Expensive EPL Signings 2016/2017 Season
We are just 2 weeks away from the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season. Unlike the previous years most of the attention heading into the new 2016/2017 season has been on the debutant managers. The likes of Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Jurgen Klopp & Arsene Wenger have been mostly in the news but a lot of big money signings have joined the Premier League. In today’s Transfer News we look at the six most expensive Premier League signings of the Summer.
Granit Xhaka – Arsenal 2016/17
Worth: 45€ million
It’s been over a month since Xhaka made the switch from Borussia Monchengladbach to Arsenal. The Swiss international as of now still remains the most expensive Premier League transfer of the summer.
The 23yr old advanced through the youth ranks at Basel and made his professional debut with the Swiss Club itself. In his first professional season (2010/11) at the age of 17 he went onto make 26 appearances for Basel and even scored on his debut.
Granit Xhaka was named in the Bundesliga’s 2014/15 team of the season
Xhaka would remain with Basel for one more season before the bigger European clubs came calling for his signature. The youngster though was more focused on game time and was prepared to go under the radar and signed with German club Borussia Monchengladbach.
Xhaka would spend a total of 4 seasons with Monchengladbach making 140 appearances from them in all competitions. The 23yr old has been equally impressive for his national side after making his international debut for Switzerland at the age of 18.
As of July,2016 he has already made 44 appearances for Switzerland making the squad for the 2014 World Cup & Euro 2016.
Xhaka had the option of playing for Albania and Switzerland but opted for the later because Albania slacked off. Granit’s brother Taulant Xhaka plays for Albania and the two of them faced each other in the 2016 Euro Group Stage. Granit Xhaka was named the man of match in which Switzerland came out as 1-0 winners.
Success: Under 17 World Cup , Under 21 Euro Runners-up
Position: Central Midfield
Preferred Foot: Left
Strength: Passing & Long balls
Sadio Mane – Liverpool 2016/17
Worth: 41€ million
The memories of Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke will be fresh in the memories of Liverpool Supporters. Sadio Mane is the club’s third most expensive signing in history and the question will be whether he’ll be able to live upto his price tag.
Sadio Mane was a product of the Senegalese Football Academy, Academie Generation Foot. After spending his entire youth career at his home country he signed his first professional contract at the age of 19 with French Club FC Metz. In his first season itself Mane made 19 appearances for his club but his side were relegated to the French 2nd division.
The 24yr old Senegalese international with his 41€ million switch from Southampton to Liverpool became the most expensive African in history.
At the start of his second professional season he was signed by Austrian Club Red Bull Salzburg. Mane blossomed during his time with the Austrian Club scoring 19 goals in his first season and 23 in his second. It wasn’t before long that his goal scoring exploits caught the attention of Southampton who signed the player for the 2014/15 season.
Time at Southampton and International Career
Mane adapted well to the Premier League and impressed in his first season itself which he ended with a tally of 10 goals in all competitions. He improved in his second season as he ended the season as Southampton‘s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals.
Sadio Mane has tasted success early on his career with a domestic double with Red Bull Salzburg in the 2013/14 season.
It should be noted that Mane broke Anfield Legend Robbie Fowler’s record of the fastest hat trick in a premier league game in his first season. Mane scored his hat trick against Aston Villa in the space of just 2 minutes and 56 seconds while Fowler’s old record stood at 4 minutes and 33 seconds.
Mane has had a blossoming International career making 36 appearances and scoring 10 goals for Senegal.
Success: 2013-14 Austrian Bundesliga, 2013-14 Austrian Cup
Position: Attacking Midfielder (Prefers Left)
Preferred Foot: Right
Strength: Dribbling, Vision
Michy Batshuayi – Chelsea 2016/17
Worth: 40€ million
The 22yr old had a eventful youth career spending time in the academies of as many as 5 clubs including Brussels, Anderlecht & finally Standard Liege. Batshuayi finally settled at Standard Liege at signed his first professional contract with the Belgian club at the age of 17.
The Belgian made his debut for the club in the 2010/11 season at the age of 18. The 2011/12 was Batshuayi’s break out season as he featured in 33 games for the club in all competitions and scoring 9 goals in total. Batshuayi ended his time with Standard Liege at the end of the 2013/14 season as he made the switch to Ligue 1 with Marseille.
Nicknamed Batman, Batshuayi scored a total of 23 goals for Standard Liege in his final season for the club. He was awarded the Ebony Shoe Award for his performance.
Time at Marseille & International Career
Most of Batshuayi’s appearance for Marseille in his first season came from the substitutes bench. He did however manage to find the back of the net 10 times in all competitions. The 22yr old was promoted as the club’s first choice striker in his second season and he didn’t disappoint, slotting in 23 goals in 50 appearances.
“He’s very young, but great potential. He uses both feet, very fast & good technique and I think he’s a good buy” – Conte on Michy Batshuayi.
His performances for Marseille saw him receiving the call up to the Belgian National side and even scored on his debut. Batshuayi also featured for Belgium in Euro 2016 and scored his first competitive international goal against Hungry in the Round of 16’s. Not only has Batshuayi been an efficient goalscorer but has also created as many as 9 goals for both club and country in the 2014/15 season.
Position: Center Forward
Preferred Foot: Equally adept
Weakness: Keeping Possession, Tracking Back
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Eric Bertrand Bailly – Manchester United 2016/17
Worth: 38.5€ million
Manchester United’s latest acquisition Eric Bertrand Bailly is the only defender in our list. Bailly at the age of 22 is vastly inexperienced at the highest level but Mourinho has seen potential in the youngster to invest so heavily.
Bailly’s 38.5€ million switch to Manchester United makes him the club’s most Expensive defender in their history. On his debut he’ll become the 1st Ivorian to play for United.
