Fantasy League? Our best summer signing XI

Managerial masters? Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Tony Pulis

Another off-season, another extortionate set of fees wasted on transfers. You don’t even need to combine the figures to know it was a record-breaking summer. But we did, and it was.

Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona obviously upped the tempo and the rest, they say, is history.

But there were some phenomenal value deals made in the window and we’ve put together our best lineup of players who moved club this summer.

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Oh, and in memory of Sam Allardyce’s recent refusal to come back to the Premier League, we shall be using a 4-4-2 formation.

Read on for our best XI featuring a good balance of exceptionally high-valued players and bargain buys.

GK: Jordan Pickford (Sunderland to Everton, £30m)

Everton’s Jordan Pickford in action Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra 

The former Sunderland stopper starred with the Black Cats over the last year, despite David Moyes’ men suffering relegation from the Premier League last term.

Everton saw enough to be convinced and wrapped up a potential £30m deal for the 23-year-old before he left for international duty in June.

The fee was hefty but in an age where English players demand a premium, Pickford’s valuation seemed reasonable enough. In light of the injection of chaos which came with Neymar’s transfer to PSG, it seemed like an even better deal.

He has already shown what he can do with the Toffees – and unlike some other expensive goalkeepers, he’s proving to be good value for money.

LB: Andrew Robertson (Hull to Liverpool, £10m)

Liverpool’s defender Andrew Robertson (R) vies with Crystal Palace’s midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the English Premier League football match August 19, 2017 (AFP Photo/Oli SCARFF)

The defender impressed over the last couple of seasons with Hull, influencing play higher up the pitch as a marauding left back.

Sound familiar? Yes, it’s right up Jurgen Klopp’s alley and once the Tigers were relegated, Liverpool didn’t hesitate.

At a quoted fee of £8-10m, Robertson can help shore up a problem in the Reds’ defence and add an extra element to an already lethal front three.

He also impressed on his Reds debut and can only get better.

CB: Sead Kolasinac (Schalke to Arsenal, Free)

A free transfer from Schalke, needless to say Kolasinac wasn’t the big name Arsenal fans were begging for.

While they were still desperately clinging on to a notion of sealing an audacious swoop for Kylian Mbappe, or signing Alexandre Lacazette, the north Londoners announced the deal for Kolasinac.

And despite an increasingly unsurprising poor start to the season, Kolasinac has represented decent value in a back three.

CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus to AC Milan, €40m)

The Italy international was one of Juventus’ key men as they stormed to the Champions League final and lifted the Serie A trophy.

A veteran for the Old Lady – he plied his trade in Turin since 2010 – Bonucci seemed set. Then all of a sudden noises emerged about him falling out with coach Massimiliano Allegri.

It seemed destined that one would make way and it proved to be the reliable, robust centre-back. And even more bizarrely, he was sold to Serie A rivals AC Milan.

Even before the Neymar deal, at €40m he represented an absolute bargain and it begged belief that none of the top clubs in England or across Europe made a dart for his services.

RB: Dani Alves (Juventus to PSG, Free)

The attacking full-back was another Juventus man who starred for the Bianconeri last season as they won the league.

When he wrestled his way out of his contract, he seemed destined for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola was awaiting him with open arms.

Only, not for the last time that summer, he was tempted by Paris Saint-Germain, who made a late swoop for his services and won true.

Pep was left seething, and spent £50m on Kyle Walker instead, while PSG bagged a good free transfer.

LM: Neymar (Barcelona to PSG, €222m)

Neymar became the most expensive footballer in history when he joined PSG.

Speaking of the Parisian club, we all know what happened here. Barcelona were complacent, PSG wanted their man. They got him.

Yes, it smashed the world record for a transfer and yes, there was controversy.

But regardless of the €222m buy-out fee, Neymar is one of the world’s best and there is no way he wouldn’t feature in our transfer XI.

CM: Grzegorz Krychowiak (PSG to West Brom, Loan)

Grzegorz Krychowiak is arguably the best signing in West Brom history.

This is probably the best value deal of the window. Krychowiak considerably impressed at Sevilla before his big move to PSG.

It didn’t work out quite according to plan though, and while PSG were frantically trying to free up a huge wage bill to land another gigantic signing, the Poland international was one of those sacrificed.

The beneficiaries? Tony Pulis and West Brom. Signed on a season-long loan, the 27-year-old will undoubtedly help propel the Baggies on to a good season.

CM: Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich to Swansea, Loan)

Renato Sanches will have to earn his place in the Swansea City team like any other player, says Paul Clement.

And speaking of value-for-money deals, how about this one? Swansea somehow fought off competition from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to land Portugal international Sanches.

He was another who was swooped up by a big club – this time Bayern Munich – off the back of a great season for Benfica but just wasn’t receiving enough game time.

Fortunately for the Welsh club, Paul Clement has good links with the Bavarians – having worked there last season under Carlo Ancelotti – and Swansea benefitted as a result.

The 20-year-old should prove to be a shrewd signing for the season. Despite talk of a permanent clause inserted into the deal, his stay will be temporary.

RM: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid to Bayern Munich, Loan)

Colombia’s James Rodriguez smiles after an attempt on goal during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying match (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

It’s a hat-trick of high quality midfielders signed on a loan deal. This time, Real Madrid’s unloved man James Rodriguez.

The Colombia international – who burst onto the scene after a stunning goal in the 2014 World Cup – hasn’t enjoyed his time at the Bernabeu and he was shipped out on loan to Bayern.

Munich have paid a loan fee of £9m for his services over the next two years, with an option to convert the deal into a permanent transfer for just £31m, making the total fee up to £40m.

Not bad for a very good, young player with plenty of room for improvement yet.

ST: Kylian Mbappe (Monaco to PSG, Loan then £166m)

Well, they can’t all be cheap signings can they? Plus, we just signed three midfielders for free (almost)!

Otherwise known as the PSG sandwich, Mbappe was the late deal done after the ‘wow’ factor signing of Neymar at the start of August.

He joined the Parisian side from Ligue 1 winners Monaco on *loan* with a permanent £166m fee to be paid at the end of the season.

But for all the controversy, the teenager’s scintillating ability and knack for a goal means he’s worth every penny – just as his new Brazilian teammate – and he has plenty of room to improve yet.

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Everton to Manchester United, £75m)

Ah yes, finally, the Belgian wonder who Jose Mourinho – with the foresight of a psychic – sold from Chelsea, before splashing the cash to bring him to Old Trafford in his third Premier League life.

After the back-and-forth between Chelsea and Lukaku, the prolific Premier League striker opted for a move to Manchester United instead, and a reunion with Mourinho.

At £75m, possibly rising to £90m, is a huge outlay for the striker but he has hit the ground running and looks set for a huge season for the Red Devils, who recently returned to the Champions League.

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