Now after a drastic summer of transfer dealings within the Barclays Premier League the window is officially shut, apart from signing free agents. This summer we seen a record breaking amount of money spent by clubs surpassing the 1 billion mark in transfer fees, concluding that the amount of money now in the English game is beyond anything we have seen before. As a result thirteen of the twenty Premier League clubs this summer broke their own transfer record, again another result of clubs throughout the whole division having the resources now to bring in players from the rest of Europe for an inflated price. With so many incomings this summer for each club at the top level it is hard to determine who might be the top signings this summer but looking at value and influence this is the top six that could be amongst the contenders.
Vincent Janssen- 17m
Tottenham was one of the clubs who did not add a vast amount to their own squad, ultimately not looking to disrupt the harmony of the team from last season who were massively impressive. When it comes to manager Mauricio Pochettino he would have to be considered a conservative spender, the two major singings he made in the window were done early and the acquisition of Dutchman Vincent Janssen would have to be considered astute business for the club. Despite not scoring in the opening games of the season the Holland international looks a real handful, allowing Tottenham as a team to set up less predictable and allowing Harry Kane more freedom in different roles. Janssen was the top scorer in the Eredivisie last season with AZ Alkmaar and has started his international career very impressively with 3 goals in his six caps; he could prove great business for Tottenham this season in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Forming partnerships on the pitch with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Lamela and Christian Eriksen will be vital for his success at the club. He is a real handful for opposing defender whether he is playing centrally or from a wide berth which gives Tottenham another dimension in attack. The last day signing of Moussa Sissoko for what looks a hefty 30 million has ultimately stole the attention of other incomings at White Hart Lane and I am sure Janssen will thrive on that. The Dutchman is still young at the age of 22, and for his age and ability 17 million in the market this summer looks a real steal.
N’Golo Kante- 30m
When Leicester signed Kante for 5.6 million in the summer of 2015, the supporters in England didn’t know too much of the Frenchman, fast-forward a year and the tireless midfielder has won the Premier League, represented his country at the European Championship and moved to Chelsea for a fee around the 30 million mark, not a bad year to say the least. Kante was the instrumental player for Leicester last season, despite not gaining the personal accolades of last season, he was the main drive behind the title winning team, and already he looks indispensable to this Chelsea side, and they have to be considered amongst the title contenders at this early stage. His ability to break up play, win the first and second balls and simply play the ball off to players like Oscar, Hazard and Willian is proving very effective for the team right now, add in he has Matic who sits in when Kante covers the fullbacks when they push on, it looks a very simple but very effective partnership within the team. Chelsea wanted a centre half this summer and bringing back fans and club favourite David Luiz might also prove great business. The central defenders at Chelsea now have a great shield in front of them so for any shortcomings they have they can rely on Kante. When you consider some of the prices spent on certain other players this summer the deal for Kante looks cheap and a real bargain bit of business. The only hope now is that Kante gains the recognition he deserves if Chelsea are to have a successful first campaign under the leadership of Antonio Conte.
Saido Mane- 34m
Hard to believe that a club spending 34 million could now be considered a good piece of business, but for Liverpool the signing of Mane could be a difference maker. Again Liverpool went to Southampton for their business but this time this could be the best of the lot. The Senegal international has shown his ability in English football while at Southampton and despite his poor second half of last season he got his big move this summer and he is thriving on this already. The addition of Saido Mane could really help propel Liverpool into the mix for the big top four this season, the attacking threat he creates for the team is massive. Already we have seen what Mane can do; the goal against Arsenal on the first game of the season was just a glimpse of his power running with the ball, his ability in front of goal and his movement that is so quick, he gives defenders nightmares. Not to make comparisons but Mane looks like the player Liverpool have been missing since the departure of Luis Suarez. Personally I would like to see Mane play centrally in an attack with Coutinho and Firmino and let the three players move and interchange positions, despite no vocal point of attack this would be a real handful for opposition defenders. Liverpool has spent big in the past and has not been rewarded, this time however spending 30 million plus on a player might be their best signing in years.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg- 12.5m
The young Danish midfielder arrived at Southampton from Bayern Munich in search of first team football. When Hojbjerg emerged from the youth team at Bayern Munich there was massive hype over his emergence, however the young centre midfielder wanted first team football and after two loan spells the decision to sell Hojbjerg on wasn’t the most popular decision amongst the Bayern fans. The fans in English football might not know much of Hojbjerg but no doubt they soon will. He is already looking a real coup for Southampton and with their record of not being able to hold onto their top players there must be a concern straight away amongst the supporters. His ability to play in different roles in the central midfield area will prove vital for Southampton and his manager Claude Puel looks to have full confidence in the young midfielder. Southampton broke their transfer record on Sofiane Boufal at the back end of the transfer window; however the addition of Hojbjerg is the one that looks really exciting for Southampton and their supporters. It has not taken long for him to settle in the English game, and watching the game between Southampton against Manchester United, despite the defeat the Danish international looked the best player on the pitch, his ability to keep the ball, start attacks from a deep position, making timely runs in the final third and the delivery from set pieces it looks like Southampton have a gem on their hands. Southampton and Puel may take a bit of time to get going but when they do expect Hojbjerg to be at the heart of this.
