Looking at the performances of each club and their summer signings, there are a load of summer signings packing the mid-tiers while it’ll be interesting to see who will make the top and bottom tiers in this instalment of Transfers Tier Ranking.
In this third instalment, I’ll be taking a look at the summer signings made by the following clubs: Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Norwich City, and rank them based on how they have fared and what impact they have had so far this season.
Looking at the performances of each club and their summer signings, there are a load of summer signings packing the mid-tiers, but it will be interesting to see who will make the top and bottom tiers in this instalment of Transfers Tier Ranking.
Please Note the alphabets associated with the list work as given below –
A – Excellent signing
B – Great signing, star potential
C – Decent start, will only grow from here
D – Shaky start, but will come good
E – Average signing
F – Poor signing, likely to flop
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the transfers tier ranking list for the aforementioned Premier League clubs.
Unfortunately, this time around, not a single player has made it to my Tier A list. There were one or two signings who would have staked a claim for their inconsistency coupled with the up and down performances from their teams as a whole, but I have chosen to put none in this Tier.
So, the first player to feature on my list is Raphaël Varane.
The 28-year-old World Cup-winner signed for Manchester United this summer with just one-year remaining in his Real Madrid contract. The four-time Champions League-winner was brought in to shore up any frailties in the Manchester United backline.
Although things have only gotten worse in recent weeks, Varane has put in solid defensive displays ever since making his Manchester United debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He has started 6 league games so far this season and has managed to come away with two clean sheets. Moreover, the Frenchman averages 4.0 clearances/90’ and 1.5 tackles/90’ while winning 4.1 duels/90’ (66%).
- Now, the first player to feature in this Tier C list is a contentious one. 12 games, 6 goals and 2 assists: those are great numbers for any forward. But such has been his standards, and given the way his team have performed so far this season, I had to drop him down to Tier C.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United sent shockwaves throughout Europe. It was believed that the “Return of the Prodigal Son” would mark the start of another golden period for the club.
All those dreams have come crashing down, however. Had it not been just the Premier League, Ronaldo would have been ranked in either Tier A or B simply based on how many times he has bailed his team out recently in the Champions League.
- Next up, we have Liverpool’s only summer signing of the season — Ibrahima Konaté.
Konaté has been one of the hottest prospects in Europe for the last couple of years along with Dayot Upamecano. Moreover, after last season’s injury-hit campaign, it was always likely that Liverpool would strengthen their defence over the summer window, but just bringing in Konaté would not help them much in terms of back-ups for other key areas of the pitch.
And so it has proved to be. Konaté has started just four Premier League games for the Reds, keeping 3 clean sheets against Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Southampton. With Jürgen Klopp preferring Joël Matip over Konaté, the young 22-year-old will have to bide his time before becoming a regular alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Norwich City made more summer signings than the other four clubs combined: nine, to be precise. Four of those signings feature in my Tier C.
- First up, we have the 25-year-old Kosovan Milot Rashica, who came from German second-division club Werder Bremen for £9.9m.
So far, Rashica has played 13 league games, but he has only started 8 of them. Despite poor results and with the Canaries languishing in the relegation spots, Rashica has been a bright spark in the Norwich squad. He has certainly caught the eye with his performances in those losing causes, despite lacking the end-product.
Rashica has only managed one assist so far this season and has also missed one big chance to open his goals tally. However, Norwich did win their first game under Dean Smith recently and have managed to get themselves off the foot of the league table for the first time this season. Thus, with 23 games left, I’m sure we will get to see a lot more from Milot Rashica.
- Manchester United academy product Brandon Williams has also joined Norwich City on loan for the 2021/22 season.
The 21-year-old fullback has played 10 Premier League games for the Canaries, and despite his decent performances, his team has shipped 21 goals in those 10 league fixtures.
Defensively, Williams has been pretty good with his positional awareness and reading of the game, but offensively, he hasn’t been able to stamp his authority, recording just 1.0 key pass/90’ with no goals, assists or big chances created.
Moreover, with Dean Smith now at the Norwich City helm, the team can be expected to be much more resilient at the back than before. Thus, on an individual front, I feel Brandon Williams will gain a lot from working under Dean Smith.
- Pierre Lees-Melou has been one great signing by Norwich City. The 28-year-old French midfielder came from OGC Nice in Ligue 1 for £5.4m and has been one of the most consistent performers in this Norwich side.
For Norwich City, Lees-Melou has played much deeper, almost as a pivot, but he does venture forward whenever an opportunity arrives. In his 11 Premier League appearances, the Frenchman has averaged 1.1 shots/90’ — with one big chance missed — and 1.0 key pass/90’ with one big chance created, while defensively, he has averaged 2.9 tackles/90’, 1.0 clearance(s)/90’ and 4.3 ground duels/90’.
- Mathias Normann joined Norwich in the summer from Russian club Rostov on a season-long loan deal.
The 25-year-old Norwegian has looked quite decent for the Canaries so far this season. In 9 starts, the Norway international has scored one goal and provided one assist for the club.
Normann is a versatile central midfielder who can play all three roles in the midfield — be it as a #6, #8 or #10.
As far as the eye test is concerned, the 25-year-old looks technically sound and has great positional awareness. However, discipline and timing of tackles is something he will need to work on since he has already accumulated four yellow cards and is one card away from suspension.
- Ever since his blockbuster £100m move to Manchester City this summer, Jack Grealish hasn’t been able to hit the heights from the previous season, let alone build from that.
