Chelsea - Feature

Top 11 Signings of the 2016/17 Premier League Season

Sadio Mane: From Southampton to Liverpool

As the Premier League season wraps up, the race for the top 4 is done and dusted. Chelsea sealed the title with their 1-0 win against West Brom, while Tottenham have also sealed their spot for the Champions League as runners up. Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were all vying for the remaining two places. City and Liverpool grabbed the two remaining spots, while Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United still have a chance from their Europa League final.

Also Read : Premier League Champions: Chelsea Player Ratings

While experienced stars like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Eden Hazard and Harry Kane have all impressed this season, new signings have also adapted to the Premier League like a fish to water. Chelsea’s new signings have had a massive impact in their title win, while players like Sadio Mane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have also been pivotal for their respective teams.

Here we look at an XI comprising of new signings of the Premier League clubs in the season that was:

Goalkeeper : Victor Valdes

The former Barcelona stopper was signed by Middlesbrough in the summer and impressed between the sticks in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Boro. Middlesbrough have been relegated because of their lack of goals this season, while their defenders and goalkeeper have impressed. Valdes was shipped out after an year of exile at Manchester United, but looked reliable in goal despite his lack of match practice. Lee Grant has also done well for Stoke City,but has been dropped to the bench in favour of Jack Butland. Valdes has been first choice for the entire season for Boro and has had a decent campaign despite being well past his prime. He gets the nod ahead of Eduardo, Grant and Stekelenburg.

Right Back : Eric Bailly

The Ivorian defender has been Manchester United’s best defender this season, and will play at right back in this side to accomodate the other defenders, and because of the lack of good right backs. Bailly has been a real rock in the defence for Manchester United, and is tipped to have a great future.The young defender has been better than all of his fellow centre backs, despite being less experienced. Strong, fast and good in the air, Bailly has all the attributes to become one of the best centre backs in the world. One of the signings of the season.

Centre Back : David Luiz

What a story it has been for the Brazilian. From being called a panic buy, to being one of the best centre backs in the league, Luiz has come a long way. The Brazilian has been instrumental in Chelsea’s title win this season, as he has thrived in the 3 man defence deployed by manager Antonio Conte. Luiz was called too error prone in his time at PSG, but has improved vastly under Antonio Conte, and has proven to be a shrewd signing. Luiz would look to continue his form into the next season as well, and help the Blues to European glory. A no brainer in this eleven.

Centre Back : Ashley Williams

The Welshman was signed by Ronald Koeman in the summer from Swansea, and has had a good season under the Dutchman. Williams has been a mainstay in defence for Everton, and has not disappointed his manager. Williams has showcased all his experience, and has led by example at the back. Everton finish in the top half of the table, a good season to be fair, given it was only their first season under a new manager. If the Toffees are to continue their form next season as well, they would need Williams to be in top form. The Wales captain has been consistent and injury free, and edges out Joel Matip as a result.

Left Back : Marcos Alonso

Another player who has come a long way. Marcos Alonso’s arrival raised a few eyebrows, but the Spaniard has answered his critics in some style by winning the title,and being one of Chelsea’s best players. Alonso has been exceptional at left wing back, and has done really well in defence and attack. He has also chipped in with 6 goals, which is a good output for a left wing back. Alonso has been one of the best left sided defenders in the league, probably behind only Danny Rose, who is currently out with an injury. He would be looking to continue his form into next season as well.

Defensive Midfielder : N’ Golo Kante

A no brainer, the diminutive midfielder has been the best player in the league this season, and has won the PFA Award as a result. Kante has won the Premier League with two different clubs now, and is regarded as one of the finest midfielders in the world. He has been absolutely sensational in the middle of the park for Chelsea, and covers more ground than anyone else on the field. Kante was bought for just 30 million, and has proved to be a great bargain, considering his performances this season. He can be included in any XI in football at the moment, let alone this one.

Central Midfield : Victor Wanyama

Wanyama was signed by Pochettino to shore up things in the middle of the park, and the Kenyan midfielder has not disappointed his manager as he has been an absolute beast in midfield for Tottenham. Wanyama is one of the best players in the league in his position, and did not cost much. He and Moussa Dembele have been one of the best partnerships in the Premier League, and have helped the Spurs to a second place finish. Pochettino would be looking to extract more from his midfield beast next season, and go one better to win the title.

Central Midfield : Paul Pogba

The world record signing has been criticized a lot, but his importance to Jose Mourinho’s side cannot be questioned, as he runs the show for the Red Devils with his skills and passing range. Pogba was out with an injury for a few games, and United struggled in that period, thus highlighting his importance to the side. Pogba is still only 24, and is only going to get better. He might not score a lot of goals, but dominates play in the middle of the park. His sublime skills can take away the breath of spectators, and he has a good head for a man of his age.If Pogba manages to replicate the form he showed for Juventus, then United can dream of Premier League glory once more.

Right Wing : Sadio Mane

The Liverpool winger has been one of the signings of the season, and has been extremely magnificent on the right wing. Klopp was a huge fan of Mane for several years and eventually snapped him up this summer. The Senegalese winger repaid his faith with brillliant performances throughout the season. Mane is out for the season now with an injury, but had a major impact with his performances as his speed and trickery harrasses defenders no end. Liverpool suffered when he went to play for his country at the AFCON, as they missed Mane’s penetration and directness. Jurgen Klopp would be hoping Mane stays injury free for the next season as he is extremely important to their title chances.

Left Wing : Leroy Sane

The young winger was snapped up by City for a big amount, and after a slow start to the season, he has flourished. Sane has been a mainstay in the City lineup for the second half of the season, and has been magnificent for the Etihad outfit. The former Schalke winger is only 21 years old, and is only going to get better after getting used to the Premier League. Sane has scored 9 goals and provided 4 assists so far this season and that is not a bad output for a young player in his first season. Pep Guardiola would be hoping the young winger keeps growing in stature and guide City to the Premier League title next season.

Centre Forward : Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Imagine getting a world class striker for free. Jose Mourinho got the superstar from Sweden for a free transfer, and he delivered as he scored 17 goals in the Premier League. Zlatan’s Manchester United career looks to be over as he suffered a serious knee injury, but he took the Premier League by storm and enhanced his reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the world. Jose Mourinho would be looking to sign a good replacement for the Swedish superstar as he looks to aim for the Premier League title next season.

Notable Omissions :

Joel Matip
Gabriel Jesus
Allan Nyom
Lee Grant
Morgan Schneiderlin

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