Christian Pulisic, Ilkay Gundogan and the 19 best-value signings of the 2023 summer transfer window

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Best Value Signings 2023 GFX
Spending has reached unprecedented levels this summer, but some teams have still managed to find good value in the market

The 2023 summer transfer window was characterised by huge deals, with the Saudi Pro League's entry into the European market offering the continent's highest-profile players and agents another bargaining chip in negotiations. However, the riches on offer in the Middle East are not the only reason that the market continues to go crazy.

Empowered by mammoth broadcast deals, the Premier League once again lived up to its name as the land of the big spenders, with Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo both moving between English clubs for over £100 million ($126m). Other European sides have flexed their financial muscle too, with Bayern Munich's busy summer headlined by the €100m (£86m/£108m) signing of Harry Kane from Tottenham.

Yet, in this inflated market, some teams have proven that it is still possible to get a fair deal. Below, GOAL has taken a look at the 19 best-value deals completed by European clubs this summer...

  1. Granit Xhaka - Arsenal to Bayer Leverkusen (£21.4m)
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    #19 Granit Xhaka - Arsenal to Bayer Leverkusen (£21.4m)

    When Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy back in November 2019, the thought of him remaining at the Emirates Stadium for a further three-and-a-half years would've seemed ridiculous. And yet, when the Switzerland international eventually departed this summer, most Gunners fans were disappointed to see him go.

    That is credit to the way Xhaka has bolstered his reputation over the past few seasons, which is brilliant news for Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga does not have the pull of the English top flight, so Xabi Alonso will be ecstatic to have snapped up such a well-rounded midfielder for a reasonable price.

  2. Sofyan Amrabat - Fiorentina to Man Utd (loan)
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    #18 Sofyan Amrabat - Fiorentina to Man Utd (loan)

    They made properly hard work of it, but Manchester United finally recruited a defensive midfielder on deadline day in the form of Sofyan Amrabat. The Moroccan star has been linked with a move away from Fiorentina ever since he shone during his national team's run to the 2022 World Cup semi-finals.

    United are paying a €10m (£8.6m/$10.9m) loan fee for Amrabat's services this season, with a purchase option set at €25m (£21m/$27m) for the summer. If he can replicate the form he showcased in Qatar, that represents extremely good business, particularly with prices for players of his profile skyrocketing this summer.

  3. Alexis Mac Allister - Brighton to Liverpool (£35m)

    #17 Alexis Mac Allister - Brighton to Liverpool (£35m)

    Liverpool's midfield rebuild kicked off with the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton all the way back in June. And thanks to a handy release clause, the Reds only had to pay £35m ($44m) for the World Cup winner.

    During a summer where the best Premier League midfielders have moved for around three-times that fee, the deal represents pretty astonishing value. Mac Allister has made a solid start to life at Anfield too, and should be a mainstay of Jurgen Klopp's side for many seasons to come.

  4. Marco Asensio - Real Madrid to PSG (free)
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    #16 Marco Asensio - Real Madrid to PSG (free)

    Paris Saint-Germain are not a side you'd normally associate with good-value signings. However, this summer, the Ligue 1 champions have changed their approach somewhat, snapping up a string of reliable players on free transfers.

    Marco Asensio is one of those, with the three-time Champions League winner calling time on his Real Madrid career after seven seasons in July. The Spaniard was never a bonafide superstar at the Bernabeu, but he popped up with more than his fair share of important goals over the years, and his versatility will make him an extremely useful option for Luis Enrique this season. He's already netted twice for his new club, too.

  5. Tyler Adams - Leeds to Bournemouth (£23m)
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    #15 Tyler Adams - Leeds to Bournemouth (£23m)

    He might be injured currently, but Tyler Adams should prove to be a shrewd signing for Bournemouth. As Leicester, Leeds and Southampton learned last season, standing still in the transfer market is a recipe for disaster in the Premier League.

    Adams' arrival adds plenty of dynamism to the Cherries' midfield following the departure of Jefferson Lerma, and he's unlikely to be commanding too much in wages. If he hits the ground running, his transfer value is going to increase. Bournemouth may even be able to sell him on to Chelsea - who were close to signing the United States captain this summer - in the future.

