Premier League: How have the new signings fared thus far? (Part 1)
The start of the new season always brings many things. Optimism from fans that this season might be good, new kits – because, yeah – and the end to an arduous break. Also, new signings. Those shiny new pieces of football players that fuel optimism, and/or make the gentlemen on Sky to question whether or not they can crack in the failsafe that is the Premier League, based on whether or not they’ve previously heard about the player.
Nine months on, the signings are no longer with glint, as they transformed to either hero status, or fallen into the ‘what was the manager thinking’ category. So, with the season coming to a close, this is a rundown on the new signings that joined in the summer, as well as winter (yes, previous loan signings made permanent are included):
Bernd Leno: Joined from Leverkusen in the summer, and he took some time before appearing in the league. His start was shaky, but has since improved to command a place in the side. Only eight goalkeepers in the league have made more saves.
Sokratis: ‘Papa’ hasn’t had the most consistent first season at Arsenal, performance-wise, although he’s managed two goals in 34 appearances. Not bad.
Lucas Torreira: Torreira was signed to plug a hole in holding midfield. He has done that to an extent, although he’s not quite a regular, 17 of his 44 appearances have come from the bench. Loved by the fans, and it’s not just because he scored and celebrated wildly in the North London win in December.
Matteo Guendouzi: The young Frenchman, signed from Ligue 2 side Lorient, probably didn’t expect to appear as much as he has done. 41 appearances, and he’s barely 20.
Stephane Lichtsteiner: Joined on a free from Juventus, to add experiece on and off the pitch. Has done little more than look out of place and off the pace, and with bouts of shithousery to boot.
Diego Rico: Rico looked like an upgrade to Charlie Daniels at left-back when he joined, but he has appeared just 14 times all season. At times, manager Eddie Howe went for right-backs to cover that role ahead of the Spaniard.
Nathaniel Clyne: Joined Bournemouth on loan from Liverpool in January, after stabbing Neil Warnock and Cardiff in the back. 10 appearances in three months are not bad, but, having not played enough for Liverpool in recent times, he hasn’t looked sharp on occasion.
Jefferson Lerma: Has appeared the most, of Bournemouth’s signings this season. But Lerma has only really enhanced his reputation as a yellow card collector in midfield, even though 48 interceptions this season is a more than decent figure.
Chris Mepham: Eight appearances since joining from Brentford, the Welsh defender has unsurprisingly to usurp the Ake-Cook partnership.
Dominic Solanke: Six appearances, no goals, injury problems, cost £19 million. Liverpool’s marketing team must be quite good to have gotten that much for him.
David Button: Unsurprisingly, Button has been second choice to Mat Ryan in goal, although he’s enjoyed eight games this season, thanks in part to Ryan representing Australia in the Asian Cup in January.
Jason Steele: Third choice goalkeeper. One appearance is apt.
Bernardo: The left-back joined from Leipzig, and has appeared 22 times. Decent enough.
Dan Burn: Three apps. Fourth choice centre-back. No surprises there.
Leon Balogun: Third choice centre-back, and was always going to find it hard to displace either of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, as 10 appearances show. But he scored with his first touch in the M23 derby against Crystal Palace. More than enough.
Martin Montoya: On loan from Valencia, Montoya has appeared 27 times for the Seagulls.
Florin Andone: A fan favourite, despite five goals in 23 games.
Yves Bissouma: The midfielder has looked impressive since joining from Lille, and is one of the reasons Pascal Gross hasn’t featured as much this season. 30 appearances so far, with a solitary goal.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh: Joined from AZ Alkmaar, after a World Cup in which he grafted for Iran, but failed to score. Has transferred those World Cup qualities to the AMEX, no goals in 21 games for the forward.
Ben Gibson: Five appearances, just one in the league. At least he has PL record of a goal a game for the Clarets.
Peter Crouch: Five appearances, all from the bench. At least he’s still a delightful character.
Joe Hart: Started the season as the first-choice in goal, and ranks 12th for saves in the league (77). But errors haven’t been uncommon, and it says a lot that Burnley’s fortunes have improved since Tom Heaton replaced him in goal.
Matej Vydra: Two goals in 15 games. No surprise here.
Harry Arter: On loan from Bournemouth, Arter has frequented in Cardiff’s midfield. No goals yet, as the Bluebirds look relegation-bound.
Alex Smithies: Second choice goalkeeper. Well, you have two games in your belt.
Leandro Bacuna: Joined from Reading in the Championship. Heading back there.
Greg Cunningham: File under ‘championship signing that will inevitably appear in minimal games as team gets relegated’.
Oumar Niasse: No goals in 12 games, since his loan from Everton.
Bobby Reid: Signed from Bristol City in the summer, the striker has only managed three goals.
Josh Murphy: A decent season for Murphy, by his and Cardiff’s standards, with 28 appearances and three goals.
Victor Camarasa: The best of the bunch, his 31 games have brought forth five goals from midfield and four assists. On loan from Real Betis.
