In the second of our transfer window winners and losers pieces, we’ve scrolled over the Premier League’s summer hauls in search of primacy.
Honourable mentions must be given to Middlesbrough, Tottenham and even Arsenal after Gunners boss Arsene Wenger traded his long-held principles for £35m centre-half Shkodran Mustafi, but the three clubs below ended up top rated.
3rd best – Stoke
It wasn’t looking good for the Potters going into transfer deadline day, with just three new players in and two of them teenage Premier League rookies.
Adding Wilfried Bony on a season-long loan might prove the best capture of the window, while the same deal for experienced Netherlands centre-half Bruno Martins Indi, still only 24, gives boss Mark Hughes options at the back.
Keeping hold of Marko Arnautovic earlier in the summer was also excellent business, and after racking up a thrifty net spend of around £15m, Hughes can afford to feel content with what he has.
2nd best – Manchester United
Blowing £89m on one player isn’t really fair, especially with question marks still hanging over a couple of positions including centre-half, but Paul Pogba doesn’t even seem United’s most important capture.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic might be the best free transfer since Gary McAllister after four goals in as many matches for his new side, Eric Bailly really does look a £30m defender, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is clearly itching to try out his pace against Premier League defenders.
They are the only four new faces at Old Trafford, with 12 leaving for good and five more on loan, at a net cost of around £140m.
Jose Mourinho is not messing about.
Winners – Manchester City
Who says you can’t buy a whole new team during the transfer window?
City’s record spend of £168m during Pep Guardiola’s first summer in charge includes deals for a goalkeeper, two centre-halves, three midfielders, three wingers and a striker, and while half that dectet won’t make an appearance until at least December, it’s an exhaustive list.
John Stones and Nolito have already impressed, with Claudio Bravo and Ilkay Gundogan tipped to do so when they eventually make the XI.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss could hardly have hoped for more.