By 90Min
February 23, 2019

We're now at the stage of the season where 'he hasn't been there long' is no longer an acceptable excuse for the poor performances of any of your club's summer additions, and with that comes the opportunity to appraise with hindsight the business Premier League clubs did in the close season. 

Obviously good signings are fun, and high-profile flops also offer a degree of entertainment value; but the most satisfying demographic is that of the modestly impressive under-the-radar incomings who have largely avoided the wider headlines. 

Here, we celebrate the summer signings you overlooked, forgot about, or just didn't realise had only signed this season. 


Ben Foster

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35-year-old Ben Foster signed for Watford from relegated West Brom for what now seems like a nominal £2.5m fee back in July, and with the World Cup in full-swing at the time, literally no one caught on. 

He lined up against Brighton on the opening day of the season, in fact, and most casual Match of the Day viewers didn't even register that he'd moved clubs - it just seemed fitting that he was a Watford player. 

So far, though, he's played every minute of the Premier League season and provided a solid basis for what has been a formidable unit that finds itself well in contention for European football next season. A lot was made of Liverpool and Chelsea breaking world records to land new keepers - but Foster's influence at the Hornets has certainly been felt to a comparable degree. 


David Brooks 

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While Bournemouth have developed a well-deserved reputation in their short time in the Premier League as a side who get the absolute most out of limited resources, but the £10m they shelled out to land Brooks from Sheffield United in July represents only their fifth most expensive signing of the season so far. 

With more established attackers such as Jordon Ibe and Ryan Fraser initially ahead of him in the pecking order, you could have forgiven the 21-year-old for taking some time to settle in. 

Instead, he has hit the ground running, becoming the Cherries' chief creator with six goals and four assists from 21 Premier League appearances so far, and he's only getting started. 


Issa Diop

James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Diop was by no means a low-profile signing when he arrived at West Ham for almost £22m from Toulouse, as he was seen as one of the most promising young centre backs on the planet before a fee was even agreed. 

Amid the cluster of players brought in for Manuel Pellegrini's first season in charge, though, his arrival was firmly in the shadow of that of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Has that hindered his development? Not in the slightest. He's been an ever-present at the back and, provided he doesn't move on in the near future, he will likely be a centre piece of Pellegrini's plans for years to come. 


Raul Jimenez

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Wolves were expected to make a mark upon their return to the Premier League after a record-breaking Championship season, but it is to their credit that despite the lofty expectations placed on them, they have gone on to surprise everyone with just how good they have been. 

As crucial a part of that as any other player is Mexican target man Raul Jimenez, whose 11 goals in 30 games since signing on loan from Benfica in the summer have propelled them to 7th place as we enter the home straight.

His goals aside, though, the part of his game that doesn't get anywhere near enough credit is his hold-up play. While Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are crucial cogs of the machine in the engine room, and Diogo Jota's pace out wide drives them forward, you could argue that Jimenez is the one player who is absolutely indispensable given the unique role he plays in leading the line. 


Xherdan Shaqiri

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Signed just after the Nabil Fekir deal so publicly collapsed, Liverpool fans feared the worst when Shaqiri was announced, thinking he was simply a budget alternative to the France international. On a value-for-money basis, though, you could make the case for Shaqiri, at £13m from Stoke, as one of the best signings of the window. 

Initially used sparingly, as he was expected to be, his performances quickly made him an important part of an attacking quartet spearheaded by Salah. And then there was that brace off the bench to sink Manchester United. 

Just having him in the squad as an alternative to one of Firmino, Mane or Salah makes the Reds incomparably stronger than they were last season. 


Victor Camarasa 

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Given their budget constraints compared to their rivals, if Cardiff hadn't got the signing of Camarasa right, then their season could be very different than it is now. 

As things stand, they are just about keeping their heads above water in 17th place - which is a bit more than most expected - but there have been times earlier in the season where, without his creativity, they simply would not have been able to break the opposition down due to their lack of quality in the final third. 

Should they stay up, making his loan move from Real Betis a permanent one should be top of the agenda in the summer window. 


Cheikhou Kouyate

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Crystal Palace were quick to move on Kouyate when it became clear he wasn't part of West Ham's plans in the summer and, after a brief settling-in period, he has demonstrated exactly why Roy Hodgson was prepared to invest just short of £10m in the tenacious midfielder. 

A regular at the heart of midfield so far, he has marshalled a would-be struggling Palace side to 13th place and, though only three points clear of danger, you get the impression that they have enough about them to more than keep their heads above water.

Even without Zaha.

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