Another season of Premier League football has reached its conclusion and the 2019/20 campaign proved one that will – for many reasons – live long in the memory, a global pandemic bringing an unprecedented mid-season halt to English football’s top tier.
The summer months will inevitably see the rumour mill hit overdrive as transfer talk takes centre stage, each of the Premier League’s representative clubs scouting far and wide as they bid to strengthen their options ahead of next season.
Ahead of what will surely prove another window of frenzied activity, we’ve decided to look back at the permanent signings to have made the greatest impressions throughout the past season.
Here are our rankings of the six best Premier League signings of the 2019/20 campaign:
6. Jordan Ayew – Crystal Palace
Jordan Ayew’s season on-loan at Crystal Palace last term delivered just one Premier League goal, though a financially restricted Eagles opted to make the move permanent despite his evident struggles.
Roy Hodgson’s decision has proven vindicated following a brilliant season from the Ghana international, who has proven one of the Premier League’s most influential talents in a Palace side which has regularly struggled to score goals.
This Jordan Ayew goal just gets better every time you see it…
Absolute magic. ✨✨✨
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) July 28, 2020
Ayew scored nine league goals and directly contributed to over a third of Palace’s entire total, though it is the importance of his goals which see him included in our best signings of the campaign.
Ayew’s goals directly secured 17 points for Palace and kept the club comfortably away from relegation trouble, his £2.5m fee proving a bargain as he was named as the club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, in addition to claiming their Goal of the Season accolade for his sensational last-minute winner against West Ham on Boxing Day.
5. Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle
Newcastle’s finest sides of the Premier League era feel an awfully long time ago now, the nineties a time where football fans were regularly treated to free-flowing football and attacking impetus from impressive teams adorned in the famous black and white.
The modern version of the Magpies has been a side which has largely battled for Premier League status amid an unpopular ownership, whilst their success-starved fans have often been treated to dire football via managers who have favoured substance over style.
Last summer’s acquisition of Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice has brought an x-factor back to the North East, however, the winger having lit up St James’ Park with his exhilarating dribbling skills and trickery in wide areas.
Allan Saint-Maximin appreciation post.
— ToonArmy (@toonarmy_com) June 5, 2020
The 23-year-old is box office viewing when at his exciting best, dancing through defences with daring dribbles and electric pace. Only two players – Wolves’ Adama Traore and Crystal Palaces’ Wilfried Zaha – completed more dribbles than the flamboyant Frenchman, who has swiftly established himself as a firm fans’ favourite.
Four goals and seven assists in all competitions is a respectable tally for a player whose end product still needs to improve, but Newcastle’s record of just one win in 12 fixtures in his absence indicates how quickly Saint-Maximin has gained talismanic status for Steve Bruce’s side.
4. Mateo Kovacic – Chelsea
Chelsea navigated a loophole in their transfer ban to secure the signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid last summer, the midfielder having spent the previous season on-loan from the Spanish giants.
There were perhaps more than a few eyebrows raised at the west London side’s decision to splash £40.5m on a player who had underwhelmed during his debut season in English football, but those doubting that wisdom are now seeing just why Frank Lampard sealed his permanent arrival.
Kovacic has established himself as a centre-piece of a new-look Chelsea side, his press-resistant ability to receive the ball and dribble in tight spaces a fundamental part of Lampard’s engine room at Stamford Bridge.
The Croatian international is comfortable in possession and a fine passer, whilst his creative talents are added to by a tenacious streak in regaining the ball and preventing opposition attacks. Only Willian and Mason Mount created more chances than the 26-year-old despite his position in a deeper role and tally of just three assists, and if Kovacic can add goals to his game he could thrive as one of the Premier League’s very best.
3. Raul Jimenez – Wolves
Another player who spent an initial season on loan before signing permanently last summer, Raul Jimenez has enjoyed the best season of his career as the prolific focal point of an exciting Wolves side.
The Mexican international has been a virtual ever-present throughout a season that has lasted more than a calendar year amid the coronavirus pandemic, scoring 26 goals in all competitions – a figure no player has reached since record goalscorer Steve Bull scored 27 times in the 1990/91 campaign.
Raúl Jiménez has featured in every possible Premier League game since joining Wolves, playing 93% of all available minutes:
❍ 5581 mins
❍ 67 games
❍ 64 starts
❍ 26 goals
❍ 13 assists
Incredible consistency from an incredible player. 🐺 pic.twitter.com/XZ6y6wpEZi
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 1, 2020
Jimenez is amongst the most consistent and all-round forwards currently playing in English football, possessing a bullish strength with fine finishing and an ability to link the play. The 29-year-old has formed a fine understanding with Adama Traore and remains pivotal to Wolves’ hopes of future success, despite continued speculation linking him an exit.
It would be no surprise to see the division’s biggest sides make a move for Jimenez in the summer window, a player who has found himself a home in the golden colours of Wolves at Molineux.
2. Danny Ings – Southampton
Southampton’s success this season has largely been built on a career-best season from Danny Ings, the forward having overcome his injury nightmare to enjoy a prolific season at St Mary’s to finish as runner-up for the Premier League’s Golden Boot.
Ings’ dream move to Liverpool was wrecked by injuries but he has rediscovered his finest form on the South Coast, signing permanently for Southampton in a £20m deal last summer after a season-long loan at the club during the 2018/19 season.
That fee has been made to look like a bargain for Ralph Hasenhuttl as Ings has terrorised Premier League defences, his selfless style and willingness to work fundamental to the Saints’ pressing approach.
Ings’ hustling and harrying style may see him fail to gain the plaudits of the illustrious names he has outscored this season, but his repertoire of finishes including many a cultured effort during a goal-laden campaign.
The forward must surely be in contention for a recall to the England squad after a 22-goal Premier League campaign, Ings reaching new heights this season and demonstrating just why Jurgen Klopp showed reluctance in allowing the player to leave Anfield in search of more regular opportunities.
1. Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United
Our signing of the season, there have been few mid-season arrivals to have made an impact quite like that of Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had endured an indifferent campaign up until the winter window acquisition of the goalscoring midfielder from Sporting Lisbon, Fernandes making a mockery of suggestions he may take time to adapt by proving the catalyst behind United’s run to a top four finish and Champions League qualification.
The Portuguese international quickly shouldered responsibility as the Red Devils’ chief attacking threat, his performances sparking a 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions and breathing new life into a season that had threatened to continue in mediocre fashion.
📅 @B_Fernandes8 in July:
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 29, 2020
Fernandes finished the season having scored eight goals and provided a further seven assists in just 14 Premier League appearances, his presence infectious and bringing the best out of teammates including Anthony Martial and teenager Mason Greenwood.
It is difficult to think of a player who has established themselves as the key player in their side so quickly following a January switch, Fernandes a player who Solskjaer can confidently build around as United look to challenge once again.