Football Features

The best Premier League signings this season

By Steve Jennings

Squawka | Football News, Stats & Quizzes

Published: 16:30, 10 May 2019 | Updated: 17:26, 11 September 2021

The 2018/19 Premier League season is drawing to a close and the individual awards have been handed out.

No summer signings were included in the PFA Team of the Year, unlike last year when Kyle Walker and Mohamed Salah were both recognised.

With that in mind, it’s worth looking back at the players who joined new Premier League clubs last summer on a permanent basis (sorry Salomon Rondon) and picking out the ones who have performed best.

As you will see, only one top six is represented in our list, showcasing the admirable recruitment carried out by clubs throughout the division.

There are also some vastly different fees on show.  But while the amount of money spent can contribute to the fans’ opinion on whether a deal has been successful, we’ve prioritised performance over price in our ranking.

Here are our top 10 signings of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

10. Lukasz Fabianski

Club: West Ham United
Joined from: Swansea City
Fee: £7m

After suffering relegation to the Championship last season, Lukasz Fabianski was one of a select group of Swansea players deemed good enough to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

West Ham snapped up the Poland international up for £7m, and the 33-year-old has been worth every penny. The sheer amount of saves he makes has often made up for West Ham’s leaky defence, and Fabianski has arguably earned the label of being the best goalkeeper outside the top six this term.

Watford’s Ben Foster, another veteran shot-stopper taken from a relegated team, gave Fabianski a run for his money, but the Hammers goalkeeper just about makes it onto our list.

Key stat: Lukasz Fabianski has made more saves (141) than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season.

9. David Brooks

Club: Bournemouth
Joined from: Sheffield United
Fee: £10m

Not many 21-year-olds are able to step up from the Championship to the top-flight and make an impact like David Brooks has at Bournemouth. The youngster has been a revelation on the south coast since his arrival from Sheffield United.

One only has to look at Brooks’ excellent display in Bournemouth’s 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea at the Vitality Stadium to see how much potential the Welshman possesses. Brooks scored and provided an assist in a performance of the highest quality against the Blues.

With seven goals and five assists for the Cherries in the Premier League so far, Brooks may be attracting the interest of clubs higher up the table this summer. However, his development under Eddie Howe’s management should convince him he is currently in the right place.

Key stat: Only Callum Wilson (14) and Joshua King (11) have scored more league goals than Brooks (7) for Bournemouth this season.

8. Ricardo Pereira

Club: Leicester City
Joined from: Porto
Fee: £20m

After being linked with a couple of the ‘big six’ throughout the summer window, Porto’s Ricardo Pereira was eventually lured to the Premier League by Leicester City, and the Portugal international hasn’t looked at all out of place in England.

Only two Leicester players – one of which we’ll get to further down our list – have created more chances than Pereira (33) in the league this term. Indeed, his attacking talent has seen the right-back used in other more advanced roles, something he is more than capable of doing.

The 25-year-old has scored two goals – including a stunning winner against Manchester City – and provided six assists, demonstrating his value to the Foxes under two different managers.

Key stat: Only Wilfred Ndidi (79) has made more interceptions for Leicester than Pereira (54) in the Premier League this season.

7. Fabinho

Club: Liverpool
Joined from: Monaco
Fee: £44m

One of the areas Jurgen Klopp identified as in need of improvement last summer was central midfield. Subsequently, Liverpool brought in Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, who had they had agreed to sign the year prior, and Fabinho from Monaco.

After slow starts, both players have come good, but it is Fabinho who is currently staking his claim for a guaranteed starting spot in the Liverpool midfield. His performance against Barcelona in the incredible Champions League semi-final comeback was outstanding.

With Jordan Henderson moving into a slightly more advanced position, Fabinho has been able to make the holding role his own. The Brazilian does as much work off the ball as he does in possession, and his versatility allows him to drop into the back line when needed.

Key stat: Fabinho has won more total duels (146) than any other Liverpool midfielder this season.

6. Richarlison

Club: Everton
Joined from: Watford
Fee: £50m

Watford found it impossible to turn Everton away when the Merseysiders came knocking with a £50m offer for Richarlison. The Brazilian had looked promising for the Hornets but finished last season with just five goals; Watford could afford to let him go.

As such, it was certainly a risk for Everton to break their transfer record for Richarlison. And while 13 league goals this term might not be the most impressive tally, it’s a sign of 21-year-old’s huge potential. Indeed, he could end up moving for more than £50m one day.

