Premier League clubs have exhibited their financial muscle yet again in their quest for the world’s greatest talent ahead of the 2022/23 season, which begins on Friday. AFP Sport looks at five of the summer’s biggest signings who are seeking to make an impression.
1. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
After battling out all the competitors from around Europe for Eric Haaland, Manchester City have solved their need for a central striker. The Norwegian’s buyout clause from Borussia Dortmund was a bargain at £51 million ($63 million), but the reported signing-on fee, agents fees, and salary over a five-year contract will cost City £190 million.
Haaland may have had a forgettable start, after he missed a very open goal in City’s Community Shield loss to Liverpool on Saturday. However, Pep Guardiola has warned his team’s title rivals that “goals will come.”
Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund, and although he was signed to take Guardiola’s men over the line in the Champions League, his arrival boosted the champions to the top of the league for the fifth time in six years.
2. Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
In contrast to Haaland, Nunez started his Liverpool career on a high note, scoring and winning a penalty against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Following the transfer of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, the Reds have installed their faith in the Uruguayan to strengthen their attacking options.
Nunez was initially signed for 75 million euros ($77 million) by Benfica, but that fee might increase to 100 million euros depending on his success at Anfield. Nunez is likely to phase out Roberto Firmino in favor of Luis Diaz on the left side of Liverpool’s front three.
3. Lisandro Martinez (Manchester Utd)
Much of the debate surrounding United’s only big-money signing has centred on how his 5ft 9in (1.8m) frame will fare in the Premier League.
The Argentine is well-known to new United boss Erik ten Hag, who joined forces with Martinez at Ajax.
A transfer fee of £57 million suggests Ten Hag believes Martinez will be a regular starter at Old Trafford, but it is unclear which position he will play.
Martinez played as a centre defender, left back, and center midfield for the Dutch champions.
Ten Hag used him most frequently at the Centre of his defence, leaving United captain Harry Maguire’s position under pressure, with French World Cup champion Raphael Varane also vying for the starting spot.
4. Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)
Sterling, who was instrumental in City’s first two Premier League titles under Pep Guardiola, was gradually taken aside at the Etihad by the arrival of Jack Grealish and the rise of Phil Foden.
Sterling, who is still an important part of England manager Gareth Southgate’s plans in a World Cup year, has travelled south to become the face of Chelsea’s new era.
The 27-year-old was the Blues’ first acquisition since Todd Boehly’s team bought the club from Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea really need a goal scorer if they are to challenge City and Liverpool for the title, and Sterling is the most likely member of Thomas Tuchel’s squad to score 20 goals.
5. Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
Jesus was another victim of City’s abundance of offensive quality, as the Brazilian looks to reignite his career at the Emirates ahead of the World Cup.
Despite winning seven major trophies at the Etihad, Jesus was never the Sergio Aguero replacement City dreamed expected six years ago.
After the exits of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal desperately needed a striker. Jesus has already caught the attention of Arsenal fans after scoring seven times in pre-season, including thrashings of Chelsea and Sevilla.