Football Features

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

By Squawka News

Published: 14:10, 23 July 2020

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: HIT

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 has had a decent first season for the Gunners given the circumstances at the club, but will look to improve in his second campaign.

Aston Villa – Wesley

Fee: £22m
Bought from: Club Brugge
Verdict: MISS

Tasked with finding the goals to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League, Wesley had a slow start to life in England, scoring five goals in 21 matches. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he suffered a season-ending injury in January 2020, unable to add to his tally. A miss may be harsh considering the circumstances, but Wesley will have more than enough time to improve when he does eventually return.

Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma

Fee: £25m
Bought from: Levante
Verdict: HIT

A fighter in midfield, Lerma adapted to English football quickly, though his indiscipline has let him down at times. In recent weeks the Colombian has looked out of sorts with Bournemouth facing relegation, but the future is bright.

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 – Kepa Arrizabalaga

Fee: £71m
Bought from: Athletic Bilbao
Verdict: MISS

After a decent first season at Chelsea, Arrizabalaga has endured a second campaign so tough that the Blues are reportedly looking to cut their losses on the Spaniard. The closing stages of Chelsea’s 5-3 defeat to Liverpool recently also showed the frustration Chelsea’s own defenders have around the goalkeeper’s perceived lack of confidence in goal.

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. He found the net just three times last term and is yet to score in any competition during the current campaign. 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, two disappointing campaigns just about trumps his impressive 2018/19.

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 the 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 now 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 two goals in 37 Premier League appearances.

Norwich City – Steven Naismith

Fee: £10m
Bought from: Everton
Verdict: MISS

Naismith did not have a good time at Norwich, making just 48 appearances in three years on the club’s books, of which only a handful came in the Premier League.

Sheffield United – Sander Berge

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

It’s early doors but Sander Berge is already looking to be an excellent signing for Sheffield United. Joining in January 2020, the Norwegian midfielder has started all but two of Sheffield United’s 13 Premier League games since his debut.

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 21 goals in 37 Premier League appearance, just behind Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.

Tottenham – Tanguy Ndombele

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

There’s no doubting that there’s a player in Ndombele, but Tottenham have just been able to find it this season, with Jose Mourinho particularly scathing in his criticism of the midfielder.

Watford – Ismaila Sarr

Fee: £25m
Bought from: Rennes
Verdict: HIT

Joining from Rennes last summer, Sarr has often looked the brightest spark in a struggling Watford team. It took him a short time to get running, but once he started it has proven tough to stop the 22-year-old – just ask Liverpool.

West Ham – Sebastien Haller

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

There was a lot excitement when Haller joined West Ham last summer, 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 – Raul Jimenez

Fee: £30m
Bought from: Benfica
Verdict: HIT

Another loan deal turned permanent, Jimenez has more that justified the price Wolves paid for him last January. The Portuguese has scored 30 goals in 75 Premier League games under Nuno Espirito Santo and genuinely looks like he’s in love with the club.