New signings can only truly be judged after two or three seasons. However some make a better first impression than others, so based on the season so far which summer signings have made the best starts at their new clubs?
10. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, £61 million)
As fans ask themselves if Manchester City have improved since their record-breaking title win last season, the most obvious evidence is the addition of Riyad Mahrez. It’s hardly a revelation that Mahrez is a good player, having won the PFA Footballer of the Year award in 2016 at Leicester. In saying that, it’s a slight surprise how quickly he’s slotted in. Mahrez has 4 goals and an assist to his name in the Premier League so far, with 6 goals from 18 appearances in all competition. His goal to get over the line against Tottenham sticks out as the shining light so far, he just needs to keep that going from here on.
9. Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool, £13.5 million)
In a summer when Liverpool spent in excess of £170 million, Shaqiri slipped under the radar. He may not have been a regular starter at Anfield but he looks an absolute steal at that price. His main role has been as a game changing substitute and after a slow start, he’s becoming increasingly prominent at Liverpool. So far Shaqiri has contributed 2 goals and 2 assists including his stunner against Fulham. His notorious lack of commitment thus far appears to have been left behind at Stoke and with Roberto Firmino struggling for form, Shaqiri looks set to have an increased presence in the first team.
8. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal, £26.4 million)
Unai Emery’s Arsenal revolution has been centered on getting more from Arsenal’s existing squad than adding new recruits, but Torreira looks an excellent addition. He’s provided energy and vigour to a midfield that previously looked weak and lazy off the ball. 24 tackles won, 20 interceptions and 65 duals won highlight the bite Torreira brings to Arsenal’s midfield. His passing has also been excellent with his performance against Liverpool earning him a deserved man of the match award. After a slow start, Torreira has become the embodiment of Emery’s tougher new Arsenal and a fan favorite at the Emirates Stadium.
7. Alisson (Liverpool, £67 million)
You don’t need to be a great scout to see Alisson is a top class goalkeeper, nor is he a bargain at an eye watering £67million. Never mind the price tag, he was exactly the signing Liverpool needed. 8 clean sheets in 13 games this season illustrate Liverpool’s defensive improvement and that wouldn’t have been possible with Karius or Mignolet between the posts. It’s not just his presence that’s made Alisson a great buy either, he’s made 26 saves and provided Liverpool a sweeper keeper option with 348 passes and 68 accurate long passes. He did blot his copybook with that changer against Leicester but it hasn’t affected his confidence or that of his defenders.
6. Felipe Anderson (West Ham, £36 million)
West Ham raised a few eyebrows this summer when they broke their transfer record to sign the Brazilian midfielder from Lazio. West Ham’s improvement from relegation candidates to safety can be traced to the moment Manuel Pelligrini made Anderson the focal point of his attack. Playing as an attacking midfielder Anderson has directed West Ham’s attack with his vision and trickery, notching 4 goals and swinging in 53 crosses to date. With Andriy Yarmalenko out with a long term injury, the reliance on Anderson for creativity has become even greater. It seems West Ham finally have their replacement for Dimitri Payet.
5. Ben Foster (Watford, £2.5 million)
Foster’s return to Watford following West Brom’s relegation was hardly the most imaginative move of the summer, but is proving one of the most effective. The former England international is no youngster at 35 but he’s a huge upgrade on Heurelho Gomes . Foster’s kept 3 clean sheets and made an impressive 32 saves to start the season. He’s provided a steady presence in goal as Watford go in search of a European football and at £2.5million, he is an absolute bargain.
4. James Maddison (Leicester City, £24 million)
A newcomer to the Premier League, those who saw Maddison excel in a mediocre Championship side praised Leicester’s bravery in taking a chance on the England Under 21. The speed that Maddison has settled into the Premier League has taken everyone by surprise. From his debut at Old Trafford, Maddison has taken control of Leicester’s attack from his number 10 position. He’s shown great awareness in his passing and created 6 big chances thus far, 2 ending in assists whilst chipping in with 3 goals. Things have dipped a little in recent weeks and his weekend red card was a bad look, but Maddison looks a future England star and an early contender for Young Player of the Year.
3. Jorginho (Chelsea, £50 million)
A week ago he might have been number 1. Jorginho has proved to be the fulcrum of Maurizio Sarri’s reshaped Chelsea. All of Chelsea’s play goes through Jorginho , malking a league leading 1237 passes. His touch on the ball and accuracy of pass are truly world-class. So important has Jorginho become to Chelsea, Sarri has moved the world’s best defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante to a more advanced position in order to accommodate the Italy international. For all Jorginho brings to Chelsea, he isn’t a natural defensive midfielder and was exposed by Dele Alli’s pressing and burned by Son Heung-Min’s pace as Chelsea’s unbeaten start went up in smoke against Tottenham. Other sides will inevitably try to copy Tottenham’s success in shutting down Jorginho, with both his and Chelsea’s season hinging on how Sarri addresses that tactical conundrum.
2. Rui Patricio (Wolves, £16 million)
Jorge Mendes’ involvement with Wolves has caused plenty of controversy but never more so than when Sporting FC accused him of blackmail in the transfer of Rui Patricio to Wolves. His arrival may have been controversial but there’s been no question about Patricio’s form at Wolves, he’s been arguably the best ‘keeper in the EPL. Upgrading the goalkeeper is usually a sensible move for promoted teams and Patricio’s 41 saves and no errors leading directly to a goal have been a key factor in Wolves landing safely in mid table, entertaining hopes of Europe next season. Bagging the Portugal number 1 was a statement of intent for Wolves, keeping him long-term would be a greater one.
1. Richarlison (Everton, £35 million)
Most pundits saw Everton’s decision to spend £35 million (potentially rising to £50 million) on a forward with neither a goal nor an assist in 2018, as the riskiest move of the summer. New Everton boss Marco Silva got the best out of Richarlison during their brief spell together at Watford early last season and Silva has most certainly repeated the trick at Goodison Park. Richardson stated repaying his fee immediately with 2 goals on his debt against Wolves. A threat with both feet, Richarlison’s combination of dribbling skill and penalty box prowess have proved Everton’s sharpest weapon. He’s mainly worked from the left but has also been deployed as a central striker and already bagged 6 goals from 11 Premier League games. He did let himself down with a brain fart against Bournemouth, however his form as a whole has earned him a call up to Brazil’s national team. The 21 year old is set to be a key player in Everton’s attempt to bridge the gap to the seemingly mythical top six.