The summer window may not close for another month and nine days but we’ve already seen plenty of transfer action here in the Premier League.
Indeed, Manchester City have smashed the record transfer fee for an England international with their £49million swoop of former Liverpool star Raheem Sterling and Manchester United have spent the best part of £80million on four new recruits, whilst Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Watford have all partook in club record deals.
In what is now an annual tradition, it’s looking like the English top flight will surpass the collective sum spent the summer previous once again, this time being a whopping £835million from 2014.
But with so much going on, you may have missed a couple of the summer’s shrewdest acquisitions. With that in mind, Football Fancast have decided to create the Premier League’s signings of the summer XI, detailing all the deals worth knowing about.
Will these eleven take the English top flight by storm next season?
Goalkeepers have become a recurring theme of the transfer summer window, especially at the top end of the market.
Indeed, David De Gea’s will-he-wont-he Real Madrid saga has dominated the headlines for months, whilst Premier League new boys Bournemouth snapped up former Celtic and Southampton shot-stopper Artur Boruc on a free transfer in May and Chelsea have somehow convinced Asmir Begovic to serve as Thibaut Courtois’ understudy at the miserly cost of just £8million.
But in terms of value for money, it’s hard to look past Arsenal’s £10million signing Petr Cech, one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history – winning four league titles, three Golden Gloves and the 2012 Champions League title – with plenty of gas left in the tank at the age of 33.
Singlehandedly, he hasn’t turned the Gunners into title favourites – but his switch of London allegiances has certainly affected the balance of power at the Premier League’s summit.
He may have spent the last three seasons practically living in exile, managing just nine Premier League appearances for Manchester City before escaping to Fiorentina on loan for the 2014/15 campaign, but Micah Richards represents a fantastic piece of business for Aston Villa on a free transfer.
The 27 year-old hasn’t materialised into the world-class centre-back many expected when first breaking into the Citizens’ starting Xi back in 2005, but he’s a powerful, quick and versatile defender who has plenty of experience in the top flight, as well as on the international scene with England.
Villa finished up with the third-worst goals conceded record in the Premier League last season, after Newcastle and relegated QPR, so the 13-cap international’s arrival will be a huge boost to gilet-hurling geezer-gaffer Tim Sherwood.
Southampton recorded the second-best goals conceded column in the Premier League last season and a huge factor in that impressive feat was the dominant displays of on-loan centre-back Toby Alderweireld.
We’ve seen one-hit wonders in the Premier League before but the Belgium international looks like a class act, with great technical quality, equal adeptness across a variety of positions and an imposing 6 foot 2 frame.
It’s taken a bit of legal haggling on Tottenham’s part to bring him to White Hart Lane; Southampton still feel aggrieved that Atletico Madrid overlooked their previously agreed option to buy, in order to sell the 26 year-old to the north Londoners for £11.5million.
But they’ve struggled to find a partner to Jan Vertonghen at the heart of defence and Alderweireld is pretty much the perfect candidate; not only have the duo represented Belgium together on countless occasions, but they also graduated from the same Ajax side that claimed three consecutive Eredivisie titles under Frank de Boer.
Leicester City’s performances dramatically improved after signing Robert Huth in the final hours of the January transfer window. In fact, they lost just once from the twelve occasions in which he played the full 90 minutes last season – and even that was upon his Foxes debut against Arsenal.
The German powerhouse may not be the most spectacular of signings but he’s about as proven as it gets in the Premier League, making at least ten top flight appearances in every season since his Chelsea breakthrough twelve years ago, so for just £3million he’s an absolute steal.
Fresh appointment Claudio Ranieri will be keen to take the Midlands outfit to a higher level following their great escape last year and Huth is a fantastic foundation to start from.
Now aged 30 and starting to feel the physical effects of countless heated midfield skirmishes, Bastian Schweinsteiger may struggle to sustain the box-to-box phenomena of his Bayern Munich days in the basket-ball-paced world of Premier League football.
But regardless, it’s impossible to overlook the fact Manchester United have signed one of the best midfielders of a generation, a World Cup winner and a Champions League winner, for just £14.4million – in the same transfer window noisy neighbours Manchester City have coughed up three times that amount for a player yet to reach 100 Premier League appearances.
He’s a natural leader with vast experience and prior history working under Louis van Gaal, who made the career-defining decision to convert the German international from a wide player into a central midfieler during his spell as Bayern boss. That – as much as his ability – is why Schweinsteiger could prove to be such an important signing at Old Trafford.
