Granit Xhaka has been a revelation for Bayer Leverkusen

Europe’s best XI of new signings in 2023-24, feat. Arsenal, Madrid, Bayern…

Clubs including Tottenham, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich can be pretty satisfied with some of their marquee acquisitions last summer.

While the jury remains out on the likes of Moises Caicedo, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount, several last summer’s most expensive signings have hit the ground running to justify their big-money fees, while there have been some notable bargains at surprise packages like Bayer Leverkusen and Girona.

We’ve put together a full XI from across Europe’s top five leagues of the best signings of the 2023-24 campaign. Disagree with our picks? Let us know @planetfutebol.

GK: Guglielmo Vicario

The Italian was widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League for the first half of the 2023-24, one of the key pillars of Ange Postecoglou’s freshly-invigorated Tottenham.

Vicario’s stock has fallen a little in recent weeks, with a couple of question marks appearing as the opposition have started to target him at set-pieces, but he can still be considered a successful addition and a major upgrade on latter-day Hugo Lloris.

RB: Benjamin Pavard

We’re still left scratching our heads at what Bayern have been all about these past couple of years. Sacking Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel didn’t have the desired effect in terms of results, and we’re still awaiting project Tuchel to lift off in Bavaria.

There is a certain England international banging in the goals up top (more on him later), but otherwise you’re left questioning the wisdom of Bayern’s squad-building when it comes to incomings and outgoings.

Bayern’s loss is Inter’s gain when it comes to Pavard, who arrived at the San Siro in the final days of the summer transfer window.

The World Cup winner has been excellent for the Nerazzurri, underlining his quality with a man-of-the-match display in their recent 1-0 win over Juventus.

CB: Francesco Acerbi

The veteran started at the heart of Inter’s three-man backline in the Champions League final last season, but back then he was only on loan from Lazio.

Acerbi may be 36 years of age, but he’s been so solid for Inter that it was a no-brainer for the club to exercise the option to sign him permanently for just €3million last summer. He might not be a long-term recruit but he’s been a bargain for Simone Inzaghi.

CB: Daley Blind

Girona’s surprise title challenge has been built more on that glittering attack than their fairly porous defence, but former Manchester United and Ajax stalwart Blind has been a quality addition that’s helped them go from midtable mediocrity to a team that looks almost certain to qualify for the Champions League.

“The story he told me before I came to Girona was really intriguing and I can’t say anything other than he did not lie – I got excited and wanted to play here after speaking to him,” Blind told The Independent of Girona’s miracle worker manager Michel.

“You can’t know it for sure beforehand but we’re really happy with how it’s going and it’s always important for a coach to be clear about that.”

Things have worked out pretty well for the free agent.

LB: Alejandro Grimaldo

Arguably the very best signing of the lot.

Grimaldo is now getting his long-deserved Spain call-ups, having shone for Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen after joining on a free transfer from Benfica in the summer.

The wing-back has notched eight goals and nine assists for the Bundesliga leaders, with his latest goal coming in the statement 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich – a result that puts them five points clear at the top of the table.

READ: Xabi Alonso is the truth: He conquered Bayern and broke Thomas Muller’s brain in the process

DM: Declan Rice

Many, if not most, of football’s £100million+ transfers have been questionable in terms of success. Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Joao Felix, Enzo Fernandez, the list goes on…

We can quite emphatically say that Rice does not belong in that category. He’s seamlessly slotted in at Arsenal and if anything looks cheap. What a signing.

CM: Granit Xhaka

The man Declan Rice replaced in Arsenal’s midfield engine room has arguably been just as impressive at Bayer Leverkusen.

Xhaka has been an absolute revelation for Alonso’s side and has been widely talked up as the best, most complete player in the Bundesliga this season.

CM: Jude Bellingham

“Maybe Madrid couldn’t get Kylian Mbappe but Bellingham is a huge success and as a midfielder who plays like an attacker, he genuinely reminds me of Alfredo Di Stefano,” wrote one Spanish football columnist earlier this season.

Somehow that’s not hyperbolic. With 20 goals and eight assists in his debut season at the Bernabeu, Bellingham has been simply outrageous.

READ: He reminds me of Di Stefano’: 10 quotes on Jude Bellingham’s astonishing Real Madrid start

FWR: Matias Soule

European football’s dribble king has been a joy to watch at Frosinone this season. It’s been one of those loan moves that’s worked out for all parties.

Frosinone get a brilliant young footballer that’s made a big impact, notching 10 goals in 21 Serie A appearances this season.

The 20-year-old Argentinian gets valuable experience of playing in a major European league, while parent club Juventus have seen one of their star assets develop and increase his value. Win-win-win.

ST: Harry Kane

Just the 24 goals in 21 Bundesliga appearances for Kane in his debut season at Bayern. Tuchel’s side might be enduring a frustrating campaign, but they couldn’t have feasibly asked for much more from their £86million acquisition from Tottenham.

FWL: Savio

The mechanics of this one are a bit grubby and make us despair a bit for modern football. But there’s no denying he’s been a sensational signing for La Liga upstarts Girona.

The 19-year-old Brazilian winger became Troyes’ record signing in 2022, but he’s never made a single appearance for the French club, who have been horribly mismanaged by the City Football Group and are currently languishing near the bottom of Ligue 2.

He’s currently on loan at Girona and has reportedly agreed to move to Manchester City in the summer.

Having notched five goals and seven assists in La Liga this season, you can see why the City Group have seen fit to promote him to their crown jewel for next season.

READ NEXT: Ranking every Premier League club by their wage bill in 2023-24: Arsenal above Chelsea…

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the last 20 players to break the world transfer record?