It’s only the 7th January and already there have been a number of high-profile transfers involving Premier League clubs. Liverpool have finally bought a defender, Chelsea have signed another attacking player, and Everton have acquired a striker that might or might not be a total flop. The question on everybody’s lips now of course is which signing is the best? The debate between fans of these clubs likely won’t end any time soon, but us neutrals can have a well-informed discussion.
Konstantinos Mavropanos (PAS Giannina –> Arsenal)
The new Gunners defender is just 20-years of age, but has already made 16 appearances in the Greek Super League for PAS Giannina. Given his young age, and a price tag of just £2m, this purchase seems to be more of a long-term project, rather than a short-term fix for Arsenal’s defensive issues. The North London side have conceded 28 times in the league this season, which is the most of any side in the top seven. Mavropanos isn’t likely to be the solution to that this season, or maybe even next, but he looks like he has the potential to be a great defender. How long Arsene Wenger will be around to coach him at Arsenal remains to be seen however.
Ross Barkley (Everton –> Chelsea)
The Blues have been trying to get hold of the English midfielder since the summer, but now Barkley has finally made the £15m move to London. Chelsea won the Premier League title last season under manager Antonio Conte, but will likely have to settle for a top four finish in this campaign. Barkley will certainly help them achieve that, and at the very least will bolster Conte’s squad as his side continue to compete on multiple fronts. Despite their array of attacking talent, the London side are actually the lowest scorers inside the top five, and Barkley’s direct approach should help change that. There is a widely held feeling that the midfielder has not quite lived up to his huge potential, but with some incredible players around him at Chelsea, Barkley now has the perfect opportunity to shine.
Cenk Tosun (Besiktas –> Everton)
Every time I watch Everton this season I see a team that is crying out for a talented striker. Unfortunately they sold the one they had, Romelu Lukaku, to Manchester United in the summer. Neither Wayne Rooney nor Sandro Rodriguez have stepped up to the plate as a number nine, and far too much weight has been put on the shoulders of youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Tosun could be the man to finally start converting the chances that the Toffees create, but he looks like quite a hit-and-miss player. Last season the Turkish international bagged 20 goals for Besiktas in the Super Lig, having registered a tally of just eight in the previous campaign. Tosun did help lead his club to back-to-back league titles however, and clearly has enough talent to succeed at international level for Turkey. He is perhaps a risky purchase, but all the pieces are in place for Everton to continue their ascent of the Premier League table.
Terence Kongolo (Monaco –> Huddersfield) (Loan)
Despite it only being a loan move, Huddersfield have achieved a nice bit of business with the signing of Kongolo. The left back only recently joined French giants Monaco, and hasn’t featured heavily for them as of yet, but he will have a great chance to show off his talent in England. As an Eredivisie winner with Feyenoord, the Dutch international clearly has a lot of potential, and at just 23-years of age he has room to grow as a player. The Terriers meanwhile have conceded 35 times this season, and scored just 18 goals, but Kongolo should be at least be able to help with the former. With a high of just one assist in any of his most successful seasons, the left back isn’t prone to contributing in an attacking sense all that often.
Virgil van Dijk (Southampton –> Liverpool)
At £75m the Dutchman is the most expensive defender of all time, but he may well be worth it for a Liverpool side that has been struggling to defend for a season and a half now. Jurgen Klopp’s men managed a fourth place finish in the Premier League last season, and ended with the worst defensive record of those four teams. In this campaign they seem to be repeating that feat, currently sitting two points behind third place Chelsea and with, once again, the worst defensive record of the teams in the Champions League spots. Neither Dejan Lovren nor Ragnar Klavan have looked particularly convincing, and Van Dijk should bring some calmness and natural talent to the Reds’ back line.
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