Football Features

Hit or miss? Every Premier League club’s record signing

By Squawka News

Published: 20:05, 26 December 2020 | Updated: 12:11, 1 January 2021

With footballers becoming increasingly expensive, Premier League clubs are currently breaking their transfer records at a more rapid rate than ever.

Even Newcastle United, whose record signing was Michael Owen for over 13 years, broke a club record for an incoming transfer twice in 2019.

Manchester United and Liverpool lead the way in terms of the most expensive single signing; their record arrivals total a huge £164m.

But even the clubs in the lower reaches of the top-flight have been known to splash the cash in recent years, with two of this season’s promoted clubs breaking their transfer records last summer.

Some of these deals have been more than worth the money, while others have been a complete waste of time and resources.

So who is the record signing at every Premier League club? We’ve listed them below and labelled each HIT or MISS.

Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe

Fee: £72m
Bought from: Lille
Verdict: MISS

Going into the summer 2019 transfer window, Arsenal reportedly had £40m to bolster their squad. But they spent almost double that when signing highly sought-after winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille. The Ivorian winger had a decent first season for the Gunners given the circumstances at the club, but his second hasn’t been anywhere near as good. He has played a fleeting role for the Gunners in 2020/21, only really given starting time in the Europa League and when injuries have hit.

Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins

Fee: £28m
Bought from: Brentford
Verdict: HIT

For the second summer in a row, Aston Villa broke their transfer record to sign a striker. But unlike Wesley, who had a slow start to life in England before injury struck, Ollie Watkins has been excellent. The Englishman has six goals and two assists in 13 Premier League so far and is already a key member of a Villa team currently sitting just outside the top four.

Brighton – Adam Webster

Fee: £20m
Bought from: Bristol City
Verdict: HIT

Joining from Championship side Bristol City last summer, slightly costing more than Neal Maupay did from Brentford, Webster enjoyed a decent first season at Brighton. His solidity in defence has seen Shane Duffy eased out of the team, setting Brighton up for the future.

Burnley – Ben Gibson

Fee: £15m
Bought from: Middlesbrough
Verdict: MISS

Gibson just about pipped striker Chris Wood to become Burnley’s record signing two summers ago. After missing the beginning of his first campaign with a hernia problem, the centre-back has barely featured, making just six appearances across all competitions in two years.

Chelsea – Kai Havertz

Fee: £72m
Bought from: Bayer Leverkusen
Verdict: MISS

Taking the mantel as Chelsea’s record signing from Kepa Arrizabalaga, Kai Havertz joined the Blues will a lot of hype and promise. Unfortunately it has just not worked out so far, though it is not entirely Havertz’s fault. He has been played out of position and suffered from Covid-19, which has affected his run in the side, with underwhelming performances. However, there is still a lot of time to turn it around.

Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke

Fee: £27m
Bought from: Liverpool
Verdict: MISS

An impressive debut season at Selhurst Park, in which he scored 15 league goals to keep Palace in the top flight, has been overshadowed by an elongated barren spell for Benteke. Although he has recently found form, scoring three goals in quick succession, these brief spells have summed up his Palace career. Even taking his recent long-term injury into consideration, it’s hard to look past those numbers.

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Fee: £45m
Bought from: Swansea City
Verdict: MISS

Focusing on initial fees, Sigurdsson cost Everton more than Richarlison did when he joined from Swansea in 2017. The Icelandic creative midfielder quickly became a key member of the Toffees team no matter who was in charge, although his stellar performances are becoming more rare. Like Benteke he is finding form again, but two disappointing campaigns just about trumps his impressive 2018/19.

Fulham – Andre-Frank Zambo-Anguissa

Fee: £22.8m
Bought from: Marseille
Verdict: HIT

Although he struggled in his first season at Fulham and did not look to have a future at Craven Cottage, Andre-Frank Zamb0-Anguissa has been one of their standout players in their return to the Premier League.

