Ranking Every Premier League Club’s Main Summer Signing in Order of Success

?It seems like a lifetime ago that our clubs were splashing the cash on marquee signings ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season.

Shiny new kits were bought, expectations were high and there was no talk of a deadly virus that would see football suspended and the world housebound.

But just how good have each club’s marquee signing been so far this season?

Well, sit back, relax, and prepare to be triggered as 90min ranks each club’s main summer signing – as a house rule, we’re not including loans that were made permanent. Sorry, Mateo Kova?i? and Youri Tielemans.


20. Liverpool – Adrián

Adrian

Signed From: West Ham

Signed For: Free

Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory isn’t it?

You might well win the Premier League this season, Liverpool fans, but the signing of Adrián last summer has proved to be nothing short of catastrophic.


19. Chelsea – No One

Olivier Giroud

Signed From: N/A

Signed For: N/A

Christian Pulisic technically became a Chelsea player in January 2019 and Mateo Kova?i? was on loan last season, so we haven’t got anyone from Frank Lampard’s transfer banned side to judge.

While making no signings was certainly something Liverpool should have done, the Blues could have done with a star name or two to help their push for Champions League football.


18. Newcastle United – Joelinton

Joelinton

Signed From: TSG Hoffenheim

Signed For: £39.6m

Oh dear, oh dear.

Even if Joelinton hadn’t cost almost £40m, it’s difficult to argue that the Brazilian hasn’t been one of the worst attacking signings in recent memory – if not in Premier League history.

The 23-year-old didn’t show too much at Hoffenheim to suggest he’d be a hit in England and so far he’s lived up to his fairly sub-standard expectations.


17. Southampton – Che Adams

Che Adams

Signed From: Birmingham City

Signed For: £15m

Although Che Adams hasn’t scored in the Premier League this season, he’s still put in quite a few decent performances and helped Southampton’s better players in their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Strikers aren’t just judged by the number of goals they score (hence Adams being ahead of Joelinton) but, at the same time, goals are still pretty damn important.


16. Bournemouth – Arnaut Groeneveld

Arnaut Danjuma

Signed From: Club Brugge

Signed For: £16.2m

There was a lot of excitement seeing a Netherlands international, with experience in the Champions League, rock up on the south coast last summer.

Unfortunately, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld hasn’t really been given a chance to impress under Eddie Howe and the 23-year-old might need to wait until Ryan Fraser leaves in the next transfer window before his chance comes.


15. Norwich City – Sam Byram

Sam Byram

Signed From: West Ham

Signed For: £750k

Sam Byram isn’t a flashy player by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s been a key part of Norwich City’s squad throughout the season – playing initially as a right-back before replacing Jamal Lewis on the left.

But with the Canaries looking set for relegation, it’s difficult to pick Norwich’s summer signing any higher on this list.


14. Tottenham Hotspur – Tanguy Ndombélé

Tanguy Ndombele

Signed From: Olympique Lyonnais

Signed For: £54m

José Mourinho might object to Tanguy Ndombélé’s inclusion here, but the France international hasn’t been a complete flop by any stretch of the imagination.

Just like with most players coming from Ligue 1, Ndombélé will need time to get used to things in the Premier League. 

Although if Mourinho stays in north London any longer, we could be waiting for quite some time before the Frenchman really finds his feet.


13. Everton – Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi

Signed From: Arsenal

Signed For: £27m

At times, it’s really easy to see why Alex Iwobi is Jay-Jay Okocha’s nephew.

The Nigeria international can be one of the most exciting and, for better or for worse, unpredictable players in the Premier League.

But for all Iwobi’s talent, there was always a feeling he never quite reached his peak at Arsenal and that frustration has following him to Goodison Park.


12. Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie

FBL-ENG-PR-SHEFFIELD UTD-MAN UTD

Signed From: Swansea City

Signed For: £17m

Sheffield United haven’t been scoring goals for fun throughout their surprising push for Champions League football, but Oli McBurnie has been crucial both from the start or off the bench for Chris Wilder’s side, scoring 13% of their Premier League goals.

The Scotland international is one of the most physically demanding strikers in the top flight, and his place in Sheffield United’s team has been crucial in bringing the best out of players like Lys Mousset, John Fleck and John Lundstram.


11. Aston Villa – Wesley

Wesley

Signed From: Club Brugge

Signed For: £22.5m

Wesley’s cruciate ligament injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the 23-year-old had just ended a 12-game goal drought when he picked up the knock against Burnley.

The Brazilian certainly didn’t prove that he’s the finished product in his first few months in the Premier League, but Wesley was a great focal point for Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, bringing the best out of Jack Grealish with his hold-up play.


