Premier League transfers: The 20 best signings of 2020/21

Diogo Jota scores for Liverpool

As the international break holds domestic football in temporary suspension, now is the perfect time to begin evaluating how Premier League clubs performed during the summer transfer window.

Just eight matchdays isn’t the biggest sample and while some signings have hit the ground running, others will prove to be slow burners that only truly come to the fore in the latter half of the season.

Nonetheless, the pause in Premier League play gives us a chance to look back on the summer business and outline the new recruits that have made the biggest impact in the top-flight.

With that in mind, GIVEMESPORT have ranked the 20 best signings of the season so far in the Premier League…

20. Alphonse Areola

The fact relegation-threatened Fulham snapped up a PSG goalkeeper who spent last season deputising at Real Madrid somehow slipped under the radar during the summer.

Alphonse Areola is a goalkeeper of huge pedigree and while he understandably hasn’t managed to turn around the 17th-placed side’s fortunes single-handedly, he currently ranks an impressive fourth in the save charts

19. Nelson Semedo

Wolves’ decision to cash-in on stalwart Matt Doherty initially raised eyebrows but they’ve signed a worthy replacement in former Barcelona man Nelson Semedo.

Just four Premier League players have averaged more dribbles per match than him this season, although Nuno Santo will be hoping the Portuguese can add some goals and assists to his game once he’s fully acclimatised to life at Molineux.

18. Thiago Silva

His Blues career started off a little rocky with a frankly disastrous display against West Brom but since then Thiago Silva has provided the defensive solidity Chelsea lacked at the heart of defence for much of last season.

With a pass completion of 93% as well, the 36-year-old is more than living up to his reputation as an elite defender who combines leadership, positional awareness and classiness on the ball.

Not bad for a free transfer.

17. Ademola Lookman

Horrendous penalty miss aside, Ademola Lookman has been a fantastic addition to Scott Parker’s Fulham side.

Throughout the squad, he ranks second for shots and tackles, third for key passes and first for dribbles, with the 23-year-old seemingly determined to silence the doubters from his indifferent time at Everton.

Hopefully Lookman can get over his shocker at the London Stadium and continue to take the game to opposition defences.

Emiliano Martinez kicks the ball

16. Emiliano Martinez

Emiliano Martinez’s run in the Arsenal starting XI was one of the stories of last season, climaxing with a win in the FA Cup final.

But upon Bernd Leno’s return, the Argentine was eager to find a new home and Aston Villa were more than happy to part with the cash.

Martinez has certainly repaid the faith so far; as well as being joint-sixth in the saves charts Villa have conceded the joint-fewest goals of any Premier League side.

15. Timothy Castagne

Part of Atalanta’s free-scoring 2019/20 team, Timothy Castagne always looked like a smart addition from Leicester City.

The Belgium international has lived up to his billing as well, kicking off his Premier League career with one goal and two assists in his first three games.

He also helped the Foxes to a clean sheet win over Arsenal but has since been sidelined with an injury. Brendan Rodgers will hope he’s back on the pitch soon.

14. Ferran Torres

When Manchester City signed Ferran Torres during the summer, the 20-year-old was generally perceived as a long-term signing who’d spend at least his first season at the club playing a bit-part role.

But injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have resulted in the youngster being used as an emergency striker and he’s certainly taken the chance, scoring three times in the Champions League.

With a top flight assist to his name as well, Torres could have a much bigger impact this season than many expected.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

13. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

An understated signing with something of an understated impact. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is never going to grab headlines from defensive midfield but it says a lot that he’s featured in every minute of Tottenham’s Premier League campaign so far.

Jose Mourinho clearly trusts his new general and with averages of 3 tackles and 82 passes per match – as well as a superb assist in a 6-1 win over Manchester United – it’s not hard to see why. 

A shrewd addition at £15m.

12. Edouard Mendy

Signing any goalkeeper more reliable than Kepa and younger than Willy Caballero would have done for Chelsea this summer, but in Edouard Mendy the Blues appear to have unearthed a real gem.

The 28-year-old has conceded just one Premier League goal in four outings and measuring in at 6 foot 6, he has a natural presence which appears to have calmed a Chelsea defence that was nothing short of chaotic throughout 2019/20.

He was far from a household name before moving to Stamford Bridge, but that only pays tribute to Chelsea’s recruitment.

11. Ruben Dias

It feels as though we haven’t quite seen the best of Ruben Dias yet, but Manchester City’s new centre-back recruit quite simply looks the part as a long-term successor to Vincent Kompany.

City have conceded just three times in the Portugal man’s five Premier League outings and a combination of 2.4 aerials won per game, 3.8 clearances per game and a 93% pass accuracy highlights what he’s all about – domineering defending and calmness on the ball. 

They say you get what you pay for and the early signs suggest Dias’ £64.3m transfer fee was money well spent.  