  6. Romelu Lukaku - Chelsea to Roma (loan)
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    #14 Romelu Lukaku - Chelsea to Roma (loan)

    With Tammy Abraham injured, Jose Mourinho has been begging Roma's board for a new striker all summer - even hilariously leaving space for a new arrival in the first-team's squad photo recently.

    And he's now finally got his man in the form of Romelu Lukaku. Amid all the recent noise, it's easy to forget just how good the Belgian can be. Under Mourinho, he scored nearly 30 goals for Manchester United during the 2017-18 campaign and he also boasts an exceptional Serie A scoring record. Snapping up Lukaku for a modest loan fee is a real coup for a club of Roma's standing.

  7. Youri Tielemans - Leicester to Aston Villa (free)
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    #13 Youri Tielemans - Leicester to Aston Villa (free)

    Prior to his disastrous 2022-23 campaign, Youri Tielemans was widely considered one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. If Leicester weren't so stubborn, he would have commanded a sizeable transfer fee, providing funds that might have allowed them to spend their way clear of relegation.

    The Foxes' loss has been Aston Villa's gain this summer, with Unai Emery's side securing the Belgian's services for free following the expiration of his contract at the King Power Stadium. Some of the division's bigger clubs might regret letting the Villans snap up Tielemans early on in the window.

  8. Christian Pulisic - Chelsea to AC Milan (£17m)

    #12 Christian Pulisic - Chelsea to AC Milan (£17m)

    Christian Pulisic finally woke up from his Chelsea nightmare this summer, sealing a cut-price move to AC Milan. The deal cost the Rossoneri just £17m ($22m), which seems extraordinarily cheap for a player of his on-field and commercial potential.

    Shirt sales have already skyrocketed since the American star arrived in Italy, and he's also proving to be an ideal fit for Stefano Pioli's system too. Pulisic scored in each of his first two Serie A appearances, and there's likely plenty more to come from him at San Siro.

  9. Joao Felix - Atletico Madrid to Barcelona (loan)
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    #11 Joao Felix - Atletico Madrid to Barcelona (loan)

    It always felt a little odd that Joao Felix opted to move to Atletico Madrid in 2019, with Diego Simeone's attritional style not really accommodating languid forwards. There were flashes of promise at the Metropolitano, but his spell has - rather predictably - ended acrimoniously.

    Felix went cap in hand to Barca this summer, using Fabrizio Romano's considerable social media reach to beg for a move to Catalunya in July. He got his wish too, but only with hours left to go in the transfer window. There are doubts over his fitness levels, sure, but Felix will be extremely motivated to prove his doubters wrong, which could be a potent recipe for success.

  10. Djordje Petrovic - New England Revolution to Chelsea (£14m)
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    #10 Djordje Petrovic - New England Revolution to Chelsea (£14m)

    It's hard to think of a young player coming over from MLS to Europe that has generated as much hype as Djordje Petrovic. The 23-year-old took the American league by storm after arriving in New England last April, winning the 2022 Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.

    With Chelsea looking particularly weak in the goalkeeping position, it is not out of the realms of possibility that the Serbian even usurps Robert Sanchez as Mauricio Pochettino's No.1 at some point this summer. All that potential only cost the Blues £14m ($17.7m).

  11. Marcus Thuram - Borussia Monchengladbach to Inter (free)
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    #9 Marcus Thuram - Borussia Monchengladbach to Inter (free)

    Marcus Thuram was one of the hottest free agents this summer, with several Premier League clubs linked with a move for the former Borussia Monchengladbach forward. In the end, Inter got a deal across the line, sourcing their replacement for Lukaku without paying a transfer fee.

    Thuram has not been as prolific as the Belgian during his career thus far, but his boundless energy and strong ball carrying make him well suited to how Simone Inzaghi wants his team to play. An even if it doesn't work out, the Nerazzurri can flip him for 100 percent pure profit.

  12. Timothy Weah - Lille to Juventus (£10.3m)

    #8 Timothy Weah - Lille to Juventus (£10.3m)

    Technically, Lille made a profit by selling Tim Weah to Juventus this summer. But it's pretty clear the Bianconeri got the better deal here, snapping up the versatile United States international for just €12m (£10.3m/$13m).

    He's still only 23 and represents a smart replacement for Juan Cuadrado, who departed Turin for Inter this summer. The early signs have been good, with Weah being one of the few Juve players to impress during their disappointing recent draw with Bologna.

