Making an impression: the best transfers of each of the Premier League’s five ‘big’ teams for the 2022-23 season
While there are still games to play and trophies to be won for what remains of the 2022-23 campaign, transfer windows for both English clubs have firmly shut. The Premier League alone proved itself once again to be the continent’s biggest spenders, Chelsea alone accounts for more expenditure than all clubs in Europe’s next five biggest leagues combined.
The January signings have found time to bed themselves into their new surroundings. Any summer transfers that are yet to do so either have struggled to acclimatise or have been hit by some unfortunate injury problems in their debut season at their new club.
The condensed nature of the league and cup schedule has offered fans an extensive summary of each team’s new signings, including the more recent ones. With that in mind, here are the best transfers of each of the Premier League’s five ‘big’ teams for the 2022-23 season.
Arsenal – Oleksandr Zinchenko
Arsenal’s current transfer policy of signing proven winners boasting bags of Premier League experience can be seen in the January acquisitions of Jorginho and Leandro Trossard from Chelsea and Brighton respectively. But the Gunners’ signing of the campaign remains former Manchester City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, who arrived in North London last summer with four Premier League titles, four League Cups and an FA Cup to his name.
For Zinchenko, playing under Mikel Arteta has meant guaranteed playing time and a more vital role in the club’s footballing project. His contributions have gone beyond his mere two goals and an assist in 20 appearances, as Zinchenko’s leadership and winning mentality has evidently had the most profound effect. Arsenal sat five points clear at the top after 27 games and boasts winning odds of 8/11 on bet365, which places among Ireland’s top 20 betting sites for 2023. Former City team-mate and fellow Gunner Gabriel Jesus would arguably have taken this crown had his campaign not been blighted by a knee injury, which kept him sidelined for over three months.
Chelsea – Enzo Fernandez
As mentioned, the Todd Boehly era at Chelsea announced itself with a bang in 2022-23. Despite the American and his consortium taking over towards the back end of last season, this current campaign was the first in which money could be invested in new recruits – which they certainly have done. But with £546.1 million spent and 16 new faces brought in – 14 of which were available for immediate selection – it has been hard to highlight a stand-out performer in an underwhelming campaign for the Blues.
Enzo Fernandez joined the Blues in one of the biggest transfer stories of the winter window, if not the season. The 22-year-old World Cup winner with Argentina signed on deadline day for a British record £107m fee and has since started the next eight games for Graham Potter, already popping up with two delightful assists. Potter’s Blues were calling out for a midfielder given the injury woes of Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante. With Jorginho moving to Arsenal it seems that Enzo is the natural inheritor of his famed pivotal role, as well as the No.5 shirt.
So pleased to see Enzo Fernandez settling in quickly at Chelsea. For me he is going to get even better. pic.twitter.com/OYCGqYIt4y
— Frank Khalid OBE (@FrankKhalidUK) March 9, 2023
Liverpool – Darwin Nunez
Despite being the subject of some mockeries online, Darwin Nunez has really been a stellar signing for Liverpool this campaign. While at times erratic, the Uruguayan is always industrious and energetic and is a genuine offensive threat, as evidenced by his 14 goals and four assists in 32 appearances this campaign. Any slander aimed his way is a result of Liverpool’s underperforming season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side sat six points off the top four after 26 matches having already lost eight times. Despite not being entirely prolific, this placing is no slight on Nunez’s work. Replacing Sadio Mane – who left for Bayern in the summer – was never going to be easy, as Klopp has been tasked with overseeing a generational forward change with Cody Gakpo signing in January and Roberto Firmino set to leave at the end of the season. Nunez, then, appears primed to lead Liverpool’s front line for years to come, and will only get increasingly dangerous with more Premier League experience.
▪️ 14 goals
▪️ 4 assists
Darwin Núñez has 18 G/A in his first Liverpool season, and he’s only started 21 games 🤫 pic.twitter.com/9B21E4Wkpr
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 7, 2023
Manchester United – Casemiro
Arguably the easiest pick of the teams on this list so far is Manchester United’s signing of Casemiro. The club had been calling out for a midfield after years of frailties in that area, with the combination of Fred and Scott McTominay insufficient to take United to the highest level. With Erik ten Hag at the helm from the start of the 2022-23 campaign, fans finally got their wish with the August signing of the five-time Champions League winner.
It was a signing that looked as good on paper as it has done in reality. At 31 years of age, Casemiro has been a stalwart in Ten Hag’s side, providing five goals and five assists across 37 appearances for the Red Devils. Goals have come at crucial times, too, such as his strike in the Carabao Cup final which ended United’s six-year wait for a trophy. Like Zinchenko at Arsenal, Casemiro has instilled his experience and winning mentality at his new club, with his only fault being the two needless red cards picked up in February and March.
Manchester City – Erling Haaland
Across the way to the blue side of Manchester, it is a similarly easy choice for the signing of the season. Erling Haaland arrived at Manchester City in July 2022, signing for the club where his father, Alf-Inge, spent three seasons in the early 2000s. Despite being just 22 years old, Haaland came with a big reputation, having taken Germany by storm with his 86 goals and 23 assists in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund.
Such statistics come with their own sense of pressure – but if Haaland was feeling the heat, it hasn’t shown. Norway international has broken a host of records in England since joining City, such as becoming the club’s leading scorer in a single league season and smashing the tallies held by previous Golden Boot winners. After 34 games in all competitions this term, Haaland has recorded a staggering 33 goals and five assists. He has single-handedly helped City challenge Arsenal at the top of the Premier League tree and has arguably been the Premier League signing of the season, let alone just City’s.
28 Premier League goals and counting for Erling Haaland 😲 pic.twitter.com/gJA6wdmWPf
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 11, 2023
Of course, new faces can take more than just one campaign to find their feet at a new club. Chelsea in particular will be hoping a few more of their 16 acquisitions can kick on and prove their multi-million price tags. Similarly, some players can ‘peak too soon’ in their new club careers and eventually drop off after an initial lightning start.
For now, though, there can be little doubt that the five entries on this list have earned the right to be considered among each club’s best acquisitions, even with games still to play. With the Premier League’s wealth increasing even more, it looks set to be another busy summer of transfers, and it remains to be seen who will be taking the league by storm this time next year.