Premier League Season So Far: Worst Signings And Most Underrated Players Named
An Arsenal and a Manchester United player have been named the "worst" signings of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
It's been a crazy start with Leicester top, Southampton in fourth, random results everywhere, plus Man United and Arsenal in the bottom half of the table. A panel of The Athletic's football writers have tried to make sense of the madness - and two of them pick the same worst summer transfer.
Donny van de Beek is the player named. But the criticism is more that United bizarrely don't seem to have a plan for a Dutch international they paid over £35 million for in September.
"He's such a talent, but Manchester United have a defined way of playing and he doesn't fit into it unless Bruno Fernandes is injured," explains Jack Lang.
The other player picked out is Brazil international Willian, who's struggled since leaving Chelsea and looked particularly hopeless in a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
"Arsenal's decision to invest so much in a past-his-best Willian is looking worse by the week, especially when they still have [Mesut] Ozil sat doing nothing," writes Jack Pitt-Brooke.
Damning. More positively, the summer's three best signings are named as Everton star James Rodriguez, Leicester defender Wesley Fofana and Tottenham's stabilising presence in midfield, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
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A trio of the most underrated players are also selected, starting with West Ham's Michail Antonio. "So selfless with how he runs the line, and increasingly efficient too," assesses Pitt-Brooke.
The other two underrated talents are 22-year-old Leicester full-back James Justin and Aston Villa centre-back Ezri Konsa who is "currently playing much better than his former Charlton Athletic youth teammate Joe Gomez is for Liverpool" according to tactical guru Michael Cox.
The next Premier League manager to go is also predicted, with two votes for West Brom's Slaven Bilic, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Sean Dyche are also tipped (although the Burnley boss may be a candidate for walking away rather than the sack).
Each of The Athletic's trio of writers also pick a best player of the season so far. Jack Grealish is labelled a "joy to watch", Harry Kane is given credit for his incredible haul of seven goals and eight assists, while Liverpool's Sadio Mane also gets a nomination.
"Mane is the best player in the country right now, and it's not even close... He's like a more disciplined and intelligent Luis Suarez," writes Pitt-Brooke.
:black_small_square: Team of the season so far
:black_small_square: Mane, Grealish or Kane best player?
:black_small_square: Best & worst signings
We analyse the biggest talking points of the Premier League season so far.
:pencil: @JackPittBrooke @Zonal_Marking @jacklang https://t.co/ef2gO3kMSy
- The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) November 10, 2020
High praise indeed. But do you agree with their choices? Let us know in the comments.
All imagery: PA Images
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