The worst XI Premier League signing so far this season

The 2021/22 Premier League season is striding ever closer to its conclusion.

With the title race, relegation scrap and top four battle looking clearer with each game week, fans of the English game are starting to get a good idea about how the current campaign will be remembered.

Plus, the season now being six months old means that we can take a rounded and considered look at how the 20 clubs’ various signings for 2021/22 have adapted to their new surroundings.

2021/22 Premier League signings

How has Romelu Lukaku fared at Chelsea? How quickly has Jadon Sancho settled in at Manchester United? These are the sorts of questions that we can start to answer with greater substance now.

And having already given our thoughts on the Premier League’s most disappointing XI of signings this season, we wanted to take a look at the performances of the new arrivals through a different lens.

This time, we’re turning our attention to statistics in order to get a more comprehensive idea about which signings have failed to make the adjustments and adaptations that they would have liked to in 2021/22.

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Who is struggling the most?

To do so, we’ve called upon the data gurus at WhoScored where every Premier League player is awarded a match rating for each appearance they make based on multiple key statistics.

And when said match ratings are averaged out across the campaign so far, we can just about get the most objective ranking of Premier League footballers that can possibly be achieved.

So, taking that premise and only looking at players with more total appearances than the average across the division, we’ve been able to compile the season’s worst-performing XI of Premier League signings.

Worst XI of Premier League signings

With United, Leicester City and Everton purchases all featuring, it’s an eye-opening look at the players whose 2021/22 moves simply haven’t paid off yet, so be sure to check out the line-up down below:

GK Álvaro Fernández (Brentford) – 6.46

Poor Fernández was doomed from the start given that his main competition was Jose Sa and Aaron Ramsdale, but just a single clean sheet from 12 Premier League outings makes for damning reading nonetheless.

DF: Romain Perraud (Southampton) – 6.44

Don’t expect Perraud to be featuring in the XI for long because he’s really starting to come to life on the Saints’ defensive flanks, but clearly a slow start to life in English football has cost him in the stats.

DF: Ben Gibson (Norwich City) – 6.42

Sure, this is something of a technicality because Gibson was on loan at Carrow Road last season, but we shouldn’t be shocked that a signing at the heart of the league’s leakiest defence slots into the back line.

DF: Junior Firpo (Leeds United) – 6.39

A great signing on paper, but an underwhelming one in practice. Firpo has only been a part of three Premier League clean sheets this season despite arriving on the back of more than 40 appearances for Barcelona.

RM: Jadon Sancho (Manchester United) – 6.41

By far and away the most high-profile signing in the XI, Sancho is slowly finding his feet at Old Trafford, but just a single Premier League goal contribution in six months just isn’t good enough for a £73-million purchase.

CM: Boubakary Soumaré (Leicester City) – 6.47

To be fair to Soumaré, there are very few Leicester players who can hold their head up high this season, but the title-winning dynamism that he brought to Lille has been distinctly lacking in the Premier League.

CM: Billy Gilmour (Norwich City) – 6.47

A surprising one, this, because it’s clear that Gilmour has bags of talent and potential. It just feels as though jumping in the deep end of a relegation fight with the Canaries has backfired for his career progression.

CM: Frank Onyeka (Brentford) – 6.41

It’s not been all sunshine and rainbows for the Bees since their historic promotion and Onyeka has given them very little for their £9 million investment so far with zero goal contributions from the heart of midfield.

LM: Yoane Wissa (Brentford) – 6.30

The lowest-rated signing of all, Wissa has only been afforded three Premier League starts by Thomas Frank this season, but his return of three goals isn’t bad from just 506 minutes in his defence.

ST: Josh Sargent (Norwich City) – 6.34

Sargent has undoubtedly found adapting to life in the Premier League tough, but hopefully his stunning brace against Watford – his only league goals so far – can be the catalyst needed to turn things around.

ST: Salomon Rondon (Everton) – 6.34

With all due respect to Rondon, this might be the most inexplicable signing of the bunch and it’s hard to imagine that Frank Lampard will be keeping around Rafael Benitez’s most damning purchase around for long.

Still time to turn things around

Now, look, there are countless examples of players both newly arriving in the Premier League and switching clubs in the division who become club legends despite having initially flopped.

So, although the likes of Sancho, Rondon and Firpo might not have hit the ground running in their new surroundings, we’d love nothing more than to see them prove both the statistics and critics wrong further down the line.

At the end of the day, data is only one lens through which we can view the beautiful game and there is plenty of talent within the line-up to suggest the statistics will soon look far more aesthetically-pleasing.

For now, though, it’s fair to say that there’s some work to be done


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