• Ranking This Season’s Best Premier League Signings

    Published Wednesday 24 May 2023 09:53am

    12 min read

    We’ve ranked some of the best Premier League transfer signings of the 2022/23 season including Haaland, Pope, Zinchenko, and more. View the full list here.

By WherestheMatch Team

On the back of having written a piece on this season’s worst Premier League signings, it’s only natural that we now give praise to the clubs that have conducted their transfer business with diligence. While you see the likes of Chelsea splashing the cash left and right, there are plenty of clubs who have taken a far more cautious approach to building a healthy squad balance leading to some exceptional new players establishing themselves within the league. While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, we’ve picked out some of our favourite players whose signings have made a major impact at their respective clubs.

Number 6 – João Palhinha

I don’t think anyone had particularly high expectations of Fulham this season. Personally I tend to wait until a team has managed to retain their Premier League status for at least a season before bothering to try and learn player names, but João Palhinha caught my eye from the very first time I saw him play. He’s got a bit of a Nemanja Matic about him, strolling around the pitch breaking up play with his imposing physicality, pinging long-distance passes, and picking up plenty of yellow cards along the way. He’s gone on to form a highly effective unit alongside Andreas Pereira and Harrison Reed that has made Fulham an incredibly unpleasant team to play against.

While he certainly isn’t the most prolific player on this list, nor is he likely to even get as much acclaim as some of his Fulham teammates, João Palhinha has had a fantastic season and is proving to be a savvy bit of recruitment. Exactly the type of player you need if you’re looking to establish yourself as a consistent Premier League outfit.

Number 5 – Oleksandr Zinchenko

The signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko is a slightly challenging one to rank; on one hand, he perfectly embodies Mikel Arteta’s football ideology (or Pep Guardiola’s ideology if you’re being picky) and seems to be completely invested in the Arsenal mindset, on the other – the defensive frailties that led them to bottling the league in the twilight of the 22/23 season were in part due to his own shortcomings as a player. It may be harsh to say so since by no means was Zinchenko signed for his defensive prowess, but you can’t help but wonder whether they might have fought their way to the title had he not been cooked by half the wingers in the league. While this might be a strange way to argue his place in this season’s best Premier League signings, you can’t understate Zinchenko’s role in helping Arsenal to a second place finish this season; a result which – after 5 years without Champions League football – would have been more than Arsenal fans could have possibly hoped for at the start of the season.

At the start of the season, Arsenal were severely lacking in depth across both the full-back and central midfield positions, both of which are comfortably covered by the Ukrainian. Having been publicly commended as a very intelligent player by Pep Guardiola on multiple occasions, Zinchenko currently places third for progressive passes and fourth for progressive carries amongst his Arsenal teammates – highlighting his importance in building attacks from deep within the current system. At the age of 26, you can expect Zinchenko to be around for a while and the €35.00 million that took him from Manchester City to the Emirates looks to have been very well spent.

Number 4 – Nick Pope

It’s not very often that you get a goalkeeper on a best Premier League signings list but Nick Pope has certainly earnt his place. It was always surprising that he was never rewarded with a big money move to a top team following his performances for Burnley – who he more-or-less kept in the Premier League for far longer that they had any right to be. Every time a top four team went looking for a new goalkeeper, Nick Pope was a name briefly mentioned before they splashed ridiculous sums on an exotic, ball-playing keeper from abroad. Pope’s ball-playing abilities haven’t exactly endeared him to England’s Gareth Southgate either with the manager continuously selecting Everton’s Jordan Pickford over him regardless of his lengthy string of high-profile mistakes for the Toffees. Since the days of goalkeepers needing to goal-keep are clearly at an end, Newcastle United managed to snap up the Burnley man for a relatively affordable €11.50m.

The hours of suffering that the Newcastle scouting team must have gone through watching Burnley match replays have come in handy as they’ve armed Eddie Howe with one of the most reliable shot-stoppers in the division. Currently the second-best defence in the Premier League, Newcastle show all the attributes of a top four side and the solid foundations they’ve built through Nick Pope are bound to help them compete with the league’s best going into the future.

