Each current PL manager’s first and most expensive signings

Date published: Monday 16th July 2018 7:53 - Sarah Winterburn

Unai Emery

First Arsenal signing: Stephan Lichtsteiner (from Juventus for free, 2018)
Most expensive career signing: Neymar (Barcelona to PSG for £200m, 2017)

First career signing
The man with that honour is a journeyman Spanish goalkeeper by the name of Orlando Quintana, who joined the now-dissolved Lorca Deportiva in June 2005 on a free transfer from Celta Vigo. It would be the first of two spells at the Murcian club for Quintana, whose career had already peaked with a series of La Liga games for hometown club Las Palmas in 2002.


Eddie Howe

First Bournemouth signing: Ryan Fraser (from Aberdeen for £400,000, 2013)
Most expensive career signing: Nathan Ake (Chelsea to Bournemouth for £20m, 2017)

First career signing
Harry Arter and Marc Pugh, still with Eddie Howe and now seasoned members of his Bournemouth squad, were the second and third signings of his managerial career in 2010. But they were both marginally beaten to the number one spot by Liam Feeney, signed from Salisbury in February 2009 for just £34,000. How times change.


Chris Hughton

First Brighton signing: Tomer Hemed (from Almeria for £1.1m, 2015)
Most expensive career signing: Jurgen Locadia (PSV Eindhoven to Brighton for £14m, 2018)

First career signing: Imagine enjoying a relatively successful 16-year playing career, earning 53 caps for your country, then branching out into coaching, managing four clubs and carving out a highly-respected reputation, but always knowing that your first signing ever was Mike Williamson for just under £1m from Portsmouth in January 2010.


Sean Dyche

First Burnley signing: Michael Kightly (from Stoke for £1.6m, 2014)
Most expensive career signing: Chris Wood (Leeds to Burnley for £15m, 2017)

First career signing: Sean Dyche has made 30 permanent signings for cash money in his managerial career since taking over at Watford in 2011. His first was former Tottenham winger Mark Yeates, purchased from Sheffield United for £380,000 in July 2011.


Neil Warnock

First Cardiff signing: Junior Hoilett (free agent, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Josh Murphy (Norwich to Cardiff for £11m, 2018)

First career signing: We cannot claim to know who Neil Warnock signed for Gainsborough Trinity, Burton Albion and Scarborough – though it was probably Paddy Kenny – but what we do know is that his first signing for Notts County in 1989 was left-back Nick Platnaur from, irony fans, Cardiff City.


Maurizio Sarri

First Chelsea signing: Jorginho (from Napoli for £33m, 2018)
Most expensive career signing: Jorginho – his first Chelsea recruit is Sarri’s most expensive to date.

First career signing: If you know of anyone signed by Sarri during stints at Sansovino, Sangiovannese or Pescara, then do let us know. Otherwise, you will have to make do with Alessio Sestu, a central midfielder bought by then-Serie B side Avelino from Treviso for around €400,000 in 2007.


Roy Hodgson

First Crystal Palace signing: Jaroslaw Jach (from Zagłębie Lubin for £2.5m, 2018)
Most expensive career signing: Andy Johnson (Everton to Fulham for £12m, 2008)

First career signing: Twitter can be horrible but Twitter can also be wonderful. We asked and we were told – Hodgson signed Lennart Lie Larsson for Halmstads in 1976. They won the title.


Marco Silva

First Everton signing:
Most expensive career signing: Andre Gray (Burnley to Watford for £18.5m, 2017)

First career signing: He made a whole raft of signings when taking over as Director of Football at Estoril in the summer of 2011. This gang of free transfers and loan signings won the league and promotion that season, with Silva in the manager’s chair by the end of September.


Slaviša Jokanović

First Fulham signing: Floyd Ayite (from Bastia for £1.8m, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Jean Michael Seri (Nice to Fulham for £25m, 2018)

First career signing: As manager of Partizan Belgrade, Jokanović made three signings as the January transfer window opened in 2008: Centre-half Milan Vjestica on a free transfer, keeper Mladen Bozovic for £135,000 and striker Dragan Cadikovski for £90,000. They won the league with teenage captain Stevan Jovetic.


David Wagner

First Huddersfield signing: Elias Kachunga (from Ingolstadt on loan, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Terence Kongolo (Monaco to Huddersfield for £17.5m, 2018)

First career signing: Cast your minds back to the heady days of June 2016, when little-known one-hit wonder Drake topped the British music charts, Leicester were one month removed from becoming Premier League champions, and Jeremy Corbyn was an absolute joke. Ah, good times. Oh, and David Wagner swooped to sign Elias Kachunga on loan from Ingolstadt.


