My Premier League Signings of the Season XI
Bit of fun with this article today! I wanted to put together a Premier League Signings of the Season XI in a playable formation which would work in real life. I have chosen players primarily based on impact but also take value for money into account.
Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Solid, reliable and imposing between the sticks, the Argentine has the 3rd highest clean sheets in the league only behind Ederson (Man City) and Mendy (Chelsea) who – with all due respect to Villa – play with a far higher quality of defenders. Martinez also tops the charts for ‘high claims’ in the Premier League this season with 37, underlining his impressive aerial presence in the box. Mikel Arteta must be kicking himself that he let this man go.
Right Back – Vladimir Coufal (West Ham)
The Czech right-back has been one of the top performers at full back this season. He is aggressive in his pressing and diligent with his defensive duties which is shown by him featuring in the top 20 successful tacklers in the league. Interestingly, he has also won more fouls than fouls he has committed which is remarkable for a defender. Shutting down Jack Grealish and Aubameyang are some of his personal highlights in his debut season.
Centre Back – Ruben Dias (Man City)
He has great defensive awareness and marshals his defence like a true leader, helping City to 14 clean sheets this season. Coming from Portugal and settling in so quickly shows what an undeniably class act he is. What I like about Dias is that he is always positioned in the correct place defensively and he brings out the best of whoever partners him at centre-back due to his ability and confidence. Special mention to Thiago Silva here who just missed out but Dias’ impact as an individual has just been greater, sorry Chelsea fans!
Centre Back – Wesley Fofana (Leicester City)
Strong, fast and excellent at reading the game for a young man, Leicester’s scouting team have done another stellar job with this signing. Statistically, the Frenchman features in the Premier League top 10 for interceptions while also winning 7.4 duels per game. Fofana is also comfortable with the ball at his feet, capable of bringing possession out of defence and driving forward into midfield with his explosiveness. At only 20 years old he is a future star for sure.
Left Back – Ben Godfrey (Everton)
Although a centre back by trade, he has shown his versatility this season playing at LB and on the left-hand side of a back three. He is incredibly quick off the mark for a big man and is strong both in the tackle and in the air, ranking 5th overall in defensive blocks this season (34). Great signing by Everton and it will be interesting to see how the 23 year old develops in the seasons to come.
Defensive Midfielder – Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur)
Mourinho’s stay at Tottenham ultimately ended a few weeks ago in failure but one of his signings has been a success story. Plucked from Southampton, Højbjerg is an unsung hero of the team, a physical presence who puts in the hard yards with his engine while passing accurately (88%). The Dane has registered 88 tackles this season, an impressive 3rd highest in the league while making an average of 7.9 ball recoveries per 90 minutes.
Defensive Midfielder – Tomas Soucek (West Ham)
What a revelation this man has been! Like his countryman Coufal he also ranks in the top 20 for successful tackles this season and he has won the most aerial duels in the league (187). Alongside his dominating 6’4” physical presence in the middle of the park, Soucek also contributes a lot going forward having registered 9 goals this season – an impressive return from midfield.
Right Wing – Raphinha (Leeds United)
The Brazilian combines pace, agility and trickery to bamboozle the opposing fullback on a regular basis, contributing 6 goals and 6 assists this season before being injured in the 2nd half of the season. With their attacking style and quick counter-attacks, Leeds seems the perfect team for Raphinha at the moment. I remember his outrageous “McGeady spin” nutmeg against Gary Cahill (Crystal Palace) which was probably the skill of the season. If he keeps up these performances it won’t be long til bigger clubs come looking.
Left Wing – Diogo Jota (Liverpool)
Although Liverpool have had an underwhelming season, Jota has been one of the few bright sparks for the Merseyside club. He has a great change of pace and is a threat shooting accurately off either foot, making him very unpredictable for a defender to handle. 8 goals in 16 games is a solid return for a player whose season has been hampered by injury. What I like about Jota is his work rate and the fact that he gives 100% every time he steps out on the pitch.
Striker – Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
13 goals and 4 assists in a debut Premier League season having come up from the lower leagues says it all. Watkins is very quick and his attacking positioning in the final third is excellent. While being under 6ft he is also superb in the air, coming in the top 5 of successful aerial duels in the whole of the league. His stunning hat-trick in the 7-2 demolishing of Liverpool was the highlight of his season.
Striker – Edinson Cavani (Manchester United)
A timeless striker who ages like a fine wine, what a bargain he has been for the Red Devils after arriving on a free transfer. Unruffled by the pressure, Cavani has broken the no.7 shirt curse at United leading the line with some incredible performances for a 34 year old. Despite his age he is always hustling in defence and tracking back, a fine example to younger players. A master at the art of goalscoring, the experienced marksman is always in the right place at the right time with a goal ratio of just under a goal per game.