Soccer

Premier League top six's summer signings rated so far this season

Ferran Torres and Diogo Jota have made storming starts but Willian and Kai Havertz look well off the pace… here is how the Premier League top six’s summer signings have fared so far this season

  • Premier League sides will once again look to invest in the January market
  • The top six clubs had varying success in an unusual summer transfer window 
  • Chelsea and Tottenham recruited the most players in the most recent market 
  • Here, Sportsmail examines the hits and misses the ‘top six’ recruited then 

The January transfer window is nearly upon us just a few months after the summer market slammed shut in early October.

Chelsea were the big spenders in the market splashing out £220million on the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, while Jose Mourinho brought no fewer than seven players into his Tottenham squad.

The two Manchester clubs and Liverpool also added a handful of players to boost their squads, while Arsenal’s summer acquisitions have been the definition of hit and miss.

Here, Sportsmail analyses who has made a good start to life at one of the so-called ‘top six’ clubs and who has work to do to turn their early fortunes around with marks given out of 10. 

Diogo Jota has made a brilliant start to life at Liverpool following his £40m move from Wolves

Here, Sportsmail rate the top six clubs’ signings, including Manchester City’s Ferran Torres

Arguably the best signing any of the top six sides have made this summer, Jota has seemingly achieved the impossible by adding goals and a thrill to an attacking trio that scored 45 goals last season.

The Portuguese’s rise to star status at his new club following his £45m move from Wolves was undoubtedly aided by the discussion over Roberto Firmino’s selection when he was contributing little in terms of goals.

But whether coming off the bench or being given the vote of confidence from Jurgen Klopp from the start, Jota has not looked back ever since netting his first in the 3-1 win over Arsenal.

The 23-year-old’s piece de resistance so far with the Reds came with a fifth career hat-trick against Atalanta in the Champions League.

After despairing over missing out over Timo Werner, few will be concerned he has ended up at Chelsea given that Jota had become practically undroppable for Klopp before suffering a serious knee injury which could see him on the sidelines for two months. 

Diogo Jota was practically undroppable for Jurgen Klopp before his serious knee injury 

Thiago Alcantara – 5

The former Bayern Munich midfielder has been in the wars since joining Klopp’s Premier League champions following the drawn out summer saga, having made just two appearances.

The Spaniard tested positive for coronavirus in late September after an encouraging debut at Chelsea, and was then on the receiving end of a horror challenge from Richarlison – who was consequently sent off for the lunge – in a feisty Merseyside derby.

The midfield maestro has not been seen since and Liverpool’s relative silence on the matter of his return was of some concern before announcing earlier this month he had completed an individual session in a return to training.

However, should he manage to bounce back from the knee injury that has been hindering him from demonstrating his skillset to the Liverpool faithful, he may yet demonstrate that the club are yet to play their strongest hand this season. 

A knee injury in the Merseyside derby and coronavirus has limited Thiago’s performances

Kostas Tsimikas – 5

The defender has played just four times for Klopp’s side since joining from Olympiakos in the summer for a reported fee of just under £12m.

The statistic may highlight Klopp’s reticence to withdraw Andy Robertson from Liverpool’s attacking display as much as at the back, but as Scotland captain there will come a time when he will require a break from the relentless run of fixtures this season.

The Greek has shown he can certainly be entrusted to perform a similar job defensively for Klopp’s men, but he will require further confidence from his boss to find his way into how the Reds seamlessly choreograph their build up.  

Kostas Tsimikas has played a peripheral role since joining from Olympiakos in the summer

Manchester United

Edinson Cavani – 7

His signing appeared to have been met with much consternation by sections of the United fanbase, but already has demonstrated why he is Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time record goalscorer.

He took a little bit of time following his deadline-day move to get his fitness up to speed, but his moment arrived when he came off the bench against Southampton to inspire a United comeback from 2-0 down with an assist and two goals.

The Saints defence were unable to cope with his movement and instinctive finishing, and that was evidently missing in crucial matches against RB Leipzig and Manchester City.

The Uruguayan may yet face a ban after being charged by the FA for his ‘Gracias negrito’ Instagram post, but on the pitch the club may well have found their short-term No 9 at the very least.

