Crystal Palace and Leicester City had a great summer transfer window, while the likes of Brentford and Everton were shrewd but smart with their summer acquisitions.
After the comprehensive work put into ranking the Top 10 players from each of the four key positions, it is time I rank the clubs and their respective summer signings for the 2021/22 Premier League season.
In this second instalment, I’ll be taking a look at the summer signings made by the following clubs: Brentford, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester City and Leeds United, and rank them based on how they have fared and what impact they have had so far this season.
In the first part, I discussed all the summer signings made by the following clubs: Arsenal, Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion, Aston Villa and Chelsea.
Among the five clubs, Crystal Palace were the busiest as they signed as many as six first-team players, while the likes of Everton were quite shrewd in the transfer market, spending just £1.8m on transfer fee for four signings.
Leicester City, yet again, had a solid window, bringing in five new faces, while Leeds United, too, reinforced key areas on the pitch.
Please note the alphabets associated with the list 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 transfer tier ranking list for the aforementioned Premier League clubs.
Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher has been one of the signings of the season. Playing under Patrick Vieira, the west Londoner has hit new heights following his impressive loan spell with West Bromwich Albion last season.
In 14 appearances, the 21-year-old has already amassed 7 (4 Goals + 3 Assists) goal contributions, which is the highest among all English midfielders this season — a testament to his great run with the Eagles.
Gallagher has also racked up 5 big chances created so far, with 1.7 key passes/90’. Moreover, Conor possesses a great work ethic, which is evident with his defensive stats; he averages 2.7 tackles/90’ and 6.2 ground duels won.
- Crystal Palace were successful in roping in another Chelsea academy graduate in Marc Guéhi. Palace splashed £21m for the 21-year-old centre-back, and with every single performance, it looks like he is worth every single penny.
Guéhi has played every single minute for the Eagles so far, scoring two goals (against Burnley and Aston Villa), while keeping four clean sheets so far this season. The 21-year-old is a ball-playing centre-back who is averaging 57 passes completed/90’ (87%) while losing possession just 9 times/90’.
- Odsonne Édouard was the talk of the town in the Scottish Premiership, producing scintillating performances for the last two seasons before joining the Eagles this season. Crystal Palace roped in the 23-year-old French forward for just £12.5m, and the ex-Celtic man has been a breath of fresh air down the left-hand flank.
In his 12 appearances — only 7 of which have been starts — Édouard has scored thrice, while providing solid defensive cover for a forward. The Frenchman also has great pace while possessing crisp link-up abilities.
- The final player to feature in my Tier B is Michael Olise from (yet again) Crystal Palace. The 19-year-old Frenchman is another youngster who caught the eye of many with his scintillating performances playing for Reading in the EFL Championship last season. Vieira was quick to take his fellow compatriot under his wing and will look to hone him into one of the best wide midfielders.
However, Olise has seen much of his game-time from the bench this season. He has featured in 11 league games, but 9 of them have been off the bench, with him averaging 27 minutes per game.
The young playmaker, though, has still managed to score once and provide two assists in his short cameos for the club. Both talent and temperament are there for Olise to succeed. If given time and properly nurtured, he definitely has it in him to make it to the top.
- After spending five seasons with Crystal Palace, 30-year-old Andros Townsend joined Everton for free during the summer transfer window.
And what a signing he has been for the Toffees, having scored thrice and assisted twice in 15 league games so far this season. Playing down the right flank under Rafa Bentínez, Townsend has been a constant threat in front of goal, drifting into the half-spaces and capitalising from there.
Apart from his creative numbers — which have been impressive and consistent (creating two big chances and providing 1.9 key passes on average) — Townsend provides enough defensive cover with 1.8 tackles/90’, 0.8 interceptions/90’ and 5.1 ground duels/90’ (won).
- Much like Arsenal, it looks like Crystal Palace, too, are one of the major winners from the summer transfer window. They signed Joachim Andersen from French club Olympique Lyonnais for £15.75m.
The 25-year-old Denmark international has started 11 of the 12 league matches he has played so far this season and has helped the Eagles keep 4 clean sheets, which is a massive improvement from last season.
Just like Guéhi, Andersen is of a similar profile — a ball-playing centre-back. However, there is always an air of “error-proneness” to his game, which we saw against Leicester City when Kelechi Iheanacho dispossessed him and scored while Palace were trying to play out from the back.
Next up, we have three Brentford players, who thus far have looked pretty decent and have been integral to the Bees’ solid start to the campaign.
- Kristoffer Ajer was brought in from Scottish club Celtic for £14m, and the 23-year-old Norwegian has played in 7 games for the Bees.
In those 7 matches, Brentford lost just twice — against Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City. In his absence, on the other hand, the club lost to both Burnley and Norwich City, while drawing 3-3 against Newcastle United.
Once he returns from his hamstring injury, one can expect Ajer to shore up Brentford’s recent defensive slump.
- The 25-year-old French midfielder, Yoane Wissa, joined Brentford from Ligue 1 club Lorient FC for an undisclosed fee.
Wissa has been somewhat of a “super-sub” for the Bees so far this season, scoring against the likes of West Ham United and Liverpool. The Frenchman has come off the bench seven times this season, playing an average of 15 minutes per game.
Moreover, Wissa has scored three in two starts in the League Cup. Thus, given time, Yoane Wissa can certainly be one of the vital cogs in the Brentford setup come the end of the season.
- Rotated as part of a midfield double pivot, Frank Onyeka was roped in from the Danish first division team FC Midtjylland this summer. The 23-year-old Nigerian has started 9 games and has come on as a substitute on four occasions for the Bees.
Playing the role of a pivot, Onyeka averages 21.33 pressures/90’ and 1.4 tackles/90’, which puts him around the 90-percentile mark.