Despite the record breaking arrival of Paul Pogba and the iconic Swede Zlatan
Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly looks the real deal at Old Trafford right now. The Manchester United fans in truth did not seem to know a lot about the former Villarreal central defender, they certainly do now. It is no secret that the heart of the Man Utd defence has been a problem area for the last number of years now and it was no surprise that Jose Mourinho’s first acquisition for his new club was a central defender. At the start of Bailly’s Manchester United career he already looks the part of Manchester United and has surprised myself as a fan of player before his move to Old Trafford, he has slotted right in alongside Daley Blind currently and has looked a rock. The instruction from Mourinho for the young defender looks promising as well as it seems Mourinho does not want the defender to over complicate situations and if he needs to he can just get rid of the ball from dangerous situations. Physically Bailly is so strong and matches up with any striker in the Premier League, he is quick across the ground as well which helps when coming up against the likes of Jamie Vardy and the quicker forwards in the league, and in the air he is uncompromising. The huge announcements of Pogba and Ibrahimovic has been a real blessing for Eric Bailly as this took the pressure of his price-tag away from him immediately and any un-needed spotlight. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still to make his mark in the Man Utd first team, although I do expect he will prove a massive success providing he plays in the right areas for the team, but Bailly could really emerge under the spotlight at Old Trafford this season and prove to be one of the best central defenders in the division.
Another club record signing this summer for Leicester, the last day signing of former Sporting Lisbon frontman Islam Slimani is exactly the type of striker the club needed to take the club even further forward. The fee is reported to be around the 27 million mark but with the goal-scoring pedigree of Slimani this would have to be considered money well spent. 48 goals in 82 games for Sporting Lisbon is a staggering record and despite being 28 years old is considered to improve further with this move. The Algeria international has an impressive international record as well with 23 goals in 43 caps which alongside countryman Riyad Mahrez could be a very impressive frontline for Leicester. Clubs in the Premier League know how to play against Leicester now, play a conservative defensive line, and allowing them to control possession however with this signing this might just change again. Slimani allows Leicester to play various ways, his movement in and around the box is world-class and his link up play especially with the wide-men is a real problem for opposing defenders. Leicester now have the option to play the ball in front of defenders, with spins in behind in the final third, also playing wide wingers and more crossing into the box, a lot more options than the ball in behind for Jamie Vardy to run in behind. Leicester are still a central midfielder short in my opinion to really be able to have another crack at the Premier League title, but with Slimani, Vardy, Mahrez and Musa this an attacking quartet that is as good as any amongst the Premier League. Do not be surprised to see Slimani finish amongst the contenders for the golden boot, the striker is lethal in front of goal and has the ability to score all types of goals.
There are other signings that would have be considered good business by clubs, Arsenal’s prolonged pursuit of Shkodran Mustafi finally got over the line, and he is a real top class defender. Crystal Palace adding Andros Townsend could be a real coup for them especially giving him top centre forwards for work with now. The capture of Joe Allen for 13 million by Stoke is a real smart bit business for Mark Hughes and Borja Baston signing for Swansea for 15 million again from watching him in Spain last season could prove to be fantastic business on the part of Swansea. The loan market could prove to be some real good bits of business, Middlesbrough gaining the services of young English defender Callum Chambers from Arsenal is real smart business for the newly promoted side. Adnan Januzaj joining former manager David Moyes at Sunderland could prove to be the best business Moyes has done this summer with Sunderland and it has be mentioned the loan acquisition of Wilfried Bony from Man City to Stoke has gave Stoke that striker that could really be a difference maker this season.