Ronaldo, Lukaku, Sancho, Konate: Ranking Premier League summer signings by 'big six' clubs

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The 2021/22 Premier League season is really starting to take shape.

While Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are slugging it out to be crowned champions of England, the likes of Newcastle United and Norwich City are scrapping to avoid relegation.

And with the campaign gradually nearing the halfway point of 19 games apiece, we thought that it was a logical moment to take a step back and really assess how the last four months have played out.

Premier League summer spending

Well, specifically, we wanted to look at how some of the Premier League‘s biggest signings have adapted to English football over the summer.

After all, every season brings with it the routine excitement about the high-profile names who are signed on big bucks and it’s impossible to tell which of them will thrive and which of them will flop.

Well, here at GIVEMESPORT, we wanted to get an early indicator of exactly that by ranking every major summer signing by the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs by their performances so far.

Who has flopped and who has thrived?

To achieve that, we’re turning to our trusty medium of Tiermaker with players organised into tiers ranging from ‘Catastrophic’ to ‘Game-changing’ with ‘Disappointing’, ‘Time will tell’, ‘Solid signing’ and ‘Inspired purchase’ in between.

The decisions will be based upon the output of the players so far this season within the context of their individual experience since signing, so any extenuating circumstances will be considered.

As such, just because we’re putting a player in the ‘disappointing’ category, it doesn’t inherently mean that we think that they’re a bad footballer who is never going to succeed at their new club.

At the end of the day, though, this is simply an exercise in personal opinion – albeit one influenced by statistics – so rest assured that our choices are no more or less legitimate than your own.

Ranking Premier League ‘big six’ signings

So, without further ado, let’s get into the Tiermaker and rank every major summer signing by the Premier League’s ‘big six’ clubs by how they’ve performed so far.

Catastrophic

Saul Niguez

What a disaster. It’s bewildering to think that a footballer of Saul’s undoubted quality would find it so difficult adapting to life at Chelsea with a pitiful total of just 94 minutes of Premier League football.

The Atletico Madrid star was absolutely dreadful during his debut against Aston Villa and wasn’t much better when he was hooked at half-time for a Tiemoue Bakyoko-like disastercass at Watford.

We’ve got our fingers crossed that Saul can turn the tide, but falling behind Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley in the midfield pecking order just about sums up his inexplicable loan spell so far.

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Disappointing

Romelu Lukaku, Cristian Romero and Jadon Sancho

I know, I know, I know, no doubt many of you will be very upset with Lukaku finishing so low and it’s important to clarify that we think that he’s one of the world’s best strikers and a generally top bloke.

However, regardless of the injury problems that have hampered his Chelsea return, we can’t help feeling as though Lukaku has been a victim of his own success and the hype surrounding his arrival.

For a player tipped by so many to canter to the Premier League Golden Boot, Lukaku has been remarkably disposable to Thomas Tuchel’s system with just three league goals and some genuinely anonymous performances.

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By comparison, the inclusion of Romero is perhaps far less controversial because although injuries have stunted his transition, he’s not exactly looked like the game-changing defender that many tipped him to be.

With 10 goals shipped and just two clean sheets in his first seven Premier League ties, Spurs fans might start cringing about that £42.5 million transfer fee if he doesn’t return from injury with a bang.

As for Sancho, we do feel a little bit harsh because if the United star maintains the more promising form that he’s showed in the fast few games then you can bet that he’ll be flying up the tiers soon.

However, we can’t let recency bias pull on our heartstrings too much because there’s no escaping the fact that just two goal contributions in 18 games is the definition of ‘disappointing’ for a £73-million winger.

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Time will tell

Bryan Gil, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga

Are we giving these players something of a free pass because of their age? To an extent, yes, but it has just as much to do with up and down performances meaning that the jury is still very much out.

Lokonga clearly has bags of talent and has proven himself to be fairly reliable across 12 Premier League outings, but he’s still got a lot of developing to do before he can truly lead Arsenal’s midfield.

And although Tavares even peaked so much that some Arsenal fans thought he should start over Kieran Tierney, recent clangers at Everton and Liverpool show we need to pump the brakes for now.

