Another season is now done and dusted in the Premier League, which means fans and pundits up and down the country are giving their reviews and analysis on the past nine months of football. Part of that analysis includes determining who were the best signings of the season. There were 170 arrivals in the Premier League this season, but which ones were the best?
Signings of the Season: The Best Premier League Purchases of 2020/21
Where else to start but with the FWA Footballer of the Year. Dias has been nothing short of instrumental for Manchester City in his debut season. He joined from Benfica for a fee of £61 million, becoming the latest big-money defender to join the City squad. He has largely been credited as the key factor in City regaining the Premier League title.
Dias quickly formed a formidable partnership with John Stones at the heart of the City defence. In the 19 Premier League games they started together, they conceded only nine goals, keeping 14 clean sheets in the progress. He has brought a commanding presence to the Manchester City defence, something they haven’t had since Vincent Kompany left.
Arsenal must be questioning if they made the right decision by keeping Bernd Leno over Emi Martinez last summer. After impressing following the German’s injury in the 2019/20 season, Martinez wanted assurance of being a first-choice keeper. Aston Villa gave him that assurance, and Martinez continued to shine as a result.
Joining for a fee rising to £20 million, he played every minute in the Premier League and kept an impressive 15 clean sheets. Even more impressively, Martinez made 141 saves, bettered only by Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone. Martinez has arguably made a case for being Villa’s most important player after Jack Grealish, playing a big part in their 11th place finish.
Plenty of players become free agents each summer, and when Thiago Silva decided to leave Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea were keen to snap him up. Silva instantly became a key figure at the heart of the Chelsea defence, bringing a wealth of experience with him. Despite a dodgy debut against West Bromwich Albion, he soon showed his demonstrable quality to the Premier League.
In his 23 league matches, Thiago Silva helped to keep ten clean sheets. Silva has brought an air of composure to a Chelsea side who, in the previous campaign, were conceding goals for fun. Since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, he has enjoyed a solid partnership with Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta. He will hope to end his season with silverware, when Chelsea take on Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday, May 29.
From a centre-back for the history books to one for the future. Although saying that, Fofana has shown this season that he is presently an outstanding player. Leicester City’s recruitment team worked their magic again, with Fofana showing that he is well worth the £36.5 million that Saint-Étienne received for him, and certainly one of the signings of the season.
His pace makes him a very effective centre-back, and he has shown this season that he likes to commit to tackles. At just 20-years-old, he plays with a maturity well beyond his years. His performances resulted in him being voted as Leicester’s Young Player of the Season. If he continues to play as he has this season, he can help lead Leicester to plenty more success in the future.
Fofana wasn’t the only starlet to arrive from Ligue 1 this season. Newly promoted Leeds United signed Raphinha from Rennes for a fee of £17 million. After one season in the Premier League, it is clear that Leeds have found a bargain. In a side with several impressive players, Raphinha has managed to stand out, and rightly so.
It was since his arrival that Raphinha was a tricky winger with a lot of flair. However, he has shown that he has an end product to match. He scored six goals in the Premier League and set up a further nine. Leeds may not be able to enjoy him for much longer, as he receives interest from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.
It was a quiet January transfer window, but there was one signing that got everyone talking. Having failed to make a league appearance for Manchester United, Jesse Lingard joined up with David Moyes’ impressive Irons. Hoping to maintain their push for European football, Lingard did that and more at West Ham United.
In 16 Premier League games, Lingard scored nine goals and assisted four. He contributed much more than that, as he quickly became an attacking focal point. Everything seemed to go through him, as Lingard finally recaptured his best form, and was certainly one of the signings of the season. There remain doubts over where he will be playing next season. Will he return for West Ham’s Europa League campaign, or will Manchester Utd give him another chance?