The 2023-24 Premier League season is just a few weeks away with most of the English topflight sides approaching the end of their preparations and many heading back from the U.S. Manchester City will be the team to beat once more after last campaign’s historic treble, but there are other teams who have had better summer transfer windows so far — at least on paper. A couple of sides could already be earmarked for relegation while it looks like there might be a dark horse emerging to challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot.
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We look through some of the best and worst summer transfer windows so far ahead of the big kick-off on August 11.
Major ins: Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson and Angelo.
Major outs: Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Tiemoue Bakayoko.
After a mammoth exodus this summer, Mauricio Pochettino’s squad already looks more manageable despite losing Wesley Fofana to another long-term injury. Levi Colwill’s return alleviates some of that headache while the locker room is less bloated given the players who have left since the end of last term. Quality additions have been made — notably in attack — while further moves will be made before prospects are farmed out on loan to the likes of Strasbourg to develop some of the talent which has been acquired.
Bad: Manchester City
Major ins: Mateo Kovacic.
Major outs: Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez.
At this moment in time, it is hard to say that Pep Guardiola’s squad is stronger this season than last although you could also argue that it is not that much weaker. However, Kyle Walker could also go while Bernardo Silva is wanted elsewhere which would change that too. Factor in that the deal to bring Josko Gvardiol in from RB Leipzig is currently up in the air and could be another blow to City’s hopes after losing out on Declan Rice and it is fair to say that this summer could be going better for City.
Major ins: Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber.
Major outs: Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari.
Mikel Arteta has had not only three very good additions added to ranks but he has had much of preseason with his new-look squad which could make a big difference as the new campaign gets underway. The Gunners’ business was precise, targeted and done with impressive efficiency which suggests that this summer is going majorly according to plan in transfer terms with Folarin Balogun also potentially set to fetch a significant fee if he moves on permanently this next month as expected.
Bad: Tottenham Hotspur
Major ins: James Maddison, Pedro Porro, Dejan Kulusevski, Manor Solomon and Guglielmo Vicario.
Major outs: Harry Winks and Lucas Moura.
Ange Postecoglou has major work to do to get Spurs upwardly mobile once more and his squad so far has only really been boosted by James Maddison when you consider that most of the other signings were loan deals made permanent. The group would look hugely different if Harry Kane was to move on and rumors still persist that he could yet end up with Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain. The England captain would bring in significant funds but also leave a gaping hole and a team without its talisman.
Major ins: Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister.
Major outs: Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, James Milner and Roberto Firmino.
Jurgen Klopp has gone for quality over quantity in midfield which was certainly a problematic position last season. However, a significant amount of experience has come out with the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Roberto Firmino all going at the same time. This summer does not seem to be over for the Reds which is promising and another addition in the same vein as Dominik Szoboszlai or Alexis Mac Allister would make this a successful window at Anfield.
Major ins: Arnaut Danjuma and Ashley Young.
Major outs: Moise Kean, Tom Davies, Yerry Mina, Ellis Simms, Niels Nkounou and Andros Townsend.
The Toffees look marginally stronger than last term but that is not saying much and bring in a veteran Ashley Young as well as Arnaut Danjuma who infamously went back on a potential deal to join the club back in January does not exactly scream confidence. Sean Dyche has admitted that it is difficult bringing in targets for what will be the final season at Goodison Park and the signs so far are that it could be another struggle of a campaign.
Good: Aston Villa
Major ins: Moussa Diaby, Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans.
Major outs: Ashley Young, Marvelous Nakamba, Wesley Moraes and Jed Steer.
Unai Emery’s UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers have had a major jump in quality with the additions of Moussa Diaby, Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans. Young, Marvelous Nakamba, Wesley Moraes and Jed Steer are not exactly major departures although Young’s experience was valuable and all three major outfield positions have been reinforced. There are still questions over squad depth heading into Europe but there is still one month to add to what has already been an impressive summer window.
Bad: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Major ins: Matheus Cunha, Boubacar Traore and Matt Doherty.
Major outs: Ruben Neves, Nathan Collins, Conor Coady, Raul Jimenez, Ryan Giles, Joao Moutinho, Diego Costa and Adama Traore.
Arguably the biggest talent drain in the Premier League this summer, Wolves already look nailed on to be scrapping at the wrong end of the table. Ruben Neves was a predictable but disappointing loss while Conor Coady, Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, Diego Costa and Adama Traore all take a huge chunk of collective experience away from the group. With little to get excited about in terms of signings so far, Julen Lopetegui will be up against it from the start to keep them up.