As every team prepares for the season ahead, it’s a race to see who can sign the best players at the best prices and some pick up some gems for a great price and others are left with a useless player with a huge price tag. The transfer window can be a wonderful place but can also be one of football’s darkest corners. Teams are forced to part with their players and some pick up other teams’ best players. After 24 Premier League games so far this season, we take a look at who has made the biggest impact for their new clubs.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimović to Manchester United (free)
When Zlatan agreed a deal to sign for Man United, everyone knew that he’d be bring something else to the Premier League as well as himself, and he’s certainly not disappointed. After a slow start to life in England, Zlatan has really begun to make his mark on the best league in the world. His first goal in English football came when his new side faced champions, Leicester City, in the FA Community Shield at Wembley and he scored a late winner to win his first silverware in England.
There’s only one player who has scored more than Zlatan’s total of 15 goals so far in the league this season and Romelu Lukaku only has one more. He’s certainly in the running to pick up the Golden Boot as he will play a major part in the Red Devils’ push for a top 4 spot. He also won the Premier League Player of the Month for December as he scored 6 goals in United’s 7 league games in December.
4. David Luiz to Chelsea (£34 million)
After his first stint at Stamford Bridge, it was a surprise to see Chelsea going back to sign the Brazilian centre-back. PSG signed him from the blues for £50 million less than 3 years ago and he’s back in London pulling on the blue shirt. He’s been a vital part of Antonio Conte’s new 3-4-3 formation and has massively increased this time around after a 3-year spell in France’s capital. He has adapted back to Premier League football almost instantly and has formed a brilliant defensive line with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, keeping club captain, John Terry, out of the team completely.
He scored his first goal back in the Premier League, his first since May 2013 with a powerful 30-yard free-kick away at Liverpool which found its way into the back of the net with the help of the inside of the post. It caused a lot of controversy as Liverpool goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, claimed he wasn’t ready for the free-kick even though replays showed the whistle had been blown 5 seconds before Luiz struck the ball. The goal rightly stood but Chelsea couldn’t hold onto their lead and drew 1-1.
3. Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal (£35 million)
Arsenal fans have cried out for a centre-back partner for Laurent Koscielny for last few years and they were finally rewarded with one in the summer as Shkodran Mustafi was brought in from Valencia for a fee in the region of £35 million. The World Cup winner provided Gunners fans with a lot of hope and his performances haven’t disappointed them as of yet. He has only lost one game in an Arsenal shirt so far after he went 20 consecutive games without a single loss, a record that beat Bacary Sagna’s previous record of 17 games unbeaten since signing.
It took him just over half of his first season to score his first Arsenal as he opened the scoring for a 2-1 win over Burnley at the Emirates. His well-placed glancing header was just too far into the bottom corner for Tom Heaton to handle. His partnership with Koscielny has been fantastic this season and with only one loss in his 21 performances for Arsenal, he has been instrumental when played this season. An injury has slightly hindered his involvement this season but he has been brilliant when in the starting XI.
2. Sadio Mane to Liverpool (£34 million)
Another player signed with a fee around £34 million and another signing who has been fantastic for his new club. He has worked brilliantly with his new team-mates and has set up a particularly good bond with fellow forwards, Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool were devastating going forward in the first half of the season and looked as though they were going to mount a title charge. However, as Sadio Mane travelled to the African Cup of Nations with Senegal for the month of January, their form nosedived and they now find themselves in 5th, challenging for a Champions League place.
Mane is currently 10th on the top scorers list, not a bad return for a player who spends most of his time on the wing. His involvement in AFCON has also limited the amount of games he has played recently. He’s set up 4 assists for his team-mates and his 9 goals mean he is averaging a goal in just over every 2 games. The Liverpool fans are very happy to see Mane return to the side, as without him, they haven’t managed to get near the form they were showing with him in the side.
1. N’Golo Kante to Chelsea (£32 million)
By far the best signing of any team in the summer was the transfer of N’Golo Kante from the Champions, Leicester City, to Chelsea. He was a major reason as to why Leicester won the Premier League in the unbelievable way that they won it last season because of his tireless running and endless interceptions and tackles. He has shown these exact qualities for his new side this season and the £32 million price tag has definitely been justified already after just over half a season. His lung-busting midfield work has been vital for Chelsea’s huge lead at the top of the table and Antonio Conte has made it clear how much he rates the pint-sized Frenchman.
He’s certainly not known for scoring goals, he only managed one in the whole of the title-winning last season with a rather tame effort that snuck in against Watford but it didn’t take him long to score his first in a Chelsea shirt. His well-taken finish against Manchester United in Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Stamford Bridge back in October showed that he may have added better finishing to his game. If and when Chelsea eventually go on to win the league this season, there’s absolutely no doubt that N’Golo Kante will have played a massive part in that.
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