Football Features

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

By Steve Jennings

Published: 13:24, 5 April 2019

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 this January.

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 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Fee: £56m
Bought from: Borussia Dortmund
Verdict: HIT

Aubameyang instantly hit the ground running as an Arsenal player and hasn’t stopped scoring since arriving at the Emirates. The former Borussia Dortmund striker has found the net 32 times in 54 appearances for the Gunners so far.

Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma

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

Only Watford’s Jose Holebas has received as many Premier League yellow cards as Lerma this season (both 11), and the midfielder will know he must work on his indiscipline. But generally, he has adapted to English football quickly and, at just 24, still has plenty of time to improve further.

Brighton – Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Fee: £17m
Bought from: AZ Alkmaar
Verdict: MISS

In fairness to Jahanbakhsh, the winger missed two months of his debut season in England with a hamstring injury. When fit, he hasn’t quite done enough for Brighton and has rarely completed 90 minutes. Of course, there is still time for the 25-year-old to come good.

Burnley – Ben Gibson

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

Gibson just about pipped striker Chris Wood to become Burnley’s record signing last summer. After missing the beginning of the season with a hernia problem, the centre-back has barely featured, making just one Premier League appearance – in which, remarkably, he scored his only goal for the club.

Cardiff – Gary Medel

Fee: £11m
Bought from: Sevilla
Verdict: MISS

Medel played in 34 of Cardiff’s 38 Premier League games in the 2013/14 campaign. The Bluebirds were relegated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (whatever happened to him?) and Medel was sold to Inter Milan. He simply wasn’t in Wales for long enough to be considered a hit.

Chelsea – Kepa Arrizabalaga

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

Despite his refusal the leave the pitch during Chelsea’s EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester City and the subsequent uproar, Kepa hasn’t looked out of place between the sticks at Stamford Bridge and should be the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper for years to come.

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 – Richarlison

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

With 13 goals in 33 appearances across all competitions, Richarlison will almost certainly finish his debut season with Everton as the club’s top-scorer. The Toffees parted with a huge fee for the Brazilian, but his potential is clear and the 21-year-old could one day be worth even more.

Fulham – Jean Michael Seri

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

Fulham took a gamble on their Premier League survival by spending large amounts of money last summer. It didn’t pay off, and the Londoners have already been relegated.

Seri impressed in fits and starts – and could earn a move back to the top flight – but the outlay simply wasn’t worth it as Fulham look set to make a loss.

Huddersfield – Terence Kongolo

Fee: £17.5m
Bought from: Monaco
Verdict: MISS

After a promising loan spell in 2017/18, Kongolo was deemed worthy of becoming Huddersfield’s record transfer last summer. However, the entire Town defence struggled as the Terriers were swiftly relegated this term, and Kongolo might be sold for less than the fee Huddersfield paid for him.

Leicester – Islam Slimani

Fee: £29m
Bought from: Sporting CP
Verdict: MISS

Slimani is still on the books at Leicester, but he hasn’t played for the club since the first half of last season before his pointless loan spell at Newcastle. The striker, who is now on loan at Fenerbahce, scored 13 goals in 47 appearances for the Foxes and never quite looked like the clinical goalscorer that was required.

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 Premier League title contenders.

Man City – Riyad Mahrez

Fee: £60m
Bought from: Leicester City
Verdict: HIT

Mahrez’s fee is massive for a player who isn’t a guaranteed starter at the Etihad. But the Algerian had done exactly what was expected of him, providing Pep Guardiola’s squad with more high-quality depth and chipping in with a number of important goals.

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.

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Newcastle – Miguel Almiron

Fee: £21m
Bought from: Atlanta United
Verdict: HIT

Almiron instantly looked like a hit for Newcastle, impressing in his full debut against Huddersfield Town at St James’ Park. He is yet to score or provide an assist for the club, but it’s early days and he has undeniably added a sense of excitement to Rafael Benitez’s team.

Southampton – Jannik Vestergaard

Fee: £22m
Bought from: Borussia Monchengladbach
Verdict: HIT

Only West Ham’s Fabian Balbuena has made more clearances per 90 minutes than Vestergaard (7.32) in the Premier League this season. To get an idea of his importance, the Switzerland international has started all but one of Southampton’s eight league victories this term and has been a regular since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over.

Tottenham – Davinson Sanchez

Fee: £42m
Bought from: Ajax
Verdict: HIT

Sanchez has sometimes found it difficult to convince Spurs fans he is worthy of a place in the team ahead of Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are understandably seen as the squad’s leading centre-backs. But Mauricio Pochettino has used the 22-year-old whenever possible and there is a feeling he could develop into one of the best in Europe.

Watford – Andre Gray

Fee: £18.5m
Bought from: Burnley
Verdict: HIT

Gray is working hard to change the opinion of the majority of onlookers; he has come off the bench to score the winning goal in each of Watford’s last three home games. The striker could improve on his five league goals a season, but he has recently crossed the divide from miss to hit.

West Ham – Felipe Anderson

Fee: £36m
Bought from: Lazio
Verdict: HIT

Felipe Anderson has played a crucial role in steering West Ham towards the right end of the 14 clubs below the ‘big six’, scoring eight goals and providing four assists in 31 Premier League appearances. Those are impressive numbers for a debut season in England and the Brazilian is proving to be worth the money.

Wolves – Raul Jimenez

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

Technically, it’s too early to say whether Raul Jimenez is worth the £30m Wolves paid for him. That’s because they have only just made the deal permanent; the striker spent the first half of the season on loan at Molineux, scoring 12 league goals and gradually becoming the team’s star attacker. Time will tell if he’s worth the money, but he’s been a hit to date.