By Alex Young
The summer of 2013 will be remembered for breaking records. The Premier League spent £630 million on new recruits, 10 clubs broke their own transfer records - Cardiff did so twice and Tottenham three times - and an unprecedented £130m was spent on deadline day alone.
But who made the headlines and which club spent the best? Goal has compiled a best XI out of those finding pastures new. Do you agree?
The stand-out goalkeeping addition of the summer is Liverpool's acquisition of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland.
The £9 million signing featured in every one of the Black Cats' Premier League outings last season, and has been credited as one of the key reasons they stayed in the top division.
Many expected Mignolet to battle with former Anfield No.1 Pepe Reina for a starting berth, but with the Spaniard being shipped off to Napoli on loan the Belgian has stepped up and helped his side to maximum points in his opening three league games without conceding a goal.
Elsewhere, Maarten Stekelenburg's move to Fulham was another contender, and impressed on his debut against Sunderland on the opening day of the season but an injury during that match has left him on the sidelines since.
Other possible shot-stoppers up for consideration were Arsenal deadline-day signing Emiliano Viviano, who joined from Palmero on loan - but he is likely to play second fiddle to Wojciech Szczesny for the time being - while Jed Steer and Neil Alexander - of Norwich City and Crystal Palace respectively - will do similar.
Admittedly, this was a tough choice until very late in the window.
With a dearth of real defensive talent being recruited by Premier League clubs throughout the summer, there was very little to play with.
Steven Caulker, a club-record £9m signing for newly promoted Cardiff City from Tottenham, was a surprise early deal and potentially a steal by Malky Mackay.
The 21-year-old excelled while on loan at Swansea City two years ago, earned a first ever call-up to the England senior squad a year later, and then impressed initially during his breakthrough season at White Hart Lane last season.
Many Spurs fans tipped him as a future star with his intimidating and commanding presence, but Andre Villas-Boas was evidently not as keen during the second half of the season and Caulker lost his place.
Even so, his talent is undeniable and his performances will likely go some way to deciding Cardiff's finish this term.
Elsewhere, Liverpool again bolstered their defensive options with the additions of Mamadou Sakho, from Paris Saint-Germain, Kolo Toure, from Manchester City, Tiago Ilori, from Sporting, and Aly Cissoko, from Valencia.
Sakho comes with a reputation as one of the most promising defenders in France - if not Europe - even if this potential has stalled somewhat since his debut six years ago.
Equally adept at centre-back or left-back, he will develop alongside Daniel Agger & Co. and could well turn into a long-term replacement for the retired Jamie Carragher.
Going for a less high-profile name, Jores Okore turned down a move to Chelsea ahead of completing a £4m deal with Aston Villa.
The 21-year-old has experience in the Champions League with Nordsjaelland and already has seven caps for Denmark. He can probably not be considered a starter in the Premier League quite yet, but his potential is evident.
Unlike our defensive options, the Premier League club's summer business hands us plenty of options in midfielder. Too much, even.
Chelsea started early with the capture of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen and Marco van Ginkel from Vitesse, before stealing Willian from under the noses of Tottenham in a £31.7m deal.
Tottenham were even busier, breaking their transfer record twice with the additions of Paulinho and Erik Lamela, and adding further depth to an already competitive squad with Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and, finally, Christian Eriksen.
Manchester City were almost as prolific with their targets, signing Fernandinho in a £30m move from Shakhtar Donetsk and Jesus Navas from Sevilla.
Manchester United waited until the final hours of the transfer window to recruit much-needed steel to their midfield, with the £27.5m deal for Marouane Fellaini.
If that wasn't enough, Arsenal blew everyone out of the water with the stunning capture of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £40m - smashing their previous transfer record in the process.
And Ozil is who we have chosen to play behind the striker, with the Germany international deployed ahead of a four-man midfield.
To the left of Ozil is Lamela, after the 21-year-old dazzled Serie A last term with 15 goals from midfield, and, on the right, Navas.
Providing protection between the above attacking three and our defence is Capoue of Tottenham - who has been the most impressive of the summer signings at White Hart Lane thus far - and Fellaini.
This is by far the most contentious of all the positions, purely due to the fierce competition of places. Fellaini is perhaps the most dubious pick due to his pricetag, but his ability in the Premier League cannot be questioned.
Paulinho, Willian, Fernandinho, Schurrle can all consider themselves very unlucky to miss out from the high-profile signings, while Nathan Redmond and Leroy Fer of Norwich City, Victor Moses, on loan at Liverpool from Chelsea, and Victor Wanyama of Southampton could be considered equally perturbed.
New strikers were almost as regular as midfield reinforcements this summer, with 18 of the 20 top-flight clubs recruiting a new goalscorer.
Tottenham and Manchester City grabbed the headlines, again, with the additions of Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic.
Elsewhere, other impressive deals saw Samuel Eto'o reunited with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Southampton break their transfer record to pay £15m for Pablo Osvaldo, Swansea did similar for Wilfried Bony, Cardiff signed Andreas Cornelius, while Norwich brought in Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting and Gary Hooper from Celtic.
Loan deals were also completed for Fabio Borini and Romelu Lukaku to Sunderland and Everton, respectively.
Soldado is where we start for the first of our front two. The £25.9m signing from Valencia scored 59 goals in 101 appearance with los Che - and has a similarly impressive scoring record at Getafe and Spain.
The 28-year-old has scored four goals in his opening four games for Spurs - including two winning goals against Crystal Palace and Swansea - and has no doubt encouraged Spurs fans that he is a striker to rely on after Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor struggled for long periods last term.
The second slot is equally difficult to pick from the plethora of high-profile and astute signings, but Lukaku's deadline-day move on loan from Chelsea to Everton gets the nod.
The Belgian was a revelation at West Brom last season - scoring 17 goals in 35 games - and has all the capabilities to similarly thrive in Roberto Martinez's free-flowing approach at Goodison Park.
The Toffees offloaded Victor Anichebe on deadline day - arguably Everton's most impressive attacking output last term - while Nikica Jelavic scored just seven times last term, and is yet to get off the mark this term - again underlining the club's needed for a potent output up front, which is exactly what Lukaku offers.
|PREMIER LEAGUE SUMMER SIGNINGS XI