English Premier League clubs have a bad habit of overspending every year when it comes to the soccer’s two official transfer windows. They shell out millions and millions of pounds on mediocre players as the clubs jostle for the league title. Many big-money transfers end up being flops while others are well worth the money.
These 10 players listed below should have the most impact this season after changing clubs during the summer transfer frenzy. Some of them were absolute bargains since they moved on free transfers while others cost their clubs record fees. If they play up to their potential, they should all prove to be great signings.
10. Wayne Rooney
When Everton acquired Manchester United and England’s all-time leading scorer for free then it was hard to argue that is was anything but a great deal. Sure, Wayne Rooney’s older and slower now at the age of 31, but he still knows how to play the game and can deposit the ball in the net when he gets the chance. Rooney’s also a pretty dependable penalty taker and adds plenty of experience to the squad. This is a guy who can also play in the midfield when needed as well as up front. Moving back to his former club and his hometown could also rejuvenate him and he should be well motivated since he’d like play in one more World Cup before hanging up his boots.
9. Will Hughes
Watford paid £8 million this summer for 22-year-old English midfielder Will Hughes from Championship League side Derby County. Although he’s a relative unknown to those outside of England, the young man potentially has a very bright future ahead of him. He starred for England’s Under-21 Team at the European Championships this summer and Watford has now signed him to a five-year deal before any of the big clubs could get their hands on him. At 17, Hughes was the second-youngest player ever behind Theo Walcott to be capped by England’s Under-21 squad. Hughes isn’t a big goalscorer, but is a fine playmaker who has displayed world-class skills up to now. There’s a good chance he’ll be starring for the national senior side in the near future and if he does, his price tag will surely rise.
8. Joe Hart
Technically speaking, Joe Hart wasn’t sold by Manchester City this summer, but was sent to Premier League rivals West Ham United on loan for the year. When the 30-year-old is focused and on his game, the 6-foot-5-inch Hart is still England’s top goalkeeper. He’s won a record four Golden Glove awards as the top-tier’s best goalie, has over 100 clean sheets in the Premier League and has 71 caps for England. But for all of his accolades, Hart can still be infuriating to his teams’ fans due to his inconsistency. He lost his job at Man City last year when Pep Guardiola took over as manager and spent the season in Italy on loan with Torino, becoming the first English goalie ever in the Serie A. Like Wayne Rooney, Hart still has a lot to prove and needs to play as well as possible to keep a spot on England’s national team.
7. Jordan Pickford
Another goalkeeper who was on the move this summer was 23-year-old Jordan Pickford as he was bought by Everton from Sunderland for a reported club-record transfer fee of £30 million. He was with Sunderland for six years, but spent most of his time out on loan with half a dozen different clubs during that period, making just over 30 appearances for the Premier League club. Pickford has played for England at all levels from the Under-16 to the Under-21 teams and helped the Under-21 squad reach the semifinals of this year’s European Championships. It’s now only a matter of time before he’s called regularly up to the senior team. Pickford played 29 league games with Sunderland last season and it sure wasn’t his fault the club was relegated at the end of the campaign. He now has the chance to play regularly in the top-flight and prove he’s one of England’s goalies of the future.
6. Alvaro Morata
Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea didn’t want to take any chances this summer as they figured top-scorer Diego Costa would walk, or at least hold the club hostage for a transfer. The London side shelled out a club-record £70 million to Real Madrid for 24-year-old Spanish striker Alvaro Morata. They wanted to make sure they have some scoring power in the lineup on opening day should Costa high-tail it out of Stamford Bridge. Morata has proven with Juventus and Real Madrid that he can score at the top level and is considered to be a legitimate candidate for the Premier League Golden Boot Award this season. It cost Chelsea a bundle, but Morata has signed for five years and still hasn’t hit his peak. In addition, they should be able to recoup some of that money when the Costa soap opera is finally resolved.
5. Mohamed Salah
Premier League fans may recognize the name Mohamed Salah as the 25-year-old Egyptian international winger was a Premier League bust with Chelsea between 2014 and 2016. However, he regained his form and his confidence by scoring 43 goals in 109 games while on loan in Italy with Roma and Fiorentina. This is what prompted Liverpool to pay a club-record transfer fee of about £40 million for him this summer. Salah has been a big hit with Liverpool fans during the preseason due to his fine scoring and playmaking displays and they’re just hoping he can keep it up once the season kicks off. If the speedy Salah can, then fans may see the Premier League trophy hoisted at Anfield for the very first time in 2017/18.
4. Javier Hernandez
Unlike Mohamed Salah, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez was a big hit the last time he was in the Premier League with Manchester United. West Ham United added him to their squad this summer by paying a respectable £16 million to German club Bayer Leverkusen for his services and then inking him to a three-year deal. It seems like he’s been around forever, but Chicharito is still only 29 years old. He’s the all-time leading scorer for Mexico’s national team with 48 goals in 96 appearances. He’s basically an old-time centre-forward with just one aim in football, which is to score as many goals as he can. West Ham can certainly use him since fellow striker Andy Carroll spends as much time on the injury list as he does on the pitch.
3. Sandro Ramirez
Everton appears to have pulled off one of the best transfers of the summer by paying just over £5 million for Spanish striker Sandro Ramirez. Sandro is just 22 years old and has played with Barcelona and Malaga as well as the Under-16 to Under-21 teams in his homeland. He’s played well in the preseason and should get plenty of playing time on Merseyside this season. Sandro netted 16 goals in 31 games for Malaga last year in all competitions and his price tag should be seen as an absolute bargain these days. He has signed a four-year deal with the Toffees and fans are hoping he can help the club challenge for a top-four finish this campaign and a berth in next year’s European Champions League. However, he has big shoes to fill as the departed Romelu Lukaku scored 25 league goals last year.
2. Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal hasn’t won the Premier League since the 2003/04 season and considering the London club is usually decimated by injuries each year it was a good move to bring in 26-year-old French international striker Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners handed over just more than £53 million to French club Lyon for Lacazette’s services as they hope to end their drought at the Emirates Stadium. The newcomer has looked pretty good in Arsenal’s preseason games and manager Arsene Wenger is depending on him to score goals on a regular basis between now and next May. He hit the back of the net 28 times in 30 appearances last year and if he can replicate that feat in 2017/18 then it was money well spent and Arsenal should be able to challenge for the title.
1. Romelu Lukaku
Twenty-four-year-old Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku has been one of the top scorers in the Premier League over the past few years and that’s why Manchester United wanted him. United lacked goals last year and it resulted in 30 points dropped via a league-high 15 draws. Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho paid about £70 million to Everton for Lukaku and believes his scoring talents could bring the club another league title. There’s no doubt the striker is surrounded by more talented players at United, but scoring goals may be a bit more difficult as opposing clubs often park the bus against the Red Devils. Lukaku’s scoring skills will be tested this year, but if he produces and United is crowned champions he’ll be the best transfer of the summer.