If there is one thing to take away from this list it’s that the vast majority of signings this season have been an absolute load of balls…
ARSENAL: Gabriel – £23million
Not a great deal of competition at Arsenal. It’s clearly not Willian and it’s been a bit of an anti-climactic Partey so far. Gabriel has had more good days than bad.
ASTON VILLA: Emiliano Martinez – £15.6million
They will publicly deny it of course, but Arsenal must privately be thinking they sold the wrong goalkeeper. Martinez is behind only Nick Pope (80.5%) and Ederson (80.4%) in the Premier League with a save percentage of 78.6%, compared to Bernd Leno in tenth with 70.4%.
BRIGHTON: Joel Veltman – £900k
Slim pickings at Brighton in truth. Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck haven’t played enough to get in ahead of Veltman, who scored an excellent goal last time out against Crystal Palace and has seen his 16 starts split between centre-back, right-back and right midfield. A usefully versatile addition.
BURNLEY: Dale Stephens – £900k
The former Brighton midfielder’s 249 Premier League minutes are enough to beat off the stiff competition from third-choice goalkeeper Will Norris, yet to make an appearance.
CHELSEA: Thiago Silva – free
Last-gasp £22million signing Edouard Mendy ran him close, but the £156million attacking trio came nowhere near. Silva was a riskless transfer who remains a Rolls Royce defender.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Eberechi Eze – £16million
The kid doesn’t score bad goals; he’s just beautiful to watch. £16million looks like a snip for a player who could one day be worth five times that much.
Ebere Eze channelling his inner Riquelme with this goal. Ice cold 🥶 pic.twitter.com/aIWG9sXMjx
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) January 2, 2021
EVERTON: James Rodriguez – free
Everton are probably the transfer winners this season, not that there’s a great deal of competition. Ben Godfrey, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan have all improved their team, with James Rodriguez adding a sprinkling of out-of-your-seat stardust.
FULHAM: Antonee Robinson – £1.89million
Scott Parker will be desperate to tie Joachim Andersen and Ademola Lookman to permanent deals should they remain in the Premier League and may have to ward off suitors for Robinson should they drop down to the Championship. He’s quick, skilful and massive. No wonder Milan were keen.
LEEDS: Raphinha – £16.2million
Great over free-kicks, with attacking devilment and defensive responsibility, the Brazilian has five Premier League goals and five assists to his name, would be perfect for Liverpool, but clearly loves playing for Leeds.
LEICESTER: Wesley Fofana – £31.5million
People balked at the price tag for a 19-year-old and he has occasionally shown inexperience manifesting itself as a David Luiz-like tendency to find himself on the left wing for no apparent reason, but he’s got all the tools to become a truly world-class centre-back.
LIVERPOOL: Diogo Jota – £40million
Liverpool would not be 19 points behind Manchester City had Diogo Jota stayed fit. The former Wolves star – who scored nine goals in nine starts for the Reds – has arguably been a bigger miss than Virgil van Dijk. The front three would certainly have benefited from the rotation Jota would have facilitated.
MANCHESTER CITY: Ruben Dias – £61million
Money aside, hands down the signing of the season; possibly still the signing of the season with his hefty price tag in mind. Since he came into the City side, they have conceded more than one goal on just one occasion – in his only Premier League defeat, to Spurs – and they’ve kept 14 clean sheets. He’s turned John Stones into a world-beater, FFS.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Edinson Cavani – free
It’s not his finishing that’s made him so successful, but the weight of chances he gets through his movement and tireless work. Six goals from eight Premier League starts is pretty good going; he could have had a fair few more. If only his effort would rub off on his static striking teammate.
NEWCASTLE: Callum Wilson – £20million
His ten goals have been worth nine points to a Newcastle side who would have been utterly screwed without him. He’s missed the last two games through injury – defeats to Chelsea and Man United – and is set to miss the next few. They will be utterly screwed until he comes back.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Jayden Bogle – £3.5million
Spending over £40million on Aaron Ramsdale and Rhian Brewster is possibly the equivalent of Chelsea’s outlay for a club of Sheffield United’s size. And like Chelsea, their big money signings are yet to pay off. But Brewster in particular will be very useful in the Championship, as will Bogle, whose attacking intent has provided a glimmer of joy for the Blades fans in recent weeks.
SOUTHAMPTON: Kyle Walker-Peters – £12million
Jose Mourinho put Kyle Walker-Peters and Serge Aurier up for sale in the summer to make room for Matt Doherty. The former left and has been the best of all three of them, while the latter stayed and is the clear first choice over Doherty, who Mourinho has already decided is not for him. Southampton average 1.5 points per game with Walker-Peters in the team and 0.16 in the games he’s missed through injury.
TOTTENHAM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – £15million
So good at the start of the season, Mourinho has decided he literally cannot do without him. The poor b*****d has played every single minute in the Premier League and it’s been showing for a little while now.
WEST BROM: Matheus Pereira – £7.5million
A stunning 20 assists in the Championship last season led to his permanent signing for a fee that remains a bargain despite his team’s woes. Just three assists suggests a big drop in creativity, but over two key passes and over three shot-creating actions per 90 minutes – significantly more than any other West Brom player – tells a story of striker profligacy rather than his own relative decline. He could yet do great things in the top flight, with the Baggies or otherwise.
WEST HAM: Tomas Soucek – £14.5million
The images of him butting heads with Davinson Sanchez and getting straight back up with blood pouring from his brow will be one of the brilliant abiding memories among many in this unbelievable West Ham season. Special mention must go to his Czech pal Vladimir Coufal, who’s started and finished all but one Premier League game and has barely put a foot wrong.
WOLVES: Nelson Semedo – £27million
If Nuno Espirito Santo could have the summer transfer window back he would. A proven striker rather than a young upstart would have been nice given what was to come and he would fancy his chances of finding a better option than Semedo. A Portugal international from Barcelona sounds perfect for Wolves, but with just one assist he’s been a very disappointing replacement for Doherty, whom Nuno would be wise to try and lure back to Molineux this summer.
Will Ford is on Twitter