The transfer window started slowly, but as the opening weekend fast approaches, managers are looking to finish their business.

So, if you don't know your Ben White from your Mwepu, then let me help. Number crunching in the hope of unearthing the next Bruno, I look at six of this summer's big signings…

Biggest FPL Summer Signings

Alphonse Areola - West Ham (£5.0m)

Lukasz Fabianski peaked in 2018/19 with 10.9 xG prevented and has been a fairly consistent performer.

However, in recent seasons, he has had a negative xG prevented, and the Polish shot-stopper is seemingly on the wane and coming to the end of his career aged 36. It made sense for David Moyes to seek out other options.

In terms of transfers, the acquisition of Areola is brilliant, but it provides fantasy managers, who are targeting a Hammers goalkeeper, with a selection headache.

The former Paris Saint-Germain No.1 impressed during his loan spell at Craven Cottage last term with the 4th best xG prevented stopping 3.3 goals. Only Nick Pope, Emiliano Martinez and Alisson managed better numbers.

His exceptional ability between the sticks was one of the only reasons why Fulham stayed competitive for as long as they did, and this could be a shrewd signing before Fabianski's drop becomes too pronounced.

With European football on the horizon, it made sense to strengthen in this department.  

Ibrahima Konate - Liverpool (£5.5m)

The 2020/21 campaign was tough on Liverpool, who lost several players to serious long-term injuries. Their metrics saw a considerable drop off across the board from the previous season when they were amongst Europe's elite.

The Reds went from conceding 33 goals and massively overperforming their xG in 2019/20 to letting in 42 goals and marginally overperforming during the latter part of the season.

The main problem was the loss of central defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip causing a ripple effect throughout the team, which saw Jordan Henderson and Fabinho played out of position.

Konate provides that defensive cover, but he is much more than a backup and will comfortably slot straight into the team.

He has all the necessary attributes to succeed at Anfield with his great passing ability and incredible understanding of the game, which allows him to press the ball effectively.

Konate has high aerial duel success numbers comparable to Van Dijk, and he will add to their set-piece threat.

Ben White - Arsenal (£4.5m)

The Gunners paid a premium for the Brighton defender, but in return, they are getting one of the Premier League's best young centre backs.

He was tutored by two brilliant managers in Marcelo Bielsa and Graham Potter, who have moulded different parts of his game.

This has turned White into one of the archetypal modern central defenders: having the ability to defend and create attacking play from the back.

Although he was prone to the odd mistake, David Luiz was important to the Gunners style of play, and White plugs that gap while adding more defensive solidity.

White makes a vast number of progressive passes per game and is a competent presser. He will allow Arsenal to play from the back, the way Mikel Arteta wants, and he joins an Arsenal defence that was much improved during the second half of last season.

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Enock Mwepu - Brighton (£6.0m)

The Seagulls splashed the cash on the RB Salzburg midfielder and, in doing so, have turned a few heads bringing in a player who has garnered a lot of attention and praise.

His purchase is another shrewd, data-based signing showing how well the club is being run. Mwepu will help with shot and chance creation, plus he can hopefully improve defensive output.

In last season's Champions League, the 23-year-old posted some incredible data, contributing at both ends of the field. He showcased his ability to press effectively, tackle and also recycle possession into attacks.

In terms of his data in the Austrian Bundesliga, he was an outlier in his brilliance with 99th percentile xG build-up, 97th percentile for dribbling and 86th percentile for deep progressions to help attacks.

Mwepu ranked in the 99th and 98th percentiles for adjusted tackles and interceptions data. Brighton have a real gem, and this signing is yet another demonstration of the clubs' desire to establish themselves as a bonafide top-flight club.

Hopefully, Mwepu can help the side match their fantastic data from previous seasons.

Patson Daka - Leicester City (£7.5m)

This man was bought to replace Erling Haaland when he moved to Borussia Dortmund, and the former Salzburg star will be hoping to continue his success story by one day taking over the mantle left by Jamie Vardy.

Daka set the Austrian League alight over the past few seasons: winning the Golden Boot and averaging 1.24 goals per 90.

Looking at his underlying data, you can easily see why he is seen as the apparent heir to Vardy as he bettered the Leicester legend for xG per 90 in 2020/21 by close to double.

Vardy managed 0.63xG per 90 compared to Daka at 1.11xG, although more indicative of the Zambian's brilliance, is the fact that he comfortably outperformed his xG by 2.9 goals, while Vardy underperformed.

His style is also similar to Vardy in that he is incredibly quick and difficult for defenders to mark, but he does not shoot in volume. Like the Leicester talisman, he loves to shoot from high xG situations in the box, and thus his xG per shot is an incredibly high 0.24.

It will be interesting to see how much game time Daka will get this season; Brendan Rodgers has a few conundrums to solve in terms of his starting XI. One thing is for sure, Daka has the potential to be brilliant in the Premier League.

Jadon Sancho - Manchester United (£9.5m)

Last season, one of United's major problems was their inability to break teams down when Bruno Fernandes was not at his best. If the Portuguese star had a quiet game, then inherently, the rest of the team would too.

Overall, Bruno and United performed well throughout, but the addition of Sancho will help ease the burden.

In Sancho, they have acquired one of the finest creators in Europe: ranked in the 99th percentile for assists per 90 across the Top Five league's and in the 94th percentile for expected assists.

He will allow the team to create with his progressive play, and based on the fact that he is in the top 1% for passes into the penalty area, Edinson Cavani or Anthony Martial will be given high xG opportunities to convert.

He was one of the most sought after talents in Europe, and United have shown real ambition by bringing him in.


*Credit for the main photo belongs to Glyn Cirk / Pool via AP*

 

FIRST PUBLISHED: 4th July 2021

About the Author
By
Ben Dinnery Football Expert

Ben Dinnery is the founder of Premier Injuries, a website used to track and record injury data for the British Premier League.

Described by The Telegraph as the “country’s leading data injury analyst,” Ben provides statistic insight and data to a host of broadsheet outlets and some of the world’s leading media organisations.

A regular contributor on talkSPORT radio and BBC Radio 5 Live, Ben’s data is published globally through his work with Sky Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN plus a host of other leading media broadcasters.