The January transfer window is in full swing and no doubt some exciting moves will be made over the next fortnight before it closes at 11 pm on 31st January. We have already seen Chelsea splash the cash on Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile, and also bring Joao Felix in on loan. Leeds United broke their transfer record to sign young striker Georginio Rutter, Liverpool fought off a lot of competition to land Cody Gakpo and, err, Man United got Wout Weghorst on loan!
It is too early to judge those signings but what we will take a look at now is the many transfers that were made in the summer. In the World Cup-free summer of 2022, PL sides spent around £2bn, an astronomical sum. But which of those players has already well and truly begun to pay back the money invested and who are the signings of the season so far? So, in no particular order …
Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund to Man City, £51m
Haaland is not an original, controversial or surprising addition to this list but even at a fee of more than £50m, he is undoubtedly one of the best signings of the season. It was always clear that his fee was a steal given that the Norwegian was typically valued at around £150m or more. He has hit the ground running at the Etihad, to say the least, and at the halfway stage of the campaign has already broken a number of records.
At present, despite a shocking barren spell of three games(!) without a goal, the hulking forward has 27 goals in 24 games for City. Quite how many he will end the season with only time will tell but there is no doubt he has been a huge success already.
Casemiro, Real Madrid to Man United, £70m
Many baulked when United paid £70m (£60m up front) for Brazilian midfielder Casemiro. They believed paying such a huge fee for a player who was 30 years old was a major mistake. Former Reds Gary Neville and Roy Keane felt it was a sign of desperation, especially as the former Real Madrid man was given a five-year contract. However, United boss Erik ten Hag said that his new man was “the cement between the stones” and the Dutchman has been proved right.
Critics queried why Real would ditch a player if he still had a lot to offer but United felt the outlay was worth it for a proven winner. Casemiro has been a huge success, adding steel, leadership, guile and even goals (five goal involvements in 15 Premier League games) to United. The Red Devils are flying at the moment and are in with a great chance of finishing third in the Premier League or better, and Casemiro has undoubtedly been a key player for them. Should he guide United to Champions League qualification, his experience in that competition (he has won it an astonishing five times) will also prove invaluable.
Andreas Pereira, Man United to Fulham, £10m
Fulham have been one of the surprise packages of the 2022/23 season, and they are sitting pretty in sixth at the time of writing. They have played some exciting attacking football and the 27 year old Brazilian has been a big part of that. He signed for United way back in 2012 and though he played over 70 times for them he never established himself fully.
That fee of £10m, which includes add-ons, really looks like a steal now, with his two goals and five assists in the league helping the Cottagers massively overachieve. His crossing ability from open play and set pieces is a huge asset with a big target man, Aleksandar Mitrovic to aim for. Playing centrally, he has been hugely creative and few players have created more chances this term in the English top flight.
Wilfried Gnonto, FC Zurich to Leeds United, £4m
That Leeds managed to sign Gnonto, a full Italy international, for a fee of just £4m, was largely down to the fact that the striker was entering the final year of his contract. In addition, he was very young, just 18 at the time, and with little experience. Even so, his capture can only be described as one of the major bargains of the Premier League based on what we have seen so far. Capped at every level by Italy he has a huge future and could prove to be an astonishing signing for the West Yorkshire outfit.
In Leeds’ recent defeat to Aston Villa the attacker, who can play anywhere across the pitch behind a number nine, was superb. Gary Neville, commentating, could not contain his excitement, eulogising endlessly about Gnonto’s understanding of the game and his positional sense, his bravery and his skill. The former Man United man suggested Gnonto looked very much like a Man City player, in terms of his style but Leeds will want to hold onto him for a good while yet. He has a little bit of everything, with pace, control, vision and strength meaning he can beat a man, hold up play, find the killer pass and score as well.