Edinson Cavani has shown he can be Manchester United’s short-term centre forward fix

Alex Telles – 7

Another experienced deadline-day arrival, the Brazilian has certainly added competition for Luke Shaw in the left-back role, given the former Southampton man’s issues with staying fit in recent seasons.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also desired greater flair in an attacking sense and where Shaw has failed, Telles so far appears to have succeeded, showing his ability to create dangerous situations against the likes of Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka currently struggling on the opposing flank, the 27-year-old has also shown the ability to make tackles and clearances in defence, and was perhaps unfortunate to be dragged off for Paul Pogba on that fateful evening in Leipzig.

Debate about whether the Norwegian boss singled Telles out for criticism following that defeat for not being streetwise enough is up for debate, but United on initial appearances appear to have found a player who can balance attack and defence. 

Telles has increased competition at left-back and has made his side more dangerous on the left

Donny van de Beek – 5

Seemingly the perfect addition to compliment Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, van de Beek’s £40m arrival from Ajax was supposed to have been the final piece of the jigsaw in Solskjaer’s midfield.

But the first few weeks – aside from a debut goal against Crystal Palace – were mired with frustration, glum faces from the Netherlands international looking on from the bench and an damning outburst from his agent that he had only featured in Carabao Cup games.

Solskjaer had remained adamant he would get his chance, but that has come in more unorthodox positions such as the left-hand side in his first Premier League start at Southampton.

Criticism of his move to United has continued to flow with former Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal among the latest detractors, but few believe his time will not come at some stage at the club, especially if Pogba decides to move on this summer. 

Donny van de Beek has endured a frustrating start with many questioning his move to United

Manchester City

Ferran Torres – 8

The standout player of the Champions League group stage for Pep Guardiola’s men with four goals to see City safely through to the last 16.

Signed for £20.5m from Valencia in the summer, Torres has demonstrated his clinical edge in front of goal and prowess inside the penalty area, which is particularly impressive given his natural position is out wide.

The hallmarks of a typical Guardiola recruit – raw pace, trickery and creativity – are by no means lacking either and aged just 20, this could just be the start of another Premier League great in the making.

Ferran Torres has been the standout player for Manchester City in the Champions League

Nathan Ake – 6

Pep Guardiola singled out the Dutchman to come and shore up City’s defence, and if his start to life at City has been unspectacular, it has certainly added versatility to the backline.

A £41m arrival from relegated Bournemouth, Guardiola has utilised Ake at left-back as well as in his more natural centre-back role, and while it is difficult to pick a highlight he certainly adds defensive nous and quality on the ball.

His consolation in the home thrashing by Leicester remains his only goal contribution and a hamstring injury in November frustrated progress, but there have been far more disastrous starts made by Ake’s predecessors to life at the Etihad Stadium. 

But John Stones is back in the side and in form however and Aymeric Laporte’s talents have held things together in previous seasons, so the Netherlands international will be well aware of the task ahead of him if he wants to nail down a regular spot. 

Nathan Ake has been deployed at centre back and left back but faces competition

Ruben Dias – 7

The other big-money arrival at the back in the summer, Dias has been an almost immovable part of Guardiola’s new-look defence.

Thrown into the deep end with a debut at Leeds following his £65m move from Benfica, Dias has risen to the challenge to ensure he fits the bill of a City centre-back, comfortable in possession but putting the hard tackles in when necessary.

But in addition to his distinctive defensive abilities, recent reports suggest his leadership qualities in competitive fixtures and in training have left a remarkable impression on his team-mates. 

Such leadership is something the club have lacked ever since the departure of Vincent Kompany, and while the Portuguese still has a long path ahead of him to be contemplated in the same breath as the Belgian, his start to life at City has done his chances of one day attaining such status no harm.  

City appear delighted with Ruben Dias’ defensive abilities and leadership qualities as well

Chelsea

Timo Werner – 5

The striker Liverpool wanted – certainly at one stage – but the forward that ended up in west London in a £52m deal from RB Leipzig.

The German appeared to fit Frank Lampard’s demands, demonstrating on numerous occasions in the Bundesliga his ability to combine lighting quick speed with commensurate devastating finishes.

Few doubt he will eventually replicate his scoring record in Germany in the Premier League but the 24-year-old more recently has wasted good chances, missed when it has appeared easier to find the net and generally failed to make an impact on games.

There have no doubt been glimpses from the Germany striker, including notable braces against Southampton and Krasnodar, but lately things have not fallen for Werner, and with Olivier Giroud performing at every given opportunity he faces more competition than he may have expected.

