Premier League signings: Ranking 2020/21 buys from 'Signing of the season' to 'Waste of money'


The 2020/21 Premier League season is over. What a ride.

Manchester City won the league again, while the top-four consisted of the same teams with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Meanwhile, newly-promoted Fulham and West Brom joined Sheffield United in getting relegated.

Read More – Summer transfer window: When does it open and who will move this summer?

On the surface, you may be forgiven for thinking it was a pretty boring a predictable season.

It was anything but.

The congested schedule lent itself to some crazy scorelines and more injuries than usual.

It meant that clubs had to make full use of their squads. Some were left wishing they had signed a few more players last summer.

However, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting finances in the sport, every Premier League club had to be extremely savvy when it came to signings.


But did they get it right?

Well, we decided to rank summer signings based on how they performed last season.

Using Tiermaker, we ranked them from ‘Signing of the summer’ to ‘Waste of money.’

It’s worth noting that we’re ranking the players based purely on their performances. If they find themselves in the ‘Useless’ or ‘Aright’ category, the players themselves may not be ‘Useless’ or ‘Alright’ but merely their signing.

Disclaimer out the way, let’s take a look at our ranking:

Waste of money

  • Willian
  • Donny van de Beek
  • Kostas Tsimikas
  • Gareth Bale
  • Rhian Brewster
  • Fabio Silva
  • Michy Batshuayi
  • Dale Stephens

Let’s start with Willian who is deemed a ‘waste of money’ despite arriving on a free transfer. His lacklustre performances and astronomical wages contribute to that.

Donny van de Beek was signed for £35.7m by Manchester United but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems incredibly reluctant to play the former Ajax midfielder, who looks to be a flop.

Gareth Bale made the emotional return to Tottenham and was being paid huge wages by the north London club to get him on loan from Real Madrid. Despite two goals on the final day of the season, Spurs wasted a lot of money on the Welshman.

Kostas Tsimikas has hardly been given an opportunity at Liverpool with Andy Robertson playing all 38 matches despite the busy schedule. That can’t be a good thing after signing a back-up left-back in the summer.



  • Aaron Ramsdale
  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek
  • Kenny Tete
  • Branislav Ivanovic
  • Said Benrahma
  • Nelson Semedo
  • Jamal Lewis
  • Ethan Ampadu

Many of these signings featured for relegated clubs so their arrivals clearly didn’t have the desired impact.

Outside of the relegated clubs, West Ham’s £25m purchase of Said Benrahma didn’t go to plan with the former Brentford man scoring just once all season.

Nelson Semedo was also disappointing for Wolves after signing from Barcelona for a deal that could exceed £30m.


Too early to judge

  • Nathan Ake
  • Ferran Torres
  • Gabriel
  • Alex Telles
  • Adam Lallana
  • Joel Veltman
  • Mohammed Salisu

Too early to judge for a variety of reasons. Still young, didn’t play enough matches, suffered injuries and still adapting to English football.

Ake and Torres played a bit-part role in City’s success, while Gabriel showed glimpses of why Arsenal signed him for £27m.

Telles wasn’t given much of a chance of United with the incredible performances of Luke Shaw this season.



  • Thiago
  • Timo Werner
  • Hakim Ziyech
  • Ben Chilwell
  • Thomas Partey
  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
  • Alphonse Areola
  • Abdoulaye Doucouré
  • Allan
  • Ademola Lookman
  • Ross Barkley
  • Rodrigo
  • Sergio Reguilón
  • Danny Welbeck
  • Conor Gallagher
  • Timothy Castagne

All of these signings have done ‘alright’ in the first season for their new club.

Thiago has shown in recent weeks exactly why Liverpool signed him with some brilliant performances after a slow start forced by injuries.

Timo Werner may not have found the net quite as much as he would’ve liked but he’s played a big role for Chelsea this season. While teammates Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell have also performed decent enough.

Arsenal will be looking for Partey to push on next season.


Decent signing

  • Callum Wilson
  • Wesley Fofana
  • Kai Havertz
  • Ollie Watkins
  • James Rodriguez
  • Ben Godfrey

Callum Wilson’s goals helped steer Newcastle away from relegation.

Wesley Fofana has shown his potential despite being only 20.

Kai Havertz struggled at the start of the season but has come good. Despite his £72m fee, the 21-year-old looks set to be a sensational player.

Every duo James Rodriguez and Ben Godfrey have also proven to be astute buys by Carlo Ancelotti.


Great buy

  • Diogo Jota
  • Tomas Soucek
  • Emiliano Martinez
  • Edinson Cavani
  • Thiago Silva
  • Eberechi Eze
  • Raphinha

Whoever was responsible for these signings, take a bow.

They’ve all paid off in different ways.

Diogo Jota has suffered injury problems but his 13 goals in 29 appearances helped Liverpool finish in the top four.

Soucek has probably been the biggest surprise of the season, scoring 10 goals for West Ham.

The free signings of Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva for Manchester United and Chelsea representatively have been sensational.

Eberechi Eze and Raphinha have been a joy to watch for Crystal Palace and Leeds.


Signing of the season

  • Ruben Dias

The best signing of the season goes to Ruben Dias. His impact at Man City can be compared to the impact Virgil van Dijk had on Liverpool when he arrived. He’s brought out the best in partner John Stones and helped Man City ease to glory. £65m well spent.


Final rankings

There can’t be too many arguments that Dias represented the signing of the season for Manchester City. His performance in defence were simply outstanding and we fully deserved the FWA Player of the Year (and surely the PFA Player of the Year too).

But there were several other signings that paid off.

West Ham making the move for Soucek permanent was a masterstroke, as well as Aston Villa’s buy of Martinez from Arsenal.

Manchester United’s free transfer of Edinson Cavani will go down as one of the best free transfers in Premier League history, so too could Chelsea getting Thiago Silva for absolutely nothing.

At the other end of the spectrum, Willian may have cost absolutely nothing but even then Arsenal fans will claim he’s a waste of money given the wages he’s on. The same can apply to Bale, while United’s £35.7m purchase of Van de Beek might just be the worst of the lot.

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