Another summer transfer window is officially in the books as the top flight of English football once again flexed its financial muscle.
Across all twenty clubs at the pinnacle of the English footballing pyramid, approximately £2.4bn was spent on 307 purchased players, with more than one new arrival eclipsing the £100m barrier.
But just how good have these signings gotten on thus far across the opening four matchday weekends in the Premier League, irrespective of their perceived market value? 101 Great Goals presents its summer transfer window XI.
GK: Matt Turner (Arsenal to Nottingham Forest; £10m)Many will expect one of André Onana, Robert Sánchez, or even David Raya to make the cut, but United States international Matt Turner could ultimately be one of the signings of the summer for Nottingham Forest after he arrived from Arsenal in the wake of credible performances under Mikel Arteta.
In search of first-choice minutes after a very strong 2022 World Cup performance, the former MLS goalkeeper has already endeared himself to a devoted fanbase when Forest blanked Chelsea in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge just before the international break. So far, he very much looks to have justified his move.
LB: Destiny Udogie (Udinese to Tottenham; £15m)Though Italian international left-back Destiny Udogie was purchased last season during the Antonio Conte regime, the 20-year-old Verona-born starlet is finally at Spurs and making an impact under new manager Ange Postecoglou as Tottenham comes into the break sitting second in the table and looking vastly improved.
Udogie’s attacking traits have already served him in good stead as well, bagging two assists in four starts for Spurs and already nailing down the left-back birth as his own. The original fee paid for him makes the deal that much more impressive for Spurs, with Udogie so far an early front-runner for a potential Team of the Year nomination.
LCB: Micky van de Ven (VfL Wolfsburg to Tottenham; ~£40m)The second of three additions at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this summer, Dutch U21 international Micky van de Ven has thus far appeared as advertised in the run-up to completing his move to the English capital from Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg.
Blessed with blistering pace for a center-back as well as composure on the ball, a strong presence alongside fan-favorite Cristian Romero was a necessary addition to the Spurs senior setup that had long been lacking, and if early performances this season are anything to go by, Van de Ven looks primed for a key role in the Postecoglou revolution which is slowly brewing in north London.
RCB: Nathan Collins (Wolves to Brentford; ~£23m)Brentford’s commitment to scouting and recruitment has long paid benefit to the club on the pitch under beloved boss Thomas Frank, and the Bees have appeared to have had their faith repaid once again in the vein of summer arrival Nathan Collins from Wolves.
Already featuring on the teamsheet every week in the opening month of the season, the Irish defender has helped the club maintain an undefeated record going into the international break and has settled well alongside Ethan Pinnock in central defense. In an age where many center-backs are being purchased for upwards of £40m-£50m, Collins could be a real steal when it’s all said and done.
RB: Malo Gusto (Olympiqie Lyonnais to Chelsea; £30m)Much like the aforementioned Udogie, French starlet Malo Gusto was already a Chelsea player halfway through the 2022-23 season when the Blues secured a deal for the Olympique Lyonnais academy graduate before allowing him to return to the Rhône Valley to see out the campaign.
But many would not have expected the French U21 international to have contributed in the manner in which he already has this season under Mauricio Pochettino due to Bleus star Reece James already suffering another injury setback. Thus far, Gusto tops the assist board at Stamford Bridge (2) and has seemingly found his footing quickly in the English capital. Given James’ propensity to struggle for fitness, Gusto could continue to play a vital role even after the England international returns.
DM: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton to West Ham United; £30m)Few one-club men remain in modern football, and unfortunately for Southampton, James Ward-Prowse is no longer one of them after his late move to West Ham United in the wake of the Hammers watching Declan Rice travel across the capital to join Premier League runner-up Arsenal.
So far, however, JWP has been worth every pound that was invested in the England international as the Hammers began the season well above expectations and came into the break undefeated. Ward-Prowse has already proven massively influential too, scoring one goal and adding three assists while also once again showing just how dangerous he is in dead-ball and set-piece situations. Rice will be missed, but so far, Ward-Prowse has softened the blow considerably.
LCM: Declan Rice (West Ham United to Arsenal; £105m)It would be so easy to suggest that England star Declan Rice would make the list given his temporary record-breaking move to Arsenal from West Ham in the wake of captaining the Hammers to their first major honor in decades, but Rice has been sublime in the Gunners’ engine room since the word go under Mikel Arteta.
Fresh off bagging the match-winner against Manchester United last weekend to open his goalscoring account for his new club, Rice’s influence in the middle of the park cannot be understated. From being a mobile shield for the back four, an expert in transition, and offering added ball security in a possession-based system, Rice could be a leading reason why Arsenal could – and should – push once again for league honors.
RCM: Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig to Liverpool; £60m)When you’re already drawing comparisons to club legend Steven Gerrard, you clearly have done something right despite the season being just a month old. For Hungarian star Dominik Szoboszlai, the former RB Leipzig starlet has quickly settled into a rhythm at Anfield as part of Jürgen Klopp’s full midfield revamp in the wake of the departures of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keïta, and James Milner.
Having officially opened his account last weekend in the Reds’ 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Merseyside, Szoboszlai’s full range of abilities was once again on display while having featured in every single minute under Klopp thus far. Sublime on and off the ball, bullish in defense, and a real attacking threat as both a goalscoring option and creative engine, Szoboszlai’s arrival in the Premier League, which was long-desired, has started brilliantly.
LW: James Maddison (Leicester City to Tottenham; £40m)The minute Leicester City failed to avoid the drop to the Championship after a horrendous 2022-23 Premier League season, star midfielder James Maddison was always going to be sold on to a Premier League club in the summer. Tottenham’s acquisition of the England international has already fielded suggestions that he could be the signing of the season.
Under Ange Postecoglou, Spurs already appear to have moved on from the loss of former talisman Harry Kane s they sit second in the table while boasting the second-highest goal tally (11) across the first month of play. Of those eleven goals, Maddison has been directly involved in four of them (two goals, two assists) and his ability to be the new command and control center in a Spurs attacking line that seems its most balanced in years has already proven vital.
RW: Anthony Elanga (Manchester United to Nottingham Forest; £15m)A sneakily decent late addition at the City Ground, Swedish international winger Anthony Elanga is now in a position to earn valuable senior minutes in a top league after his period with Manchester United failed to bear fruit for the Malmö-born forward.
Despite spending seven years in the academy setup, Elanga did manage over 50 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils but rarely cracked into the starting XI at Old Trafford. Not only has he done so at Forest already, but his direct contributions have thus proven key for Steve Cooper. An assist to close the gap to Arsenal in an opening 2-1 loss showed how potent he is off the bench, and that was once again on display when he bagged the match-winner against Chelsea last weekend. For just £15m, he could prove a valuable replacement for the recently departed Brennan Johnson.
CF: Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen to Aston Villa; ~£52m)Aston Villa pulled off one of the signings of the summer when they prized French international Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen and brought him to Villa Park under Unai Emery, in a move that has unsurprisingly already paid dividends for the club’s Spanish headmaster.
Despite rumored interest from clubs the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal, Diaby prioritized guaranteed first-choice minutes at a club that so nearly cracked the top six last season, and has immediately hit the ground running this season to the tune of two goals and an assist across four starts to begin the 2023-24 season. He may not be at Villa long if he continues to perform, but his immediate impact is proof-positive of his ability.
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