As for Gil, there’s definitely an argument to be had that the ‘disappointing’ tier would be more fitting, but the Spaniard hasn’t really put a foot wrong, nor particularly right, in the few matches that he’s been given.

While, yes, we do want to start seeing more from Gil in the coming weeks because he’s undoubtedly talented, there’s just only so much we can slam a 20-year-old who’s barely been given a chance.

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Solid signing

Raphael Varane, Ben White, Jack Grealish, Emerson Royal and Martin Odegaard

Has it been disappointing that injuries have barely seen Varane play? Yes, but have his performances been disappointing when he’s actually played? Unlike Lukaku, that’ll be a ‘no’ from us.

Despite all the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-related turmoil that swirled around his start to life at United, Varane has conceded just four goals and even provided an assist in his six Premier League outings hitherto.

Similarly, White has been pretty sturdy this season with the early wobbles of the Brentford defeat ironed out to suggest that £50 million will be a shrewd long-term investment for the Gunners.

Have we been far too generous to Grealish here? Maybe, maybe, but just because it’s easy to look disappointing when you’ve been signed for an English record transfer fee, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been terrible.

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We’re more inclined to think that Grealish has merely been lost in the Manchester City shuffle given their embarrassment of riches in attack because two goals and three assists certainly isn’t bad going.

Admittedly, we need to see those numbers growing before the gravitational pull of ‘disappointing’ takes hold, but we’re inclined to think that ‘solid’ describes Grealish’s first four months pretty well.

Elsewhere, although Royal has had his moments both bad and good in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt, there’s been nothing too extreme at either end of the spectrum to warrant anything less or more than ‘solid’.

As for Odegaard, we ummed and arred about whether he should be placed in ‘disappointing’, but we’re giving the Arsenal man the benefit of the doubt at the moment on the back of three Premier League goals.

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Inspired purchase

Ibrahima Konate and Takehiro Tomiyasu

You only needed to look at Konate’s immaculate performance at AC Milan to appreciate that the Reds’ only summer signing might be one that sets them up with the next Virgil van Dijk.

Game time hasn’t always been easy to come by for Konate, so we’re not going too overboard, but the simple fact of the matter is that the ex-RB Leipzig man has looked pure class whenever he’s taken to the field. 

And no, we’re obviously not saying that Tomiyasu is a better footballer than Varane, but Arsenal’s absolute steal at £16 million has evidently made a bigger impact so far than the United ‘Galactico’.

A reliable and hard-working performer even through some of Arsenal’s lowest moments, there’s genuine reason to think that Tomiyasu could be a long-term replacement for Hector Bellerin at the rate he’s going.

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Game-changer

Aaron Ramsdale and Cristiano Ronaldo

Ramsdale has been nothing short of a revelation between the sticks for Arsenal and we dread to think where the Gunners would be without his miraculous saves and underrated leadership.

The criticism of his £24 million arrival feels like a distant memory now that the 23-year-old has usurped Bernd Leno and started pushing Jordan Pickford to be named as England’s number one.

Meanwhile, despite legitimate arguments that signing Ronaldo wasn’t the right move for United’s project, there’s simply no denying that the Portuguese has been a game-changer nonetheless.

With a superb record of 12 goals in 17 games, including countless crucial strikes in Europe, Ronaldo has been absolutely invaluable for the Red Devils and will continue to be under Ralf Rangnick.

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What do YOU think?

Have we been harsh to some and kind to others? Truth be told, it really was tough to bridge that gap between the ‘disappointing’ and ‘solid signing’ categories.

It certainly wouldn’t have us throwing our arms around if you think that Grealish should be moved down because of his price tag or that Sancho should be upgraded due to his recent purple patch.

However, regardless of how we’ve ordered these big-name signings so far, football is such that it wouldn’t be surprising if Saul suddenly turned everything around or Tavares became a world-beater.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Either way, though, be sure to let us know how the Premier League signings of the ‘big six’ clubs have stacked up for you this season across our various social channels.

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