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Thursday, September 28, 2023

GRAEME SOUNESS: My top ten Premier League summer signings

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A whopping £1.55billion has been lavished on signings by Premier League clubs so far this summer, but who’s done the best business? Liverpool legend and Mail Sport columnist Graeme Souness picks the 10 players he expects to make the greatest impact.1) MASON MOUNT, CHELSEA TO MAN UTD, £55m I have always liked Mount, there is nothing to dislike about him. He has great technique and works his socks off. He is also leaving a big club to join, arguably, the biggest club. But he has shown he can handle the expectation of playing for Chelsea and England and, if he takes to his new surroundings at Old Trafford, he could be a star.He needs to get more goals playing that far up the field. And he can, because he’s cute enough in those areas.His record at Chelsea was one in six, which is good, but the challenge is to make that even better. I think he will be a very good player for Manchester United. Mason Mount can be a success at Manchester United following his move from Chelsea2) JAMES MADDISON, LEICESTER TO TOTTENHAM, £45mHe’s had 39 goal contributions from midfield over the past two seasons (22 goals, 17 assists) and those numbers put him right up there with the best.I have a lot of time for him, he’s a super player. Harry Kane, if he stays, will love playing with him. Maddison will quickly become Kane’s most frequent supplier of opportunities to put the ball in the net. He will pick Kane out in tight areas, if he is there!This is a different type of pressure, though, coming from Leicester. He played with freedom there and there is a bit more on your shoulders at Spurs, especially if it doesn’t start well for them. James Maddison will be determined to show he can cope with the pressure at Tottenham3) ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER, BRIGHTON TO LIVERPOOL, £35mYou  try to eliminate risk when signing a player, and he is tried and tested in our football.He was brilliant at the World Cup, but forget that — I like him for what he has done here. I’m also attracted to him because of his bonny name. He should be playing for Scotland!He is hard-working and can pick a pass. He plays in a position where your thinking has to be quick and your touch needs to be good, and he ticks those boxes.The question is, can he make the jump from Brighton to Liverpool? He is expected to win every week now. New Liverpool signing Alexis Mac Allister already has plenty of Premier League experience4) MATEO KOVACIC, CHELSEA TO MAN CITY, £25mHe is a smart signing for what City need after losing their captain Ilkay Gundogan. He can play and will work hard.I can see him doing a decent job for City and they know what they’re getting. There isn’t much risk with this one.But he is an offensive midfielder who does not score enough goals. He scored three times in 109 games for Real Madrid, a team who dominate every game they play.Can he add goals at City, like Gundogan did? If so, they’ve got a great deal at £25m. There isn’t much risk with signing Mateo Kovacic; he can do a decent job for Manchester City5) HARVEY BARNES, LEICESTER TO NEWCASTLE, £39mAs a manager, when you’re sitting in the dressing room at 2.30pm with your players, and you’ve got Allan Saint-Maximin in your team , you’re saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to get from him today — will it be the best version or will he disappear?’He was a maverick, and I understand why supporters liked him. He does excite you. But with Barnes, you know exactly what you’re going to get at 3pm.He will do the hard yards, back and forwards, and he must be a dream to work with. I hope he does well up there. He looks like the sort of boy you’d want to do well, because he looks like he doesn’t complain.So, if you ask me, Saint-Maximin or Barnes? I’m going for Barnes 365 days of the year. Harvey Barnes is a much preferable option for Newcastle than Allan Saint-Maximin IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!  It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify 6) JOSKO GVARDIOL, RB LEIPZIG TO MAN CITY, £77mThe biggest thing in Gvardiol’s favour is that City make fewer mistakes in the transfer window than anyone else.They have football people making football decisions alongside Pep Guardiola. The fact they have spent big on this Croatia centre back, I trust their judgment.He’s got a good profile and, at big money, it will be interesting to see how he fares against better forwards than he faced in Germany. The fact City have spent so much on Josko Gvardiol indicates how talented he is  7) YOURI TIELEMANS, LEICESTER TO ASTON VILLA, FREEI thought there would be a lot of competition for Tielemans, especially on a free transfer.The 26-year-old is a good signing for Villa and their manager Unai Emery. He chips in with goals, he’s a good passer and plays with a smile. He looks a good type.I expect him to make an impact at Villa, who look like they could have a good season after qualifying for Europe last year. He has proven he can play here, and making the jump from Leicester to Villa isn’t that big a step. Youri Tielemans should be able to make a significant impact after signing for Aston Villa8) JAMES MILNER, LIVERPOOL TO BRIGHTON, FREEI am an enormous fan of James. His best days are behind him, yes, but he will improve your football club — his attitude around the place, his time-keeping, his approach to training.Will he improve you on the pitch? I’m not sure any more. But he will up the standards of the dressing room. You would hope that his influence can spread at Brighton. Having someone like James — who has 619 Premier League appearances to his name and could feasibly break Gareth Barry’s record of 653 this season — around the place can only be a very good thing. James Milner’s attitude and approach to training will be of great benefit to Brighton9) JOAO PEDRO, WATFORD TO BRIGHTON, £30mJoao Pedro played more than 100 times for Watford and scored 24 goals. So, while he’s only 21, he has plenty of experience here. He’s also gone to a club that, when they sign someone, you sit up and take notice. Brighton seem to get very good players at prices that look like real value over time, usually from South America. Maybe this time they have done it again by shopping in Hertfordshire. Another new Brighton signing, Joao Pedro, could now go up another level with his displays10) DECLAN RICE, WEST HAM TO ARSENAL, £105m I am going to talk more about Rice in my Mail Sport column on Saturday, but he has to feature in this list. He will improve Arsenal and, even though it’s a very big fee, they could get a decade out of someone who has the potential to become a great player. In Declan Rice Arsenal could get a decade out of someone with potential to be a great player

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