For many players, their dream is to one day play in the Premier League. Viewed by some as the best league in the world, the spotlight is brighter, many of the clubs are legendary, and it offers competitiveness from top to bottom that isn’t always found in the other leagues. Ahead of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, players have once again flocked to England in pursuit of taking their careers to the next level. From the big boys to the relegation contenders, here are the top five newest additions.
Note: These signings are players from exterior leagues who joined Premier League clubs. Transfers from English clubs to English clubs, like Arsenal’s acquisition of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, do not count.
5. Luis Sinisterra, Leeds United
This was a savvy move by Leeds, landing the Feyenoord star. He helps ease the loss of Raphinha as, like the Brazilian, he can play on either wing. His stock skyrocketed after last season as he helped the Dutch side advance to the inaugural Conference League final, where they lost to AS Roma. Sinisterra finished with 23 goals in 49 games, using his blazing speed and technical ability to make defenders look foolish. He’ll have to deal with more physical play in England, but with Leeds’ system under Jesse Marsch, he should be able to make quite the impact via the wing and his diagonal runs.
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4. Lisandro Martinez, Manchester United
He may only be 5-foot-9, but Martinez has looked like a star since the very beginning. He exploded onto the scene with Argentine club Defensa y Justicia from 2017-2019, earning the move to Ajax, where he has been consistent as can be. He offers tremendous versatility in that he can also play fullback or defensive midfield if needed. It’s unclear if his arrival will push Harry Maguire to the bench, but Martinez isn’t coming to be someone’s backup. He’s with his former manager in Erik ten Hag, and he’ll be expected to contribute from day one. Don’t be surprised if he locks up a starting spot early and doesn’t let it go.
3. Darwin Núñez, Liverpool
With Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich, Liverpool knew they would need a big piece, so why not go after one of the best young strikers in the world? The 23-year-old former Benfica man showed flashes at Penarol before lighting up the Spanish second division with Almeria. That resulted in Benfica paying big for him, and he delivered last season with 34 goals in 41 games, including strikes against Liverpool in the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp saw him up close and knows what he is getting, which is an attentive, tall, strong striker who can beat you in a variety of ways. If he is even half of what fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez was for the Reds, then he could lock down a spot leading Liverpool’s line for the next decade.
2. Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea
It’s amazing that Napoli managed to hold on to him for as long as they did. Koulibaly may be 31 years old, but he’s one of the top center backs in the world. The heart and soul of the Senegal national team, he is fast, strong, calm on the ball, fantastic in the air, and he lifts this Blues backline to another level. He’s an upgrade over both Andreas Christensen and even Antonio Rudiger, and his pace should help with Thiago Silva not getting any faster as he ages. This was a move that came at a decent price, considering his age, reportedly costing Chelsea in the region of £33 million. He’s fit in quickly and already has a great rapport with goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy, his national team teammate.
1. Erling Haaland, Manchester City
I recall a few years back talking to then RB Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch on the phone. We were talking about the club’s participation in the Champions League group stage for the first time, and he kept telling me to keep an eye on this young, incredible talent in attack that he had. His name? Erling Haaland. Marsch was spot on. Far and away the best move made by any team anywhere, Haaland is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, yet there is nobody like him. The post-Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo era will be led by PSG‘s Kylian Mbappe and this guy. Give me a pick of either, and I’m taking Haaland. He is so special that I’m convinced City will win the Champions League soon with him, and I will be surprised if he scores less than 40 goals next season. He’s believed to have cost City just £51.5 million. That is less than half of what City spend on Jack Grealish last summer.