The best signings of the 2019/2020 season

The best signings of the 2019/2020 season

When a transfer is confirmed, the scouts who vouched for it can have worldwide renown, all the pundits can agree on its merit, journalists can write inspiring pieces, fans can line up for the shirts - and still, the reinforcement might be a disappointment. It’s hard across all professions to predict the correct outcomes of the erratic market, but it’s so fun to try. Yet, the wiser way of rating transfers is after a season has concluded, so after an unexpected delay, we have the best signings of the 2019/2020 season for you.

Of course, a season isn’t the whole story of a player or a transfer but it’s a major chapter, usually a great indicator of things to come. Even though the perceived value of transfers can’t be disregarded, as there would be no moves then, the expectations are not always met due to a myriad of reasons. Injuries, managerial changes, personal issues, locker room squirrel…

Some of the names we listed on the predictions for 10 best transfers of the last summer and the January transfer window still found the place on this list. Some will be in the most disappointing transfers of the 2019/2020 but most fall in between.

Taking into account the price, the need for such a player, meeting or exceeding expectations, statistics, and competitions won, these 10 have made the scouts who recommended them proud.

*We’ve not included players who were already at the club on previous long-term loans like Mateo Kovacic for Chelsea and Youri Tielemans Leicester City.

10. Benjamin Pavard - Stuttgart to Bayern Munich for €35,000,000

Coming to a dominant club as a World Cup winner - with a goal of the tournament at that - puts high expectations on anyone. So the fact that Benjamin Pavard exceeded them, while playing through a managerial change early on, then continuing with the inexperienced Hansi Flick, is a testament to the Frenchman.

His versatility helped him reach 32 Bundesliga games, scoring four and assisting five as a defender. Overall, he played in 47 matches in this Bayern's treble-winning season, getting the Champions League, German Cup, and the Bundesliga. Despite not playing in the CL final only because of an injury.

9. Gabriel Martinelli - Ituano to Arsenal for €6,700,000

It's not the size of his transfer fee, as it is the shortest on this list by far, nor is it the sheer stats as they are not outlandish, it's the pure quality and talent that put Gabriel Martinelli on this list. A transfer Arsenal was once known for when the club would dominate every top signings of the season list by unearthing a gem.

After years of waiting, they achieved that again with Martinelli, a player whom Jurgen Klopp called a "generational talent" which is a huge deal in Germany. The Brazilian forward played in 14 PL games, but overall he reached 26 appearances for the Gunners with 10 goals and four assists. Most of all, he made the often depressed Arsenal fans dream about potentially having a teenage superstar on their hands.

8. Manuel Lazzari - SPAL to Lazio for €13,750,000

For the longest time Lazio was the only team competing with Juventus and while the fuel and the wheels were Luis Alberto’s assists and Ciro Immobile’s goals, the engine was Manuel Lazzari. The only big reinforcement Simone Inzaghi got to turn his side from a nice cup surprise to a legitimate Champions League member.

In a formation that leaves the whole right side to him, Lazzari was a freight train with no quit. Playing in 40 games over the course of the season and getting four assists doesn’t sound great but Lazzari was often the driving force who carried the ball out like a running back. With Lazio in the CL after more than a decade, he definitely deserves a spot amongst the best signings of the 2019/2020 season.

7. Wissam Ben Yedder - Sevilla to Monaco for €40,000,000

When you make a top signings of the season list despite your club's season getting cancelled you've been more than impressive. Wissam Ben Yedder was a solid striker for Sevilla with 70 goals in nearly twice that many matches, but he exploded at Stade Louis II. In just 26 games he got to play in Ligue 1, Ben Yedder scored 18 goals and got himself seven assists!

Monaco still wasn't performing as the club of the stature and investment ought to but they were much better than in the season prior. Much to the help of the 30-year-old striker who needs to continue what he started.

6. Lucas Ocampos - Marseille to Sevilla for €15,000,000

Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi came to the club last summer and immediately reminded everyone he’s the biggest shopaholic in Europe. Yet out of all those 12 major signings Sevilla received, one stood out and that is Lucas Ocampos. Coming into his prime at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium, the Argentian winger scored 14 La Liga goals in 33 matches with three assists to lead Sevilla into the CL spot.

Perhaps even more importantly, Ocampos led his side into the Europa League final with a semifinal goal against Manchester United. Resulting in Sevilla's sixth trophy in the competition. With a small fee, Monchi can already put Ocampos in the header of his CV.

5. Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United to Inter for €75,000,000

Surely the holder of the number two spot if only he managed to perform in the biggest game of the season - the Europa League final. Yet, despite his good start and scoring early against Sevilla, Big Rom squandered a massive chance at a crucial point and then scored an own goal to give the Spanish side the trophy. An unforgiving breakdown for a player paid as much as he was.

A huge blemish to his freshman year at Giuseppe Meazza, a failing grade after a year of exemplary performances. In the 36 games of Serie A Romelu scored 23 times and his overall record is equally impressive with 51 games and 34 matches. Romelu still needs to find a way to perform in the biggest moments in order to remain a great purchase. A seasonal slip-up can go unpunished but making it a habit will cost him his legacy.

4. Bruno Fernandes - Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United for €80,000,000

The top end of this list of best signings of the 2019/2020 season is dominated by players who made their switch only in January. Yet, the prolongated second part of the season was enough for the likes of Bruno Fernandes to completely captivate the footballing public in England.

Mostly earning and converting penalties, Bruno tallied up eight Premier League goals with seven assists. Overall, his half-season at Old Trafford saw him score 12 times as the Red Devils secured a CL spot but failed to win the Europa League.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy to Milan for free

Still, a major difference-maker at 38 years of age Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the main reason why Milan was a completely different side after the COVID-19 break. The veteran didn't only bring goals but his trademark personality to make the timid squad around him into lions.

But the old man also brought goals - in just 18 Serie A games the tall striker scored 10 times and recorded five assists to his new soldiers. In the two cup games he also scored one but his impact - as testified by his teammates - is on the morale of the squad and the level of performance Zlatan demands.

2. Nicolo Barella - Cagliari to Inter on loan then €25,000,000

In the young Italian buck, Nicolo Barella Nerazzurri didn't only get a textbook box to box midfielder, they got a symbol of their resurgence. Never to back down, never to see the ball as lost, Barella was a running force in Inter's run to the Serie A and Europa League contention. A true dynamo.

In the 41 games he played this season across the continental and domestic competitions, the 23-year-old scored four goals and assisted twice as many. All while showing maturity beyond his age and experience as he is becoming a man certain to captain Inter sooner rather than later.

1. Erling Braut Haaland - Red Bull Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund for €20,000,000

If COVID-19 didn’t steal it from him, regardless of titles and trophies, the 2019/2020 would’ve been Erling Braut Haaland’s season. He was brilliant in the first half of the year with Red Bull Salzburg but the public experienced a Haalandanza after his move to Borussia Dortmund. Scoring five goals in the first 59 minutes he played in the yellow shirt made everyone ask who is this crazy/calm teen from Norway.

While BVB didn’t pay much to Red Bull, the transfer fee was increased drastically by agent fees and the signing on fee. But it was all well worth it as Erling scored 16 goals in 18 matches he played for the new side with three assists too. All while becoming one of the world's biggest stars in a record-short time.

Who are the best signings of the 2019/2020 season that we didn’t include on this list? Take a look at the most disappointing signings of the season too. 


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