  13. James Maddison - Leicester to Tottenham (£40m)
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    #7 James Maddison - Leicester to Tottenham (£40m)

    OK, £40m ($51m) is certainly not cheap, even in today's market, but it still feels like Tottenham have got value for money from the James Maddison deal. It's not an overstatement to describe the ex-Leicester man as one of the Premier League's best creators in recent years, and he has immediately made an impact since arriving in north London.

    With Kane no longer the main man, Spurs were crying out for a big personality to take responsibility for the team's performances on and off the field. Maddison can provide that and will quickly establish himself as a firm favourite with the Tottenham faithful.

  14. Milan Skriniar - Inter to PSG (free)
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    #6 Milan Skriniar - Inter to PSG (free)

    It's taken an age, but Milan Skriniar is finally a Paris Saint-Germain player. This move was first touted last summer and the rumours resurfaced in January, with Inter mishandling the situation badly and allowing him to exit on a free.

    It's worked out well for PSG, who have been in need of a defensive overhaul for some time. Skriniar has immediately slotted into the heart of the backline and has not missed a minute of Ligue 1 action so far. It's an encouraging start, especially considering he missed so much of last season with a back injury.

  15. Callum Hudson-Odoi - Chelsea to Nottingham Forest (£5m)
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    #5 Callum Hudson-Odoi - Chelsea to Nottingham Forest (£5m)

    The demise of Callum Hudson-Odoi has been pretty bleak to watch. Once upon a time he commanded £70m ($90m) bids from Bayern Munich, but this summer he departed Stamford Bridge for less than a tenth of that.

    It's terrible news for the Blues' finances, but Nottingham Forest are laughing. Even if Hudson-Odoi isn't a roaring success, English players tend to retain their value, so their chances of making a loss are non-existent.

  16. Joao Cancelo - Man City to Barcelona (loan)
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    #4 Joao Cancelo - Man City to Barcelona (loan)

    The Joao Cancelo case shows just how quickly a player's fortunes can change in football. During the 2021-22 campaign, the Portuguese established himself as the best full-backs on the planet, placing in the top 30 for Ballon d'Or voting.

    In stark contrast, last season was a disaster for Cancelo. He apparently managed to fall out with three coaches: Pep Guardiola, Fernando Santos and Thomas Tuchel during a fractious campaign and will be hoping to put this disappointment behind him at Barcelona.

    From the Catalan giants' perspective, this is a dream signing. It's not costing them much either, hopefully giving the Blaugrana time to sort their finances out and potentially make the move permanent next summer.

  17. Ansu Fati - Barcelona to Brighton (loan)
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    #3 Ansu Fati - Barcelona to Brighton (loan)

    It's hard for anything to shock us in the transfer market these days, but when reports of Brighton bringing in Ansu Fati first surfaced, the footballing world raised a collective eyebrow.

    Tipped as the future of Barcelona after breaking through in spectacular fashion as a teenager, injuries have prevented Fati from properly exploding in recent years. He clearly views Roberto De Zerbi as the ideal man to get him back to his best, and if the Italian can reinvigorate the forward, this loan will prove to be outstanding value for money.

  18. Kim Min-jae - Napoli to Bayern Munich (£43m)
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    #2 Kim Min-jae - Napoli to Bayern Munich (£43m)

    You might be surprised to find Kim Min-jae so high on this list. He certainly doesn't fit the profile of a bargain buy, yet Bayern Munich can still be extremely satisfied to have only spent £43m ($54.6m) on the South Korea international.

    Simply put, there probably isn't a better centre-back on the planet than Kim on current form. He was a colossus for Napoli last season and possesses all the technical qualities required from defenders at the top level in 2023. Napoli will be cursing themselves for placing such a low release clause in Kim's contract.

  19. Ilkay Gundogan - Man City to Barcelona (free)
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    #1 Ilkay Gundogan - Man City to Barcelona (free)

    Despite all the talk that Barcelona would be floundering around for signings due to their financial problems, they have actually recruited pretty well. Their most impressive deal was snapping up Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer.

    The Germany international arrived in Catalunya fresh off of captaining Manchester City to a historic treble and would have had clubs queuing up to sign him if he hadn't outlined his sole desire to join Barca when his contract expired. It's a dream move for the midfielder and he'll be looking to help his side defy expectations by defending their La Liga title this season.