Eric Bailly rose through the youth system at Espanyol & made his professional debut with Espanyol B. Bailly was never fully given an opportunity at Espanyol despite making appearances for the main squad in the 2014/15 season.
Time at Villarreal and International Career
The 2015 January transfer window saw him making the switch to fellow La Liga side Villarreal for 5.7€ million. He impressed in his time with Villarreal making a total of 51 appearances for the yellow submarines. He played in a pivtol role in a defense that kept 17 clean sheets in the La Liga last season.
Bailly scored his first and only senior goal till date for Villarreal in the 2015/16 season.
The 22yr old has turned into a main stay in the Ivory Coast national squad. Bailly played a pivtol role in the countries 2015 African Cup of Nations success appearing in all six of their games. The youngster even converted his spot kick in their penalty shot-out win over Ghana in the finals.
Success: African Cup of Nation Champions 2015, Europa League semifinalist 2015/16
Position: Centre Back
Preferred Foot: Right
Strength: Dribbling, Tackling, Positional Play
Weakness: Keeping Possession, Over Confidence
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea 2016/17
Worth: 36€ million
Kante spend bulk of his youth career with French club JS Surenes. He made the switch to then French 2nd division club US Boulogne in the 2010/11 season. His senior debut with the club came in the 2011/12 season at the age of 20.
The 2012/13 was his coming off age season as he featured in all but one of Boulogne’s 38 league games. Kante’s performances attracted interest from Ligue 2 side Caen who signed him prior to the 2013/14 season. In his first itself he would feature in all 38 League games for Caen and helped them gain promotion to Ligue 1.
Kante has been compared to Claude Makelele but has quoted Lassana Diara as his inspiration.
He improved reputation further in this 2nd season with Caen featuring in 37 league games for the club and helping them stay in Ligue 1. Kante was scouted by Leicester City who moved swiftly to sign the player for a fee of 8€ million.
Time at Leicester & International Career
The French International featured in all but one of Leicester’s 37 league games last season. Kante’s contribution to the Foxes’ Premier League success in second to none as he had registered more tackles & interceptions than anyone else in the league.
Kante been hailed by both Wenger and Ferguson as their 2015/16 Premier League player of the year.
His performance’s with Leicester caught the attention of French National team coach Didier Deschamps and he made his debut against Netherlands in March 2016. Kante also featured in the Euro 2016 campaign for France. France finished runners-up behind Portugal but Kante didn’t feature in the final.
Success: 2015/16 Premier League title, 2015/16 PFA Team of the Year
Position: Centre Midfield
Preferred Foot: Right
Strength: Tackling, Interceptions and Through Balls
Weakness: Ariel Strength
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Manchester United 2016/17
Worth: 36€ million
27-yr old Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the oldest player in our list. Nicknamed Miki, Mkhitaryan rose through the youth ranks at Armenian club FC Pyunik and made his professional debut with them at the age of 17.
Mkhitaryan would spend a total of 4 seasons with Pyunik scoring 35 times in 87 appearances. He won the Armenian league four times, Armenian Super Cup twice and the Armenian Cup once with Pyunik.
His first taste of football outside his country was with Ukrainian club, FC Metalurh Donetsk whom he joined ahead of the 2009/10 season. After scoring 14 times in his debut season Miki was named the club captain ahead of the 2010/11 season. However he made 8 appearances for the club in his second season before Ukrainian giants Shaktar Dontesk signed him for 10€ million.
Mkhitaryan adapted slowly to his new club but still made 27 appearances in his debut season. Mkhitaryan was more influential in his second season helping the club to the League and Ukrainian Cup double with 11 goals.
The 2012/13 season was his coming off age season as he slotted in 29 goals in 42 appearances. His 25 goals in the league was a record for most goals by a single player in a season.
Time at Dortmund & International Career
Summer of 2013 saw Borussia Dortmund come calling for his signature and he subsequently made the 25 million switch. Unlike his first season at Shaktar Mkhitaryan adapted well to his new club as he scored 13 goals in 46 games for the club.
Miki struggled a bit in his second season mostly due to injuries but still won the 2014 DFL Super Cup. Mkhitaryan’s third season with Dortmund proved to be his best in his career as he scored 23 and provided 15 assists for them in all competitions.
Mkhitaryan was named Bundesliga‘s players player of the season – 2015/16.
Mkhitaryan made his International debut in a Friendly against Panama at the age of 17. The player was named in Euro 2012 qualifying stage Dream Team for his six goals in the tournament. He became the captain of the side in 2013 and to this day has made 59 appearances for his country and scored 19 goals.
Success: Armenian Super League (2006,07,08 & 09), Ukrainian Super League (2010/11,11/12 & 12/13), Armenian Super Cup (2007 & 2009), Ukrainian Cup (2010/11, 11/12 & 12/13), Armenian Cup (2009), Ukrainian Super Cup (2012) & DFL Super Cup 2014.
Position: Attacking Midfield
Preferred Foot: Both
Strength: Dribbling, Passing, Crossing
Transfer News – Verdict
One can say that the Premier League clubs have invested in the future with all but one of the 6 players mentioned under the age of 26. The worrying part of these transfers however are their prices. Raheem Sterling and Memphis Depay are examples as to how price tag’s can affect the performance of young players.
Mkhitaryan and Kante are our picks as the most justified of their price tags. Sadio Mane & Eric Bailly though have a lot to prove in the coming season. It’s interesting as to how the richest club in England, Manchester City are yet to make a big money signings.
We will be keeping an eye on Manchester City so wait for more Transfer News from us.
 Summer 2016 Transfers Premier League, 2016