Last season saw a record level of spending in Premier League clubs, to both good and bad effect.
Last week we looked at some of the worst signings from the £1b of Premier League money spent over the course of the seasons, so it only seems right to now look at the major successes from English top level clubs in the transfer market in the past two transfer windows.
Mohamed Salah (Roma – Liverpool, £36.9m)
Let’s just get this one out of the way right now, shall we? Liverpool swooped early in the window to land the Egyptian forward from Roma last summer, which proved to be a masterstroke given how crazy transfer fees later became. To say it’s gone rather well would be an understatement, as Salah has scored 44 goals in 51 games and won nearly ever individual award available to him.
Regardless of whether or not it ends in Champions League glory next week, it has still been a phenomenal debut season at Anfield for Salah.
Pascal Gross (Inglostadt – Brighton & Hove Albion, £3m)
The signing of Gross from Bundesliga side Inglostadt barely made a ripple when it was announced last summer, not least because Brighton had a number of incoming players ahead of their first season in the Premier League. However, the 26-year-old has been a revelation in the Seagulls’ midfield in a variety of different areas of the centre (and out wide), scoring seven goals and assisting eight more as Chris Hughton’s side cemented their Premier League status for another season at least.
Ederson Moraes (Benfica – Manchester City, £35m)
Pep Guardiola noticed immediately that goalkeeper was a problem position when he took the Man City job in 2016 (hence the discarding of Joe Hart), but the signing of Claudio Bravo did not work out at all. To that end, the club spent £35m on Brazilian Ederson, and the 24-year-old has been a key component of a much more confident City defence ever since.
His value to the club was further hammered home by the fact that he was offered a new seven-year deal after just one season at the Etihad.
Jordan Pickford (Sunderland – Everton, £30m)
One of the few bright spots in a largely forgettable season for Everton was the arrival of Pickford from Sunderland. The 24-year-old has largely looked measured and composed in front of a defence that has had unmerciful habit of letting him down, and his impressive shot-stopping ability and agility could well see the former Sunderland keeper installed as England’s number one goalkeeper at the World Cup this summer.
Richarlison (Fluminese – Watford, £11.2m)
Although he fell victim to Watford’s absurdly common post-Christmas slump, for the first half of the campaign Richarlison was arguably in the running for Young Player of the Year. The young Brazilian was incredibly lively on the counter-attack, and chipped in with a few important goal in his debut campaign. His early form led to links with some of the league’s big boys; at just 21 and with one season in England under his belt, he could have an even bigger impact at Vicarage Road next year.
Davinson Sanchez (Ajax – Tottenham, £42m)
Tottenham broke the bank (by their own standards) to sign Sanchez in a £42m transfer last summer, in what was a club record. Presumably, the plan was to have the Colombian as part of a three-man defence with Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweiredl, but the latter’s injury problems put a spanner in the works. Instead, Sanchez formed a rock-solid partnership with Vertonghen – one that is likely to see Alderweired moved on by Spurs in the next transfer window.
Andy Robertson (Hull City – Liverpool, £8m)
When Liverpool fans cried out for a new left-back last summer, this was not quite what they had in mind. Robertson had done very well in a Hull side that fought bravely against relegation, but he wasn’t exactly a big name. Still, Reds supporters need not have worried, as Robertson has been tremendous.
After biding his time and waiting for an opportunity, the Scottish international took it with both hands and has swatted away competition from Alberto Moreno to establish himself as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back.
Harry Maguire (Hull City – Leicester City, £17m)
Another member of that relegated Hull defence, but one who probably stood out that bit more at the time. Maguire was highly sought after last summer, hence why Leicester had to pay £17m for his services. It has, however, worked out well for the Foxes and Maguire himself. He has added a bit of youthful endeavour to what was an ageing backline, and his displays in the league have earned him a spot in England’s World Cup squad.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea – Manchester United, £40m)
Allowing Matic to join would-be title rivals Man United was a very questionable move by Chelsea, but their loss has been United’s gain. Jose Mourinho’s transfer record at Old Trafford has been hit and miss to a large degree, but this is has been one of the better signings. Matic’s role in shielding the defence was vital last season, and in a team that is built not to score a lot of goals, keeping the backline safe is hugely important.
Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester City, £50m)
It’s hard to know the level of ability that should be expected from a £50m signing, but it can’t argued that however good Walker was at Tottenham, he has improved since joining Man City last summer. Walker appears to have cut the most frustrating aspects out of his game (his lack of concentration at times, etc.) and looks all the better for it. The 27-year-old, even at that fee, has been a superb signing for Guardiola and Man City and looks like one of the best full-backs in Europe on current form.