Football Features

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

By Squawka News

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

Published: 15:00, 22 June 2023

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

Manchester City and Chelsea lead the way in terms of the most expensive single signings as the only two clubs to breach £100m. But even the clubs in the lower reaches of the top-flight have been known to splash the cash in recent years.

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, and managed to bag 10 Premier League goals in 2020/21, but he hasn’t exactly hit the consistent heights of a £72m and spent last season on loan with Nice. The 28-year-old is expected to be sold this summer for a severely cut price.

Aston Villa – Emi Buendia

Fee: £33m
Bought from: Norwich
Verdict: HIT

After a settling-in season in 2021/22 and a pretty uncomfortable start to the campaign just gone under Steven Gerrad, Emi Buendia emerged as one of the most crucial creative cogs in Unai Emery’s European charge. He was at the forefront of the club’s resurgence and led by example in Emery’s attack as the club extraordinarily finished seventh and secured Europa Conference League football.

Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma

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

A supreme midfield operator who combines aggression, physicality and industry with composure. Lerma enjoyed five years on the South Coast following his move from Levante in 2018 and was instrumental in helping the club gain promotion and consolidate their Premier League status last term. He recently joined Crystal Palace on a free transfer.

Brentford – Kevin Schade

Fee: £21.7m
Bought from: Freiburg
Verdict: Jury is (still) out

Secured on loan in January for the second half of 2022/23, Brentford have made the signing of Kevin Schade from Freiburg a permanent one for a club record £21.4m. The two-capped Germany international didn’t grab the Premier League by the scruff of the neck last term, with just the one assist in 18 games, but at 21, he has plenty of room to develop, and looks an archetypal Thomas Frank player; a fluid attacking threat that can form a key relationship with Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo.

Brighton – Joao Pedro

Fee: £30m
Bought from: Watford
Verdict: Jury is (still) out

With European football coming to Brighton for the first time in their history, Roberto De Zerbi has been strengthening his ranks early on in the summer window, and he has gone big on the £30m purchase of Joao Pedro from Watford. An instinctive and goal-hungry forward, the 21-year-old moves to the South Coast with plenty of promise, and could flourish in such a fluid and attacking system.

Burnley – Ben Gibson

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

Gibson just about pipped striker Chris Wood to become Burnley’s record signing in 2018. After missing the beginning of his first campaign with a hernia problem, he failed to kick on, making just one appearance in three years before leaving for Norwich.

Chelsea – Enzo Fernandez

Fee: £106.8m
Bought from: Benfica
Verdict: HIT

Breaking the £100m mark, Todd Boehly really laid down a marker of his intent last term, with his season of splurging. Enzo Fernandez was acquired in January after helping Argentina win the World Cup, and quickly settled into Chelsea’s midfield during a very turbulent and chaotic first few months. Fans will be hoping he can really kick on under compatriot Mauricio Pochettino.

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, was ultimately overshadowed by an elongated barren spell. Between 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, he scored just five Premier League goals. That picked up in 2020/21 with 10, but for a record striker signing, he never really exploded at Selhurst Park, before leaving for the MLS in 2022.

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson

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

The Icelandic midfielder never really justified his bumper price tag during four seasons at Goodison Park, in which Everton just hovered around mid table.

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 was one of the standout players in 2020/21, despite the club’s relegation. He has gone on to even bigger heights at Napoli since.

Liverpool – Darwin Nunez

Fee: £85m
Bought from: Benfica
Verdict: Jury is (still) out

The Nunez-vs-Haaland debate was all the rage last summer, but there was always ever going to be one winner. For Nunez’s part, he looked lost at times in Jurgen Klopp’s system, unsure of his role and often profligate in front of goal. At other times, though, he looked genuinely world class and devastating. The key will be consistency, and Liverpool fans will be hoping he can bring that next season.

Luton Town – Carlton Morris

Fee: £1.8m
Bought from: Barnsley
Verdict: HIT

You are not reading that wrong, the most Luton have ever spent on a player is £1.8m. Yes, they are going to be in the Premier League next season. Carlton Morris was pivotal to that promotion campaign, scoring 20 goals en route to the play-off final, and even netting in the penalty shootout.

Man City – Jack Grealish

Fee: £100m
Bought from: Aston Villa
Verdict: HIT

After a few teething issues at the start of his City career, Grealish transformed his perception in the season just gone, proving inspirational and one of the first names of Pep Guardiola’s team sheet as the club won the Treble.

Man United – Paul Pogba

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

Pogba endured a turbulent second spell at Manchester United. He showed flashes of genuine world-class midfield play — and for large spells at times, as well. But for the fee couriered to Turin for his signature, he never really justified the price tag. Too many inconsistent displays and injury issues ultimately proved his downfall before he left to rejoin Juve.

Newcastle – Alexander Isak

Fee: £63m
Bought from: Real Sociedad
Verdict: HIT

Injuries aside, Isak looked world class at times during his maiden Tyneside season, dazzling with electric footwork and a poacher’s instinct to find the back of the net. He bagged a respectable 10 Premier League goals in just 17 starts. If he can stay fit, he will be devastating for Newcastle.

Nottingham Forest – Morgan Gibbs-White

Fee: £42.5m
Bought from: Wolves
Verdict: HIT

Eyebrows were raised when Nottingham Forest splurged on MGW last summer, but he ultimately proved the catalyst in their survival season. The City Ground was like a revolving door all throughout the campaign as players came and went at an extraordinary rate. A large chunk flopped, but Gibbs-White was a beacon of consistency throughout all of it.

Sheffield United – Sander Berge

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

In the summer of 2020, Sheffield United made Rhian Brewster their most expensive player. In the winter window, they broke the bank again to hand that status to Berge. He shone in that second half of the season, but endured injury problems in 2021/22 as The Blades exited the Premier League. He has since been instrumental in helping them back up the footballing ladder.

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, before loaning him out to Napoli last season. He wasn’t a guaranteed starter for the Italian champions, but he played 30 Serie A games as they famously won the Scudetto. Still only 26, the mercurial midfielder has plenty of time left in his career to reach the heights that were once touted of him.

West Ham – Lucas Paqueta

Fee: £50m
Bought from: Lyon
Verdict: HIT

West Ham paid an initial £36.5m for Paqueta from Lyon, which is below the £45m they paid for Sebastien Haller, but his signing was described as a “club record signing” and his price tag to stretch for £50m in add-ons. West Ham fans won’t mind one bit. He is already becoming a bit of a cult hero and provided the assist for Jarrod Bowen’s Europa Conference League-winning goal. He is the closest thing the club have had to Dimitri Payet since his departure, and impresses every week with his repertoire of shimmies, flicks and tricks.

Wolves – Matheus Nunes

Fee: £42.2m
Bought from: Sporting
Verdict: HIT

A real coup for Wolves, Nunes was attracting attention from across the continent, but he pitched up in the Black Country much to everyone’s surprise last summer. It was a bit of a chaotic season for Wolves, but Nunes looked delightful at times and should really accelerate his progress next term now that he has acclimatised to the rigours of Premier League football.