The 2020-21 Premier League season is coming to an end and it’s time for the usual questions to arise on which clubs made the right signings and which players over-delivered on expectations. Players like Ruben Dias and Raphinha have been beacons for their clubs this season and along with them, we will look at the other players who have had an instant impact.
RUBEN DIAS (MANCHESTER CITY)
Manchester City’s new centre-back recruit, Ruben Dias looks as a long-term successor to club legend Vincent Kompany. He has similar leadership quality to the Belgian and that has shown on the pitch for City this season. He has single-handedly improved the defensive standards of the team and makes his centre-back partner look better automatically.
City have conceded just 24 times in the Portuguese’s 29 Premier League outings. He was ever present in the heart of the City defence and has completed the most passes in the league so far. Dias’ 64.3 million transfer fee seems like money well-spent as the team is well on course of winning a historical treble.
THIAGO SILVA (CHELSEA)
Thiago Silva’s Chelsea career started off on a little rocky note against West Brom but since then, the Brazilian has provided the defensive solidity Chelsea lacked at the heart of defence for much of last season. The 36-year-old is a Rolls Royce of a defender and is a leader both on and off the pitch. If his age seemed to be a problem when he joined the Blues, he has proved all those notions wrong and has been as sturdy as ever.
RAPHINHA (LEEDS UNITED)
Leeds made some shrewd signings ahead of the season but none better than Raphinha. The winger, signed from the French league, had an instant impact at the Yorkshire club and once he got off the mark on the scoring charts there was no stopping him. He is one of the standout players on the wing this year and has a good chance of making it to the Premier League team of the season.
OLLIE WATKINS (ASTON VILLA)
After a remarkable 2019-20 campaign for Brentford (26 goals in the Championship), Ollie Watkins has shown that he belongs to the highest level of English football. The 25-year-old has been sensational and his 12 goals have earned him a much-deserved English call up as well.
That goal run started with an incredible hat-trick against Liverpool and he’s helping in bringing the best out of the likes of Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley and John McGinn. Dean Smith loves having him as his number 9 and Gareth Southgate would closely be observing his performances as he has an outside chance of making it to the England Euros squad.
JAMES RODRIGUES (EVERTON)
James Rodrigues’ Everton career started in grand fashion. He seemed like a big gamble to take at the beginning of the season given his lack of game time in the previous ones, but he soon became an integral member of the squad.
The Colombian forward has scored six times and contributed four assists for the Toffees so far. Carlo Ancelotti has got the best out of him this season and has built his squad around him for the future. Not at all bad for a free transfer.
DIOGO JOTA (LIVERPOOL)
At first, Diogo Jota felt like a squad rotation player when acquired from Wolves but soon made everyone realise that he is real quality. Jota has proved to be an inspired signing for the reigning Premier League champions and has already scored 12 goals for Liverpool in all competitions.
There’s talk of him permanently replacing Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool front three and for a relatively modest 41 million, this one has to go down as another Michael Edwards masterstroke.
EMILIANO MARTINEZ (ASTON VILLA)
Emiliano Martinez’s run in the Arsenal starting XI was one of the stories of last season and he finished off his Arsenal career with the FA Cup trophy in his kitty.
But upon their first-choice keeper Bernd Leno’s return, the Argentine was eager to find a new home and Aston Villa proved to be the perfect destination for the custodian. Martinez has kept 14 clean sheets in the league so far and is third on the leaderboard.
TOMAS SOUCEK (WEST HAM UNITED)
After a solid loan audition last year, West Ham knew what it was getting from Slavia Prague and now they have the most complete box-to-box midfielder of the season. Tomas Soucek is brilliant at breaking up play and can occasionally pop up on the other side to score for the Hammers. He is a constant aerial threat and is lethal on set-pieces as well. He isn’t hesitant to put his body on the line for his team and gives it his all on the pitch.
West Ham are a really difficult team to play this season, and Soucek has probably been their best player. He has helped them stack up a fight for the Champions League spots in the league which would be like a fairytale coming true in football. That would be a good reminder that in football everything is possible and that’s the reason why fans fall in love with this beautiful game.
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