mourinho has made three key additions over the summer.
Lukaku will be the most important of Manchester United’s purchases, brought in to replace Ibrahimovic and add much-needed goal-scoring to a team that struggled to find the back of the net for much of last term. The 24-year-old Belgian is coming off arguably his best campaign, notching 25 goals for Everton in 2016-17.
Matic was a force in the Chelsea midfield for the last three years, playing a key role in securing two titles for the Blues. And while the Serbian no longer had a place in the Chelsea squad, he will be a welcome addition at Manchester United having already impressed in what little pre-season time he’s seen on the pitch.
Lindelof was brought in to team with Eric Bailly to form the core of the Man United defence, but has struggled in pre-season action for the Red Devils, including a tough outing against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. But while early performance may be cause for concern, it’s way too early to make any conclusions about the addition of the Swede.
Jordan Pickford (Sunderland, £30m)
Michael Keane (Burnley, £30m)
Davy Klaassen (Ajax, £23.6m)
Sandro Ramirez (Malaga, £5.2m)
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, free)
Romelu Lukaku (Man United, £75m)
Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, £10.5m)
Tom Cleverley (Watford, £8m)
No club has been more active this off-season than the Toffees, hoping to make up ground on the top six and contend for a Champions League place next spring.
Everton have added exciting young talent at every level: Pickford is the future for England in net, is a great distributor of the ball and, alongside Jermain Defoe, was the lone bright spot in an otherwise wretched 2016-17 campaign for Sunderland. Keane is a six-foot-three centre back who made strides last term as a leader at the back for defensively-stout Burnley, and at 24 has yet to reach his prime.
Klaassen led a young Ajax team to the Europa League final last season, scoring 20 goals from midfield. Finally, after making just 17 appearances for Barcelona from 2014-16, Ramirez scored 14 goals in 30 games for Malaga last season and, along with Wayne Rooney, should help ease the pain of losing 25-goal scorer Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United.
Combined with the PR dream that is the return of Rooney, these moves could be the key to see Ronald Koeman’s men crack the top four for the first time since 2004-05.