10. Wolverhampton Wanderers – Pedro Neto

Pedro Neto

Signed From: SS Lazio

Signed For: £16.5m

Pedro Neto’s career has been bizarre.

Despite making just eight senior appearances, Neto’s transfers have already tallied up to more than £30m, having joined Lazio from Braga in a £14m deal just weeks before his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers last year.

The Portugal Under-21 international has become fairly famous for having the Video Assistant Referee go against him at every opportunity, but aside from the technology, Neto’s had an impressive start under Nuno Espírito Santo.


9. Burnley – Jay Rodriguez

Jay Rodriguez

Signed From: West Brom

Signed For: £5m

It was hardly the most exciting homecoming for neutral fans, but Burnley-born Jay Rodriguez’s move back to Turf Moor has proved to be vital as Sean Dyche’s side not only avoid relegation, but also make a stunning push for Europa League qualification.

Chris Wood (11) and Ashely Barnes (six) have still been Burnely’s top marksmen, but Rodriguez has scored against Chelsea and Manchester United this season.


8. Crystal Palace – Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill

Signed From: Chelsea

Signed For: Free

Name us a more ‘Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace’ signing of the 2019 summer transfer window.

We’ll wait.

The 34-year-old was one of five new players through the door at Selhurst Park last summer, and even though Jordan Ayew’s loan move last season means he can’t be in contention, Cahill’s still been one of the most impactful new signings in the Premier League.

Only five teams have a better defensive record than the Eagles and Cahill’s had a huge part to play in Crystal Palace’s relative success.


7. Arsenal – Nicolas Pépé

Nicolas Pepe,Saed Kolasinac

Signed From: Lille OSC

Signed For: £72m

Arsenal certainly paid over the odds for Nicolas Pépé, but the Ivory Coast international has quietly been having a fantastic season – even if fans outside north London can’t admit it.

The 24-year-old has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals, while he’s also been one of the most consistent threats for Arsenal in their attack.

Pépé’s £72m price tag will stay on his shoulders for quite some time, but in reality the Ivorian has adapted brilliantly to life in the Premier League and he’ll only get better as Mikel Arteta embeds his ideas into the squad.


6. Watford – Ismaïla Sarr

FBL-ENG-PR-WATFORD-LIVERPOOL

Signed From: Stade Rennais

Signed For: £27m

Ismaïla Sarr’s form has mirrored Watford’s throughout his career at Vicarage Road, but since Nigel Pearson’s arrival earlier this season, the Senegal international has been the club’s most dangerous player by some distance.

The 22-year-old has had his fair share of gaffes in Hertfordshire, but he’s now been involved in eight goals in his last nine Premier League appearances, including goals against Manchester United and Liverpool.


5. West Ham United – Sébastien Haller

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-SOUTHAMPTON

Signed From: Eintracht Frankfurt

Signed For: £36m

West Ham didn’t make Sébastien Haller their club-record signing just for his goal record, but the Frenchman is still the club’s top goalscorer this season.

The 25-year-old is built in a very similar mould to Olivier Giroud, with Haller’s ability to bring the best out of his teammates arguably his best attribute.

Haller’s still blown quite hot and cold, but with Felipe Anderson, Pablo Fornals and now Jarrod Bowen around him, the best could still be yet to come.


4. Manchester United – Harry Maguire

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-EVERTON

Signed From: Leicester City

Signed For: £78m

Harry Maguire wasn’t cheap, and he certainly hasn’t transformed Manchester United like Virgil van Dijk did at Liverpool, but the England international has helped to shore up a defence which has been prone to conceding silly goals.

David de Gea has done his best to ensure United still let unnecessary goals into the back of the net, but Maguire, as well as Aaron Wan-Bissaka, has already proved he’s a piece of the puzzle which could bring some major silverware back to Old Trafford.


3. Manchester City – Rodri

Rodri

Signed From: Atlético Madrid

Signed For: £63m

As soon as Rodri’s move to Manchester City was confirmed, everyone knew he’d be an instant hit in the north west.

Under Pep Guardiola, Rodri has slotted perfectly into defensive midfield and the Spain international has even impressed when he’s been forced out of position in defence.

The 23-year-old is still a bit rough around the edges in some areas, but Rodri undoubtedly has the quality to anchor Manchester City’s midfield for a generation.


2. Leicester City – Ayoze Pérez

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-LEICESTER

Signed From: Newcastle United

Signed For: £30m

Quite a few players have partnered Jamie Vardy over the years.

