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EFL: A selection of stand-out summer signings

8 July 2016

EFL clubs have been busy all summer strengthening their squads in preparation for the 2016/17 season, which kicks off on Friday 5th August.

Over recent weeks, transfer activity has been rife and we are starting to see the new-look teams come together for the campaign ahead.

But what are the stand-out signings so far during the close-season? We put that question out to fans on social media, and we've taken a look at some of the most popular suggestions...

Sky Bet Championship – Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United)

The most common response was undoubtedly Newcastle's new signing, Matt Ritchie, and it's not too hard to see why.

@EFL I'd say Matt Ritchie (though lots are agreeing as well here)

— Nathan (@nb0211) July 5, 2016
Manager Rafa Benitez will no doubt be targeting the Sky Bet Championship crown, and statistics suggest the addition of the 26-year-old is a wise move.

A Championship-winner in 2014/15, Ritchie starred for Bournemouth, scoring 15 times and adding 17 assists, while further impressing in the top flight with the Cherries last term.

Belgian goalkeeper Mats Selz, Crystal Palace hotshot Dwight Gayle and Atletico Madrid full-back Jesus Gamez have also arrived at St James Park.

Sky Bet League One – Curtis Nelson (Oxford United)

Sky Bet League One new boys Oxford United boasted the strongest defence during last season's promotion-winning campaign. Plymouth Argyle weren't too far behind.

It made perfect sense, then, for Michael Appleton to snap up the Pilgrims' ever-present captain Curtis Nelson to further boost the U's backline for the months ahead.

With almost 250 appearances under his belt for the Devon club and aged just 23, the centre-back has got the Oxford fans believing they could have another season to remember.

Nelson joins Simon Eastwood, Aaron Martin, Christian Ribeiro, Wes Thomas and Arsenal loanee Dan Crowley as one of several new faces at the Kassam.

Sky Bet League Two – Carl Baker (Portsmouth)

Portsmouth have had another busy transfer window as they look to improve on last year's Play-Off placing, and the signing of Carl Baker is the one that has caught the eye more than any other.

. @EFL without doubt, the best signing in div2 is @CarlBaker7 by #Pompey

— The Northern Blues (@BluesNorthern) July 5, 2016

@EFL by an absolute mile the best signing so far has been us getting @CarlBaker7

— Alex (@alexread11) July 5, 2016
Baker was a regular in the Championship last term with Milton Keynes Dons, and played a pivotal role in them getting to the second tier during their free-scoring promotion season of 2014/15.

He'll be eager to return to Sky Bet League One with his new employers, and is one of eight new permanent faces at Fratton Park.

Tom Davies, Matt Clarke, Drew Talbot, Milan Lalkovic, Danny Rose, Curtis Main and Michael Smith are the others to sign on the dotted line so far.

Returning heroes – Tomlin, Vigouroux, Threlkeld

Plenty of Bristol City fans responded to our question with the name Lee Tomlin, even though he wasn't even a confirmed Robins player. Well, now he is!

Tomlin eased any relegation fears at Ashton Gate with a sublime spell on loan, hitting six goals in the process. Now the City fans can enjoy his creative flair on a permanent basis.

Now on to the League One Robins! While Tomlin was busy making goals, Swindon loanee Lawrence Vigouroux was doing his utmost to prevent them – and Town fans are pleased to see the Chilean goalkeeper back at the County Ground after completing a permanent transfer from Liverpool.

Plymouth have had a busy summer and one of their signings is that of Oskar Threlkeld, who played a key part for Derek Adams' men last term.

The versatile 21-year-old was called back by parent club Bolton Wanderers and subsequently missed the Play-Offs, but he is back at Home Park and raring to go.

Buzzing to have signed for @Only1Argyle great to be back!! Cant wait to get started ⚽️ #PAFC#GreenArmy 💚

— oscar threlkeld (@oscar_threlkeld) July 2, 2016
Non-league new boys – Deverdics, Amond, Dennis, Payne, Jackson

Nicky Deverdics was the creative force behind Dover Athletic's remarkable run to the National League Play-Offs, scoring 16 goals and assisting a further 18 for the Whites in 2015/16. Padraig Amond finished as the division's joint top scorer, netting 30 times for promoted Grimsby Town.

Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has snapped up the pair of them – and if their form can be replicated in the EFL then 2016/17 could be an exciting campaign for the Victoria Park faithful.

@EFL@padraigamond21 for @Official_HUFC amazing player can't wait to see him in action

— Jack Wheelhouse (@JackThePoolie) July 5, 2016
Stockport County's Kristian Dennis found the net 22 times while on loan at Macclesfield Town and he has made the leap to League One, with Chesterfield giving the striker the platform to shine.

Championship new boys Barnsley have signed Stefan Payne and Kayden Jackson from Dover and Wrexham respectively, no doubt hoping they can have a similar effect to that of defensive mainstay Marc Roberts, who they signed from Halifax in the summer of 2015.

The best of the rest – Ajose, Holmes, Sawyers, Roofe

Some of the stars of the 2015/16 season have moved on to pastures new after catching the eye last term.

Nicky Ajose and Ricky Holmes were respective nominees for the League One and Two Player of the Year gongs at the EFL Awards last March, and both have been purchased by Charlton Athletic.

The Addicks, newly-relegated from the Championship, underlined their ambition of an immediate return by signing the duo, among others. Ajose hit 24 goals for Swindon in 2014/15, while Holmes was the creative force behind Northampton Town's runaway League Two title triumph.

Romaine Sawyers narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship with Play-Off semi-finalists Walsall. However, the attacking midfielder will feature in the division after all, sealing a move to Brentford on a free transfer.

And Kemar Roofe, the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Year and star of Oxford United's season, has been snapped up by Leeds United – and has vowed to entertain on the Elland Road stage.

Read more: The future's bright for Kemar Roofe and Leeds United

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