I tell you what, in what was a window in the wake of the strangest Premier League season ever, we have had some top summer signings come through!
The Premier League attracts some of the world’s best talent, with players from all corners of the globe moving to England (often for eye-watering amounts of money) to showcase their skills on football’s most glamourous stage. However, not all EPL star purchases hit the ground running …
Newcastle’s Joelinton came to England for a huge fee and had an underwhelming first season at St James’ Park and has only bagged three goals in 22 appearances so far this season. Sebastien Haller only lasted 18 months at West Ham before being sold to Ajax, with the Hammers selling him for a net loss in last month’s transfer window. Talented German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz cost Chelsea over £100 million and are yet to really make their mark on the division; proving that adapting to Premier League football is no mean feat, however talented the player may be.
With this in mind, I’d like to look at four players who, in my view, have been star signings for their respective clubs. And don’t forget to hop down in the comments below to let me know your thoughts too!
Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace
Eze was undoubtedly one of the Championship’s star performers throughout the 2019/20 season, but there’s always question marks as to whether a Championship player can make the jump to the Premier League. I think Palace have found a gem here, and someone who can ease the creative attacking burden on Wilfried Zaha.
Floating between either wing and the number 10 role, Eze is exciting to watch in full flight. Technically outstanding and ice cold in front of goal, the Greenwich-born midfielder has been directly involved in six goals (three goals, three assists) in 21 league appearances, with only Zaha contributing more goal involvements for the Eagles. He’s the kind of player that makes the game look easy – his goal against Sheffield United a prime example of his talent. At 22 years of age, Eze’s got an exciting career ahead of him and is definitely one to watch for the future.
Tomas Soucek – West Ham United
As much as Haller may have been a bit of a transfer flop for the Hammers, Soucek is proving to be £19 million well spent. West Ham loaned in the Czech in January 2020, with the deal being made permanent in the summer. A player who struggled in his early career, Soucek is blossoming for the Hammers this season as they try to dirupt the so called Big Six.
A crucial part in West Ham’s resurgence from a side battling relegation, to one that’s knocking on the door of Champions League football, Soucek has provided defensive sturdiness in midfield alongside Declan Rice, as well as chalking up eight goals for the London side so far this season. Perhaps not a player who produces highlight-reel-worthy football, but he’s certainly someone that has helped turn the tide at the club.
Ruben Dias – Manchester City
If we’re talking about players who’ve hit the ground running and had an immediate effect on their club, then look no further than Ruben Dias. It’s a running joke that Guardiola’s City have spent more on defence than the United Nations, however they seem to have struck gold with the Portuguese: the £60m Bargain.
Arguably comparable to the effect Virgil Van Dijk had on Liverpool, Dias is a fine technical footballer, whilst also being prominent in the air and strong in the tackle. Like Van Dijk, he’s also developed players around him. John Stones seems to have gained a new lease of life and his playing himself into a spot in Gareth Southgate’s Euro squad, while Ederson has undoubtedly overtaken Alisson Becker to be Brazil’s number one.
Since club legend Vincent Kompany left in 2019, City have struggled to find someone to fill his shoes – could Dias be the answer? He’s certainly taken the move to English football in his stride and all things being well, he looks on track to help City lift the Premier League trophy this year. Certainly one of the more expensive summer signings on this list – but no less important!
Raphinha – Leeds United
I couldn’t write a piece on transfers and not mention Leeds United. The Whites had to strengthen after graduating from the Championship, and they look to have found a player of real quality in Raphinha. Playing mainly down the right, the Brazilian operates as an inverted winger for Bielsa’s side, already contributing nine goal involvements (four goals and five assists) in 15 league starts.
A full-back’s nightmare, Raphinha is technically brilliant in possession, displaying elements of flair and skill followers of the club haven’t seen since Harry Kewell used to dance round Gary Neville back in the day! His audacious nutmeg on Gary Cahill is well worth a watch, btw! I think I speak for most Leeds fans when I say that we’ve not been this excited about a player for a long time!