Claude Puel

First Leicester City signing: Fousseni Diabate (from Ajaccio for £1.8m, 2018)
Most expensive career signing: Ricardo Pereira (from Porto to Leicester for £22.5m, 2018)

First career signing: Few managers can claim to have a more illustrious first signing ever than Claude Puel. His Monaco side was the first venture into Europe for Rafael Marquez in 1999, with the Mexican joining from Atlas for £3.8m.


Jurgen Klopp

First Liverpool signing: Marko Grujic (from Red Star Belgrade for £5m, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool for £75m, 2018)

First career signing: When Spasoje Bulajic likes to brag to his family and friends, he regales them with accounts of how he was named 1997 Slovenian Youth Footballer of the Year and 1998 Slovenian Footballer of the Year. And when he wants to really impress people, he tells them how he was Jurgen Klopp’s first ever signing as Mainz manager for £43,000 in July 2002.


Pep Guardiola

First Manchester City signing: Ilkay Gundogan (from Borussia Dortmund for £22.9m, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan to Barcelona for £40m plus Samuel Eto’o, 2009)

First career signing: As if to really hammer home just how different Pep Guardiola’s coaching beginnings were in comparison to his Premier League counterparts, his first ever signing as a manager was £11.2m Sevilla midfielder Seydou Keita.


Jose Mourinho

First Manchester United signing: Eric Bailly (from Villarreal for £30m, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United for £89.3m, 2016)

First career signing: Here’s a quiz question for you: Which four players have been signed by Jose Mourinho more than once? Four are obvious, with Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, Ricardo Carvalho and Samuel Eto’o all very much synonymous with the Portuguese from his time at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. But the fifth was purchased during his seven-month tenure at União de Leiria. Mourinho would go on to bring Maciel with him to Porto.


Rafael Benitez

First Newcastle signing: Mats Selz (from Gent for £5m, 2016)
Most expensive career signing: Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid to Napoli for £34.5m, 2013)

First career signing: Mats Selz was his first at Newcastle. Marco Asensio was his first at Real Madrid. Dries Mertens was his first at Napoli. Marko Livaja was his first at Inter Milan. Josemi was his first at Liverpool. Salva Ballesta was his first at Valencia. But Rafael Benitez popped his transfer cherry all the way back in 1995 by bringing Alberto Marcos Rey with him from Real Madrid to Valladolid.


Mark Hughes

First Southampton signing: Stuart Armstrong (from Celtic for £7m, 2018)
Most expensive career signing: Robinho (from Real Madrid to Manchester City for £32.5m, 2008)

First career signing: Some managers are defined by the signings they make. Somehow, it would feel weird if the first purchase Mark Hughes ever made as a boss was not that of Robbie Savage. In his first club post after starting life as a head coach with Wales, Hughes signed Savage for just over £3m from Birmingham for Blackburn in 2005.


Mauricio Pochettino

First Tottenham signing: Ben Davies and Michel Vorm (from Swansea for Gylfi Sigurdsson, 2014)
Most expensive career signing: Davinson Sanchez (Ajax to Tottenham for £36m, 2017)

First career signing: Mauricio Pochettino was tasked with rescuing a seemingly doomed Espanyol side when appointed to his first managerial post in January 2009. He achieved what was thought to be impossible thanks in no small part to his first signing, Ivan Alonso, who scored five goals and assisted two in 16 La Liga games after joining that winter.


Javi Gracia

First Watford signing: Pontus Dahlberg (from IFK Goteborg for £3.5m, 2018)
Most expensive career signings: Gerard Deulofeu and Adam Mesina (Barcelona and Bologna to Watford for £11.5m, 2018)

First career signing: Back in 2006, Javi Gracia took over third-tier Pontevedra and signed Brazilian-born forward Igor from Braga for the quite-considerable fee of £180,000. Igor was last seen playing for Spanish minnows CD Boiro. We presume he is massive.

Manuel Pellegrini

First West Ham signing: Ryan Fredericks (Fulham to West Ham for free, 2018)
Most expensive career signings: Ronaldo (Manchester United to Real Madrid for £80m, 2009)

First career signing: Anybody got extensive knowledge of Chilean transfers in the late 1980s?


Nuno Espirito Santo

First Wolves signing: Barry Douglas (from Konyaspor for £1m, 2017)
Most expensive career signings: Rodrigo (Benfica to Real Valencia for £27m, 2015)

First career signing: When Nuno Espirito Santo took over at Rio Ave in 2012, the very first thing he did – as we all would – was sign teenage Brazilian defensive midfielder Felipe Augusto from Bahia for £2m. It went so well that he joined Santo at Valencia, but that proved to be a bridge too far for the man last seen on loan at Alanyaspor in Turkey.



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