Leonardo Ulloa, Andrej Kramari? and even cult hero Shinji Okazaki have tried (and failed) to act as Vardy’s support, but Ayoze Pérez has been the perfect addition to bring the best out of Leicester City’s attacking players.

The Spaniard has been used either through the middle or out wide this season and he’s been directly involved in 11 goals for Brendan Rodgers’ side – a tally which is bettered only by Vardy (23) and Harvey Barnes (12).


1. Brighton & Hove Albion – Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

Signed From: Brentford

Signed For: £19.8m

If Graham Potter could create his ideal striker in a lab, he’d come out with something not too dissimilar to Neal Maupay.

The Frenchman has been an instant hit on the south coast and his influence on Brighton’s style of play has been immeasurable, proving to be the perfect spearhead for Potter’s modern-day approach to really take hold.

The Seagulls still aren’t guaranteed to stay up this season, but if they do, Maupay will be the catalyst which propels Brighton up the Premier League table next season and maybe even into Europe.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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N’Golo Kanté Deserves More Time at Chelsea – He’s Still the Best Defensive Midfielder Around

?As he celebrates his 29th birthday, it’s hard to believe that N’Golo Kanté’s career has actually been real and not just a Hollywood film.

Until 2015, he was a complete nobody. No one outside France knew who he was (and many in France probably didn’t either), but just one year later he was the name on everybody’s lips after leading Leicester City to the most unlikely Premier League title ever.

He landed a £32m move to Chelsea in 2016, and while Leicester struggled without him, the Blues excelled. Chelsea won the title, Kanté won the PFA Player of the Year award and he was suddenly appreciated as the single greatest defensive midfielder around.

While Premier League success was elusive the following season, he still landed the FA Cup and the small matter of the World Cup with France.

Blaise Matuidi,N'Golo Kante

However, after a few excellent seasons, things aren’t looking so rosy for ?Kanté in 2020. He’s been unable to stay fit this year, and even when he has been healthy, he has looked to be an awkward fit in Frank Lampard’s team. 

Kanté has started 16 ?Premier League games this season, but has been on the winning side just five times. Yes, that’s not all his own fault – ?Chelsea have been woeful in defence at times – but you only have to watch him to see that something is clearly not right this year.

Lampard likes to see his midfielders push forwards and impact the game in attack, and that’s not Kanté. He’s not a real goal threat and he’s never going to be a creative machine, but that’s not his job.

What Kanté does is destroy. In midfield, he can chase down any attacker and recover possession without even breaking a sweat, and he seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to finding himself in the right position.

It’s not as if he is a one trick pony either. When Maurizio Sarri thrust him further forward, the Frenchman adapted and worked tirelessly to prove that he could be a box-to-box threat, and he was pretty darn good at it.

Adaptation has been key to Kanté’s career. He did it flawlessly when he moved to ?Leicester, then did the same in Chelsea’s midfield, then commanded a place in France’s World Cup-winning midfield and finally showed his skills out of his comfort zone under Sarri. 

Obviously, he now needs to rise to another test to cement a place in Lampard’s starting eleven. Injuries have made that impossible, but if you look at his track record, there is no player better suited to the challenge than Kanté.

What he needs to do is combine everything he knows about football; the defensive domination with which he made his name would be vital in Chelsea’s midfield, but only if he can bring some of the attacking confidence which he showed under Sarri.

Frank Lampard,N Golo Kante

Fans have been asking whether he deserves the time to try that. Both Paris Saint-Germain and ?Real Madrid have been linked with big-money moves for the 29-year-old, and cashing in on such a top talent would obviously go a long way to helping the Blues rebuild.

However, letting him go now would be a huge mistake. Chelsea’s need for some defensive structure and experience is so clear to see – they have managed just six clean sheets this year – and allowing Kanté to get back to his best is the easiest (and cheapest) way to get that.

If he can bring some on-ball confidence, Kanté can become the complete midfielder. Building him back up should be one of Lampard’s top priorities.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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7 Challenges to Set Yourself for a New Football Manager Save With Chelsea

Ever since Roman Abramovich took charge in west London, Chelsea Football Club have become Premier League royalty and one of the most successful clubs across Europe. 

Success comes at a price, though – managers are disposable as Roman’s pursuit of glory makes the Chelsea job a fraught one. The Russian businessman casts aside deadwood quickly – 15 managers in just 17 years to be precise.

The Blues’ job is one of the most pressured jobs in the country. Can you handle it?

If you think you can endure the oligarch’s fury, here are seven challenges to set yourself to etch yourself into Chelsea’s history.


