Four of the Premier League's best summer signings
Now the Premier League season is more than three months old, the table is taking a familiar shape with the cream rising to the top. It’s also an ideal time to assess how the summer signings have fared.
Remarkably, 13 of England’s top-flight clubs broke their transfer record at least once in the previous window, with the total outlay amounting to more than £1.47 billion.
While some new arrivals have floundered, many have justified their transfer fee, however big or small. Here The Boot Room analyses four signings that, irrespective of how much they cost, have had a major impact.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
The former Chelsea misfit joined Liverpool from Roma for the not inconsiderable sum of £37 million. Salah had struggled to establish himself under Jose Mourinho at the Blues, but his consistent form for the Italian giants persuaded Jurgen Klopp that he would be worth a chance. It has proved to be an inspired acquisition.
The Egyptian has made a blistering start to his Liverpool career, scoring 15 goals and laying on three assists in all competitions. He has complemented the myriad attacking options that Reds manager Klopp already had at his disposal and become a real fan’s favourite at Anfield.
Any new signing is a risk and given how he struggled during his previous stint in the Premier League, many were unsure whether the 25-year-old would be up to the task. Those doubts have since been completely eradicated, though. Salah is one of the first names on the Liverpool team-sheet and supporters will hope he can spearhead their quest for silverware, both domestically and in Europe.
Kyle Walker – Manchester City
Pep Guardiola had identified the ageing full-backs as an area he needed to improve if Manchester City were to challenge for the Premier League. Out went Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov, while in came Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker.
Although he cost the enormous sum of £50 million, Walker has been a superb acquisition from Tottenham Hotspur and helped to take City to a new level. The England international’s pace is suited to Guardiola’s high-intensity brand of football, something that his predecessors struggled to cope with last season.
Pace isn’t his only quality, however. Walker is very confident on the ball and able to pick a pass. It took him no time at all to meet the demands Guardiola places on his players. The former Spurs right-back has quickly become an integral part of a team that has conceded just eight goals this season and currently looks set to run away with the title.
Richarlison – Watford
The precocious Brazilian was an unknown quantity when he arrived in England, but he has cemented himself as one of the most exciting prospects in the Premier League. Signed from Serie A club Fluminense – where he had made 42 appearances over the previous two seasons – for £11 million, Richarlison quickly endeared himself to Watford fans with a string of exciting, if raw, performances.
He came off the bench for his debut in the curtain-raiser against Liverpool, before netting his first goal for the club in the following fixture, a 2-0 victory away to Bournemouth. Richarlison already has five goals in total, to go alongside three assists, which have had a massive impact on Watford’s tremendous start to the campaign.
There has been controversy too, with accusations of diving levelled against him, but that has only added to the intrigue. The modest transfer fee now seems to be one of the bargains of the summer.
Nathan Ake – Bournemouth
Bournemouth smashed their transfer record in the summer window to capture Nathan Ake. The Netherlands international had spent the first half of last season on loan from Chelsea, before being recalled by boss Antonio Conte. But Eddie Howe had not given up on bringing his number one priority back to the Vitality Stadium and a transfer fee of £20 million was agreed between the clubs.
Ake’s influence is reflected in the Cherries’ improved defensive displays this campaign. Bournemouth had made a rocky start but the dreadlocked defender looked a class act as he slotted seamlessly into the back-line. Dominant in the air and composed on the ball, Ake is a perfect fit for Howe.
Many gasped when Bournemouth parted with such a huge amount of cash, but the impressive 22-year-old is already repaying the fee. Under Howe’s guidance and playing regular football, he is surely only going to get better, too.