Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Last summer, Premier League clubs splashed out around £1.4billion on close to 100 permanent signings during the frantic transfer window, as squads were strengthened, retooled and rejuvenated ahead of the 2019/20 season.
The division’s combatants went on to splurge a further £230m in January window on fresh personnel to power their quest for top-flight success as the world’s richest league continued to live up to its moniker.
As is always the case with the unpredictable transfer merry-go-round, some moves have worked out better than others over the past year, with numerous players labelled flops, bargains, a waste of money and everything in between.
However, below we’ve chosen to focus on what we think were the 10 best Premier League signings of the 2019/20 season – keep reading to see who made the cut!
Remember – we’ll be covering all the English top-flight action between now and the end of the campaign, with extensive analysis and betting tips on our Premier League predictions page.
FST’s top 10 Premier League signings of the season
10. Youri Tielemans – Monaco to Leicester – £40m
When promising Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans opted to join Leicester permanently last summer ahead of queue of other big-name suitors, it was rightly considered a major coup for the Foxes.
The 23-year-old’s silky technique and inventive passing had already made him a hit at the King Power Stadium following his loan-switch from Monaco in January 2019, so City fans were understandably thrilled when Tielemans put pen to paper on a permanent deal seven months later in July.
In a Leicester team that shone brightly in the opening two thirds of the season, Tielemans was one of the Foxes’ stand out performers, notching three goals and six assists in 28 Premier League starts.
9. Craig Dawson – West Brom to Watford – Free
Experienced campaigner Craig Dawson’s free transfer from West Brom to Watford last summer didn’t exactly spawn a thousand newspaper headlines, though the signing of the hugely reliable 30-year-old has proved an astute piece of business.
Dawson looked a little ropey to begin with during what was a turbulent opening few months for the Hornets, but since Nigel Pearson’s appointment in December, Dawson has been an essential Watford worker.
The centre-half has been manning the trenches in admirable fashion in the club’s battle to stay afloat, and Dawson has even chipped in with potentially pivotal recent goals in Watford’s 1-1 draw with Leicester and 2-1 win over Norwich.
8. Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Crystal Palace to Manchester United – £45m
Tough tackling full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is one of three Manchester United players to make our top 10 run-down of the Premier League’s best signings this season thanks to club’s new-found Midas touch in the market.
Averaging 3.8 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per Premier League appearance since his move from Crystal Palace, Wan-Bissaka has been almost unbeatable at his right-back berth, and the 22-year-old has been stopping wingers in their tracks with startling regularity since August.
While his efforts to influence play further up the pitch have looked ungainly in the main, Wan-Bissaka has been making steady improvements there too, and the defender should add to his four Premier League assists between now and the end of the season.
7. Neal Maupay – Brentford to Brighton – £20m
With a bounty of nine goals and two assists to date during his debut Premier League campaign, French forward Neal Maupay has provided a considerable amount of attacking thrust in a Brighton team light on final third quality.
The 23-year-old, who had excelled with Brentford in the Championship, has looked fully at home in England’s top-tier, as evidenced by crucial goals in games against high-calibre opponents Tottenham, Everton, Sheffield United Arsenal (twice).
Maupay has scored twice as many goals this season as Brighton’s next best provider Leandro Trossard (four), and the Versailles-born striker is on course to finish his first Premier League year in double-figures.
6. Allan Saint-Maximin – Nice to Newcastle – £16.2m
Exciting French winger Allan Saint-Maximin made a relatively slow start to life in the north east following his move to Newcastle from Ligue 1 outfit Nice last summer, but once the 23-year-old found his feet, he quickly established himself as one of the Premier League’s most thrilling performers.
Saint-Maximin’s haul of three goals and four assists in 19 Premier League starts are barebone figures that fail to do justice to his often-scintillating wing-play, and the wide attacker’s close control and ability to beat his marker have consistently had supporters at St. James’ Park on the edge of their seats.
The former French Under 21 international’s displays have cranked up a notch since the turn of the year, and Saint-Maximin has been Newcastle’s best player almost every time he’s pulled on the famous black and white stripes since January.
5. Harry Maguire – Leicester to Manchester United – £80m
England international Harry Maguire arrived at Old Trafford as the world’s most expensive defender when he moved to Manchester United from Leicester City for £80m, and though his new employers might have overpaid to land their man, the 27-year-old’s impact has been huge.
Appointed as the club’s new captain just six months after he joined, Maguire’s presence, quality and leadership have helped to transform what was a ramshackle United defence into one of the Premier League’s most improved units.
At the time of writing, United held the division’s joint third best record at the back, and the ever-present Harry Maguire has been the rock on which their improvements have been built.
4. Raul Jimenez – Benfica to Wolves – £30m
Raul Jimenez had already established himself as a Molineux cult-hero during his year-long loan stint with Wanderers during their first season back in the Premier League in 2018/19, though the Mexican has further cemented his status as a fan favourite since making his switch from Benfica permanent.
Wolves pulled the trigger to activate the buy clause in their deal for Jimenez in April 2019, paying £30m to secure their talisman’s services – a fee that already looks a snip in an era of mega spending and sky-high prices.
With 21 goal contributions (15 goals and six assists), Jimenez has been driving Wolves’ pursuit of Champions League qualification this season, while the 29-year-old’s performances have seen him continually linked with Man Utd and Real Madrid.
3. Bruno Fernandes – Sporting CP to Manchester United – £47m
Manchester United’s revival in the second half of season can be directly traced back to the signing of Portuguese midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes in January.
After a month of haggling, United eventually settled on an initial fee of around £47m with Sporting, and even with bonuses and cost increases to come, the deal for the 25-year-old already looks like money well spent.
Alongside lifting the levels of the midfield and attacking players around him, Bruno Fernandes has delivered five goals and six assists in nine Premier League starts for United, while his infectious energy and enthusiasm have been equally impactful.
2. Jordan Ayew – Swansea City to Crystal Palace – £2.5m
Ghanaian forward Jordan Ayew had spent a largely uninspiring season on loan with Crystal Palace during the 2018/19 season, however, as soon as Roy Hodgson pushed for a permanent deal last summer, the attacker began to blossom.
Ayew’s nine-goal Premier League haul for the season might seem a modest return at first glance, though the 28-year-old has accounted for 30% of the Eagles’ total goals for the season on his own – and many of his efforts have been crucial points winners and game changers.
The ex-Marseille and Aston Villa star’s goals directly earned Palace 14 points so far in 2019/20, which works out at a third of their overall count for the campaign. What an impact.
1. Danny Ings – Liverpool to Southampton – £18m
More than a few supporters and observers balked at Southampton’s decision to part with approximately £18m to turn Danny Ings’ temporary stay at St. Mary’s Stadium into a more permanent residency – though the Saints’ move to sign the centre-forward has proved a master stroke.
With a phenomenal 18 goals in 27 Premier League starts since, Ings has already paid back his transfer fee with interest, and the 27-year-old is still in with a shot of winning the division’s Golden Boot award this season.
Remarkably, 15 of Ings’ 18 goals this term were Southampton’s first strikes in their respective games, further highlighting just how crucial a role he has played in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team this term.
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