The transfer window slams shut tonight but there’s already been a flurry of business from Premier League clubs throughout the summer. So, here’s a list of GiveMeSport’s top 10 signings.
The transfer window is a hectic time for every club, and while we may not have been blessed with Harry Redknapp leaning out his car window, Sky Sports’ yellow ticker has still been as busy as ever.
All 20 clubs have wheeled and dealed in one way or another, so we thought we’d take a stab at rating the best business that’s been done. But first, in order to adjudicate so many transfers, we had to set some criteria:
Ranking takes into consideration the quality of the player, how much they cost, and if they’ve helped solve a problem area for the buying club.
Signings who have yet to make an appearance for their new club have not been included. Similarly, loan signings have also been omitted — we wanted to focus on permanent deals.
Now that’s cleared up, let’s dive in.
10. Emiliano Martínez | Aston Villa (£20m)
Aston Villa limped through last season, only managing to escape the drop by the skin of their teeth. One headache Dean Smith encountered all season long was who to start between the sticks. Tom Heaton’s injury did him no favours, meaning goalkeeping duties were shared between Pepe Reina and Ørjan Nyland for the majority of the season.
With Heaton failing to recover for the new campaign, Smith has turned to Arsenal shot-stopper Martínez for the solution. Villa’s new boy impressed when he was called upon by Arteta last season, and has made a solid start to life at Villa Park too, saving a penalty against Sheffield United on his debut and keeping two clean sheets thus far.
9. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg | Tottenham Hotspur (£15m)
The signing of Højbjerg raised a few eyebrows when it was first announced — and many rival fans used it as a chance to ridicule Spurs for how far they’d fallen — but the midfielder has made a quietly composed start to his Tottenham career.
Manager José Mourinho has been crying out for more steel in his midfield since taking charge last season, and in Højbjerg he has a player capable of doing both the dirty work and knitting play together. If his assist for Serge Aurier’s goal at Old Trafford is anything to go by, £15m will prove a snip.
8. Ferran Torres | Manchester City (£20.8m)
Valencia went up in flames this summer (metaphorically, of course) as they hosted a fire sale in a desperate attempt to balance the books. City were one of many clubs to benefit from a cut-price deal, snapping up 20-year-old winger Torres for little over £20m.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to Torres’ talents, and while it may feel like a downgrade after the departure of Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola will surely fancy his chances of getting the best out of his latest project. Torres has shown glimpses of his potential already, and we expect there’ll be much more to come from him.
7. Timothy Castagne | Leicester City (£18m)
Leicester once again dragged their heels this window, holding out for £50m for left-back Ben Chilwell before eventually agreeing to sell the defender to Chelsea. Despite carrying a great transfer record in recent years, some were surprised by the fact the club opted to sign Castagne — a right wing-back by trade — to replace Chilwell.
Fast forward four games and it looks like another piece of stellar business by the Foxes. Castagne scored on his debut against West Brom before claiming assists in both the Burnley and Man City games. He’s so far filled the void of the injured Ricardo on the right, but there’s real optimism he’ll be able to replicate his form from the left once the Portuguese international is back in contention.
6. Allan | Everton (£23m)
If one club was crying out for a central midfield signing this summer, it was Everton. Carlo Ancelotti had struggled to get the Toffees running smoothly with the tools at his disposal, so decided to dip into the market and pick up two centre mids in the form of Napoli’s Allan and Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucouré.
The former adds a bit of bite to Everton. Capable of breaking up play and progressing moves from his own half, Allan already looks to be a cracking piece of business. Ancelotti’s men still have a 100% record in the league after four games, and there’s real hope they can topple city-rivals Liverpool in their next match, too.
5. Thiago Alcantara | Liverpool (£25m)
It was a protracted negotiation, but Liverpool finally got their man. On the face of it, Thiago doesn’t really suit Klopp’s system: high-energy, aggressive pressing, quick in transition. But let’s be honest, when a player of that calibre becomes available any club would be foolish not to take the opportunity to sign them with both hands.
Thiago dropped a masterclass in the Champions League Final in his last game for Bayern Munich, reaffirming his outrageous quality, and Liverpool will surely be able to find a starting spot for him in midfield once the Spaniard is fully up to speed.
