Chelsea have continued their impressive summer of recruitment with the club-record signing of Kai Havertz, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder arriving at Stamford Bridge for an initial fee in the region of £72m.
The Germany international arrives with huge expectations after becoming one of the most expensive players in Premier League history, whilst another Bundesliga buy could soon eclipse the 21-year-old’s price-tag as Manchester United continue their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
Following Haverz’s big-money move to Chelsea we’ve decided to look back at the priciest Premier League purchases, here are our ratings of the impact of the six most expensive signings in the division’s history:
Kai Havertz – £72m (Chelsea)
Whilst clubs around the world have taken a cautious approach to the transfer market in the current climate, Chelsea have swiftly taken advantage of their position of power to embark on a lavish summer of spending.
Last summer’s transfer ban and the sales of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata have handed the west London outfit a significant transfer fund, one which has been splashed on a series of exciting arrivals including the club-record signing of Kai Havertz.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 5, 2020
The Germany international is regarded as one of the finest young players in world football and has been courted by the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, though he will be playing his football at Stamford Bridge next season after Frank Lampard sealed a deal worth a reported initial £72m.
Havertz has thrived since bursting onto the scene with Leverkusen and scored 18 goals in all competitions last season, the 21-year-old a versatile attacking talent who has been likened to former Blue Michael Ballack for his ability to drift into goalscoring positions.
Time will tell if the midfielder is a success in the Premier League, but the fact that his club-record arrival is seen as a coup for Chelsea is a testament to the youngster’s precocious talents.
Nicolas Pepe – £72m (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s fortunes have faltered in recent seasons, so it caused much excitement when the north London side smashed their transfer record last summer, the Gunners investing a huge £72m to sign Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
The winger had starred for the French side to establish himself as one of the most exciting talents in Ligue 1, scoring 22 goals and providing a further 11 assists during a stunning 2018/19 to finish as the runner-up for the division’s Golden Boot behind Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
Pepe’s debut season in English football has proven a difficult one for both player and club, however, Arsenal slumping to their lowest league finish in 25 years and their star signing coming under criticism for a slow start to life in the Premier League.
That criticism has perhaps been exaggerated for a player who scored eight goals and provided 10 assists in all competitions, including providing the pass for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner as the Gunners lifted the FA Cup and secured European qualification.
Arsenal fans will, however, be expecting Pepe to kick on further next season and turn his flashes of talent into performances of consistent quality for Mikel Arteta’s emerging side.
Virgil van Dijk – £75m (Liverpool)
Simply put, the best central defender in world football and a transformative signing.
Liverpool’s decision to splash a world-record fee for a defender on Virgil van Dijk raised eyebrows, but the acquisition of the Southampton centre-back has proven worth every penny, the Netherlands international a cornerstone of a side which is in the midst of a trophy-laden era under Jurgen Klopp.
Van Dijk’s first full season on Merseyside saw him named as the PFA Player of the Year, helping Liverpool to Champions League success before adding the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies to a burgeoning cabinet and being named as the runner-up for the Ballon d’Or.
The Dutch defender’s imperious showings have seen the Reds post the best defensive record in the Premier League in each of the past two seasons, the second of which resulted in the club finally ending their long wait for an elusive league title.
Van Dijk was once again amongst the key performers as Liverpool secured a first top-flight title in three decades in record-breaking fashion, finishing 18 points clear of runners-up Manchester City and securing the championship with a huge seven games to spare.
Romelu Lukaku – £75m (Manchester United)
A proven goalscorer over prolific spells at West Brom and Everton, Lukaku’s form for the latter prompted Manchester United to spend £75m to secure the signing of the Belgium international three years ago.
Lukaku arrived at Old Trafford tasked with spearheading the side and enjoyed a decent goalscoring record during his two seasons with the Red Devils, netting 42 times in just 96 appearances in all competitions.
The Belgian was, however, criticised for his all-round game and fell out-of-favour towards the end of his United career, being allowed to depart for Inter Milan last summer in a deal worth a reported £74m.
Lukaku’s switch to the San Siro has been a rare case of a good move for all parties to date, the 27-year-old enjoying a prolific season with the Nerazurri to score 34 goals in all competitions last season.
Lukaku’s exit has also paved the way for a new-look forward line at Manchester United including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and teenage sensation Mason Greenwood, the trio having helped fire the club to Champions League qualification over the second half of last season.
Harry Maguire – £80m (Manchester United)
Manchester United made Harry Maguire the world’s most expensive defender after securing an £80m deal to sign the England international from Leicester City last summer, the centre-back viewed as a player who could help end the club’s defensive woes.
Maguire undoubtedly represented an upgrade on the club’s previous options and his signing has led to a much improved defensive record for Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s side, United amongst Europe’s leading sides for clean sheets in all competitions last season.
Despite those improvements, the 27-year-old has endured a mixed campaign in terms of individual form, Maguire’s lack of mobility exposed on occasion and finding his long-term partner may be key to United’s hopes of challenging, with neither Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly having convinced.
His importance and impact in the dressing room was also evident with the defender’s appointment as club captain in January following the departure of Ashley Young, Maguire stepping into the role on a permanent basis just months after his arrival.
After a difficult summer that has involved legal issues and headlines for all the wrong reasons, the star will hope to bounce back and concentrate on leading the Red Devils forward ahead of the coming campaign.
Paul Pogba – £89.3m (Manchester United)
Perhaps few Premier League players have polarised opinion quite like Paul Pogba in recent seasons, the Manchester United midfielder a divisive figure amongst avid followers of England’s top flight.
Pogba became the most expensive player in British football history when returning to Manchester four years ago, United smashing the world transfer-record to sign their former academy graduate from Juventus.
The France international had departed for the Italian side after finding opportunities limited at Old Trafford, thriving in Turin and developing into one of the world football’s finest young talents, winning four consecutive Serie A titles.
Having returned to the Premier League he would win the Europa League and League Cup during his debut season, but since then it has been mixed fortunes with inconsistent displays, off-field disruptions and the midfielder often appearing to agitate for a move away.
Pogba is undisputedly a fine talent and has all the attributes to be one of the world’s best midfield talents, though the club will hope he can produce performances on a more consistent basis and become the transformative signing once hoped.
United will hope that the 27-year-old’s current contentment with life at the club remains and he can play a key role in their rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils undeniably a better side with a fit and firing Pogba amid their ranks.