It seems like a lifetime ago that our clubs were splashing the cash on marquee signings ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Shiny new kits were bought, expectations were high and there was no talk of a deadly virus that would see football suspended and the world housebound.
But just how good have each club’s marquee signing been so far this season?
Well, sit back, relax, and prepare to be triggered as 90min ranks each club’s main summer signing – as a house rule, we’re not including loans that were made permanent. Sorry, Mateo Kovačić and Youri Tielemans.
20. Liverpool – Adrián
Signed From: West Ham
Signed For: Free
Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory isn’t it?
You might well win the Premier League this season, Liverpool fans, but the signing of Adrián last summer has proved to be nothing short of catastrophic.
19. Chelsea – No One
Signed From: N/A
Signed For: N/A
Christian Pulisic technically became a Chelsea player in January 2019 and Mateo Kovačić was on loan last season, so we haven’t got anyone from Frank Lampard’s transfer banned side to judge.
While making no signings was certainly something Liverpool should have done, the Blues could have done with a star name or two to help their push for Champions League football.
18. Newcastle United – Joelinton
Signed From: TSG Hoffenheim
Signed For: £39.6m
Oh dear, oh dear.
Even if Joelinton hadn’t cost almost £40m, it’s difficult to argue that the Brazilian hasn’t been one of the worst attacking signings in recent memory – if not in Premier League history.
The 23-year-old didn’t show too much at Hoffenheim to suggest he’d be a hit in England and so far he’s lived up to his fairly sub-standard expectations.
17. Southampton – Che Adams
Signed From: Birmingham City
Signed For: £15m
Although Che Adams hasn’t scored in the Premier League this season, he’s still put in quite a few decent performances and helped Southampton’s better players in their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Strikers aren’t just judged by the number of goals they score (hence Adams being ahead of Joelinton) but, at the same time, goals are still pretty damn important.
16. Bournemouth – Arnaut Groeneveld
Signed From: Club Brugge
Signed For: £16.2m
There was a lot of excitement seeing a Netherlands international, with experience in the Champions League, rock up on the south coast last summer.
Unfortunately, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld hasn’t really been given a chance to impress under Eddie Howe and the 23-year-old might need to wait until Ryan Fraser leaves in the next transfer window before his chance comes.
15. Norwich City – Sam Byram
Signed From: West Ham
Signed For: £750k
Sam Byram isn’t a flashy player by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s been a key part of Norwich City’s squad throughout the season – playing initially as a right-back before replacing Jamal Lewis on the left.
But with the Canaries looking set for relegation, it’s difficult to pick Norwich’s summer signing any higher on this list.
14. Tottenham Hotspur – Tanguy Ndombélé
Signed From: Olympique Lyonnais
Signed For: £54m
José Mourinho might object to Tanguy Ndombélé’s inclusion here, but the France international hasn’t been a complete flop by any stretch of the imagination.
Just like with most players coming from Ligue 1, Ndombélé will need time to get used to things in the Premier League.
Although if Mourinho stays in north London any longer, we could be waiting for quite some time before the Frenchman really finds his feet.
13. Everton – Alex Iwobi
Signed From: Arsenal
Signed For: £27m
At times, it’s really easy to see why Alex Iwobi is Jay-Jay Okocha’s nephew.
The Nigeria international can be one of the most exciting and, for better or for worse, unpredictable players in the Premier League.
But for all Iwobi’s talent, there was always a feeling he never quite reached his peak at Arsenal and that frustration has following him to Goodison Park.
12. Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie
Signed From: Swansea City
Signed For: £17m
Sheffield United haven’t been scoring goals for fun throughout their surprising push for Champions League football, but Oli McBurnie has been crucial both from the start or off the bench for Chris Wilder’s side, scoring 13% of their Premier League goals.
The Scotland international is one of the most physically demanding strikers in the top flight, and his place in Sheffield United’s team has been crucial in bringing the best out of players like Lys Mousset, John Fleck and John Lundstram.
11. Aston Villa – Wesley
Signed From: Club Brugge
Signed For: £22.5m
Wesley’s cruciate ligament injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the 23-year-old had just ended a 12-game goal drought when he picked up the knock against Burnley.
The Brazilian certainly didn’t prove that he’s the finished product in his first few months in the Premier League, but Wesley was a great focal point for Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, bringing the best out of Jack Grealish with his hold-up play.
10. Wolverhampton Wanderers – Pedro Neto
Signed From: SS Lazio
Signed For: £16.5m
Pedro Neto’s career has been bizarre.
Despite making just eight senior appearances, Neto’s transfers have already tallied up to more than £30m, having joined Lazio from Braga in a £14m deal just weeks before his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers last year.
The Portugal Under-21 international has become fairly famous for having the Video Assistant Referee go against him at every opportunity, but aside from the technology, Neto’s had an impressive start under Nuno Espírito Santo.