The 26-year-old has started 10 Premier League games for the Cityzens, scoring once and providing two assists. However, he has squandered four big chances so far this season while producing two big chances himself. The former Aston Villa man has also averaged 2.4 key passes/90’ and has won 2.4 fouls/90’.
Maybe it’s the system or the presence of too many creators in one team, but Jack is certainly taking more time than what was expected when he moved to the blue half of Manchester.
- Jadon Sancho’s time at Manchester United so far looks similar to his final days at Borussia Dortmund.
Was it a mistake to fork out £73m for the young Englishman? I don’t think so.
Manchester United were longing for a player of Sancho’s profile and ilk for the past couple of years. They simply haven’t been able to integrate him with the rest of the squad yet, at least that is what it looks like from the outside.
Sancho is a “confidence” player, but whenever he has come onto the pitch, he has looked short of confidence. Moreover, for someone who is a creative outlet and has a peach of a delivery, he has been predominantly used as an inside forward — drifting in instead of hugging the touchline — under Ole Gunnar Slojskær and his coaching team.
Now that Ole and the United board have parted ways, it will be interesting to see how Sancho is used in the coming months, having already scored two goals in three Premier League appearances since Ole left.
- Before having the richest owners in the league, Newcastle United spent all of their transfer funds in acquiring the services of the Arsenal youth product Joe Willock. The 22-year-old came on a six-month loan deal last season and produced stellar performances throughout that period, capped by his memorable 7 goals in 7 consecutive league games.
This season, however, Joe and the team have failed to produce anything substantial as they languish at the foot of the league table. In his 13 league appearances this season, Willock has zero attacking output against his name while averaging just 0.7 key passes/90’.
With Eddie Howe coming in as the new head coach, things should improve over time at Tyneside.
- Billy Gilmour broke through last year under Frank Lampard, but given the competition for places at Chelsea under their current manager Thomas Tuchel, it was wise on the Scotland international’s part to go on a season-long loan and, more importantly, remain in the Premier League. Thus, the 20-year-old joined Norwich City ahead of the 2021/22 season.
So far, Gilmour has played 8 league games and has one assist to his name, which he provided for Grant Hanley’s winner against Southampton last weekend. He is a mixture between both a #6 and a #8, who likes to dribble, run with the ball at his feet, and break the lines.
Gilmour averages 70 touches and 50.4 accurate passes at 87% in a relegation-threatened team. Defensively, he produces 1.0 interception(s)/90’, 1.9 tackles/90’ and 1.4 clearances/90’ while also winning 4.0 duels/90’.
Gilmour is progressing quite well, and with more game time, he will only get better.
- The final player to feature in Tier D is Ben Gibson — another Norwich City signing.
After enjoying a successful loan spell in Norwich City’s Championship-winning campaign last season, the 28-year-old was signed on a permanent deal for £8.37m at the start of this season.
After a shaky start to the season, Gibson has quietly begun to put in decent defensive performances. In his 12 PL games this season, he has managed to get three clean sheets, averaging 1.4 interceptions/90’ and 4.8 clearances/90’ along with 68 touches and 48.2 successful passes/90’ (85%).
More worryingly, however, the 28-year-old Englishman has very poor tackling skills, with him at times refusing to dive into tackles even when necessary.
Thus, although his other attributes are quite decent, Gibson will have to sharpen his tackling skills in order to last in this gruelling and physical league.
- First up, we have Ozan Kabak from Norwich City.
Just because it is a straight loan signing with no add-ons, I’ve decided to put him in Tier E. And to support my argument, I’ll also add that Ozan Kabak played for Liverpool last season, and despite playing for a better squad under a better coach and in a better system, the Turkey international failed to produce anything of substance.
This season, Norwich snapped him up on a season-long deal, and in his 6 appearances so far, Kabak has managed 2 clean sheets, and clean sheets, as we know, are gold-dust for any defender, especially one playing for a relegation-threatened team. He also averages 1.2 interceptions/90’ and 3.2 clearances/90’, but worryingly, he makes just 0.3 tackles/90’, while he has also conceded one penalty this season.
- Norwich City also signed Greek left-back Dimitrios Giannoulis from POAK for £6.75m in the summer.
The 26-year-old left-back has played in 8 Premier League games so far this season, registering two clean sheets along with averaging 1.2 tackles/90’, 1.4 clearances/90’ and winning 4.1 duels/90’ (65%).
Moreover, the Greece international possesses great speed and dribbling abilities, completing 1.8 successful dribbles/90’ (67%). However, he is error-prone. Thus, although he has been an average signing so far, there is still two-thirds of the season remaining, and playing under new management will certainly give Norwich’s Greek left-back ample time to prove his doubters wrong.
- The final player to feature in this Tier is Josh Sargent from Norwich.
Similar to Milot Rashica, Sargent was brought in from German second division club Werder Bremen for £8.55m. However, to be honest, and not be harsh on the kid, there isn’t anything special about his game that warranted Norwich City to fork out £8.55m on a cover for the #9 role.
There isn’t much to talk about his offensive numbers; Sargent has played 14 league games, 8 of which were starts with no goals or assists, but in terms of pressures applied and other defensive metrics, Josh Sargent has a percentile of 95 among forwards.
Surprisingly, in this instalment of Transfers Tier Ranking, I don’t have anyone for either Tier A or Tier F.
As one can see below, most signings were between Tier C and Tier D for me, while just four players made up the other two Tiers.
Thus, it would be safe to assume that these clubs had a transfer window ranging from above-average to underwhelming. Not Great. Not Disastrous. But everything in between.