Timo Werner has struggled to make a sustained impact at Chelsea since joining in the summer

Kai Havertz – 4

Another signing from the Bundesliga who has struggled in the beginning of his Stamford Bridge career, Kai Havertz is being allowed some leniency from Frank Lampard due to his age.

The 21-year-old joined from Bayer Leverkusen in a £71m deal but is career in the Premier League has yet to get going and his impact on games has been minimal. 

Rather than attacking flair and clinical finishing, Havertz has produced misplaced and sloppy passes which has led to him consistently being substituted by Lampard in recent weeks.

The Blues boss appears justified in his calls for patience but will be acutely aware that his single most expensive signing of the summer must start displaying signs of fitting in at the club during this festive period. 

Kai Havertz has yet to adapt to Chelsea life and has often been substituted by Frank Lampard

Thiago Silva – 8

On the other end of the experience scale to Havertz, Thiago Silva also took a little bit of time to settle but has been instrumental in the club’s resurgence at the back.

He has struck up a solid defensive pairing alongside Kurt Zouma and is firmly ensconced as one of Lampard’s first-choice centre backs given the resilience and knowhow he displayed in abundance at PSG.

There also appears to be trust in the 36-year-old from the Blues boss, having handed the Brazil centre-back the captain’s armband in the absence of Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho.

Sportsmail reported in November that the club are already keen to trigger a one-year extension in Silva’s contract to keep him at the club until 2022.

Given how much more solid he has made Chelsea barring his role in the penalty conceded at Everton, there is no surprise as to why the Blues are looking to keep him as part of a squad where many young players form a crux of the roster. 

Thiago Silva has made Chelsea more resolute and struck up a partnership with Kurt Zouma

Edouard Mendy – 7

Aside from an uncharacteristic error which contributed to the defeat by Everton, the Senegal goalkeeper has been a calming influence who has aided in an impressive start to the season for Chelsea’s defence.

The requirement to replace the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga was of utmost importance for the Blues after conceding 54 goals in the Premier League in 2019/20.

Frank LeBoeuf and Tony Cascarino were detractors of his rush of blood to the head by clattering into Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but boss Lampard again came to his defence and pointed out his consistency since his move from Rennes.

Those previous performances cannot be forgotten, and with Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer labelling him ‘world class’, there is certainly reason for optimism that a long-term holder of the No 1 jersey is quite literally in safe hands.

Edouard Mendy has proven to be a calming influence for Chelsea as goalkeeper

Ben Chilwell – 7   

There were a few – albeit minor – grumblings of discontent when the England left-back arrived in a £50m deal from Leicester in the summer.

Chelsea supporters had grown tired of Marcos Alonso’s lapses of concentration, particularly in defence, and his assists record suffered as a result too.

Similar reservations were levelled at Chilwell and is ability to shore up what had become a problematic issue for Lampard.

Yet it is that side of his game which appears to have improved, and Chilwell has been well marshalled by experienced heads like Thiago Silva.

He marked his Premier League debut for the Blues with a goal and assist, and fans of the club will be optimistic there is more to come in an attacking sense too after assisting Giroud in the defeat by Wolves. 

Ben Chilwell has improved Chelsea defensively and has replaced inconsistent Marcos Alonso

Hakim Ziyech – 7

Most likely the attacking signing that has yielded the most return for the Blues following his summer move, Ziyech has more than anything offered Lampard the balance he was searching for at the beginning of the season.

The winger missed the first six weeks of the season after picking up an injury on his friendly debut at Brighton, and his first full start didn’t arrive until late October against Krasnodar.

Occupying the right-hand side of the front three, the player signed from Ajax for £40m registered a goal and assist on his first Premier League start and has emerged as one of his club’s most creative outlets.

The Blues went on to win six of their next seven matches before the Moroccan again suffered an injury at Leeds, and Lampard has struggled to find the balance in attack in his absence.

When he returns however, his Stamford Bridge career to date suggests he will allow Chelsea to become even more potent, with his absence felt in the defeat by Everton and Wolves. 

Hakim Ziyech has helped Frank Lampard find some much needed balance in attacking areas

Arsenal

Willian – 3

In all likelihood the most disappointing and fruitless piece of transfer business completed by any club this summer.

The Gunners handed him a three-year contract but the 32-year-old has yet to net his first goal for the club and his only two assists came on the opening day at Fulham.