Number 3 – Sven Botman

I’m not a Newcastle fan, I promise.

After the turbulent days under Steve Bruce, Eddie Howe must have felt like a breath of fresh air to Newcastle fans. One of the first things he looked into was the ways in which the team could be refined in order to slow down the rate at which they were leaking goals. First came Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier, players who both are both staking a claim to the title of Newcastle legend; they joined Fabian Schär – a man reborn under Howe’s tutelage to rejuvenate the base of a team that had been combatting relegation for the past few seasons. In Summer 2022, Newcastle added the finishing touches to their new-look defence with the signings of Nick Pope and Sven Botman, both of whom have taken the side to the next level. Sven Botman has long been one of the most sought-after talents in European football and by edging out interest from Serie A giants AC Milan, the signing of Botman encompassed exactly the type of club Newcastle have grown to be. Fans were over the moon when it was announced that he would be joining, and they had good reason to be.

The Newcastle team of the 2022/23 season is incredibly far removed from anything the fans have seen over the last decade or so and it’s in no small part down to how defensively resilient they have become. Spending €37.00m on the 23-year-old Botman now seems like an absolute bargain and with how highly Eddie Howe rates him, you can expect him to play a central role in the spine of the Newcastle team for many years to come. It’s not often you see a defender so young be so reliable, you can only imagine how good he’s going to be in a few years’ time.

Number 2 – Manuel Akanji

When Manchester City announced that they would be signing Borussia Dortmund centre-back Manuel Akanji for a fee of €17.50 million, most people laughed. After all, he seemed quite far removed from the high pedigree of players Man City had been linked to across the transfer window. Reminiscent of what happened with the signing of Nathan Ake the season before, Manuel Akanji would go on to become a regular starter in city’s Premier League winning squad. Never doubt the Pep.

The signing of Manuel Akanji was an interesting one, he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in the Bundesliga and regularly found his place on the bench – or as a cup rotation player in his final season at Dortmund. You would be forgiven for thinking that Akanji was intended to be cover for the centre-back and full-back positions where Manchester City had lacked depth previously. While this may have been the idea initially, the quality he provided in various positions across the pitch earned him plaudits and a regular place in the starting eleven. He’s even managed to successfully make the transition into Guardiola’s new hybrid fullback-central-midfielder position where his qualities have made him the latest member of the most well-stocked squad in world football.

Number 1 – Erling Haaland

A surprise to absolutely nobody, Erling Haaland is undoubtedly the best signing of the 2022/23 Premier League season.

People have been talking about Erling Haaland for a while, but with him plying his trade in the Austrian and German Leagues, he wasn’t quite as highly rated as some of the other youngsters leading the next generation of football. The Norwegian caught the attention of the media for the first time in 2019 when he scored nine goals in a single match at the FIFA under-20s World Cup, this earnt him a move to RB Salzburg – a team notorious for discovering top talents in random places. While this didn’t exactly make him a household name, it did give him the chance to play against some of the biggest European teams via the Champions League.

Haaland quickly outgrew the Austrian League and it wasn’t long before interest poured in from some of the world’s elite. With Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Juventus all being heavily linked, Haaland weighed up his options and went to Borussia Dortmund. 86 goals and 23 assists across two seasons for Dortmund, the hype train was well and truly under way. Being the selling club that they are, Borussia Dortmund were always going to sell Haaland if the right offer came in; the only question was: how long would it be until he set his sights elsewhere? In June of 2022, Manchester City met his release clause and in a transfer that seemed to be nailed on from the start, Haaland made the switch to English shores.

For a team that had played the last few seasons without a recognised striker, Haaland was a revelation for Manchester City as he single-handedly became the primary source of goals within the squad. He also went on to break the record for most goals scored in a single Premier League season and looks to be supplementing this quite nicely across other European and domestic competitions. His performances helped lead Manchester City to the Premier League and have also made them the favourites for this season’s Champions League. The €60.00m Man City spent on Haaland might very well be some of the best they’ve ever spent, and at only 22 years old they can quite easily sell him in five years’ time and still make a tidy profit – at this rate though, not sure why they would want to.