A transfer masterstroke from Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew, £10million man Yohan Cabaye might represent the biggest coup of the summer so far.
After all, we’re talking about a midfielder who looked way beyond Newcastle’s level during a two-and-a-half-year spell on Tyneside, amassing 18 goals and 17 assists in 93 appearances and has spent the last 18 months featuring regularly in the Champions League with PSG. He’s now joined a club with a 26,000 stadium capacity, who only achieved promotion to the Premier League three summers ago.
A spate of more coveted outfits were certainly interested in the France international, who featured at last summer’s World Cup, most notably former La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
But the Pardew connection has paid off and Palace’s midfield will now be enriched by a midfielder who combines playmaking and tenacity with a consistent supply of goals.
Only a fool would dare question Southampton’s activities in the transfer market after some simply inspired recruitment from the last few summers and they appear to have picked up yet another cut-price gem in former Feyenoord midfielder Jordy Clasie, arriving for just £8million.
The 5 foot 7 midfielder has been linked with Manchester United in the past and even compared to Red Devils legend Paul Scholes, in no small part due to his tiny frame yet feisty attitude and considerable quality on the ball, last season averaging 2.7 tackles, 1.3 created chances and the most accurate passes per match, 67, of any midfielder in the Eredivisie.
The likes of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic have proved huge hits at St. Mary’s since arriving from the Dutch top flight last summer and Football Fancast expect similar affluence from the 11-cap Netherlands international.
Easily the Premier League’s best pound-for-pound acquisition this summer, no signing will represent better value for money than now-Liverpool midfielder James Milner.
The 29 year-old may be unable to shake the tag of ‘Boring James Milner’ but what’s not to like about this guy? He’s home-grown, two-footed, extremely versatile, creative yet industrious, a consumate professional and offers mountains of experience, with 299 Premier League appearances and 54 England caps under his belt already.
Furthermore, the Reds have snapped him up on a free transfer after snubbing several enormous contract offers from the Citizens. He may not be able to replicate the heroics of former skipper Steven Gerrard, but Milner certainly adds experience and quality to Liverpool’s midfield.
Garry Monk has lifted Swansea City to new heights since taking the managerial reins from Michael Laudrup in February 2014, last season masterminding the highest final league standing in the club’s history, and their shock capture of Andre Ayew is yet another telling sign of the Welsh outfit’s progress.
The 25 year-old has been one of the prolific wide-men in Ligue 1 over the past five seasons, generating 60 goals in 193 appearances across all competitions for former employers Marseille, and has also played a pivotal role in Ghana’s exploits at the last two World Cups.
With his Stade Velodrome contract coming to an end, an ocean of clubs from the Premier League and yonder were desperate to sign Ayew on a free transfer this summer.
But Swansea have been rewarded for doing their business early, tying up the 5 foot 9 forward’s contract by June 10th. With experience internationally and in the Champions League whilst famed for his particularly Premier League-befitting direct style of play, he’ll add a whole new dynamic to the Swans’ starting XI.
Some view Manchester United’s £25million swoop for Memphis Depay as a bit of a punt, in no small part due to the countless number of former Eredivisie stars who have struggled to deliver in other European top flights before.
But the fact Bayern Munich and PSG were also chasing the 21 year-old after his nomination for the Best Young Player award at last summer’s World Cup and subsequent 28-goal campaign at PSV tells all about how highly-rated the young winger-forward truly is.
Many have compared him in style to Cristiano Ronaldo and that’s the standard wide players will always be compared against at Old Trafford. Whether Depay’s got the talent to rival a three-time Ballon d’Or winner remains to be seen, but we at FootballFancast certainly have high hopes for him.
If Aleksandar Mitrovic’s hype comes anywhere close to his actual ability, Newcastle may have just pulled off one of the summer’s biggest masterstrokes.
The Serbian international arrives at Tyneside boasting an impressive return of 44 goals in 90 appearances from his two-year spell with Anderlecht, a prolific haul which is believed to have also caught the eye of Chelsea and Manchester United in recent months.
Champions League performances last season – netting twice in four starts as the Belgian outfit almost escaped the group stages – hasn’t hindered Mitrovic’s reputation either, and at 20 years of age he certainly seems set for a bright future.
For a more than reasonable £13million fee, he seems well worth the punt for a club in desperate need of added firepower.