Pretty simple one, this. A vaguely coherent playing XI of Premier League summer signings who have in our very often biased and arbitrarily-supported opinion been good. Just that.
Feel free to mention in the comments other players who have been good that we are absolute clowns for not including here. Cheers.
GK Nick Pope (Newcastle)
The canniest among many canny bits of business from megabucks Newcastle was snaffling the England back-up keeper from relegated Burnley for a mere 10 million quid. Doubts about his distribution and kicking be damned, he’s thriving in a Champions League-chasing team via the charmingly old-school methods of being really good at saving shots and keeping significantly more clean sheets than anyone else. It’s a solid strategy.
RB Serge Aurier (Nottingham Forest)
Further proof that sometimes/often the problem at Spurs not necessarily the player. One of the final elements of Forest’s summer trolley dash, Aurier was an unattached player snaffled a week after the deadline and it’s been great to have him back.
CB Sven Botman (Newcastle)
Honourable mention to Manchester City’s Manuel Akanji because their defence would have looked pretty flimsy without him at times this season, but once again it’s hard to ignore the startling nature of Newcastle’s defensive improvement this season and, highly rated as Botman was, there was no guarantee he would settle into Our League and its unique challenges quite so seamlessly.
CB Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)
Turns out being really good is still just about more important than being really tall. A relief to all us five-foot-somethings and a timely reminder of one of the very many reasons why football is better than basketball.
LB Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)
Very much the secondary summer arrival at the Emirates from Manchester City but, mainly due to Gabriel Jesus’ injury woes, now the most important one. It’s not just that he’s good at football, which he is – better than perhaps most of us gave him credit for when he was surrounded by City’s starry firmament – but because he brings an experience and expectation of success that Arsenal’s precocious young squad previously lacked.
CM Casemiro (Manchester United)
We have to hold our hands up on this one. We thought it looked a bit panicky from United, and our judgement was also clouded by Real Madrid’s usual unerring ability to sense the right moment to move a player on. They were wrong, we were wrong, Casemiro is great. He’s not the only reason why United now find themselves on the fringes of the title race rather than the fringes of the European spots like last season, but he is a pretty significant one.
CM Joao Palhinha (Fulham)
Fulham have been a lovely surprise this season and the summer signing from Sporting has been a huge part of it. Fulham have been far tougher than their recent yo-yo era sides who’ve popped up briefly in the Premier League before sinking without trace to go back and dominate the Championship again. Palhinha’s presence in the heart of their midfield has been vital to that, with no player in the division matching his record of 4.5 tackles per game. Third on that list is his midfield partner in this side, while second-placed Tyler Adams is unlucky to miss out but would definitely be among our substitutes.
AM Andreas Pereira (Fulham)
Entirely forgettable at Manchester United, but has six assists already this season and trails only Kevin De Bruyne, Kieran Trippier and Bruno Fernandes for total chances created in the 2022/23 Premier League.
RW Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest)
He’s a little bit out of position here, but it’s not a totally alien one to him and he can drift in and out with Pereira to keep defenders honest. It’s also not a real team and we’ll shoehorn in who we want to shoehorn in, thank you very much. Looked an expensive gamble among Forest’s mass expensive summer gambles but has been thoroughly excellent and placed himself firmly in the England conversation which is a decent effort when you consider England’s options in the ‘attacking players flitting about Harry Kane’ positions.
LW Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds)
This one is mainly vibes-based to be honest and we make no apologies for that. There is just something special about the 19-year-old even though we’ve only seen glimpses of what he could be. Most importantly, he’s gone a long way to filling the Raphinha-shaped fun-and-brilliance hole in Leeds supporters’ hearts. He’s a bit of a throwback to the Bielsa days when Leeds were fun. We like him a lot.
CF Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Obviously and generationally brilliant. We’re still not completely convinced he’s entirely the right fit for City, mind. But the numbers are pretty compelling.
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