We’re at the halfway point of the Premier League season, and it has been an interesting campaign so far with some unexpected outcomes.
Liverpool could genuinely win the Premier League and compete against Manchester City. The relegation dogfight looks set to be one of the tightest in years. Manchester United have finally rid themselves of Jose Mourinho.
Besides the exciting narratives, several clubs made wonderful summer signings that have paid dividends already. Who are the players to come into the Premier League this summer and not only improve on their current teams with the ability, but also take the league by storm? In no particular order, here are the five most valuable summer signings so far this season.
1. James Maddison (Leicester City)
Coming from the Championship to the Premier League is one of the biggest jumps in world football. The change in quality and playing styles can be too much for most players, but for James Maddison, the transition appears easy.
Signed from Norwich City for a reported £20 million, Maddison has taken to Premier League football like a duck to water. The entertaining #10 has been one of Leicester City’s best players this season and has added the flare and creative quality that the Foxes lost when Riyad Mahrez went to Manchester City.
Maddison’s impressive performances have been rewarded well as the 21-year-old playmaker was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England team for their UEFA Nations League games against Croatia and Spain.
2. David Brooks (AFC Bournemouth)
Another player who made the move from the Championship to the Premier League, though his impact with Bournemouth has been more of a surprise.
The 20-year-old winger joined the Cherries from Sheffield United to little fanfare, but since then the name of Brooks is on everyone’s lips. The Welshman has been a large factor to Bournemouth’s surprising season so far, guiding Eddie Howe’s side to eighth in the table and two points off European football.
Though he lacks the pace you ideally want from a modern-day winger, Brooks’ on the ball ability and intelligence to spot out runs and open space has made him perfect for the club. Callum Wilson, who has been one of the best strikers in the league since this season, and he can thank Brooks for that.
3. Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool)
Buying players from relegated clubs is one of the best routes for teams in the Premier League to pick up some hidden gems, and Liverpool got the best of the bunch in the form of Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Swiss international was signed by Jurgen Klopp for the measly fee of £13 million. Even though Shaqiri has only played less than 20 games for the Reds, the versatile attacker has already paid back that fee.
A brace in the derby against Manchester United and important cameos in both the league and Champions League has already shot Shaqiri to cult-status in Liverpool, becoming on the most beloved figures at the club this season.
Shaqiri struggled to adapt at the likes of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, but with Liverpool, it finally looks like Big Shaq has found a place he can call home.
4. Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
When the 2018/19 season started, there was one promotion side everyone had a keen eye on, Wolves.
The Midlands-based side was back in the Premier League for the first time in over six years. Over that span, the team suffered a season in League One and multiple years seemingly going nowhere in the Championship. Now, things have never been better.
The Portuguese revolution at the club has seen Wolves become one of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League. These connections to the Iberian country have resulted in the club attracting many of the country’s top talent, none so more than Portugal number one Rui Patricio.
One of the best Portuguese goalkeepers of all time and a victim from the fallout at Sporting Lisbon last season that saw many big-name players leave the club following an attack at the training ground by fans. Patricio’s big reputation has certainly been matched based on his performances with Wolves.
The Portugal number one has been one of the top keepers this season and is a key reason why Wolves have performed so well defensively in the league (5th best goals against).
5. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal)
It’s felt like forever since Arsenal had a proper defensive midfielder.
Not since the day when Patrick Vieira left the Gunners for Juventus in 2005 have the North London club had a midfielder with such grit and determination amongst their ranks to give them that toughness Arsenal have missed. Step forward, Lucas Torreira.
The Uruguayan midfielder was Unai Emery’s big summer signing in his first window in charge as Arsenal head coach. To say Torreira has had an impact on the club would be an understatement. The former Sampdoria man has become the North London side’s new rottweiler and has established himself as the Gunners main midfielder in short order.
His relentless attitude has made him a fan favorite and the pundits’ top pick for ‘Signing of the Season’, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Torreira is intelligent and aware in everything he does from his vital last-ditch tackles to his surging runs into the box in the final minutes of a game.
His goal in the North London derby furthered his status as a new hero at Arsenal. For under £30 million, you can understand why Torreira is so widely praised by fans all across the league.