Kepa: The undoubted first choice in between the sticks for Chelsea, his role an epitome of Sarrismo. Gave us plenty to talk about in the League Cup final.
Jorginho: If Kepa is an epitome of Sarrismo, Jorginho is the epitome of Maurizio Sarri’s tenure at Stamford Bridge. No player has attempted more passes (2,865), but they’ve hardly bore any fruit. The go-to-man when it’s time to apportion blame after a defeat.
Mateo Kovacic: 44 games, two assists. You just know he can’t score even if he was given official permission to do so.
Gonzalo Higuain: Joined in January, and has scored three times, against the bottom two clubs. Hasn’t quite looked his old self since leaving Juventus.
Rob Green: Saved penalties against Lyon in pre-season, and that’s just about it.
Vicente Guaita: Took some time before appearing for the Eagles, but has been very much the first choice since late November, although he’s only made 18 appearances.
Max Meyer: 30 games for Palace, but Meyer hasn’t appeared anything like the coup he seemed when he joined from Schalke in the summer.
Michy Batshuayi: Joined on loan from Chelsea in January, after his stint with Valencia was short-lived. Has managed three goals in 10 games.
Bakary Sako: One game. You know how you guys let him go a while back? Do that again.
Jordan Ayew: On loan from Swansea. Ayew didn’t score his first goal for Palace until January, and has only scored once afterwards, in 23 games.
Kurt Zouma: 33 appearances for the Chelsea loanee, with two goals to his name.
Yerry Mina: Has only made 14 appearances for Everton since joining from Barcelona, who will definitely not be triggering that buy-back clause yet.
Lucas Digne: Another buy from the Spanish champions. Has looked shaky defensively, but has been a great asset up front, with four goals and four assists. Has also attempted the most crosses (245). That’s something.
Bernard: Started slowly, but has begun to show his worth at Goodison. Just two goals in 33 games isn’t the best tally, though.
Andre Gomes: His form has tailed off a bit lately, but the reputation that took a hit at Barcelona, has been quite mended in this decent loan spell.
Richarlison: Led to outrage when Everton splashed £40 million on him in the summer (the game’s gone, Jeff). Boasts a healthy return of 14 goals in 36 games, yet his game is so much more than the numbers.
Maxime Le Marchand: 23 appearances. Unimpressive in many of them.
Jean-Michel Seri: Looked like a coup in the summer, Fulham bagging a player previously on Barcelona’s radar. Performances so far indicate he won’t be on the shopping list of many come the summer.
Aleksandar Mitrovic: The best of a sorry bunch, Mitrovic’s loan was made permanent in the summer. 11 goals for the Cottagers, he’s likely to attract clubs, with his side already set for relegation.
Calum Chambers: Has shuffled between good and unimpressive performances in his loan spell from Arsenal, particularly in his role in central midfield. Did score a belter against Brighton in January.
Joe Bryan: First choice left-back, but he hasn’t been as impressive as many expected.
Luciano Vietto: Says a lot about this team that his record one goal and four assists in over 20 games isn’t bad. On loan from Sevilla.
Andre Schurrle: Six goals this season, some of them well-taken. At least he gets to return to parent club Dortmund at the end of it all.
Alfie Mawson: Another who looked a solid acquisition this season, but has disappointed. Has lost his starting place in the side, partly due to injury.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: How many new signings did they need?
Andre Franck Zambo-Anguissa: Put it this way, up until this month, Fulham had only taken a point in the games in which he’d appeared. At least he’s improved of late.
Ryan Babel: Hasn’t done badly in his time at the club, since joining in January, he’s managed four goals and three assists. Will certainly depart at the end of the season.
Havard Nordtveit: Yes, they signed him too.
Lazar Markovic: And him.
Sergio Rico: Has become the first choice in goal, since his loan move from Sevilla. But the odd gaffe has been not so odd.
Fabri: Another goalkeeper signed in the summer. Has made two appearances so far. Almost like you can’t play two goalkeepers in goal at the same time.
Jonas Lossl: His loan move was made permanent in the summer. Definitely the first choice, and has put in the effort in a pitiful season.
Terence Kongolo: Another loanee turned permanent signing. Another player who has done a bit in this torrid campaign.
Juninho Bacuna: 18 appearances, one goal. But his season will be notable for worldie own goal in September.
Adama Diakhaby: He plays up front for Huddersfield. Self-explanatory really.
Isaac Mbenza: Another forward player for the Terriers. No goals yet as well.
Jason Puncheon: Joined from Crystal Palace in January, and has made seven appearances, in one of which he skied a shot from four yards against West Ham.
Erik Durm: Has played 28 times this season. Looks like he’ll valuable in the championship next term.
Karlan Grant: Joined from Charlton in the winter, and is the club’s top scorer with four goals. That sums it up really. Potentially invaluable in the championship next season.
Florent Hadergjonaj: Another loanee turned permanent signing.
Ramadan Sobhi: So, this is where he is.