9. Burnley – Jay Rodriguez
Signed From: West Brom
Signed For: £5m
It was hardly the most exciting homecoming for neutral fans, but Burnley-born Jay Rodriguez’s move back to Turf Moor has proved to be vital as Sean Dyche’s side not only avoid relegation, but also make a stunning push for Europa League qualification.
Chris Wood (11) and Ashely Barnes (six) have still been Burnely’s top marksmen, but Rodriguez has scored against Chelsea and Manchester United this season.
8. Crystal Palace – Gary Cahill
Signed From: Chelsea
Signed For: Free
Name us a more ‘Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace’ signing of the 2019 summer transfer window.
The 34-year-old was one of five new players through the door at Selhurst Park last summer, and even though Jordan Ayew’s loan move last season means he can’t be in contention, Cahill’s still been one of the most impactful new signings in the Premier League.
Only five teams have a better defensive record than the Eagles and Cahill’s had a huge part to play in Crystal Palace’s relative success.
7. Arsenal – Nicolas Pépé
Signed From: Lille OSC
Signed For: £72m
Arsenal certainly paid over the odds for Nicolas Pépé, but the Ivory Coast international has quietly been having a fantastic season – even if fans outside north London can’t admit it.
The 24-year-old has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals, while he’s also been one of the most consistent threats for Arsenal in their attack.
Pépé’s £72m price tag will stay on his shoulders for quite some time, but in reality the Ivorian has adapted brilliantly to life in the Premier League and he’ll only get better as Mikel Arteta embeds his ideas into the squad.
6. Watford – Ismaïla Sarr
Signed From: Stade Rennais
Signed For: £27m
Ismaïla Sarr’s form has mirrored Watford’s throughout his career at Vicarage Road, but since Nigel Pearson’s arrival earlier this season, the Senegal international has been the club’s most dangerous player by some distance.
The 22-year-old has had his fair share of gaffes in Hertfordshire, but he’s now been involved in eight goals in his last nine Premier League appearances, including goals against Manchester United and Liverpool.
5. West Ham United – Sébastien Haller
Signed From: Eintracht Frankfurt
Signed For: £36m
West Ham didn’t make Sébastien Haller their club-record signing just for his goal record, but the Frenchman is still the club’s top goalscorer this season.
The 25-year-old is built in a very similar mould to Olivier Giroud, with Haller’s ability to bring the best out of his teammates arguably his best attribute.
Haller’s still blown quite hot and cold, but with Felipe Anderson, Pablo Fornals and now Jarrod Bowen around him, the best could still be yet to come.
4. Manchester United – Harry Maguire
Signed From: Leicester City
Signed For: £78m
Harry Maguire wasn’t cheap, and he certainly hasn’t transformed Manchester United like Virgil van Dijk did at Liverpool, but the England international has helped to shore up a defence which has been prone to conceding silly goals.
David de Gea has done his best to ensure United still let unnecessary goals into the back of the net, but Maguire, as well as Aaron Wan-Bissaka, has already proved he’s a piece of the puzzle which could bring some major silverware back to Old Trafford.
3. Manchester City – Rodri
Signed From: Atlético Madrid
Signed For: £63m
As soon as Rodri’s move to Manchester City was confirmed, everyone knew he’d be an instant hit in the north west.
Under Pep Guardiola, Rodri has slotted perfectly into defensive midfield and the Spain international has even impressed when he’s been forced out of position in defence.
The 23-year-old is still a bit rough around the edges in some areas, but Rodri undoubtedly has the quality to anchor Manchester City’s midfield for a generation.
2. Leicester City – Ayoze Pérez
Signed From: Newcastle United
Signed For: £30m
Quite a few players have partnered Jamie Vardy over the years.
Leonardo Ulloa, Andrej Kramarić and even cult hero Shinji Okazaki have tried (and failed) to act as Vardy’s support, but Ayoze Pérez has been the perfect addition to bring the best out of Leicester City’s attacking players.
The Spaniard has been used either through the middle or out wide this season and he’s been directly involved in 11 goals for Brendan Rodgers’ side – a tally which is bettered only by Vardy (23) and Harvey Barnes (12).
1. Brighton & Hove Albion – Neal Maupay
Signed From: Brentford
Signed For: £19.8m
If Graham Potter could create his ideal striker in a lab, he’d come out with something not too dissimilar to Neal Maupay.
The Frenchman has been an instant hit on the south coast and his influence on Brighton’s style of play has been immeasurable, proving to be the perfect spearhead for Potter’s modern-day approach to really take hold.
The Seagulls still aren’t guaranteed to stay up this season, but if they do, Maupay will be the catalyst which propels Brighton up the Premier League table next season and maybe even into Europe.
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