As the Premier League enters the busy festive period, clubs already have eyes on potential January transfer targets who could improve their squads. The same clubs also spent heavily in the summer on new recruits. There have been hits and misses with some players failing to justify their price tag while others have impressed on the cheap.
We pick out ten of the best performers who were on the move this summer.
MARCOS ALONSO – CHELSEA
Many people were confused when Chelsea signed Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina this summer for £23m. The Spaniard had already competed in the Premier League and struggled at Bolton and Sunderland. However, his performances in Italy meant Antonio Conte saw him as the perfect player to compliment his 3-4-3 system, and he was right. Alonso has been fantastic at left-wing back averaging 1.5 chances and 1.9 key passes a game. He also scored in Chelsea’s 5-0 demolition of Everton.
CHRISTIAN BENTEKE – CRYSTAL PALACE
Labelled a flop at Liverpool, Christian Benteke was simply a square peg in a round hole. It was evident he didn’t fit Jurgen Klopp’s system but remained one of the best strikers in the Premier League meaning Crystal Palace were prepared to meet the £32m price tag. The Belgian has been an instant hit at Selhurst Park and is the club’s top scorer with seven goals. The ex-Aston Villa striker is showing how good he can be if a team plays to his strengths.
ERIC BAILLY – MANCHESTER UNITED
Another player who is impressed since arriving on the shores of England is Manchester United’s Eric Bailly. The youngster joined the Red Devils for over £30m from Villarreal meaning there was enormous pressure on his young shoulders. However, Bailly has exceeded expectations, performing admirably in the United defence. His strong start to the season was cruelly cut short by injury. He has averaged 3.5 interceptions and 6.3 clearances per game this season under Jose Mourinho.
IDRISSA GUEYE – EVERTON
A player who might have gone unnoticed this season is Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye. Signed from relegated Aston Villa, Gueye has been a powerhouse in the Toffees’ midfield. He has been likened to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante due to his work rate and interceptions in the centre of the park. Gueye has recovered the ball 93 times for the Blues this season. He has made more tackles than any midfielder in the league and is one of the shining lights in Everton’s indifferent start to the season.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC – MANCHESTER UNITED
Much was made of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s move to Manchester United from PSG this summer as there was doubts as to whether the 35-year-old could cut it in the Premier League. With a £200,000 per week salary, expectations were rightfully high. After scoring in the community shield and on his league debut, Ibrahimovic has continued to fire for the Red Devils. He has eight league goals and has proved his critics wrong. The former Milan striker will also be a huge influence on young prospects such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
N’GOLO KANTE – CHELSEA
Gueye might be similar to Kante, but no-one quite compares to the man himself. The Frenchman was pivotal in Leicester’s title-winning campaign, and the Foxes have fallen apart following his move to Chelsea. The Blues paid £32m for his services, and he has slotted in seamlessly next to Nemanja Matic. He is perfect for Conte’s 3-4-3 system and has made more interceptions than any other midfielder in the league. Kante’s performances is one of the main reasons why Chelsea have shot to the top of the Premier League and have looked unstoppable at times this season.
NACER CHADLI – WEST BROM
West Brom have been one of the surprise performers this season and find themselves in 7th place, just one point behind Manchester United. Arguably their best player this season has been Nacer Chadli who arrived from Tottenham for only £13m. The Belgian has been in excellent form, scoring four goals and registering two assists in nine appearances this season. Tony Pulis had admitted Chadli may struggle to get back in the side following an injury after the Baggies’ recent form.
JOEL MATIP – LIVERPOOL
While teams like Chelsea and Manchester City spent more than £30m on defenders such as David Luiz and John Stones, Liverpool picked up arguably the pick of the bunch for absolutely nothing. Joel Matip arrived from Schalke on a free transfer and has been a rock at the back for the Reds. Calm and composed, Klopp’s men haven’t lost with Matip in the side. He has made an average of 5.27 interceptions per game and boasts a passing accuracy of 87%. The Cameroonian defender was sorely missed against Bournemouth where Liverpool collapsed after leading 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.
JOE ALLEN – STOKE
After a superb Euro 2016 campaign with Wales, Joe Allen was deemed surplus to requirements at Liverpool and moved to Stoke for just £13m. The ‘Welsh Xavi’ continued his fine form with the Potters where he found a goal scoring touch – netting four goals and registering four assists. He has created 15 chances for his team-mates, only Xherdan Shaqiri has made more, and was named on the shortlist for the UEFA World XI.
SADIO MANE – LIVERPOOL
Without a doubt, Liverpool’s acquisition of Sadio Mane has been the signing of the summer. His form for Southampton prompted Liverpool to pay £34m for his services and Mane has been one of the top performers under Klopp this season. Alongside Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, the Senegal international has been a joy to watch; scoring seven goals and registering three assists. With Liverpool pushing for a Premier League title, Mane will be a huge miss when he leaves for African Cup of Nations duty.
Who do you think was the signing of the summer? Comment below!