We continue our best and worst signings of the 2016/17 Premier League season by focusing on the best midfielders brought in this term.
Manchester United grabbed the headlines with the biggest signing of not only the Premier League, but possibly in recent football history, when they broke the world record transfer fee to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus.
The French international joined The Red Devils four years after being allowed to join the Italian champions on a free transfer, linking up with new United boss Jose Mourinho in the most hyped move of the transfer window.
Where does Pogba rank in our top five midfield signings of the 2016/17 season, and do you agree with our list?
5. Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle to Liverpool for £23 million
In terms of goal-scoring and assist tallies, Georginio Wijnaldum is the highest-returning midfield signing of the 2016/17 campaign.
Signed from relegated Newcastle for £23 million in late July, Wijnaldum has made himself a weekly fixture in the Liverpool starting XI, scoring five and assisting eight from his 35 appearances in the Premier League.
He holds one of the tidiest passing accuracy ratio’s in the league at 87%, and completed 75% of his attempted dribbles (30/40). However, when compared to some of the other names mentioned in this list, his overall contribution is slightly lacking.
4. Victor Wanyama – Southampton to Tottenham for £11 million
Brought in for a fraction of the worth he’s proven to Tottenham, Victor Wanyama has grown into a dominant and colossal figure in Spurs midfield.
The shield that he and Eric Dier have provided in front of the league’s most assured defence has played a vital part, as shown through his 90 successful tackles (ranked 7th in the Premier League) and 40 interceptions in 35 league appearances.
Wanyama has also proven to be quite effective with his dribbling, completing 79% (49/62) of his attempted dribbles. The 6-foot-2 powerhouse isn’t afraid to throw his weight around, but needs to keep his discipline in check after collecting 10 yellow cards in the Premier League.
3. Paul Pogba – Juventus to Manchester United for £89 million
Paul Pogba’s astronomical transfer fee is hard to look away from, which is why many remain sceptical of his signing, but the numbers show that the Frenchman has made a significant impact at Manchester United.
Perhaps not to the extent expected at the start of the season, especially with just four goals and three assist in the Premier League, but Pogba has produced a well-rounded contribution in his first season back at the club.
Pogba has made 55 key passes in the Premier League, more than any player on this list and 17th in the Premier League, whilst ranking as the 2nd most ambitious dribbler in the league (71/107 dribbles, 66% success rate) from deep midfield positions behind Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele.
2. Idrissa Gueye – Aston Villa to Everton for £7 million
Easily the best budget purchase of the season and one of, if not the, best overall signing of the season.
Idrissa Gueye’s move to Everton was never going to gain much attention after leaving an Aston Villa side who were miserably relegated to the Championship, but the scouting team at Everton knew what they were doing when they signed the Senegalese international.
Gueye is the Premier League’s leading tackler with 135 successful challenges, and he has also made the 8th most interceptions with 81 and has chipped in with one goal and one assist from his 32 appearances for The Toffees.
1. N’Golo Kante – Leicester City to Chelsea for £30 million
You knew it was going to be him. N’Golo Kante was the Premier League’s most wanted man after bursting onto the English scene with tireless performances for Leicester City en route to their shock title triumph in 2015/16.
Kante has slotted right in at Chelsea, picking up where he left off to register the 2nd most tackles in the Premier League (123, behind our number two pick Idrissa Gueye). He betters Gueye slightly in the interceptions category, making 84, which places him 4th in the division.
He has added one goal and one assist from his 34 league appearances, whilst recording the 3rd best passing accuracy ratio (88.6%) from players to have played at least 30 games in the Premier League.
Then there’s also the small matter of Kante winning the Premier League with his new club, making him the first player to ever win back-to-back league titles with different clubs (or 2nd if you count Mark Schwarzer, who did so with Chelsea and Leicester also, but did not play a single minute).