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Four players Premier League clubs ‘missed the boat on’ last summer

Each season names slip through the net of Premier League recruiters and the current campaign has been no different.

Several summer signings, who were linked with English clubs last summer, are now thriving in leagues across Europe with the Premier League’s top teams having missed out on some true bargains.

For many, the Premier League is the go-to destination and there will be clubs in the competition kicking themselves for not following up on interest in these names.

Here are four players Premier League clubs ‘missed the boat on’ last summer.

Marcus Thuram

Marcus Thuram was one of the most appealing free agents of last summer’s window, having informed Borussia Monchengladbach that he would not be signing a new deal with the club.

Thuram scored 16 goals in all competitions for Monchengladbach last season and led the Bundesliga for Expected Goals (xG), non-penalty xG and ranked second for shots. The Frenchman’s form led to links to several Premier League clubs, with Chelsea and Manchester United among those to have signed strikers with mixed success.

Thuram signed for Inter Milan on a free transfer and has thrived in Serie A this season. The 26-year-old has formed an excellent understanding with Lautaro Martinez for the table-toppers, scoring eight times and providing seven assists in the league. Thuram tops the division for goal-creating actions and ranks second for both xG and non-penalty xG. His ability to create chances, for both others and himself, has made him one of the signings of the season in Europe’s top five leagues.

A reminder, he was a free transfer.

Viktor Gyokeres

Viktor Gyokeres’ goal-laden season at Sporting Lisbon makes it even more puzzling that Premier League clubs did not take a chance on the Swedish striker in the summer.

Gyokeres had scored 40 goals in 97 appearances across the previous two campaigns at Coventry City, who he led to the Championship play-off final last season. Despite rumoured interest from other English clubs, he signed for Sporting in a deal worth €20 (Β£17m) and there will be big regret from recruiters at Premier League sides.

The 25-year-old has scored 26 goals in 28 games in Portugal, adding a further 11 assists, to fire Sporting’s title challenge.

His all-round influence has seen Gyokeres lead Portugal’s Primeira Liga for assists, expected assists, shot-creating actions, progressive carries, successful take-ons, attacking penalty area touches and progressive passes received per 90 this season.

Sporting look set to make a huge profit on the player, whose release clause is set at around €100m.

Yann Sommer

Four of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ signed new goalkeepers in the summer, with arguably only Spurs completely convinced by their purchase.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all had mixed fortunes with recruits in goal, most notably the former who have seen Andre Onana endure a difficult start in English football. Onana was signed after impressing as Inter Milan reached the Champions League final last season and the Italians opted for experience to replace the Cameroonian.

Yann Sommer signed from Bayern Munich for a fee of €6.75m (Β£5.7m) in the summer and has been a bargain purchase for the Serie A leaders. At 35, the Swiss shot-stopper represents a short-term solution but he has been exceptional in goal for the Nerazzurri.

Sommer tops the Serie A standings for least goals conceded per 90 (0.45), and boasts the best save percentage (86.9%) and clean sheet percentage (63.6%) in the division. Inter, in recent seasons, continue to find great value in the market.

Alejandro Grimaldo

Alejandro Grimaldo’s performances this season make it hard to fathom how the Spaniard has taken until now to reach a top-five European league.

The 28-year-old won four league titles at Benfica before deciding on a new challenge in the summer, signing for Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer. Since then, he has been sensational for the German league leaders, scoring seven times and providing nine assists in the Bundesliga from left-back.

No full-back in Europe has been directly involved in more goals than Grimaldo, who earned his first senior cap for Spain in November, marking the occasion in customary fashion with an assist. His incredible influence on Xabi Alonso’s impressive side has been one of the sub-plots of the European season, as an unbeaten Leverkusen team target a first-ever Bundesliga crown.

Read –Β The five full-backs with the most goal involvements in Europe’s top five leagues

See more –Β Ranking the five best strikers in the world right now

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