Premier League clubs have once again splashed the cash to strengthen their squads, with a host of marquee arrivals having made the move to English football during the summer transfer window.
An unforgettable transfer period has reached its conclusion following the passing of the deadline, the summer spending including record-breaking deals and the arrival of a certain Ballon d’Or winner.
Following the conclusion of the transfer window we’ve picked our best XI from players signed by Premier League clubs this summer.
Goalkeeper: Alphonse Areola – West Ham
Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves were amongst the clubs to strengthen their goalkeeping options this summer, but we’ve opted for Alphonse Areola as the number one in our summer signing side.
Areola has won league titles during spells at the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, before impressing during a loan spell at Fulham last season to be named as the club’s Player of the Season.
The 28-year-old has returned to the Premier League on a second loan spell at West Ham this term where, despite beginning the campaign on the bench, he will be confident of displacing Lukasz Fabianski as the Hammers’ number one.
Right-back: Emerson Royal – Tottenham
Right-back has been a problem position for Tottenham in recent campaigns, with neither Serge Aurier nor Matt Doherty able to hold down the role with any conviction.
Japhet Tanganga has impressed in the opening weeks of the season, though Nuno Espirito Santo moved on deadline day to secure the signing of Emerson Royal from Barcelona, agreeing a deal worth €25m for the four-cap Brazil international.
It’s a significant sum for a player yet to realise his full potential, but Emerson possesses the raw attributes to be a success if Nuno can coax the best from a full-back with promise.
Mention must also go to Tino Livramento following a strong start at Southampton, the teenager looking like the latest bright talent to have emerged from Chelsea’s academy ranks.
Centre-back: Ibrahima Konate – Liverpool
Competition was strong at centre-back with both Cristian Romero and Ben White unfortunate to miss out, with Liverpool‘s sole summer signing named in our defensive line-up.
Konate – as has often been the case under Jurgen Klopp – will be eased into the Reds’ side, but the 22-year-old has the ingredients to develop into one of the best in the division.
Konate’s pace makes him tailor-made for Liverpool’s high defensive line, whilst he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and stepping forward – possessing well-above-average numbers for both progressive passes and progressive carries per 90 minutes.
Centre-back: Raphael Varane – Manchester United
Manchester United‘s signing of Raphael Varane ranks as one of the deals of the summer, capitalising on the defender’s contract situation at Real Madrid to sign one of the best centre-backs in the game.
Varane’s desire for a new challenge has led to a move to Manchester, having won three league titles and four Champions League trophies – alongside World Cup success with France – during a decade in the Spanish capital.
Clean sheet ✔️
Three points ✔️
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 29, 2021
Varane is a world-class operator at the peak of his powers and a footballer who will instantly improve the side and the players around him
Left-back: Junior Firpo – Leeds
Leeds will look to build upon what was an impressive first season back in the Premier League, with Marcelo Bielsa having made a series of shrewd signings in key areas.
Ezgjan Alioski’s departure has seen Junior Firpo arrive at left-back, with the flying full-back hoping to reignite his career after stagnating as Jordi Alba’s understudy at Barcelona.
Firpo’s off-the-ball bursts are a trademark of his game and he should be perfectly suited to Leeds’ exhausting and demanding system.
Leicester’s pick-up of Ryan Bertrand on a free transfer also looks like fine business, whilst Marc Cucurella looks a good fit for Graham Potter and Brighton.
Midfield: Saul Niguez – Chelsea
Saul Niguez’s move to the Premier League was one of the latest of the transfer window, the midfielder signing for Chelsea on an initial loan deal from Atletico Madrid.
Saul had been keen to leave the Spanish champions after growing frustrated at his role under Diego Simeone, but there’s no doubt his multi-functional ability will be a huge benefit to Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
The 26-year-old – who has made 340 appearances for Atleti since coming through the academy ranks – faces fierce competition for places from the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, but there’s no disputing his quality with Chelsea boasting one of world football’s most talented midfield departments.
Midfield: Jack Grealish – Manchester City
Given the abundance of talent crammed into our XI, you can forgive us for a lack of balance with Jack Grealish squeezed into a central midfield position.
Grealish became English football’s first £100m player after a record-breaking move to Manchester City this summer, a club that will provide the midfielder with a platform to realise his full potential after becoming a talismanic figure at Aston Villa.
The 25-year-old ranked behind only Kevin De Bruyne in the Premier League for assists and shot-creating actions per 90 minutes last season, the prospect of the creative duo dovetailing this term an enticing one for both Pep Guardiola and the City faithful.
Right-wing: Jadon Sancho – Manchester United
Manchester United’s signing of Jadon Sancho brought an end to a saga that had lasted well over a year, the Red Devils completing a £72.9m deal for the England international after being frustrated in their attempts last summer.
Sancho’s move to Borussia Dortmund four years ago proved the making of a hugely talented prospect, flourishing amongst regular first-team football to become recognised as one of Europe’s best young players.
The 21-year-old provided 114 goal involvements in just 137 appearances for Dortmund and will hope to maintain his elite level of productivity after returning to the Premier League this summer.
Left-wing: Leon Bailey – Aston Villa
Leon Bailey has been regularly linked with a move to the Premier League’s so called ‘big six’ in recent campaigns, his arrival at Aston Villa deemed a real coup for Dean Smith’s ambitious side.
Bailey can prove frustrating at times, but possesses huge natural talent and arrives at Villa Park on the back of his best season at Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 15 goals and providing 11 assists in all competitions for the Bundesliga side.
Often electric when in possession, the Jamaican international can be a huge hit if he finds consistency in his performances and Bailey will be tasked – alongside Emi Buendia and Danny Ings – with helping solve the sizeable void left by Jack Grealish’s departure.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United
The headline signing of the summer, deadline day saw the official confirmation of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United.
News of the forward’s desire to leave Juventus sent the gossip columns into a frenzy, with reports of a shock move to Manchester City emerging before his romantic return to the opposite side of the Mancunian divide.
Ronaldo returns over a decade after his world-record departure to Real Madrid, the subsequent period having seen the Portugal captain shatter all forms of records and win four Champions League trophies and four Ballon d’Or awards amongst his honours.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2021
The 36-year-old may be past his absolute best, but a record of 29 goals in Serie A last season shows that Ronaldo remains amongst the elite forwards in world football and his arrival has raised cautious optimism over a sustained title challenge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Forward: Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea
Chelsea secured their own deal for a former player during the summer transfer window, spending a club record £97.5m to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku failed to make an impact during 15 goalless appearances for Chelsea as a teenager, but has since developed into one of Europe’s most prolific number nines.
— R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) August 16, 2021
The Belgium international scored 64 goals in 95 appearances across the past two seasons for Inter Milan, being named as Serie A’s Most Valuable Player following the club’s title success last season.
After departing the Premier League in 2019 he returns with a point to prove at Chelsea, who will hope Lukaku’s goals can turn Thomas Tuchel’s side from contenders into champions.