Richarlison has added speed and quick thinking to Everton’s front line, something they desperately lacked last term. Marco Silva’s side have been inconsistent across the campaign, which perhaps explains why Richarlison hasn’t closed the gap on the league’s top scorers. Regardless, his first season at Goodison has been a success.

Key stat: Only Gylfi Sigurdsson (33) has attempted more shots on target for Everton than Richarlison (29) in the Premier League this season.

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5. Joao Moutinho

Club: Wolves
Joined from: Monaco
Fee: £5m

Like a few others on this list, Joao Moutinho surely would have done a job for a top six side this term. The Portugal international has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League since his £5m move – a bargain of bargains – from Monaco.

At 31, Moutinho has brought experience to Wolves’ midfield. The partnership he has formed with his countryman Ruben Neves has been hugely effective, and in all honesty, it’s difficult to tell which is the elder statesmen of the two; both have combined energy and composure in their instrumental displays.

It’s rare any player moves for just £5m in today’s market, let alone one of the standout performers in the English top-flight. That Portugal connection just keeps on delivering.

Key stat: Moutinho has provided eight league assists this season, more than any other Wolves player.

4. Raul Jimenez 

Club: Wolves
Joined from: Benfica
Fee: £30m

Initially brought in on loan, Raul Jimenez’s performances were good enough to tempt Wolves into breaking their transfer record in the January window. The Midlands club shelled out £30m for the striker whose goals had fired them into European contention.

Jimenez’s 13 goals have helped Wolves to claim an unexpected seventh-place finish. The Mexican started the season slowly but is now fully adapted to English football, playing a crucial role in his side’s potent attack.

He has also provided seven league assists, proving he isn’t just a goalscorer. Wolves will be hoping the 28-year-old cam translate his Premier League form to Europe next term.

Key stat: Jimenez has been directly involved in 20 of Wolves’ 47 league goals this season.

3. James Maddison

Club: Leicester City
Joined from: Norwich City
Fee: £25m

One of the best players – if not the best – in the 2017/18 Championship campaign, James Maddison apparently had to choose between Leicester and Southampton last summer. This year, he could be forced to pick a top-six club.

Maddison has earned an England call-up and the admiration of the Leicester fans this term for his impressive displays. Perhaps more exciting, though, is his potential. The midfielder hasn’t been perfect – his form was mixed under Claude Puel – but for his first season in the Premier League, he has been a revelation.

A creativity machine with superb technique, Maddison has been the driving force (alongside Jamie Vardy) behind Leicester’s late-season surge up the table. Brendan Rodgers has clearly recognised his importance already and will be urging the Foxes not to cash in this summer.

Key stat: No player has created more chances in the Premier League this season than Maddison (98).

2. Lucas Digne

Club: Everton
Joined from: Barcelona
Fee: £18m

Last summer, Everton’s transfer business seemed a little haphazard. The club brought in a number of players, including a couple who had failed to make the grade at Barcelona – one of whom was left-back Lucas Digne.

The unassuming Frenchman has surprised everyone by adapting to Premier League life incredibly quickly. His pace and positioning have been a useful outlet for Everton, and he has chipped in with technically brilliant, important goals against Watford, Burnley and Manchester United.

With some of the top six clubs lacking high-quality left-backs, Everton must be delighted they managed to get Digne relatively cheaply last summer. And Digne himself will be pleased with his choice of club; they have complimented each other wonderfully this term.

Key stat: Digne and Wolves’ Matt Doherty are the only full-backs who have reached four Premier League goals this season.

1. Alisson Becker

Club: Liverpool
Joined from: Roma
Fee: £67m

After missing out on Champions League glory last summer, Liverpool identified the key area in which they needed to improve – between the sticks – and acted fast to replace Loris Karius with Alisson Becker of Roma.

The Brazilian had conceded seven goals across two legs against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals, but his credentials were obvious. Liverpool broke the world-record fee for a goalkeeper to bring in Alisson, who has been one of the major figures in the Reds’ title challenge.

Providing a strong base behind the division’s leading centre-back Virgil van Dijk, Alisson has given Klopp’s side a sense of defensive stability unmatched by any other team bar Manchester City. He has been far and away the Premier League signing of the season and rightly takes his place in first place on our list.

Key stat: Of those who have made at least four Premier League appearances this season, no goalkeeper has recorded a better save percentage than Alisson (76.6%).