Ranked: This season’s best Premier League signings

Date published: Sunday 29th March 2020 10:26

Take a look at Nos 184-139, 138-93 and 92-47, then skip to the bottom of this page and be consumed by an apoplectic rage at an arbitrary ranking which puts a player from your team below someone you’ve not really watched all that much. Enjoy.


46) Matt Clarke (Portsmouth to Brighton, £3.5m)
Derby’s best player this season, if WhoScored is to be believed. And they are.


45) Ezri Konsa (Brentford to Aston Villa, £12m)
Has played in 53.6% of Aston Villa’s Premier League games and 71.4% of their wins. Has also been robbed of 2.9% of their goals.


44) Rodri (Atletico Madrid to Manchester City, £62.8m)
Would have had Fernandinho next to him to help the transition in an ideal world. Has shown enough to suggest they should build around him.


43) Harry Wilson (Liverpool to Bournemouth, loan)
Is really good at free-kicks, although that probably won’t be enough to persuade Liverpool not to cash in when they next can.


42) Youri Tielemans (Monaco to Leicester, £40m)
Much like his club, an excellent start was followed by a noticeable decline.


41) Sam Byram (West Ham to Norwich, £750,000)
Has he outstayed his welcome? A healthy rivalry seems to have brought the best out of both him and Jamal Lewis at left-back.


40) James McCarthy (Everton to Crystal Palace, £2m)
Not a single fan or pundit has ever said anything negative about such a dependable boy. It’s just a shame Palace flubbed his unveiling.


39) Kortney Hause (Wolves to Aston Villa, £3m)
Fared well during his recent extended run in the first team, particularly considering he had never played in the Premier League before.


38) James Justin (Luton to Leicester, £8m)
The scorer of one goal, assister of two and winner in each of his eight appearances already looks like a bargain.


37) Jarrod Bowen (Hull to West Ham, £22m)
Has played in three different positions across four games, scoring one goal, and already represents quite the upgrade on David Moyes’ previous attacking signing for West Ham, Jordan Hugill.


36) Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua to Manchester United, loan)
Fair play, he’s been pretty good. Not next Van Nistelrooy levels, but a lovely short-term solution.


35) Andre Gomes (Barcelona to Everton, £22m)
Great before that injury, understandably rusty upon a return that should never have been so quick in the first place. Their best midfielder.


34) Wesley (Club Brugge to Aston Villa, £22m)
Broke a 12-game goal drought in the same game he suffered what was then a season-ending injury, suggesting those debut season kinks had been slowly ironed out.


33) Oli McBurnie (Swansea to Sheffield United, £20m)
“You don’t really want a Sheffield United situation where at one time or another they’ve had six strikers on their books and none of them have really hit the ground running,” said Darren Bent last week. Champions League-chasing Chris Wilder is more bothered about McBurnie’s overall game than his four goals in 26 games, clearly.


32) Adam Webster (Bristol City to Brighton, £20m)
Surely on the England radar after slowly growing into his debut Premier League campaign.


31) Djibril Sidibe (Monaco to Everton, loan)
Did not start Everton’s first eight Premier League games; has started 17 of 21 since.


30) Allan Saint-Maximin (Nice to Newcastle, £16.5m)
The worest of all the Als? Almost definitely.


29) Anwar El Ghazi (Lille to Aston Villa, £8m)
Should perhaps not have been relied upon so often; his versatility makes him a useful option but not a regular starter.


28) Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid to Arsenal, loan)
The 3-1 defeat at Liverpool in August remains the only Arsenal game Ceballos has started and lost. They’ve won three on the bounce since the “animal” (not Batista) returned.


27) Daniel James (Swansea to Manchester United, £15m)
Can run really, really f**king fast.


26) Lys Mousset (Bournemouth to Sheffield United, £10m)
Refer back to 33) and add a hat-trick of assists, with each of his five goals coming in either wins or draws.


25) Tom Heaton (Burnley to Aston Villa, £8m)
Villa conceded 1.75 goals per game with him and 2.63 without. So yeah.


24) Jay Rodriguez (West Brom to Burnley, £10m)
Has rather pleasingly scored in 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 wins, all while helping Sean Dyche realise you don’t have to be an actual giant to play up front.


23) Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge to Aston Villa, £11m)
“That is what we need to see from the players – that application and commitment to the cause,” said Dean Smith of Nakamba’s crumpling tackle on Sergio Aguero in the League Cup final. Sounds about right.


22) Leandro Trossard (Genk to Brighton, £15m)
Has more combined goals and assists than every Brighton player except for Neal Maupay. And he’s started seven games fewer than the Frenchman.


21) Sander Berge (Genk to Sheffield United, £22m)
Turned up at Carrington, was bestowed a wonderful chant, and has gone unbeaten in his first four games as a Blade.


20) Steven Bergwijn (PSV to Tottenham, £26.7m)
Before being run into the actual ground he managed to contribute two goals, including that glorious strike against Manchester City.


19) Dennis Praet (Sampdoria to Leicester, £18m)
Has managed to avoid making an absolute Praet of himself as a quite decent midfield option.


18) David Luiz (Chelsea to Arsenal, £8m)
While the lows have been pronounced and publicised, the highs have been plenty, too. Actual coaching might have helped the unmistakable one.


17) Adrian (unattached to Liverpool, free)
Will always have the Super Cup heroics and 11-game winning Premier League run to remember. Recency bias and a shortage of candidates makes him a successful disappointment.


16) Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth to Aston Villa, £20m)
Those mistakes were starting to become a little more regular before the break, but the 27-year-old is a fan favourite for good reason.


15) Ismaila Sarr (Rennes to Watford, £30m)
The honorary Invincible has impressed despite starting less than half of Watford’s games.


14) Harry Maguire (Leicester to Manchester United, £80m)
There have been moments. Good lord, he sometimes turns slower than frozen milk and loves a lunge. But he is captain of the Premier League’s fourth-best defence, a previously sinking ship.


13) Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield to Brighton, £5m)
“He’s been an important player for us and will have a key part to play going forward,” said Graham Potter when the Mooy deal was made permanent in January. He presumably meant in chronological rather than attacking terms


12) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £45m)
, basically.


11) Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano to Arsenal, £6m)
Scoff at the Europa League stat-padding if you’d rather, but ten goals as an 18-year-old in his debut season is excellent.


10) Neal Maupay (Brentford to Brighton, £20m)
The only current bottom-half players with more combined goals and assists are Danny Ings, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Teemu Pukki, Jack Grealish and Richarlison, each relative veterans by comparison.


9) Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht to Wolves, £12m)
Only Liverpool fan Conor Coady, wise old men Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho and elite bagsman Raul Jimenez have played more minutes for Wolves this season than remarkably efficient signing Dendoncker.


8) Gary Cahill (Chelsea to Crystal Palace, free)
Who would’ve thought that Cahill and Roy Hodgson could form such a resolute, dependable partnership?


7) Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid to Chelsea, £40.5m)
There could have been no more than a few people that considered Chelsea spending £40.5m on Kovacic last summer to be sensible business. We have all been converted.


6) Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis to Tottenham, £27.2m)
Oh look, Seb Stafford-Bloor gets something spot on. Eurgh.


5) Bruno Fernandes (Sporting to Manchester United, £47m)
United are unbeaten since he joined and showed them how to at least to pretend to know how to kick that big bag of air. The only thing counting against his excellence is that it has been fleeting.


4) Raul Jimenez (Benfica to Wolves, £32m)
Has rarely missed a minute while scoring or assisting 32 goals in 44 appearances. And that’s quite silly.


3) Danny Ings (Liverpool to Southampton, £20m)
Let’s hope that bet rolled into the following season. No player has a higher proportion of their team’s Premier League goals.


2) Dean Henderson (Manchester United to Sheffield United, loan)
Only Nick Pope has more clean sheets. Only David de Gea stands in his Manchester United way. His progression from non-league (2015/16) to League Two (2016/17), League One (2017/18) the Championship (2018/19) and now Premier League and beyond has been delightfully linear.


1) Jordan Ayew (Swansea to Crystal Palace, £2.5m)
The only goal in three 1-0 wins, the first or final goal in three 2-1 victories, and the decisive equaliser in two draws with Arsenal. If you compare his fee with his direct contribution to points earned, no other signing comes close.


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