4. Édouard Mendy | Chelsea (£22m)
The signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga two years ago has been nothing short of a disaster for Chelsea. £71.6m, down the drain. The Blues will be lucky to recoup a third of that fee when they eventually move Kepa on, with back-up keeper Willy Caballero also doing little to convince Frank Lampard he’s the man for the job when called upon last season.
Step forward Mendy. The former Stade Rennais shot-stopper proved mightily impressive in Ligue 1 throughout 2019-20, wildly over-performing his XG for goals conceded. One game in for Chelsea and Mendy already has a clean sheet to his name, and looks like fixing a huge problem area for Lampard.
3. Callum Wilson | Newcastle United (£20m)
Big-money transfers and Mike Ashley never feel right in the same sentence, but after Newcastle’s owner dropped a club-record £40m on Joelinton last summer only for the striker to flop, there was fear purse strings would tighten in this window. However, Ashley has once again supplied Steve Bruce with the funds for a frontman, this time in the form of Wilson.
Unlike Joelinton, Wilson is Premier League proven, having scored 41 league goals across five seasons in England’s top flight. Injuries have prevented that number from being higher, but with four goals in as many games thus far for the Toon, Wilson looks every bit the Joelinton panacea Bruce was hoping for.
2. Matheus Pereira | West Brom (£9m)
Many rate West Brom’s survival chances as slim at best this season but if they are to escape the drop, Pereira will no doubt play a huge part. The Brazilian attacking midfielder lit up the Championship last campaign, scoring eight times and assisting a further 20, and he’s already off the mark this season with a scorcher of a free-kick versus Everton.
Signing on a permanent deal this summer for just £9m, Pereira’s transfer represents incredible business by the Baggies. Alongside fellow winger Grady Diangana, West Brom looked well-stocked to have a good go at every team’s full-backs, and even if they are relegated, we’d imagine Pereira could be sold for at least quadruple the price West Brom brought him in for.
1. James Rodríguez | Everton (£20m)
Who else could be number one? Rodríguez is a bona fide superstar, and the type of footballer — with all due respect — you don’t expect Everton to be signing. Ancelotti no doubt played a big role in convincing the Colombian to come to Merseyside, having previously coached him at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and his faith has already been repaid.
Four games, three goals, two assists. Top of the table, and arguably the Premier League’s best player so far this season. Not exactly a bad start to your Everton career, hey? Who knows how far Rodríguez can take the Toffees this season, but when your transfer is announced across billboards in Times Square, you know something special is in the offing.
Look, it’s a tough gig trying to rank the Premier League’s best signings, and readers will undoubtedly have their own opinions on who should, or shouldn’t, have made the list. It certainly wasn’t easy leaving some players out, so here’s a shout out (in no particular order) to those who narrowly missed the cut.
- Willian | Arsenal (free) — Huge wages but a player of Willian’s quality on a free is still smart business by the Gunners, not to mention the hat-trick of assists on his debut.
- Timo Werner | Chelsea (£47.5m) — OK, it’s a lot of money, and he hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start, but Werner is still a top, top striker. We have no doubt he’ll start firing once Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are fully fit.
- Eberechi Eze | Crystal Palace (£19.5m) — One of the Championship’s brightest young ballers last season. He’ll take time to acclimatise to the Premier League, but his presence on the left has already allowed Wilfred Zaha to play up front, where he’s looked much more threatening.
- Abdoulaye Doucouré | Everton (£20m) — We mentioned him briefly when discussing Allan, but it’s another solid signing for Everton who’ve seriously upgraded in the middle of the park.
- Illan Meslier | Leeds United (£5m) — £5m for a starting Premier League goalkeeper certainly isn’t to be scoffed at. His immense display against Sheffield United is a testament to Marcelo Bielsa’s obsessive scouting.
- Grady Diangana | West Brom (£18m) — Not quite as sterling business as Pereira, but the reaction from West Ham fans to his sale tells you all you need to know about just how highly rated this kid is.
- Tomáš Souček | West Ham (£19.1m) — The Czech was so impressive on loan that the Hammers have snapped him up permanently, and he’s already forging a strong partnership with Declan Rice in midfield this campaign.
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