Fill the Eden Hazard Hole

Eden Hazard

Even before ?Eden Hazard tucked into too much summer ?brioche, the Belgian was leaving pretty big shoes to fill. While Frank Lampard’s youth revolution has been a reasonable success, one thing the team hasn’t been able to do is replace the Belgian.

?This is where you come in. ?Chelsea need another superstar to take their number 10 shirt rightfully back from the pretender ?Willian. 

When Eden came, he wasn’t the legend he became. So invest in youth and create a new legend that the Matthew Harding Stand will remember evermore. 

(Tip: Pedri, Rayan Cherki or Naci Ünüvar.)


Last More Than 3 Seasons

(FILES) Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho

To say that Chelsea’s managers have a short shelf life would be a severe understatement. The ‘Special One’ only managed three seasons, Antonio Conte managed two, hell, Roberto Di Matteo won the ?Champions League and the FA Cup and didn’t even manage one. 

Buck the trend and become Roman’s favourite by lasting until that magic four-season mark – no one’s ever done it before. 

They’ll probably name the stadium after you.


Win the Treble

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-PARADE

Did you know, Chelsea have won the double six times? The Blues have managed two trophies in a season plenty of times, most recently in 2014/15. 

One thing they’ve never done – win the treble.

It’s pretty simple in theory, go one better than the rest. It’s going to be much more difficult in practice.


Class of ’20

Paul Scholes,Phil Neville,David Beckham,Nicky Butt,Ryan Giggs,Gary Neville

Chelsea’s 2019/20 season was the season where the Blues put their faith in youth; Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Calum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori – prodigious English talent all over the pitch.

?

Why does that sound familiar? 

Now it’s your turn to win something with kids and create your own English dynasty like the ‘Class of ’92’. Make sure you think about what you’ll say in the retrospective documentary. 


Recreate That Night In Munich

Chelsea's Brazilian defender David Luiz

Saturday 19 May, 2012. Didier Drogba goes full superhero mode and the Blues beat ?Bayern Munich in their own back yard. Pretty special.

Saturday 30 May, 2020. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic? goes full superhero mode and the Blues beat Galatasaray in Istanbul. Pretty special.


Splash the Cash

Roman Abramovich

If you’ve got the money, you may as well spend it, right? One thing Chelsea have always managed to do is flex their financial muscle. 

Catch a flight to Dortmund, see how much Jadon Sancho would cost and throw a money clip ?BVB’s way. It doesn’t have to stop there. 

Grab the Eurostar to Paris with your transfer team, respectfully inquire how much that lad ?Kylian would cost you and send ?a boatload of cash to Qatar. But it doesn’t have to stop there.

Get in Abramovich’s private jet to Rennes, email about Eduardo Camavinga, you get the picture…


Get JT Back at the Club

John Terry

When you’ve got the opportunity to get captain, leader, legend John George Terry back at the Bridge, it’s one you don’t turn down. 

What more commitment does JT need to show to ?Chelsea? The man should be your assistant manager. 

John deserves the chance to win the ?Champions League to again reveal a pristine Chelsea football kit under his tracksuit in a game he could not have played in, including shin pads and a ?Petr ?ech protective helmet.


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UEFA President Admits Current Premier League Season May Be Written Off as Null & Void

Bad news, Liverpool supporters. ?

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has admitted that clubs may have to settle with ‘starting again at the beginning of next season’, meaning the entirety of the current 2019/20 campaign would be considered null and void. 

Liverpool boast a whopping 25-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester City at the top of the table, and the Reds are only two victories away from winning their first Premier League title since its inception.

Juergen Klopp

But all of their efforts may have been for nothing, after the fast-spreading coronavirus brought a temporary halt to football across all of Europe. There is hope that the season will restart in due course, but with the virus showing no signs of ceasing, concerns are beginning to develop over a positive resolution for this campaign. 

And UEFA chief Ceferin told ?La Repubblica that there are three options which the footballing body are considering as possible ways of ending the season, including starting the 2019/20 campaign from scratch. 

“There is a plan A, B and C,” Ceferin explained. 

“The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.

“There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs.”

FBL-UEFA-SUI-WOMEN-REFORM

Many fans would prefer for the current season to be completed behind closed doors, rather than deeming the campaign null and void. Although it is a far from ideal alternative, this option would at least provide a natural ending to the football season, and Ceferin confessed that this would be better than wiping out all progress thus far. 

“It’s hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don’t know whether we’ll resume, with or without spectators,” he said.

“If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships.”

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Picking the Best French XI of the Premier League Era

?England and France have long been ‘the best of enemies’, with a historical rivalry lasting hundreds of years and more. 

