Premier League: The five best signings from the 2020 transfer window

Thiago Alcantara in action for Liverpool

Following the conclusion of the transfer window, Tom Carnduff picks out the five best signings in the Premier League.


The transfer window on Sporting Life


Robin Koch

  • Position: Centre-back
  • Move: Freiburg to Leeds
  • Price: £13m
Robin Koch in action for Leeds

Leeds were on the hunt for a centre-back in this transfer window and were prepared to go up to £30m for Ben White - the loanee who had played every game in their Sky Bet Championship title-winning campaign. However, Brighton were unwilling to negotiate and Leeds had to look elsewhere.

Their search took them to Robin Koch. A German international defender whose ability on the ball also saw him play defensive midfield for Freiburg. Given the way that Marcelo Bielsa wants to play, a centre-back who is comfortable on the ball was a must and Koch fit the mould.

What makes this deal particularly impressive is the fact that Leeds managed to land him for under half of the potential price for White. £13m was enough to do it and Koch has played in all four of Leeds' Premier League games so far.

A shaky start at Anfield was expected but he's grown into the role as time progresses and his partnership with captain Liam Cooper is really beginning to take shape. Not only has he impressed with his ability in possession, his defensive attributes have been strong as well and keeping Manchester City to one goal, when it could have been much more, is a great example of that.

Under a coach like Bielsa, Koch's already impressive £13m fee could look that bit better by the end of the campaign. Leeds have gambled somewhat here but it already looks as if it is paying off.


Thomas Partey

  • Position: Defensive midfield
  • Move: Atletico Madrid to Arsenal
  • Price: £45m
Thomas Partey has joined Arsenal

There was some reluctance to include players who carried a big price tag on this list but Arsenal's deadline day addition of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid could prove to be a genius bit of business.

The defensive midfield area is one which has been problematic for the Gunners as they look to rebuild under Mikel Arteta's guidance. Having been linked with Partey all summer, to pay the release clause hours before the window slammed shut (as we have to say) signals their intent for the campaign.

We could point to the deadline day buy as a panic move; that is a constant theme throughout the final day of the window. However, in this case it appears that Arsenal were willing to wait to see what develops elsewhere, and with rivals not strengthening as much as we'd perhaps expect (yes, Manchester United), they thought it was a good time to act.

Arteta has struggled to find a consistent centre midfield partnership during his time in the dugout but Partey's arrival gives him solidity at the base of midfield. Given Arsenal's talent in attack and the way they want to play, having someone effectively carrying out those defensive duties will be crucial.

Partey was a key part of the Atletico side under Diego Simeone, who was reportedly furious with the move although could do little about it. The 27-year-old featured in 46 games across all competitions last season; he will feature in every Arsenal game barring injury or suspension.


Thiago Alcantara

  • Position: Centre midfield
  • Move: Bayern Munich to Liverpool
  • Price: £20m
Thiago Alcantara joined Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool

It seemed remarkable that Bayern were fairly happy to allow Thiago Alcantara to leave the club. Forgetting the contract situation, the Bavarian giants believed they had enough in midfield with the established partnership of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.

That presented Liverpool with the opportunity to bring Thiago to the club, and at a price of just £20m, it can be viewed as a steal for a player of his quality. The term quarterback has been utilised from the other football and not many can play that role better than the Spanish midfielder.

His ability to dictate proceedings from the middle of the park will help Liverpool significantly as they look to retain their Premier League crown. The midfield is sometimes overlooked in this side, that's not to say it's bad at all, but Thiago's arrival gives that area of the pitch a bigger presence.

We've only seen glimpses of what Thiago can do in a Liverpool shirt; that being the second-half appearance at Chelsea. However, there he completed 82 passes, the second-highest of any player on the pitch, so we can expect him to be the player Liverpool look to play through as they build the attack.

In any other situation, for example in a different window or if Thiago had more years on his contract, that price would be closer to £50m. Liverpool deserve a lot of credit for getting the player at such a low price.


Gareth Bale

  • Position: Winger
  • Move: Real Madrid to Tottenham
  • Price: Loan
Gareth Bale is back at Tottenham

Gareth Bale's time at Real Madrid has been well-documented and a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu seemed likely to happen this summer. But while Manchester United were heavily linked, it was former club Tottenham who managed to secure his signature.

We're yet to see him back in the Premier League due to injury issues but he certainly adds further quality to an attack which has been firing under Jose Mourinho this season. They hit six at Old Trafford while scoring seven at Maccabi Haifa just days early; now imagine what they could do with Bale in that forward line.

The likelihood is that Bale will line-up in the forward three alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, two players who have been in great form, and this Spurs attack should continue to fire following his arrival.

Multiple reports say that Tottenham worked out a deal that had Real paying the majority of Bale's wages; that is a master stroke if true. Either way, however the wages are structured, this is a strong signing for a Spurs side who should be aiming for a top-four spot once again this season.


James Rodriguez

  • Position: Attacking midfield/forward
  • Move: Real Madrid to Everton
  • Price: Free (?)
Everton's James Rodriguez

There has been conflicting reports about James Rodriguez's price tag following his summer switch to Everton, but comments from one of Rodriguez's former clubs in Atletico Banfield has given strength to the belief that it was a free transfer.

Everton were just required to pay out the remainder of Rodriguez's contract at Real Madrid and it may well be the steal of the century if he keeps up his early season form. Reunited with Carlo Ancelotti, the playmaker has three goals and two assists across his first four Premier League appearances.

While predominately an attacking midfielder, Rodriguez has been playing on the right wing of a forward three and has posed a significant threat in every game. The firing form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin combined with Richarlison's great showings has given Everton an attack that is at the top-end of this division.

Everton's transfer business has firmly changed expectations of the Merseyside club. The majority would have had the Toffees in that group of teams just outside the European spots; now we are looking at them as a side who can compete in the top-six throughout the campaign.

The incomings will play a big part in that and Rodriguez tops the charts of impressive signings made at Goodison Park over the past couple of months. His numbers could be huge by the end of the campaign.


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