The Brazilian has been unable to step up amid Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s slump in form and has recently begun to look disinterested, therefore seemingly destined to be added to the scrap of expensive mistakes at the club. 

Reports in recent weeks suggest some of the Gunners squad are unhappy with the preferential treatment he supposedly receives from boss Mikel Arteta after facing little punishment following an ill-advised trip to Dubai during the latest international break.

Compatriot and technical director Edu also called for Willian to be given time to make his mark, but given his experience of Premier League football and quality he produced at rivals Chelsea over the years, the winger should have hit the ground running and has managed nothing of the sort. 

Willian’s disastrous start at Arsenal has seen him fail to score or assist since the opening game 

Gabriel Magalhaes – 7

Three back-to-back Player of the Month awards at the Gunners may symbolise the poor form of the forwards, but is equally a credit to the excellence Gabriel has added to the Gunners back line.

There is an assuredness in possession and an ability to sniff out danger from the centre-back and throw his body on the line, and he scored the Gunners’ first Premier League goal of the season.

His inexperience did show when his poor, overzealous performance against Southampton saw him receive a third red card shown to an Arsenal player in five games to exacerbate his side’s disciplinary issues.

But an immediate apology saw him escape the wrath directed towards Granit Xhaka, and there is a sense that his dismissal should not hide the excellent start he has made to life in north London. 

Should a similarly competent, progressive and composed defender emerge in William Saliba or be signed to play next to him, Arsenal will be well on their way to addressing an issue that has bedevilled the club for at least a decade. 

Gabriel Magalhaes was the club’s Player of the Month for September, October and November

Thomas Partey – 6

The exciting £45m signing from Atletico Madrid on deadline day has seen his ability to turn the club’s fortunes around largely frustrated by injury.

The win at Manchester United demonstrated what an asset he will become, shutting Solskjaer’s men down and playing the first pass in counters to give Mikel Arteta some much-needed midfield balance.

Without him, Arsenal’s midfield looks devoid of defensive shape and attacking creativity and that is the most glowing compliment you can pay him right now, with a recurring thigh injury suffered against Tottenham limiting him to just six appearances for the north London outfit so far.

The Gunners midfield has lacked defensive solidity and a link to the attacking players in his absence, and while the club are yet to put a time frame on his return, they will be desperate to see the Ghana international come back as soon as possible. 

Thomas Partey’s start to life in north London has been frustrated by separate thigh injuries

Alex Runarsson – 4

The Iceland international has only featured for the Gunners in the Europa League this season, a competition in which they have performed admirably in comparison to their domestic form.

However, Runarsson has been one of the disappointments in Europe this season and has looked shaky at times not only in terms of distribution, but also with shot stopping, as was the case against Molde and Dundalk in the final two group games.

Then came the Carabao Cup horror show against Manchester City in which he punched Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick into the net and was at fault for a couple of the other goals in a 4-1 defeat, after which he deleted his Twitter account due to the online abuse he received.

He has yet to be tested by the rigours of the Premier League and despite claiming he is ready to usurp Bernd Leno as No 1, he as yet appears to be a long way off replacing the German between the sticks. 

Alex Runarsson has been unconvincing and looks incapable of replacing Bernd Leno 

Dani Ceballos – 5

Ceballos secured a second Arsenal loan from Real Madrid borne out of an excellent end to last season where he helped deliver a record 14th FA Cup for Arsenal.

But as yet the Spaniard is yet to reach anywhere near the heights of 2019-20 and has yet to nail down a regular starting position.

The Spain midfielder has been unable to rectify the Gunners’ creativity issues and appears to have reverted to the player that frustrated many in the first six months of last term’s loan.

His cameo against Liverpool remains his most encouraging performance of the season but one goal contribution is unbecoming for a player once considered to be the future of the midfield at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Dani Ceballos has struggled alongside his Gunners team-mates to help matters in attack

Tottenham

Gareth Bale – 5

The second coming of a club hero with smiles brimming all around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Welshman’s own grin told a tale of how sour events in Madrid had tarnished his love for the game.

But despite the euphoria around the loan move, it’s fair to say that a combination of factors have seen game time limited.

A knee injury suffered on international duty saw Spurs fans have to wait for his debut, and since then he has been a fixture in the Europa League side as opposed to a regular in the Premier League.

There have been at best minor glimpses of those surging runs that became a trademark of his first spell at the club, and if that player still exists, then he is yet to show he is capable of performing as such.