However, despite his defensive duties, Onyeka is adept in recycling possession and progressing the play forward as well, with 2.7 progressive passes/90’. The 23-year-old recently registered his first assist of the season against Newcastle United and will look to add more end-product to his game over the winter period.
- At just £1.4m, Demarai Gray has been an excellent signing for Everton. Moving back to the Premier League after spending just six months with Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Gray has been a revelation under Rafa Benítez.
The 25-year-old has started in 14 of Everton’s 15 Premier League games, scoring five and assisting two so far this season. Creativity-wise, Gray has averaged 1.3 key passes/90’, while creating three big chances so far.
Furthermore, the former Leicester City player has also averaged 2.1 shots/90’ in the absence of Everton’s target man, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
- 25-year-old left-back Junior Firpo signed for Leeds United from FC Barcelona this summer.
The Dominican Republic international has featured in 10 league games so far this season. We are all aware of Leeds’ defensive woes this term, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Firpo has just one clean sheet from those 10 fixtures.
However, Firpo has been a decent offensive outlet, creating 2.4 shot-creating actions while playing 3.6 progressive passes and averaging 3.02 touches in the opposition’s penalty box.
- After spending three seasons on loan at Leeds United from 2018 to 2021, Jack Harrison finally signed on a permanent deal from Manchester City for an £11.52m fee. But the 25-year-old has failed to live up to the expectations set by his performances from last season, when he registered 16 goal contributions in 34 league games.
This season, Harrison has just managed to register 1 assist in 12 league games and has been less involved, with much of the attack being overloaded down that right flank.
However, based on his performances from last season, the 25-year-old cannot be ruled out just yet, with 23 games still left in the league season.
- Jannik Vestergaard’s signing always seemed like a “panic-buy” move from Leicester City, with both Johnny Evans and Wesley Fofana ruled out as long-term injury casualties. The Danish centre-back is a tall presence, and he was one of the standout players for Southampton last season. So, although it was a panic-buy, it still made sense.
However, bringing in one of Southampton’s prized jewels doesn’t mean all has gone rosily for the Foxes. The 29-year-old has started four and has come off the bench thrice after joining Leicester City, but the Foxes have failed to record a single clean sheet in any of those games, while also conceding a penalty against Brighton earlier on in the season.
I have two more Leicester signings to name, who have a lot of potential and produced consistent performances last season — albeit in a different league — but have failed to set the Premier League alight so far this season. Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumaré were two of the hottest prospects in Europe, and Leicester City were able to rope in both.
- Patson Daka scored 27 goals and provided 6 assists in 29 Austrian Bundesliga games for RB Salzburg. The 23-year-old has blistering pace and has been brought in by Leicester as the heir to Jamie Vardy — quite big shoes to fill.
However, with the 34-year-old still producing stellar performances at this stage of his career, the Zambian has found it hard to get into the Premier League squad at the Foxes’ legend’s expense. The 23-year-old did score his first PL goal in a memorable 4-2 victory against Manchester United, though, while also scoring four in a match against Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Europa League.
- Boubakary Soumaré joined Leicester from the 2020-21 Ligue 1 champions Lille OSC. The 22-year-old central midfielder was integral to Lille’s success over in France, and Leicester City were quick to snap him up for just about £17m.
Much like the other Leicester City signings, Soumaré’s first few months with the club haven’t been easy, with the Frenchman recording just one assist in 12 league appearances so far. But with a settled backline, we will get a better picture of where both Leicester and Soumaré stand.
- Former Manchester United man Daniel James joined fierce rivals Leeds United for a £28m transfer fee. The now 24-year-old looked like a star in the making when he broke through playing for the Red Devils, but since then his performances have dropped quite a bit.
Moreover, James’ game has become one-dimensional, with him running behind the defenders and looking to either score or lay the ball for someone in a better position. In his 14 appearances for Leeds, James has scored once and has provided one assist.
- Former Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand joined Leicester City for free this summer in what looked like a smart piece of business. The 32-year-old left-back is a Premier League veteran, and given his profile, he should have provided adequate cover as a backup.
However, in his four starts so far this season, the 32-year-old has put in rather disappointing performances in all of the games. Bertrand has failed to stamp his authority both offensively and defensively; Leicester have looked vulnerable and have been unable to keep a single clean sheet with him out on the pitch.
- Another loan signing that hasn’t borne any fruits thus far is Asmir Begović. The 34-year-old already had more-than-a-decade’s worth of experience playing in the Premier League due to his time at Portsmouth, Stoke City, Chelsea and AFC Bournemouth before he joined the Toffees this summer.
The Bosnian has played just one league game this season, in which he conceded three goals against Sean Dyche’s Burnley. He has also played a couple of League Cup fixtures but has failed to keep a clean sheet in any of them.
- For someone who has been Rafa Benítez’s trusted deputy over the last three seasons, Salomón Rondón has been a major letdown for the Toffees upfront.
The 32-year-old has started five games and has come on as a substitute thrice in the Premier League so far this season, but he has failed to register a single attacking output in more than 600 minutes of playing time.
In terms of metrics, there is nothing impressive to talk about, apart from Rondón’s aerial prowess, which grants him a percentile of 91 with 3.1 aerial duels won/90’.
- Will Hughes is a signing that made no sense, as far as I can see. Crystal Palace forked out £7m for the 26-year-old this summer, but the former Watford midfielder has thus far only warmed the bench for the Eagles, not playing a single minute of football for the club, even as a sub before coming on for a 10-minute cameo as a late sub against Leeds United last weekend.
Hughes has been included in the matchday squad nine times, while on other occasions he hasn’t even travelled with the team.