10. Wesley Fofana

It simply isn’t normal for 19-year-old centre-backs to immediately look at home in the Premier League, so the initial evidence suggests Leicester City’s recruitment team have smacked this one out the park.

It’s still very early days but Wesley Fofana just oozes class. As well as averaging two tackles, three interceptions and 2.5 aerials won per match, the teenager has an impressive knack of slaloming down the pitch with the ball at feet. 

Leicester have conceded just twice in four games with Fofana in the starting XI and Caglar Soyuncu might have a real fight on his hands to earn back a first-team spot once he returns from injury.

9. Sergio Reguilon

Somewhat overshadowed by Gareth Bale returning to Tottenham at the same time, Sergio Reguilon has been a genuine find for Spurs.

The Spaniard grabbed an assist on his debut against Chelsea and has since followed it up with Premier League set-ups against West Ham and Brighton.

But more than simply output, there’s just a great energy about the 23-year-old, who has added some much-needed dynamism to the left side of Tottenham’s defence.

Ross Barkley

8. Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley’s qualities have never been in doubt but after two-and-a-half years on the fringes at Chelsea, he desperately needed a move to a club where he’d get regular game-time. 

Villa have proved just the ticket with the England international thriving alongside John McGinn and Jack Grealish. He’s already scored twice, while averaging the most shots, key passes and second-most dribbles of any Villa player. 

A Three Lions recall may well be on the horizon.

7. Allan

The best defensive midfielders always have a manner of making everything look incredibly simple, despite essentially being the bedrock that holds the whole starting XI together.

Allan fits that profile having given Everton a sturdy anchor in midfield, in turn providing the freedom the likes of Richarlison need to thrive.

The Brazilian has averaged the most tackles per match of any Premier League player and has helped bring the Toffees to a higher level after a mixed 2019/20 campaign.

6. Timo Werner

It’s pretty clear Timo Werner still hasn’t hit top gear for Chelsea and yet he’s already managed to score four goals in eight Premier League outings

The German international is freakishly quick when running with the ball at feet, while there’s just a natural hunger about the way he operates, constantly testing defenders and trying to get into the box.

£48m is a fair chunk of cash but Werner’s only going to get better with more Premier League minutes under his belt.

5. Callum Wilson

Scoring goals for Newcastle really isn’t easy, but £20m acquisition Callum Wilson is making it look like child’s play.

With six goals in eight appearances, he’s currently sixth in the Premier League’s scoring charts, having helped the Magpies to wins over West Ham, Burnley and Everton and a draw against Tottenham.

Newcastle are still very much a defensive team but Wilson offers the threat on the break that stops other sides boxing them into their own half.

Ben Chilwell celebrates scoring for Chelsea

4. Ben Chilwell

If you become a £45m full-back, you really need to hit the ground running. Fortunately for Chelsea and Ben Chilwell, that’s exactly what he’s done.

As well as playing a role in Chelsea’s vast improvements defensively, which we’ve already mentioned, Chilwell has been nothing short of a force going forward.

He’s registered two goals and two assists in five Premier League appearances, while averaging a very impressive 2.2 key passes per match.

The 23-year-old is already paying back on the club’s investment and will surely be Gareth Southgate’s first choice for England’s left-back berth.

3. Ollie Watkins

Make no mistake about it, Aston Villa’s £28m spend on Ollie Watkins could have blown up in their faces. Yes, the former Brentford man had played under Dean Smith before, but some Football League strikers just can’t transition their goalscoring to the top flight.

The 24-year-old has been sensational, however. He’s netted six goals in seven games, while  registering one assist, and has also averaged 4.6 aerials won, 1.3 key passes and 1.6 dribbles per match. 

That goal run started with an incredible hat-trick against Liverpool but clearly an all-round centre-forward, he’s helping bring the best out of the likes of Grealish, Barkley and McGinn as well.

2. Diogo Jota

Few would have thought signing a player whose first-team status at Wolves had come under threat would somehow make Liverpool a more feared team.

And yet, Diogo Jota has proved to be an inspired signing for the reigning Premier League champions, already scoring six times for the Reds with three goals in Europe and three in the top flight. 

There’s talk of him permanently replacing Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s front three and for a relatively modest £41m, this one has to go down as another Michael Edwards masterstroke.

James Rodriguez

1. James Rodriguez

When it comes to summer signings, Everton’s swoop for James Rodriguez is in a league of its own.

Barring a quiet performance against Manchester United last time out after returning from injury, the Colombian playmaker has been superb, accumulating three goals and three assists while registering at least two shots, two key passes and two dribbles in all but two of his seven outings. 

He’s got as much creative flair as any other Premier League No.10 and that’s also shown in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s rise to joint-top in the division’s scoring charts. 

But what makes this summer signing even more special is that it may have actually gone down as a free transfer, although it seems we’ll never quite get to the bottom of the nature of the deal. 

In terms of not only impact but also value for money, Rodriguez is at the top of the pile. 

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