Leeds – Rodrigo

Fee: £26m
Bought from: Everton
Verdict: MISS

Rodrigo was expected to lead the line for Leeds in the Premier League but has fell behind Patrick Bamford in that particular pecking order. The Spaniard has found a way into the team, in midfield, and has everything in his hands to improve on the slow start.

Leicester – Youri Tielemans

Fee: £40.5m
Bought from: Monaco
Verdict: HIT

Spending last season on loan, Leicester broke their transfer record when they signed Tielemans permanently last summer and the Belgian has largely been excellent. There were some down moments over last season’s Christmas period leading to doubts over his ability to cope in the Premier League, but the midfielder has found form once again.

Liverpool – Virgil Van Dijk

Fee: £75m
Bought from: Southampton
Verdict: HIT

It’s not often a player costing £75m is said to be worth every penny, but that’s certainly the case with Van Dijk. The towering centre-back has developed into one of the world’s leading defenders since joining Liverpool from Southampton and has turned Jurgen Klopp’s side into Champions League and Premier League winners.

Man City – Rodri

Fee: £63m
Bought from: Atletico Madrid
Verdict: HIT

Although Manchester City failed to retain their Premier League title, Rodri enjoyed a good first season at the Etihad and looks set to be a key member of their midfield under Pep Guardiola.

Man United – Paul Pogba

Fee: £89m
Bought from: Juventus
Verdict: HIT

Pogba has endured a somewhat turbulent second spell at Manchester United since returning to the club from Juventus. The speculation around his poor working relationship with former coach Jose Mourinho got in the way of some formidable midfield displays, but he has found a level of consistency under Solskjaer.

Newcastle – Joelinton

Fee: £40m
Bought from: Hoffenheim
Verdict: MISS

Like London buses, Newcastle broke their transfer record twice in a short period of time having previously waited over a decade. Joelinton in the summer of 2019 usurped the fee paid for Miguel Almiron the January prior, but the striker just hasn’t had the same impact. As the leading forward, Joelinton has managed just three goals in 50 Premier League appearances.

Sheffield United – Sander Berge

Fee: £22m
Bought from: Genk
Verdict: HIT

It’s been almost a year now but Sander Berge is already looking to be an excellent Premier League player for the future. Unfortunately for Sheffield United and their quest to stay in the division, the Norwegian looks set to be ruled out for four months.

Southampton – Danny Ings

Fee: £20m
Bought from: Liverpool
Verdict: HIT

After a successful loan spell, Southampton parted with £20m for Danny Ings last summer, and the Englishman has looked every bit worth the price. He has scored 28 goals in 49 Premier League appearances since making his move permanent.

Tottenham – Tanguy Ndombele

Fee: £54m
Bought from: Lyon
Verdict: MISS

There’s no doubting that there’s a player in Ndombele, but Tottenham were unable to find it last season, with Jose Mourinho particularly scathing in his criticism of the midfielder. He has improved in 2020/21 but he’s not quite there.

West Brom – Grady Diangana

Fee: £18m
Bought from: West Ham
Verdict: HIT

After spending last season on loan at The Hawthorns, West Brom broke their club-record fee to make Grady Diangana’s move from West Ham permanent. The winger has been an exciting prospect, let down by his defence this season.

West Ham – Sebastien Haller

Fee: £45m
Bought from: Eintracht Frankfurt
Verdict: MISS

There was a lot excitement when Haller joined West Ham in 2019, after a good season alongside Luka Jovic at Eintracht Frankfurt. But the Frenchman is yet to transfer that form into the Premier League, frustrating many a West Ham fan.

Wolves – Fabio Silva

Fee: £35.6m
Bought from: FC Porto
Verdict: MISS

After becoming the youngest player to represent FC Porto in Portugal’s top division; homegrown centre-forward Fábio Silva would ultimately make 21 appearances for the Dragons before taking his talents to Molineux in September 2020, but the 18-year-old has yet to pull up any trees, one goal across 12 matches, albeit he’s got plenty of time on his side having signed a five-year deal.