Top 5 Premier League Transfers of The Season

by Barry McNerney

1. Casemiro 70 Million Pounds.  

Who else? Turn back the clock 12 months. United were languishing in 6th place in the league, with a coach who hadn’t coached in years, a midfield not fit for purpose and a toxic dressing room that was allowed to fester, destroying the club from the inside out. Casemiro meanwhile was playing for Real Madrid, sitting pretty on the top of the La Liga table and preparing to secure his fifth Champions League winners medal in his back pocket. The last part of that sentence boggles the mind. Fifth Champions League medal?! 

So when United were linked with signing him after the debacle of the opening two fixtures against Brighton and Brentford, the ludicrous links with Marko Arnautovic and Adrien Rabiot to save Ten Hag’s first season, I laughed. Then he signed and I couldn’t believe it. The thing was, I knew he was a good player, but I never realised quite how good. On the eye test alone, he absolutely dominates games in midfield and by all accounts from his teammates both past and present, he’s a leader. The only comparison that I can make to his influence on the team is that of Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk and their impact on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Fast forward the clock to the present day and United are sitting comfortably within the top four, briefly flirting with a title challenge, one foot in the cup final and fighting still on two more fronts and doing so playing great football. Rarely has 70 million pounds looked like a bargain.  

2. Oleksandr Zinchenko 31.5 Million Pounds  

Zinchenko has been brilliant for Arsenal. His own performances have been fantastic, but it’s the influence he has on those around him. The winner’s mentality that himself and Gabriel Jesus have brought with them from Man City has elevated everyone else in Mikel Arteta’s side to new levels. Zinchenko’s influence can’t be understated.  

If Arsenal are to go all the way and win the league, he will be only the second player after N’Golo Kante to win the league in consecutive seasons with two different clubs along with Jesus. The only statistic you need to show his impact is that Arsenal is top of the table and as we all know, the League table does not lie.   

3. Erling Haaland 51.2 Million Pounds  

I know what you are thinking. How could I not have him top of the list? The answer is in the overall impact he’s had on the team. Individually he’s been unbelievable, with 31 goals in all competitions already, but Manchester City have suffered as a team. Whether that’s down to lack of motivation having already won 4 of the last 5 league titles, or Haaland himself coming into Pep Guardiola’s team and changing the system. They are a poorer side regardless. City have time to mount a credible title challenge to catch Arsenal, but it’s running out and they will need this man to continue to fire on all cylinders. After all, he’s only 9 goals short of Alan Shearer’s and Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a single Premier League season, and it’s only January.  

4. Christian Eriksen Free Transfer  

Free? His lack of a transfer fee nearly made me put him higher up the list. His two goals and nine assists fail to emphasise just how important his performances and his consistency in the middle of the park and along with Casemiro. They have transformed Manchester United into an attacking and defensive force to be reckoned with. They are a far cry from last season of having to stick Scott McTominay and Fred in the engine room. He’s played an unreal number of minutes so far given his health issues, which just goes to show that Ten Hag really doesn’t want to go into a game without him. When you contrast this with Paul Pogba who missed most of last season through injury and is yet to play a game for Juventus following his exit last summer, Eriksen has proven all the doubters wrong in terms of performance and availability. What United have gotten in the Danish magician is what they thought they were going to get from Pogba. Honourable mention for Lisandro Martinez who I also wanted to include on this list, but three United players on this list didn’t seem fair.  

5. Nick Pope 11.5 Million Pounds  

What a bargain this was. Nick Pope has been crucial to Eddie Howe’s team and Newcastle’s watertight defence and the stats speak for themselves. With 20 games played and 12 clean sheets, he’s already on track to match, if not beat, Petr Cech’s record for most clean sheets kept in a season and having conceded only 11 goals in league all season. He’s also played in all 4 of Newcastle’s games on their run to the Carabao Cup semi-finals and four clean sheets. His 82.26 save percentage puts him top of the Premier League amongst his peers between the posts. Not bad for a man that was relegated with Burnley less than a year ago and he’s proven to himself pivotal to Newcastle’s push for a spot in next year’s Champions League.

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