Six of the best: Premier League signings 2016-17

Another season in the Premier League is drawing to a close, and with that we can start to rack our brains and take a look at who’ve been the best additions made by clubs over the season. So we will…

Idrissa Gana Gueye – (Everton, £7.1m)

After being a regular during Aston Villa’s dreadful and at times comical relegation, Everton fans could havebeen forgiven for having reservations about the Senegalese international’s credentials. But the 27-year-old did make the second highest number of interceptions and tackles in Europe’s top five leagues last year, behind only N’Golo Kante, and the midfielder has proved a relative snip at £7m. Ronald Koeman’s first signing at Goodison has delivered much-needed defensive protection to a side so hopelessly porous under his predecessor.

 

Victor Wanyama – (Tottenham, £11m)

Whilst their North London rivals were busy splurging a reported £35m on yellow card expert Granit Xhaka, Mauricio Pochettino sensibly decided to reunite with his wantaway former Southampton midfielder for a modest £11m. Unsurprsingly the Kenyan captain has slotted in perfectly at White Hart Lane, freeing up Eric Dier for a role in a back three system that Pochettino has recently begun to deploy. Still only 25, Wanyama could be a mainstay of Spurs’ young side for years.

Fernando Llorente – (Swansea, undisclosed fee)

A deal that has worked well for all concerned. The 32-year-old has rediscovered his scoring touch after a difficult season at Sevilla whilst, were it not for the Spaniard and the ever-underrated Gylfi Sigurdsson, the Swans would be preparing for life back in the Championship. Llorente’s goals per minute ratio (174) is even better than one man team Jermain Defoe’s (186). If the Swans are to survive, compatriot flop Borja Baston – whose £15m transfer fee is roughly three times what Llorente cost – will need to be replaced by somebody who can ease the pressure on the striker nicknamed El Rey León – (The Lion King).

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – (Manchester United, free agent)

He’s hardly an unknown who’s been snapped up by Jose as a risk-free punt. But Zlatan’s capture is surely, pound-to-pound, the best business of any team this season. The talismanic Swede has scored 35% of United’s top flight goals, which explains why Mourinho seems incapable of resting him. After some less-than-convincing performances in Europe against our sides in previous years, some questioned if the 35-year-old could cut it in England. 26 goals in 41 games (all competitions) would tell us otherwise.

Sadio Mane – (Liverpool, £34m)

After impressing in two years at St Mary’s, scoring 25 goals and helping the Saints qualify for Europe in his final campaign, the Senegalese forward has enjoyed similar greater success at Anfield – establishing himself as the Mane man in Jurgen Klopp’s attack. Whilst 13 goals and 5 assists is a good return for a player who isn’t a natural number nine, that he’s Liverpool’s top scorer should give Klopp a good clue as to which area needs improving in the summer.

 

N’Golo Kante – (Chelsea, £32m)

What hasn’t been said already about this wonderful little player? Kante has impressed so much in his two-year spell in the Premier League that he could soon, much like Claude Makelele, have his position named after him. Whilst the aforementioned Idrissa Gueye has been excellent for Everton in the Kante role, N’Golo remains the don. Modest (he drives a Mini to work), quiet, never injured, very few yellow cards for his position, an incredible work-rate and reading of the game. He is a a manager’s dream, and how Antonio Conte got him for less money than Granit Xhaka only he knows.