The transfer window has closed and Premier League clubs will have make do with their squad until at least January.
During this coronavirus pandemic affected window, clubs have had to be savvy with their money. Not a single pound could be wasted.
What we saw was plenty of clubs refusing to pay over-the-odds for transfer targets, instead looking to play the percentages with signings they know will be a success.
But that hasn’t always been the case.
In fact, Premier League clubs have often been guilty of paying too much for players. Call it the ‘Premier League tax’ if you will.
And so, thanks to brilliant research from Betting Odds using data from Transfermarkt.com, we’ve identified every Premier League club’s BEST and WORST value signing in the last five years.
Now, just because they’re the best value, it doesn’t mean they were a good signing. Just that, at the time of purchase, they were signed for well below their transfer valuation.
The same applies to the worst value. It doesn’t mean they were a bad signing just that, at the time of purchase, they were signed for well above their transfer valuation.
So, let’s take a look at each Premier League club:
Best - David Luiz (Cost £7.8m - £10.2m under value of player)
Worst - Shkodran Mustafi (Cost £36.9m - £18.9m over value of player)
A tale of two dodgy defenders. To be fair, Luiz has proven to be an astute signing for £7.2m. Mustafi on the other hand…
Best - Joleon Lescott (Cost £1.3m - £2.3m under value of player)
Worst - Ollie Watkins (Cost £27.7m - £16.9m over value of player)
Lescott only played for one season as Aston Villa were relegated. He will always be remembered for THAT pocket tweet. Watkins is already repaying his transfer fee with a hat-trick against champions Liverpool.
Best - Aaron Mooy (Cost £3m - £7.8m under value of player)
Worst - Adam Webster (Cost £20m - £11.9m over value of player)
Mooy moved from Huddersfield during the 2019/20 season following a successful loan spell. He was decent as he helped Brighton survive relegation before moving to China. Webster was signed from Bristol City and the 25-year-old played 31 times in the league last season.
Best - Joe Hart (Cost £3.5m - £5.5m under value of player)
Worst - Chris Wood (Cost £14.8m - £9.4m over value of player)
He may have been below his transfer value but Hart only played 19 league games for Burnley before being replaced by Nick Pope. Wood, on the other hand, has been well worth £14.8m with 35 Premier League goals since joining from Leeds.
Best - Timo Werner (Cost £47.7m - £9.9m under value of player)
Worst - Kepa (Cost £72m - £54m over value of player)
He may not have scored in the Premier League this season but Werner represents value at £47.7m. Kepa was one expensive mistake.
Best - Jordan Ayew (Cost £2.5m - £4.7m under value of player)
Worst - Mamadou Sakho (Cost £25.4m - £11.9m over value of player)
Ayew bagged nine Premier League goals last season so is definitely value at £2.5m. If anyone watched Sakho’s performance against Chelsea last weekend will agree that that £25.4m they paid for him was far too much.
Best - Moise Kean (Cost £24.8m - £11.3m under value of player)
Worst - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Cost £44.5m - £22m over value of player)
He may have represented value at the time but even that was too much to pay for Kean, who has now joined Paris-Saint Germain on loan after scoring four goals in 37 appearances for Everton. As for Sigurdsson, he’s probably paid back that £44.5m with three seasons of good service - including the 2018/19 season where he scored 13 league goals.
Best - Ryan Babel (Cost £1.8m - £2.7m under value of player)
Worst - Aleksandar Mitrovic (Cost £22.2m - £8.7m over value of player)
Another one where the ‘best value’ wasn’t a great signing but the ‘worst value’ was. Babel did score five goals in 16 games for Fulham but couldn’t keep them up. Mitrovic has managed 51 league goals in 98 matches during his loan and permanent spells at Fulham.
Best - Rodrigo (Cost £27m - £9m under value of player)
Worst - Helder Costa (Cost £15.9m - £8.7m over value of player)
Both of Leeds’ best and worst value signings in the last five years came this summer. Rodrigo opened his account with the equaliser against Manchester City last weekend, while Helder Costa has already scored twice.
