Premier League best transfers of the season ranked with Alisson in top 5

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The Premier League  is awash with cash – but by no means do teams get every signing right. Now, with the book closed on another season, it’s time to look back on which summer signings flopped or fired.

Decisions are based on relative cost, how important he proved to his side and individual quality. Below we’ve picked out the best five buys of the Premier League campaign.

5. Lucas Digne (Everton) Signed from Barcelona, £18m

Who’d be a modern Premier League full-back? These days they’re auxiliary wingers with just about as much defensive responsibility as any player on the pitch. Finding a genuine all-rounder like Lucas Digne was nothing short of a masterstroke by Everton.

Having wasted away behind Jordi Alba at Barcelona for two seasons straight, Evertonians have taken the Frenchman to their bosoms thanks to his marriage of pluck and playmaking.

Only Wolves star Matt Doherty won more aerial duels per game of all Premier League full-backs, and his paintbrush of a left foot created four assists and four goals, including a stunning last-minute free-kick against Watford. Given the money thrown around by the likes of Man City for such players, £18m was a scandalously cheap price to pay.

4. Fabian Schar (Newcastle) Signed from Deportivo, £3m

Another ‘problem’ position for several elite clubs was solved for a mere £3m by Newcastle. Having activated a relegation release clause in his contract at Deportivo, it is a wonder that Rafa Benitez did not have more competition for Schar, who has long proved a fine centre-back for Switzerland.

The 27-year-old suffered a slow start to his career in the North East but started stuffing attackers down his stockings at Christmas time. The Magpies have only conceded two goals or more in a game three times since the start of December with Schar in the team (against Liverpool, Man United and Everton).

Schar has in fact become the de factor leader in the Newcastle defence, with skipper Jamaal Lascelles not quite hitting the heights of 2017/18. The most refined defender? Not at all. But just what an underfunded Premier League team need for survival.

3. David Brooks (Bournemouth) Signed from Sheffield United, £11.5m

David Brooks would have arrived in the Premier League sooner rather than later, with his former club Sheffield United having just secured promotion, but he could not have picked a more suitable top-tier side than Bournemouth to expedite his footballing education.

Eddie Howe nominally plays the Wales international on the right-side of midfield, but Brooks – who at his best is reminiscent of a (speedier) Juan Mata – relishes sewing together moves in the centre on his stronger left foot.

David Brooks

Together with a more traditional winger in Ryan Fraser and chief goal-getter Callum Wilson, Brooks has expressed himself spectacularly well for someone still just 21 and with zero prior Premier League experience. Seven goals, five assists, many more of both to come.

2. Alisson (Liverpool) Signed from Roma, £66.9m

The steep supposedly made this a ‘risky’ signing. Keeping the laughable Loris Karius or sub-par Simon Mignolet in between the sticks, however, would have been a certain disaster.

It’s not just about the number of shots he stops flying in (he saved 77 per cent that he faced in the Premier League last season, a division high). It’s that unflappable, unquantifiable poise he brings to proceedings. So cool under pressure are both he and Virgil van Dijk that the pair could solve global warming.

Yes, there was a mishap against Leicester, a sliced clearance against Fulham, but no player is infallible whatever the price. Instead focus on the attacks he starts, the opposition press he has relieved innumerable times with his feet. No team upgraded in a position so starkly quite like Liverpool did this season.

1. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) Signed from Benfica, £30m

The best signing of the Premier League season is a slightly lesser version of Roberto Firmino. A back-handed compliment that may seem, but given Raul Jimenez was snapped up by a promoted club – with nonetheless premier aspirations – it has proved a remarkable coup.

Jimenez had only scored 18 league goals in Europe since flying in from Mexico in 2014, but added 13 in a single season with Wolves as the spearhead of an attack that upset every top-six club one way or another.

Raul Jimenez

The 28-year-old, who was signed on a permanent basis from Benfica in April, will never top the goalscoring charts – but he is very much an ‘ask naught what your team can do for you, but what you can do for your team’ type of player. He’s dogged in his defensive work, dominant in the air and holds onto ball like it’s the last Rolo before he plays his team-mates in. One of the best in the very tough business of being a centre-forward.

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Transfer predictor: Gareth Bale back to Tottenham is a 6, Eden Hazard to Real Madrid a 9

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Gareth Bale's Real Madrid future remains shrouded in doubt.

Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season? We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictorwhere we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.

We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why.

Today’s edition features potential signings for Real MadridBarcelona and Tottenham.

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

Antoine Griezmann

RUMOUR: Atletico Madrid -> €120m -> Barcelona

Elements at Atleti believe that star forward Antoine Griezmann has finally agreed to join Barcelona this summer, according to Cadena SER.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: Griezmann prevarications and dramatics about last year’s aborted switch to Barca were well documented. This interest has been rekindled after another Champions League humiliation. If Griezmann is now willing to listen, the deal is a simple one to conclude because of a €120m buyout clause that comes into effect this July.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Barca should be sending €150m Ajax’s way for Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt. Can they afford to lavish even more money on Griezmann? Major player sales would be required. Also, can the ageing Luis Suarez and the France superstar exist in the same squad?