Glenn Hoddle claimed Bale still looks tentative and lacks trust in his body, a risk the former Spurs boss admitted was a risk when re-signing him, and the jury very much remains out on whether – with the form of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – he will ever again become a Premier League regular in Jose Mourinho’s side.

Tottenham fans are yet to see the best of Gareth Bale despite his highly-anticipated return

Carlos Vinicius – 6

Signed on a season-long loan from Benfica to provide a source of goals other than Harry, the Brazilian has fulfilled the primary motive behind his transfer.

The striker netted three goals and recorded as many assists in the group stages of the Europa League, showing the impact he has made to allow star forward Kane a breather.

However, there is certainly some doubt as to whether he would be entrusted with replacing Son or Kane in the Premier League, because where is determination is unfaltering his rawness has still been apparent.

The peerless performances of Son and Kane this season perhaps have contributed to a slightly negative view of Vinicius, who evidently lacks the guile of his fellow team-mates, and he was not afraid to hook him and bring the England captain on in their final Europa League group game.

Nevertheless, the 25-year-old has demonstrated enough to suggest that if his raw ability can be harnessed by Mourinho, he may well prove to be another valuable addition to their attacking arsenal.

Carlos Vinicius has scored goals in the Europa League but has shown he is still a raw talent

Sergio Reguilon – 7

The biggest compliment you can pay to the left-back is that it is very evident why Real Madrid were so keen on inserting a buy-back clause into his Tottenham contract.

Having been named the best left-back in Spain last season as Sevilla went on to win the Europa League, the 23-year-old moved to Spurs in a £23m deal and is the archetypal modern full-back.

Aggressive in his defending and using his energy and pace to move quickly to the ball and shut opposing wingers down, Reguilon looks a certain member of Spain’s Euro 2020 squad.

His attacking talent and stunning crossing ability has never been questioned, and with two assists so far this season he has provided defences with another player to think about going forward alongside the dangerous Kane and Son. 

Sergio Reguilon has been aggressive in his defending and his prowess going forward

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 8

The Dane was earmarked by Mourinho in the summer as the ideal linchpin to lead his Tottenham revolution, and on this season’s evidence the Portuguese has been vindicated in his assessment.

Initial worries after the defeat by Everton on the opening weekend of the season about how he would fit into the midfield were quickly put to bed as he soon started demonstrating the presence and steel in the centre of the pitch that he had been brought in to add.

Hojbjerg came through at Bayern Munich under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, but it is the midfielder’s ability to be a nuisance and dominate to help out the defence which has often let the attack wreak havoc, making him such an effective signing.

His gritty attitude and leadership qualities make him the ideal Mourinho player, and right now there are few players in his position performing better in the league.  

Jose Mourinho has been vindicated in making Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg his midfield linchpin

Matt Doherty – 4

Brought in to ultimately replace Serge Aurier who looked destined for the exit door, the Republic of Ireland man’s spell so far has been dogged with inconsistency.

The 28-year-old was used to a back five under Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves but now as part of four at the back he has put in some underwhelming performances.

Ivorian Aurier has subsequently raised his game and looked to resurrect his career at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Doherty admits he loves the competition that he is providing.

But it appears clear that the Irishman is second-choice for Mourinho and will need to morph into the man that became a rock for Wolves for so long to establish himself at right-back. 

Matt Doherty’s start to life at the Tottenham Hotspur has been marred with inconsistency

Joe Hart – 4

A transfer that no doubt raised some eyebrows among the fans, free agent Hart was the man chosen to play back-up to Hugo Lloris this season.

The 33-year-old has bundles of domestic and European experience to call upon and was perhaps viewed as a more robust option than Paulo Gazzaniga.

However, as yet he has yet to really demonstrate that he justifies being the club No 2 and has carried on the sort of performances that came to mark his Torino and Burnley spells. 

Joe Hart has yet to provide justification to be Hugo Lloris’ No 2 for Spurs this season

Joe Rodon – 6

Certainly one for the future at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Rodon has already earned the praise of his manager and team-mates.

He made his Premier League debut late on against Chelsea in November, and had also been summoned to play against Manchester City and in the north London derby.

He looks to have the composure so far to be the long-term replacement for current incumbent Toby Alderweireld, and is strengthening Spurs’ reputation for recruiting centre-backs. 

Joe Rodon is a signing for the future but has been impressive when he has featured so far




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