Top ten summer signings across Europe

With a third of the season now complete, it’s worth looking back at how the summer signings have performed in Europe’s top five leagues. With that, take a look at top performers who have quickly settled into their new surroundings…


10) Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace ( Rating 7.44)
Christian Benteke became Crystal Palace’s club record signing the summer when he left Liverpool for £27m, which could eventually rise to £32m. The Belgian has made a positive impact for the Eagles, having scored four goals in 10 league games and has won more aerial duels per game (9.4) than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this campaign. Manager Alan Pardew has tinkered his approach to play to Benteke’s strengths and the player is profiting, even if the team is not.


9) Thomas Meunier – PSG (7.45)
Benteke’s Belgium teammate comes in just above the powerful frontman, with Thomas Meunier one of the surprise packages at Euro 2016. PSG forked out just €7m to bring the right-back to Paris from Club Bruges and he’s proved a shrewd signing for the French champions, providing competition for Serge Aurier. He’s got forward well with an average of 1.3 dribbles per game and is an effective creative outlet from deep, as evidenced in his average of 1.6 key passes per league match, the second-best return of all PSG players.


8) Fernando Marçal – Guingamp (7.46)
Fernando Marçal was an commendable performer for Gaziantepspor, but that did not convince Benfica that he deserved a first-team spot. Instead, the Portuguese giants opted to send the Brazilian on loan again, with Guingamp the happy recipients. The left-back is currently the club’s highest rated player for the French side with a rating of 7.46. Marçal has three assists to his name, all of which have been from open play, highlighting the attacking threat he carries for the Ligue 1 side. Given a majority of the team’s offensive moves come down the left (40%), this only reinforces the 27-year-old’s importance for Antoine Kombouare’s side.


7) Iago Falque – Torino (7.53)
Like Marçal, Iago Falque also secured a loan move in the summer, joining Torino from Serie A counterparts Roma. He’s impressing as well for the Turin side as his rating (7.53) suggests. Only a handful of players have been directly involved in more goals than Falque (Eight – five goals, three assists) in Italy’s top tier this term as he looks to establish himself as one of Serie A’s most consistent attacking performers. He was a Tottenham flop, you know.


6) Paul Pogba – Manchester United (7.55)
It was the longest-running transfer saga of the summer and Manchester United fans were understandably ecstatic when Paul Pogba’s record-breaking return to Old Trafford was confirmed. While many may feel the Frenchman is yet to live up to his hefty price tag, the 23-year-old is performing capably in the United midfield with 3.1 shots, 1.9 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per game ranking highly for Jose Mourinho’s side.


5) Naby Keita – RB Leipzig (7.55)
A summer arrival from RB Leipzig’s partner club RB Salzburg, Naby Keita has been one of the star players in Germany’s top tier this term. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side currently top the Bundesliga and are one of two teams yet to be defeated in the league this season. Keita has been a key player in the middle of the park, breaking up play effectively with an average of 2.4 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game. The Guinea international is also more than capable of bringing the ball forward with a success rate of 71.4% the second best of all Bundesliga players to attempt 15 or more dribbles this season.


4) Miralem Pjanic – Juventus (7.60)
It’s no surprise that Juventus have soared to the summit of Serie A given their quality in depth. Summer signing Miralem Pjanic has helped them achieve a better start to the season than they managed last time around, with his rating (7.60) the third best of all players for the Old Lady. A vital strength of Pjanic’s game remains his set-piece-taking ability and he’s exhibited this trait on numerous occasions this season having made more key passes from dead ball situations (16) in Italy’s top tier this term than any other player.


3) Marcos Alonso – Chelsea (7.71)
It took time for Marcos Alonso to establish himself as a key man for Chelsea, but after Antonio Conte’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation, the Spaniard is now a star performer for the Blues. A rating of 7.71 is the seventh best in the Premier League this season, while 3.4 tackles per game is better than any other Chelsea player. He’s become increasingly important for the west London side as they return to the top of the league for the first time since winning the title.


2) Kerem Demirbay – Hoffenhem (7.71)
Hoffenheim are yet to lose a league game this season with Kerem Demirbay playing a starring role in the middle of the park. A rating of 7.71 is the second best in the Bundesliga this season, with the youngster creating five clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, the second best return this term. Three goals and three assists is an impressive return for Demirbay, who joined Hoffenheim from Bundesliga counterparts Hamburg over the summer. If he can maintain his stunning start to the campaign, Hoffenheim have a much stronger chance of securing a European finish, which would be all the more notable given their close shave with relegation last term.


1) Sadio Mane – Liverpool (7.76)
Sadio Mane’s big-money move to Liverpool raised a few eyebrows over the summer, but the Senegal star has certainly lived up to the billing at Anfield. His rating (7.76) is the fifth best in England’s top tier this term as the Reds strive to secure their first Premier League title. Six goals and two assists is a fine return for Mane, while his partnership with fellow frontmen Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho has seen the Reds score more Premier League goals (30) than any other team. Indeed, Mane’s excellent start to life on Merseyside means he is now the highest-rated summer signing in Europe’s top five leagues this season.


Ben McAleer


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