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Best signings of the 2023/24 Premier League summer transfer window – ranked

Latter-day Maurizio Sarri has evolved into the grumpy idealogue of the footballing world.

“All this transfer talk does my head in, there’s nothing more dull than that,” the former Napoli and Chelsea manager sniffed while in charge of Lazio. But based on the unrelenting churn of the rumour mill, it appears sulky Sarri is in the minority.

The excitement of endless possibilities conjured during the transfer window outstrips the underwhelming reality of the regular season for many fans – only a handful of clubs harbour any realistic hopes of winning a trophy, and even fewer actually lift any silverware.

However, every club had the chance to make a clever addition in the off-season. Here are some of the best snapped up by Premier League sides this summer.

Moussa DiabyMoussa Diaby

Diaby’s Aston Villa career has started brightly / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

Aston Villa’s lofty ambition has been clear to see since they returned to the top flight, and the appointment of Unai Emery fast-tracked the club’s rise.

Back in Europe following an excellent conclusion to 2022/23, Villa embarked on a busy summer which saw them smash their transfer record to bring in Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen.

A relentless producer in the Bundesliga, Diaby’s work with Die Werkself saw him gain plenty of admirers, but it was the emerging Villa who acquired his services – depicting the club’s newfound relevance.

Some might use the ‘Bundesliga tax’ to detract from Diaby’s brilliance in Germany, but the early signs at Villa Park would suggest his form will translate over to the Premier League.

Jurriën TimberJurriën Timber

Timber’s versatility will aid Arsenal / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Mikel Arteta needed to add greater quality in depth to his Arsenal backline this summer and has done exactly that in drafting in former Ajax defender Jurrien Timber.

The Netherlands international is capable of slotting in across the back four and won’t get caught out by any high pressing thanks to his ease in possession.

Timber was part of the Dutch squads for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup and arrives with two Eredivisie titles in his cabinet. A devastating ACL injury, however, means he’ll barely feature in his debut season with the Gunners.

Sandro TonaliSandro Tonali

Tonali should cheer up eventually at Newcastle / Mark Runnacles/GettyImages

A few viral clips of Sandro Tonali visiting St James’ Park and looking glum certainly shone a light on Newcastle’s new-found pulling power over clubs like AC Milan.

The Magpies’ evolution is a little ahead of schedule with Champions League football on the menu for the first time since 2002/03 but with Italy international Tonali’s arrival, they have added another level of depth to midfield.

He’s not the finished article yet but his role in the Rossoneri’s Serie A title win of 2021/22 shows Tonali may well live up to some early Andrea Pirlo comparisons.

The Toon Army will be pleading for more performances like his Premier League debut in which he opened the scoring in Newcastle’s thumping of Aston Villa.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-FULHAMFBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-FULHAM

Man City spent big to bring Gvardiol to the Etihad / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Man City evolved into a gentrified Tony Pulis outfit last season with Pep Guardiola deploying four centre-backs across his backline.

It bloody worked, though.

City’s improvement in defence was critical to their eventual treble triumph, and they’ve once again reinforced big in the summer to bolster their security. Gvardiol was one of the stars of the 2022 World Cup before he was taken for a ride by Lionel Messi, and is regarded as one of the most promising centre-back talents around.

While City paid a hefty fee for the Croat’s services, he seems tailor-made for Guardiola and the Cityzens.

Andre OnanaAndre Onana

Onana played a crucial role in Inter’s Champions League run last season / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Pivotal to Man Utd’s development under Erik ten Hag was the addition of a competent ball-playing goalkeeper in the summer.

In Andre Onana, United have essentially snagged a number six with gloves.

United paid just shy of £50m to sign the Cameroonian shot-stopper after his excellent season with Inter, and it won’t be long until Onana is thrust into the conversation with Alisson and Ederson as being the finest goalkeeper in the Premier League.

He’s just that good, with his talent as a footballer remarkably impressive.

Dominik SzoboszlaiDominik Szoboszlai

Liverpool swooped quickly for Szoboszlai / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

Fans throughout Europe have long tracked the progress of Dominik Szoboszlai, who first popped up as a youth prospect with Salzburg.

Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino in Austria and Christopher Nkunku, Emil Forsberg and Dani Olmo later at RB Leipzig, Szoboszlai enjoyed prolific partnerships in attack at both franchise clubs before Liverpool met his £60m release clause.

The Hungary international has all the desirable characteristics of a Jurgen Klopp midfielder and he’s taken to life at Anfield like a fish to water.

Mohammed KudusMohammed Kudus

Kudus had a whole host of suitors in the summer / West Ham United FC/GettyImages

Errrr…. how did this happen?

Inactive for so long despite selling Declan Rice for a mammoth fee, West Ham came to life towards the end of the window. After signing James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez to reinvigorate their midfield pivot, the Hammers then brought in one of the most sought-after attackers in Europe.

Mohammed Kudus’ prestige has soared in recent years while plying his trade with Ajax, and he had his fair share of suitors in the summer. West Ham, though, were able to pull off a mini-miracle and sign the crafty Ghanaian who could transform the east London club into something more than a pragmatic and resilient unit.

Alexis Mac AllisterAlexis Mac Allister

Mac Allister is a Red / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

After the last game of Brighton’s season, Roberto De Zerbi hailed Alexis Mac Allister as one of the team’s ‘big, big players’ capable of playing ‘in a big, big European team’. Liverpool snapped up the 24-year-old early in the window, ensuring that Mac Allister will have a full pre-season to get embedded into Klopp’s team.

With the experience of working under De Zerbi and Graham Potter on the south coast, Mac Allister is no stranger to demanding tactical briefs. The World Cup winner offers versatility, energy and end product.

At an initial fee of just £35m, potentially rising to £55m in time, Mac Allister could even prove to be the bargain of the summer.

James MaddisonJames Maddison

Maddison decked out in lilywhite / Janelle St Pierre/GettyImages

James Maddison was one of the players plucked from the bargain bucket of relegated clubs, joining Tottenham from Leicester in a £40m deal.

The attacking midfielder has the exact profile of playmaking Spurs have been lacking in recent seasons, bringing a threat from set pieces and a creative mindset not previously encouraged in north London.

While the marvellous creator was barely given the chance to team up with Harry Kane at his new club, Maddison has enjoyed a scintillating start with the Lilywhites. His swashbuckling style epitomises Tottenham’s refreshing new look with Ange Postecoglou at the helm.

Declan RiceDeclan Rice

Arsenal forked out for Rice / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Declan Rice’s reputation was at an all-time high thanks to some heroic seasons with West Ham that culminated with victory in the Europa Conference League.

It soon became apparent that it would be his final contribution as a Hammer as Arsenal and Manchester City entered a brief bidding war. The Gunners eventually saw off their rivals with an initial £100m deal that could rise by another £5m.

Mikel Arteta identified the England international as a summer arrival and pushed for his arrival. He is a player of immense talent and it’s tricky to see how this move goes badly with Rice rapidly endearing himself to the Gunners faithful.

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