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 8/10

GARETH BALE

Bale

RUMOUR: Real Madrid -> £10m (loan) -> Tottenham

An escape route from the wilderness at Los Blancos has been offered to Bale by his former club, according to The Sun.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: Head coach Zinedine Zidane has made his negative intentions for Bale obvious throughout much of his return to Santiago Bernabeu. With an extensive summer refit to pay for, Los Blancos must clear space in their squad and wage bill. Bale became a global icon at Spurs from 2007-13. A comeback will appeal.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: Bale currently earns £600,000 a week – a gargantuan figure Spurs would struggle to pay half of. This would mean Madrid having to subsidise the lion’s share. The Wales forward is 29 now and has scored eight times in 29 La Liga outings this season. Would Spurs even want to go back to the future?

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10

EDEN HAZARD

Eden Hazard

RUMOUR: Chelsea -> €100m -> Real Madrid

The Belgium winger’s long-awaited move to Santiago Bernabeu will be confirmed after May 29’s Europa League final, according to L’Equipe.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN: A sense of inevitability surrounds this switch. Hazard has confirmed he’s told Chelsea of his intentions, his contract expires next summer and Zidane is a confirmed fan. Once the Europa decider against Arsenal is done, everything should move quickly.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: The Blues are renowned as tricky negotiators in the market. But Hazard’s rejection of a new deal to extend his stay at a club he joined in 2012 has put them in a weak position. The 28-year-old also only wants to move to Madrid.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 9/10

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Transfer predictor: Alexandre Lacazette to Barcelona rumour gets a 5

Aditya Devavrat 11:12 13/05/2019
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Struggling to figure out which transfers could happen and which seem like they’ve come straight out of Football Manager? The silly season is in full flow ahead of the summer transfer window. We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.

We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why.

Today’s edition features potential signings for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE

RUMOUR: Arsenal -> £70m -> Barcelona

Lacazette

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has responded to reports from Spanish and English media from a week ago by claiming he is flattered by interest from Barcelona, Marca claims.

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:

Barcelona need a striker and they’re casting their net far and wide. Luka Jovic was rumoured to be the top target as a replacement for Luis Suarez, but the Eintracht Frankfurt man seems destined for a move to Real Madrid, forcing Barca to look elsewhere.

Lacazette wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. He’s content at Arsenal, but he doesn’t start every game and, more crucially, he continues to get looked over for national team selection. Performing at Barcelona would help his case. He’d be a good fit at the Catalan club, with his movement and vision making him an ideal foil for Lionel Messi.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:

Lacazette is too important to Arsenal. His return of 13 league goals this season may have been his lowest return in a domestic campaign since 2012/13, but he is still a key part of Unai Emery’s team, as Lacazette’s partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has led Arsenal’s attack. He was also just named the club’s player of the season, so he knows he’s appreciated. Arsenal wouldn’t want to let him leave.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 5/10

MATTHIJS DE LIGT

RUMOUR: Ajax -> £75m -> Liverpool

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are worried that Liverpool could hijack their move for Matthijs de Ligt, after a switch from Ajax to Spain looked all but confirmed for most of this season.

Matthijs de Ligt

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:

Barcelona may seem like a dream destination but the club is destined for a summer of upheaval – possibly not the best time to join. Liverpool, meanwhile, have reached the Champions League final two years in a row and have just completed a stellar Premier League campaign, even if they fell short of winning the title. Plus, the idea of playing alongside compatriot Virgil van Dijk should appeal to De Ligt, given the partnership the two have struck up for the Netherlands.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:

Much of the talk around De Ligt’s potential destination seems to have sprung up purely because Barcelona haven’t sealed the deal yet like they did with the defender’s team-mate, Frenkie de Jong, who was announced in January. But while this particular transfer is taking more time, the La Liga champions have long been the front-runners, and there have been several hints from the player himself that his heart is set on a move to Barcelona. A late change seems unlikely.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 4/10

DAVID DE GEA

RUMOUR: Manchester United -> £60m -> PSG

Canal+ reporter Geoffroy Garetier says Paris Saint-Germain will be in for the Manchester United goalkeeper this summer, as he would be an upgrade on Gianluigi Buffon and Alphonse Areola.

de gea

WHY IT WILL HAPPEN:

A turbulent season for both club and player has come to an unsatisfying end, as United have missed out on Champions League football and De Gea has seen his stock fall. At 28 he probably has little appetite for being part of a rebuild, so a team that can compete for major honours would appeal to him.

Contract negotiations have remained stalled between the two sides and though the club would be loathe to see their standout player of the six seasons leave, with De Gea entering the final year of his current deal a substantial bid might be enough to see his eight-year stay at United come to an end.

WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN:

Even with only a year left on his contract, De Gea isn’t leaving for anything less than a world-record fee, despite the poor season he’s had by his standards. £60million probably wouldn’t be enough to even bring United to the table. And for the club, tying their star goalkeeper down to a long-term contract is priority no. 1 this summer.

TRANSFER PREDICTOR: 6/10

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