As the transfer window slams shut for another year, Greg Lea picks the 10 deals concluded by Premier League clubs this summer that could prove decisive.
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Kante, 25, was the driving force behind Leicester City’s remarkable title triumph last season, and the midfielder has picked up from where he left off at Stamford Bridge so far this season. The energetic ball-winner, signed for £32 million (Dh154.5m), is a perfect fit for Antonio Conte’s side, with his ability to cover ground and retrieve possession likely to be essential to Chelsea’s championship challenge.
Leroy Sane (Manchester City)
A hamstring injury suffered in pre-season has delayed Sane’s introduction to the Premier League following his £25m (Dh12.7m) arrival, but the former Schalke winger is bound to impress once he gets going at Manchester City. Sane, 20, is one of Europe’s most promising prospects, and his tricky dribbling is sure to catch the eye.
Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace)
The club-record signing of Christian Benteke from Liverpool was Palace’s most high-profile acquisition, but Mandanda, 31, looks to be the best on a value-for-money basis. France’s No 2 goalkeeper, who spent nine years at Marseille before moving to England, arrived at Selhurst Park on a free transfer and represents a significant upgrade on the inconsistent Wayne Hennessey.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Liverpool have made Southampton a regular shopping destination in recent years, with Mane, 24, the latest to follow in the footsteps of Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert by swapping the south coast for the northwest. Quick and direct, the Senegal international, who cost a reported £30m (Dh144.9m), is ideally suited to Jurgen Klopp’s high-tempo style of play.
Alvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough)
Negredo, 31, had a very mixed year at Manchester City in 2013/14, scoring 23 goals in his first 33 matches before failing to score in any of his final 16 appearances. While perhaps not quite cut out for a team challenging for the title, the striker’s season-long loan move represents something of a coup for Middlesbrough, who will employ the Spaniard as the spearhead of their attack.
Islam Slimani (Leicester City)
The champions have had a successful window overall, with Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, and Danny Drinkwater signing new contracts and Ahmed Musa, Papy Mendy, Luis Hernandez, Raul Uche, Bartosz Kapustka, Ron-Robert-Zieler and Slimani all moving to the King Power Stadium. Slimani, 28, had been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the summer before moving to Leicester on deadline day for a reported £30m (Dh144.9m). The Algeria international is a traditional No 9 and could be the best addition of the lot.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Pogba certainly did not come cheap, but the fact that Manchester United have landed a player who could feasibly be the world’s best means his £89m (Dh429.8m) fee might one day be seen as a bargain. The France international, 23, has already brought dynamism and creativity to the United midfield and will be an essential part of Jose Mourinho’s team both this season and beyond.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton)
Highly rated by Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, Hojbjerg, 21, arrives in the Premier League with a reputation as a potential star in the making. The midfielder is smart, adaptable and a fine passer of the ball. If he can become anywhere near as good as Sergio Busquets, to whom he has been likened in the past, Southampton will have got themselves a good deal at £12m (Dh57.9m).
Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
Injuries picked up by Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista heightened Arsenal’s need for a new centre-back, with the £35m (Dh169m) purchase of Mustafi, 24, pushing that duo down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium. The World Cup-winning German partnered Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of Valencia’s defence in 2014/15 and is strong in both the air and the tackle.
Jack Wilshere (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth pulled off a coup by beating the likes of Roma and AC Milan to the signature of Wilshere on a season-long loan deal. The England international has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years and will see this as a golden opportunity to get some regular football, with Eddie Howe’s team set to benefit from his technical quality in the centre of the park.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport