Across the summer of 2021, Premier League clubs spent over 1.5 billion dollars on player transfers.
While this amount of money spent rivals the GDP of Antigua and Barbuda, it is amongst the lowest spent over the past decade -a shocking fact considering the caliber of players that made their move to and within the Prem.

With that amount of money spent on players, it’d be beneficial to look at the best players brought in at each position. While some of the players haven’t played as of the writing, reputation and potential are both considered.

There were many choices at each position, but these were the best of the best for each position.


Goalkeeper

The Sheffield United player of the year made his move to Arsenal, where he has started as the backup to Bernd Leno. Aaron Ramsdale is one of the only keeper transfers of the window but is nevertheless an interesting move for Arsenal, considering that Leno is still a top-class keeper. It’ll be an interesting situation for Arteta as both Leno and Ramsdale are starting-caliber keepers; what is likely to happen is a repeat of the situation at Manchester United with Dean Henderson and David de Gea.  

In Ramsdale, Arsenal has a young keeper who is likely to develop into one of the better keepers in the league if he continues the promise he showed at Sheffield. If he can get the chance to develop, it’s not impossible for him to capture the starting spot by the end of 2021. This may not be the most pressing among Arteta’s myriad of headaches, but the Ramsdale and Leno debate will likely dictate Arsenal’s future.


Right Back

The right-back position is one that didn’t see much movement until the final day of the window with two big transfers. While Takehiro Tomiyasu is a great player who will bring solidity to Arsenal’s backline, Barca’s blunder of allowing Emerson Royal to join Tottenham is the best right-back transfer of the window. Emerson is an upgrade on every one of Tottenham’s options at right-back and will be a great piece for the future.

After Barcelona purchased Emerson, they loaned him to Betis, where he was impressive and became a fan favorite amongst FIFA and Football Manager players. Looking to raise money after a chaotic offseason, Barcelona sent a promising right-back for Tottenham to reap the rewards. Emerson will be a great addition to a young and promising backline that has shown good moments at the beginning of the season. 


Center Back

Photo: AP Photo/Jon Super

Raphaël Varane is one of the best center backs on Earth who has proven himself time after time, be it in the Champions League or World Cup. With a subpar defense over the past few years, Varane is just the player the club needs despite heavy investments. Varane will help give a relatively inexperienced backline the veteran and championship mentality it needs.

It was shocking to see Real Madrid let their best defender went for so little with a lack of a replacement last season. One club’s loss became United’s gain as Varane will be a great partner for Harry Maguire. While their defense may not be that of Manchester City, Varane’s presence lifts United’s defense into the elite tier.


Left Back

Another Football Manager and FIFA career mode legend, Junior Firpo, moved from Barcelona to Leeds United as he looks to capitalize on the potential that seemed to be squandered at Barcelona. Firpo first broke onto the stage with some promising performances with Real Betis as he showed promise of the offensive side harkening images of a young Jordi Alba. These performances swayed Barcelona into snapping him up, seeing him as the long-term replacement for Alba.

However, Barca was seemingly uninterested in developing him as Alba was still putting in great performances, and Firpo failed to win the starting role. Sensing the lack of future opportunities, Firpo made the move to Leeds as they lacked a threatening left-back. Under the great development staff at Leeds and with Bielsa as manager, Firpo is definitely one to watch.


Midfielder

There are many potential choices here as some great talents joined the Premier League, but the best might be Chelsea snapping up Saúl Ñíguez on loan. Saúl is a very interesting prospect for Chelsea as he has had seasons where he seemed world-class, but the recent years have been lackluster for the one time Atletico star. What will define his time at Chelsea will be his willingness to fit in Tuchel’s system and if that talent is still there.

Saúl announced himself to the world back in 2016, where he torched Bayern’s defenses as he helped Atletico reach the Champions League final. He would have both frustrating and amazing performances as Atletico began to move from him in the years following. This move does have the potential to be disappointing, but Tuchel’s management and Saúl’s skills will likely make this move successful.  


Left Winger

There is no question, no ounce of a doubt, that this spot belongs to Cristiano Ronaldo as he made his move from Juventus to Manchester United. The reigning top scorer of the Serie A made his move back to the club that delivered him to superstardom as he looks to be the finishing touch to  Manchester United’s campaign. In a summer where both Messi and Ronaldo moved clubs, this is a great capture for United and the Premier League.

Ronaldo has not slowed down at all since his move to Juventus in 2018, as he has seemingly reached into the fountain of youth to continue his elite career. At Juventus, Ronaldo led the team to two titles but failed in the champions league despite his best efforts. It’s hard not to see United’s attack as one of the best in the league, especially with Bruno Fernandes providing Ronaldo with some great assists.


Right Winger

After selling Grealish, Emiliano Buendía’s move from Norwich to Aston Villa marked another great piece of Villa’s window. After breaking onto the scene in Norwich’s 2019-20 Premier League season, Buendía could have gone to a top club but decided to remain with Norwich as they fell into the second division. It goes without saying that he continued his great play in the second division as he seemed a man amongst boys.

Losing Grealish could have crippled Villa, dooming them to relegation, but their smart transfer decisions have made them favorites to stay up. Buendía will be looked at as the creative force in a side with Danny Ings, another great addition that can be special. While not the flashiest pick,  this transfer may be the most impactful to the club rather than being the name on everyone’s lips. 


Striker

Despite winning the champions league last season, Chelsea felt that they needed a world-class striker to be unstoppable truly. To solve this problem, Chelsea went out and snapped up one of the best strikers in Romelu Lukaku. Like Ronaldo, Lukaku returned to a club that he had left years ago and has come back as a different player.

After some solid years in England at Everton and Manchester United, Lukaku moved to Italy with Inter Milan, becoming a goal-scoring machine. At Inter, Lukaku became a threat that rivaled Ronaldo in terms of goal scoring. Chelsea’s offense was already great last season, but Lukaku’s addition will allow them to rival the firepower of any other team on Earth.


Featured Image: AP Photo/Jon Super
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