Best - Jonny Evans (Cost £3.6m - £9.9m under value of player)
Worst - Wesley Fofana (Cost £31.5m - £22.5m over value of player)
Evans and Fofana could be defensive partners at times this season. The £3.6m signing of Evans was a masterstroke, while Fofana is yet to make his debut and, therefore, can’t be judged whether or not he was worth his £31.5m fee.
Best - Thiago (Cost £19.8m - £23.4m under value of player)
Worst - Virgil Van Dijk (Cost £76.2m - £49.2m over value of player)
Thiago made an impression during his only 45 minutes in a Liverpool shirt against Chelsea. The Reds may have overpaid at the time for Van Dijk but it’s proven to be a £76.2m bargain.
Best - Ferran Torres (Cost £20.7m - £19.8m under value of player)
Worst - Benjamin Mendy (Cost £51.8m - £40.1m over value of player)
Torres may not have been able to show his ability this season but £20.7m for the 20-year-old looks a bargain. As for Mendy, he’s struggled with injuries since arriving at City for more than £50m.
Best - Alex Telles (Cost £13.5m - £22.5m under value of player)
Worst - Anthony Martial (Cost £54m - £46.8m over value of player)
It may have looked like a panicked deadline day deal but signing Telles for £13.5m looks fantastic business for United. Martial commanded a world-record fee for a teenager when he signed for £54m back in 2015 but has grown into an incredible player.
Best - Allan Saint-Maximin (Cost £16.2m - £6.3m under value of player)
Worst - Jacob Murphy (Cost £10.2m - £9.3m over value of player)
I think we can all agree that Saint-Maximin is worth the £16.2m based on entertainment value alone. But Murphy’s move to Newcastle hasn’t quite worked out how he’d have liked.
Best - Jayden Bogle (Cost £3.5m - £2.2m under value of player)
Worst - Rhian Brewster (Cost £23.4m - £18.5m over value of player)
The signing of Bogle went under the radar this summer and the 20-year-old from Derby looks a talent. Brewster has a lot of potential and, in a few years’ time, could well make that £23.4m price-tag look like a bargain. But for now, he’s pretty unproven in the top-flight.
Best - Charlie Austin (Cost £4.7m - £7m under value of player)
Worst - Guido Carrillo (Cost £19.8m - £14.4m over value of player)
Austin didn’t have the best of times at Southampton, scoring 16 in 71 Premier League games. But after three very impressive seasons at QPR, Saints must have thought they got a bargain at £4.7m. Not only did they overpay for Carrillo at the time, he only managed seven league appearances and is now at Elche. Oh dear.
Best - Ryan Sessegnon (Cost £24.3m - £7.2m under value of player)
Worst - Moussa Sissoko (Cost £31.5m - £19.8m over value of player)
Sessegnon is still only 20 so has plenty of time to repay his £24.3m transfer fee. He won’t do it this season, though, as he’s been offloaded to Hoffenheim on loan. Many mocked Spurs’ big-money move to Sissoko on transfer deadline day of 2016 but he’s been one of the club’s most important players ever since.
Best - Kieran Gibbs (Cost £6.8m - £2.2m under value of player)
Worst - James Chester (Cost £10.2m - £8.4m over value of player)
Gibbs has played 89 times for West Brom since signing back in 2017 but hasn’t started this season too well after getting himself sent off for a ’slap’ on James Rodriguez. Chester lasted just 13 league games before moving to Aston Villa and then Stoke.
Best - Pedro Obiang (Cost £5.4m - £4m under value of player)
Worst - Jarrod Bowen (Cost £19.2m - £10.2m over value of player)
Obiang played at least 20 games at West Ham for four consecutive seasons before leaving for Sassuolo in 2019. So you could say he was good value. Bowen has been brilliant this season so makes a mockery of the ‘worst value signing’ tag.
Best - Nelson Semedo (Cost £27m - £9m under value of player)
Worst - Fabio Silva (Cost £36m - £25.2m over value of player)
Two summer signings as Wolves apparently underpaid for Barcelona’s Semedo but overpaid when breaking their club-record for Porto’s Silva.
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