But when it comes to football, more than a few of the Premier League’s best ever foreign imports have been French and are rightly adored by fans up and down the country.

Here’s a look at a starting XI made up of the greatest French players ever to grace the Premier League…


GK – Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris has been plying his trade in the Premier League for almost a decade after arriving from Lyon for a bargain £8m. He was already captain of the French national team at that time and later was awarded the Tottenham armband on a permanent basis in 2015.

Like any goalkeeper, Lloris has his share of questionable moments, but he remains one of the best in the world has been a mainstay of Spurs’ rise from also-rans to ‘Big Six’.


DF – Aymeric Laporte

Manchester City FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

He may have only been in the Premier League for a relatively short amount of time, but Aymeric Laporte already has two titles to his name and has emerged as Manchester City’s leading defender since the start of the 2018/19 season.

Laporte, who has remarkably never been capped at senior international level, was absent through injury in the first half of 2019/20, which served to illustrate his importance to City.


DF – Marcel Desailly

Desailly celebrates scoring the second

Marcel Desailly was fresh off winning the 1998 World Cup when he joined Chelsea, having also previously won the Champions League with both Marseille and AC Milan. He was considered one of the best in the world at the time.

It is no coincidence that Desailly’s spell at Chelsea came at a time when the club was consolidating its place among the best in England, even before the Roman Abramovich era.


DF – Patrice Evra

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-MAN UTD

Patrice Evra was infamously substituted at half-time on his Manchester United debut because he was struggling to cope with the targeted aerial assault from Manchester City. Yet he soon found his feet to become a heavily decorated fan favourite and occasional captain.

United paid just £5.5m for his services in January 2006 and by the time he left in 2014, Evra had won 10 major trophies, including the Champions League and five Premier League titles.


MF – David Ginola

Portrait of David Ginola

David Ginola won PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1998/99. The same season that Manchester United won the treble, which underlines just how highly the Tottenham winger was thought of by journalists and fellow pros.

Ginola had first arrived in England when he signed for Kevin Keegan’s exciting Newcastle side in 1995, while he also played for Aston Villa and Everton before retiring.


MF – N’Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante

N’Golo Kante was the first outfield player to win back-to-back Premier League era titles with different clubs when he lifted the trophy with Leicester and Chelsea in 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively – he won a PFA and FWA individual double in the latter.

Kante was a complete unknown before the summer of 2015 when Leicester spent an extremely modest £5.6m to buy him from Caen. He has been one of the best in the world ever since.


MF – Claude Makelele

Chelsea's Frank Lampard (2nd L) celebrat

Real Madrid’s troubles in the mid-2000s when the Galacticos should have been at their peak can probably be traced to selling Claude Makelele and failing to replace him. Chelsea reaped the benefits of their purchase in 2003 and he was the fulcrum of back-to-back title wins.

As a defensive midfield shield, Makelele wasn’t a goalscorer, but he did take a penalty towards the end of the 2004/05 season. The kick was saved, although he converted the rebound.


MF – Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira and Sean Davis

Patrick Vieira is remembered as one of the Premier League’s all-time great foreign imports. He won two domestic doubles with Arsenal and captained the ‘Invincibles’ to their unbeaten season in 2003/04, while his personal rivalry with Roy Keane is the stuff of legend.

Vieira arrived at Arsenal in 1996. But although he wasn’t actually signed by Arsene Wenger, who joined the club a few months later, it is known that Wenger’s imminent arrival did play a role.


MF – Robert Pires

Robert Pires

Robert Pires was another Frenchman who thrived in the Premier League under Arsene Wenger, winning the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 2001/02 when Arsenal completed a domestic league and FA Cup double.

Pires was known for his Gallic flair on the pitch and was on fire when the Gunners won the Premier League again in 2003/04, scoring 14 times from his wide midfield role.


FW – Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is credited as being the final piece of the jigsaw and the catalyst for Manchester United’s Premier League dominance in the mid-1990s, scoring crucial goals in the 1992/93, 1993/94 and 1995/96 title winning campaigns – the latter two also yielded domestic doubles.

Cantona captained the Old Trafford club to further Premier League glory in his final season as a professional, while his legacy and influence helped secure an even more successful future.


FW – Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry

Right up there in the debate of the greatest Premier League player of all time, Thierry Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer after netting 228 goals for the Gunners. He also holds the record for most Premier League Golden Boots wins with four – all outright as well.

Henry was thought of as more of a winger when he first arrived in England, transformed into a striker by Arsene Wenger, and initially struggled to find the net. That quickly changed.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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