Unlike the rest of Europe’s top five leagues, the Premier League saw no slowdown in its spending over the summer.
England’s top flight clubs spent an eye-watering £1.49 billion in the 2020 summer transfer window. That’s such a huge amount, but on whom was it spent and which clubs spent the smartest? We’ve had a look at the 10 most expensive signings from Premier League clubs this summer and ranked them by order of their impact so far.
At £35m, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ new signing Fabio Silva is technically part of that top 10, but due to his youth and the fact he’s mostly been playing developmental football, featuring for just 52 minutes in the Premier League, we’ve left him off the list in favour of the 11th most expensive player.
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10. Kai Havertz
Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea, £72m
Football Index value: £2.96 (Sell) – £3.40 (Buy)
First thing’s first, Kai Havertz is a brilliant player who will more than likely have a brilliant career playing for Chelsea. However, if we’re being honest, he’s been a bit of a non-event thus far. He’s not even played with enough style that you can say “he’s got talent, he’s just settling in”. Frank Lampard’s decision to constantly move him all around the pitch like someone playing Football Manager for the first time hasn’t exactly helped. He’ll come good, but for now? Yikes.
9. Donny van de Beek
Ajax to Manchester United, £34.7m
Football Index value: £1.64 (Sell) – £1.95 (Buy)
Donny van de Beek looked a brilliantly astute signing when United picked him up, albeit he was far down their list of transfer priorities. That he remained their only significant transfer outlay of the summer had everyone thinking he’d feature constantly, but instead he’s been hidden away like United signed him by mistake. Van de Beek has looked great whenever he’s played, but he’s played so rarely that his impact is essentially just one game-changing cameo against Brighton.
8. Nathan Ake
Bournemouth to Manchester City, £41m
Football Index value: £ (Sell) – £0.85 (Buy)
When Manchester City picked up Nathan Aké it was an interesting signing that many speculated would lead to a change of formation (to a back three) for the team, or a change of position (to left-back) for Aké. In fact it was neither, and Aké is instead a back-up for Aymeric Laporte. So Aké has done well (beyond the 5-2 loss to Leicester, anyway) but doesn’t seem to be in Man City’s best XI.
7. Thomas Partey
Atlético Madrid to Arsenal, £45m
Football Index value: £0.91 (Sell) – £1.27 (Buy)
Thomas the Titan has come to North London and instantly announced himself as the midfield general that Arsenal have been after since Cesc Fabregas departed for Barcelona in 2011. The Ghanaian has been supremely cool and composed while already racking up team-highs in tackles per 90 minutes (2.72) as take-ons completed per 90 (2.72). He’s a Rolls Royce and he’ll soon get Arsenal on the road to glory.
6. Wesley Fofana
Saint-Etienne to Leicester, £36.5m
Football Index value: £1.08 (Sell) – £1.20 (Buy)
When Leicester signed teenager Wesley Fofana he looked like one for the future, but injuries have seen him drafted into the starting XI and he looks very much like one for the present as well. A phenomenal young defensive talent, Fofana is the perfect complement to Leicester’s other defenders and his positional intelligence has already seen him rack up a team-high 18 clearances in just four games, helping the Foxes find their way to the very top of the Premier League table.
5. Timo Werner
RB Leipzig to Chelsea, £47.5m
Football Index value: £3.38 (Sell) – £3.77 (Buy)
Chelsea’s new striker hit the Premier League with tremendous force against Brighton, running like he’d been shot out of a cannon. He followed that with a quiet spell but is back in the groove now and is providing the club with the kind of verticality and pace that could see them devastate anyone who dares open up against them. His miracle goal against Southampton is but a glimpse of his potential.
4. Hakim Ziyech
Ajax to Chelsea, £33.6m
Football Index value: £2.59 (Sell) – £3.06 (Buy)
Hakim Ziyech will end 2020/21 atop this list as signing of the season, but for now he’ll have to make do with fourth. What more can you say about the Moroccan magician? Just watch him. He’s an artist, a genius. An incredible combination of balletic grace and sheer creativity. He’s only played 190 minutes yet is already Chelsea’s most potent creator, topping their ranks for chances and big chances created as well as creating a joint-league-high six chances in a single game. Despite being the cheapest signing on this list is going to be key to unlocking the most expensive (Havertz) and getting the best out of Werner. Give it up for Hakim Ziyech, he’s the man.
3. Ben Chilwell
Leicester to Chelsea, £50m
Football Index value: £2.28 (Sell) – £2.47 (Buy)
Chelsea have had a gaping hole at left-back for two years now ever since they abandoned their 3-4-2-1 shape. They’ve tried a couple of wing-backs and a right-back but nothing worked, so this summer they spent £50m on one of the best left-backs in the league and, hey, what do you know, it worked! Chilwell got a goal and an assist on his league debut and has been great ever since, turning Chelsea’s weakest position into one of strength.
2. Ruben Dias
Benfica to Manchester City, £62m
Football Index value: £0.74 (Sell) – £1.05 (Buy)
Man City have got great ball-playing centre-backs already, players who fit Pep Guardiola’s system perfectly. The problem is that under intense pressure from opponents, those ball-players often had momentary lapses of concentration that a more traditional stopper wouldn’t. Man City needed someone with no frills, no airs and graces, just a player with great quality and commitment. Ruben Dias cost a lot of money, but he has delivered on what Man City needed: good, solid, dependable defending. He’s improved their defence so much, and a Man City side that can actually defend are automatically going to become title favourites, so that’s a pretty big impact.
1. Diogo Jota
Wolves to Liverpool, £41m
Football Index value: £1.76 (Sell) – £2.05 (Buy)
Liverpool signed Diogo Jota out of the blue while everyone was still fawning over their capture of Thiago Alcantara. A solid back-up was the general idea about Jota, it seems, but assistant coach Pep Ljinders gave the game away when he said that Jota was a “pressing monster” who could match the starting front three on a technical level.
Jota was soon in the side and soon scoring. He’s now racked up seven goals in his first 11 starts, including multiple game-winners and a Champions League hat-trick (just the fifth Liverpool player to do this in Europe’s top competition). Jota’s brilliance has been so obvious that Jurgen Klopp has taken to changing his entire formation or even dropping one of his fabulous front three just to include him.
Signing for the Premier League champions and benching one of their star players after just a month is a pretty giant impact no matter which way you look at it. Unfortunately for the rest of the Premier League, Michael Edwards and Klopp have only gone and done it again.