We’re almost a third of the way through the 2015/16 Premier League season and most of the signings made in the summer have adapted to their new surroundings and, for some, their new culture. There were some big money moves in the summer. Some of them have paid off almost immediately, but others haven’t. Some arrived at their new clubs with a small price tag and have already increased their value and posed the question as to why other clubs didn’t fight for their services. Based on performances at the start of the season, I’ve compiled a starting eleven of summer signings.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech, Arsenal
This was probably the easiest decision to make. Not just because other goalkeeping acquisitions have been poor, but because Cech has already shown his worth to an Arsenal side that again are being touted as possible title winners this season. Despite a shaky start in the opening day defeat to West Ham, Cech has replicated the impressive form that made him Chelsea’s number one for 10 years. The Czech’s performances have been crucial for The Gunners this season in matches such as the 0-0 against Liverpool and the 2-0 win against Bayern Munich. For his performances so far this season, Cech would be a sure starter for any team in the top flight.
Full back: Cedric Soares, Southampton
Cedric just edged past Matteo Darmian for the full back position with Nathaniel Clyne getting the other. The Portuguese right back joined Southampton for a reported fee of £3.5m and his performances on the south coast make that fee look a bargain. The former Sporting Lisbon defender has improved with each game and has attacking qualities in abundance. The concerns over the 24-year-old initially were on his defending capabilities but Cedric has started to display his abilities at the back and has been key in performances such as the win at Stamford Bridge and has started to fill the boots of Nathaniel Clyne excellently.
Centre back: Virgil van Dijk, Southampton
Virgil van Dijk swapped Scotland for the south-coast on deadline day and has put an end to the defensive worries that Southampton had in the first few games of the season. The Dutch international has slotted in effortlessly alongside skipper Jose Fonte in the Saints backline and looks right at home in the Premier League. The former Celtic man has won plaudits from fans and pundits alike with his defensive qualities and the threat he poses in the opposition’s penalty box with two Premier League goals to his name already. With widespread interest in him whilst he was playing his football at Celtic Park, the Saints will feel lucky to have captured van Dijk’s services.
Centre back: Toby Alderwiereld, Spurs
The man who Virgil van Dijk replaced at Southampton partners him at centre back in this summer signing XI. With Alderwiereld’s time at Atletico Madrid evidently up, the Belgian had a choice between Southampton and Tottenham and opted for the latter. It was a tossup between Alderwiereld and Nicolas Otamendi for the centre back spot but the drastic improvement of Spurs’ backline since the Belgian joined the club made it an easy decision. This time last year, Spurs had already conceded 14 goals compared to the nine this season. The Belgian connection between Jan Vertonghen and Alderwiereld has improved Spurs’ defence and could be pivotal if they are to mount a challenge for a top four finish.
Full back: Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool
We complete the Southampton-themed backline with Nathaniel Clyne. Clyne was the fourth player to join Liverpool from Southampton in two summer windows and has arguably made the best transition of the quartet. He is as strong going forward as he is at the back and has added some much needed reliability and quality in Liverpool’s right back position. The 24-year-old will hope that his impressive performances at Anfield will help him nail down the England right back slot ahead of next year’s Euros.
Centre midfield: Yohan Cabaye, Crystal Palace.
Palace’s capture of Yohan Cabaye was something of a coup for Pardew’s side. The Frenchman has shown his qualities immediately with four goals and has been crucial to their impressive start to the season. With the attacking threat that Palace pose going forward, Cabaye’s experience and leadership is pivotal in protecting the back four. The Frenchman has made more interceptions than any other player in the league this season and only Lucas has made more tackles, making Pardew and Cabaye’s reunion all the more sweeter.
Centre midfield: Etienne Capoue, Watford
Another tough decision but Capoue just edges past Morgan Schneiderlin in central midfield. The Premier League new boys have had a decent start to the season and like Cabaye, Capoue does the ugly side of the game fantastically. The headlines tend to focus on the performances of Ighalo and Gomes, but Capoue has been the unsung hero for The Hornets so far. The Frenchman swapped White Hart Lane for Vicarage Road in the search for more first team football and his form will be crucial if Watford are to keep their top flight status.
Attacking midfield: Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City
Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City confirmed the signing of Kevin de Bruyne for a huge fee of around £54m. However, the Belgian has started to prove why City spent that much on him. The attacking midfielder has been one of the best performers for last season’s second place side. The former Chelsea man has netted six times already for the title contenders and with the fitness of Sergio Aguero a reoccurring concern, City will be hoping that de Bruyne will be able to continue his early form to push City to a third Premier League title.
Attacking midfield: Dimitri Payet, West Ham
Dimitri Payet has been arguably the signing of the summer so far. His performances have been outstanding and crucial to West Ham’s strong start to the season. Payet starred in The Hammers’ victories at the Emirates and the Etihad as well as the brace that secured the win against Newcastle. Hammers fans are optimistic about the rest of the season given the start Slaven Bilic has made and Payet will hope that his early form will continue through to May and drive West Ham into the top half of the table and potentially the European places.
Forward: Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew could prove to be one of the bargains of the summer. The Ghanaian joined the Swans on a free transfer and has already found the net five times. Despite Swansea’s early form dropping off, the quality of Garry Monk’s men should see them return to their impressive performances. The highlight of Ayew’s Swansea career so far has been notching an assist and a goal in Swansea’s victory over Manchester United and he has proved to be a steal for Swansea.
Forward: Anthony Martial, Manchester United
What a start to his Manchester United career this young man has had. United paid a record £36m for the teenager and that fee could potentially rise to £58m. His goal on his debut raised the roof at Old Trafford and even got Martin Tyler seemingly jumping for joy. The 19-year-old has scored five times so far for United and picked up the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for September and his strike against rivals Liverpool won him Goal of the Month. Early signs suggest that Martial’s huge fee will be a worthwhile investment for the future as well as the present.
Featured image taken by Emrah Partal.[interaction id=”563bd72a737e4fee1d5ea7f7"]