The 10 most expensive signings from 2019 and how they’ve fared so far

Quick Reads

Big-money signings are expected to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact at their new club – but that doesn’t always happen.

Players often struggle to adapt to their new surroundings or feel the pressure of the hefty price tag weighing on their shoulders.

We’ve looked back at the most expensive signings from the summer of 2019 to see how they’ve fared for their new clubs so far this season.

Rodri – £62.8million

The 23-year-old starred for Atletico Madrid last season and was signed by Manchester City as Fernandinho’s long-term successor.

Rodri has fitted seamlessly into that holding midfield role and has already mastered the art of tactical fouling.

“He’s adjusted and he’s perfect for this league. I think Man City bought an incredible player for the next years,” Guardiola said.

Frenkie De Jong – £65million

De Jong’s performances for Ajax in 2018-19 attracted attention from the biggest clubs in Europe and the midfielder eventually swapped the Dutch capital for Barcelona.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a fine start to life in the Spanish top flight, showing why Barcelona were prepared to spend so much money on him.

He has been one of the first names on the teamsheet at the Camp Nou this season, making 30 appearances in all competitions.

Matthijs De Ligt – £67.5million

De Ligt became one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe after leading Ajax to a domestic double and the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2018-19.

Juventus eventually won the battle for his signature, but the centre-back took a few months to adjust to life in Turin and made some high-profile mistakes.

The 20-year-old found himself on the bench under Maurizio Sarri but has returned to the side after Merih Demiral sustained a season-ending injury.

“I just have to think about working to improve myself, understand if I’m making progress or not,” De Ligt told Tuttosport.

“For sure, I am happy with the way my first six months have passed, I’m convinced that I will get better and better, game after game.”

Lucas Hernandez – £68million

Bayern Munich needed defensive reinforcements in the summer so spent a club-record fee to sign Hernandez from Atletico Madrid.

However, the World Cup winner hasn’t yet had the chance to justify that price tag, with injury problems restricting him to just six Bundesliga appearances this season.

Nicolas Pepe – £72million

Arsenal broke their transfer record to bring Pepe to the Emirates after the winger got 22 league goals and 11 assists for Lille in 2018-19.

However, the 24-year-old is taking time to adapt to English football and has failed to live up to expectations so far, scoring only three league goals this season.

Pepe was unable to cement a regular place in the team under Unai Emery, but he has shown glimpses of his talent under Mikel Arteta.

Romelu Lukaku – £74million

Lukaku fell down the pecking order at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but they were still able to get a huge fee from Inter Milan.

The striker has proved his doubters wrong in Italy, scoring 16 goals in 22 league appearances while spearheading Inter’s pursuit of the Serie A title.

“I think I had to rediscover myself,” Lukkau told Sky Sports. “Last year was difficult for me on the professional side, because stuff was not going how I wanted and I was not performing as well.

“So I had to find it within myself what was lacking and came to the conclusion that it was time for me to change environment.”

Harry Maguire – £80million

Manchester United made Maguire the most expensive defender in history when they signed the centre-back from Leicester in 2019 after failing to get him a year earlier.

However, the 26-year-old has been unable to turn United’s fortunes around and they have kept just five clean sheets in the league this season.

Maguire has still established himself as a key man in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and was recently named as their new captain.

Eden Hazard – £89million

Madrid had been chasing Hazard for a number of years and finally got their man in 2019.

The Belgian left Chelsea after seven hugely successful years at the club in which he won the Premier League twice, one FA Cup and two Europa League titles.

Hazard has failed to find his best form so far at Madrid, however, with injury problems restricting him to just eight La Liga appearances this season.

Antoine Griezmann – £107million

After rejecting Barcelona in 2018, Griezmann finally decided to leave Atletico Madrid for the Nou Camp last summer.

The forward had developed into one of the world’s best players during his five years at Atleti so arrived at his new club with high expectations.

Griezmann overcame a slow start to his Barcelona career and has found his best form in recent weeks, scoring seven goals in his last 12 appearances.

“I want to write the history of this club. I have to work to do it, I have to work to be important for this club,” Greizmann told DAZN.

“I hope to improve both in goals and assists. I’m adapting, trying to learn as much about the tactics as possible.”

Joao Felix – £113million

Atletico Madrid didn’t waste much time and immediately reinvested the Griezmann money on Felix, making the 20-year-old the third most expensive player in history.

The midfielder rose to prominence with his sensational performances for Benfica last season, picking up the coveted Golden Boy award in November.

However, he’s not hit the heights expected of him in Spain just yet, scoring four goals in 24 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side.

Joao Felix

READ: Joao Felix’s nutmeg on Gerard Pique showed the future’s gaining on the past


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