Transfer deadline day: The five biggest transfers analysed by football statistics experts WhoScored

7 Sep

In the midst of the international break, the dust has now settled following the close of the transfer window. Deadline day was as hectic as they come, with teams concluding business right up until the final minutes and beyond. Here, WhoScored.com look at the five biggest transfers to go through before the window slammed shut until January.


David Luiz – Chelsea
It may have taken until deadline day for Chelsea to strengthen their defence this summer, with the Blues completing a sensational swoop for the Brazil international with just hours of the window remaining. Antonio Conte’s search for defensive reinforcements took him the length and breadth of Italy, only for a deal for PSG’s Luiz to help improve a somewhat problem position, and even then it took the player to help force the move over the finish line.

In Luiz, though, Conte has a centre-back familiar with the club and the Premier League, but crucially improves the manager’s flexibility at the back. While Conte is yet to use a three-man defence, the arrival of the 29-year-old means he has the ideal centre-back at his disposal to step forward and instigate attacks from defence, similar to Leonardo Bonucci for club and country. Indeed, since the start of last season, only four players in Ligue 1 have played more accurate through balls than Luiz (11). If Conte wishes to explore a three-man defence in the foreseeable future, then he has the ideal defender in the Brazilian to implement this approach.

Moussa Sissoko – Tottenham
Moussa Sissoko insists that he was never close to a move to Everton on deadline day, with Tottenham sneaking the France international through the window before its close. Sissoko was one of three transfers Spurs confirmed last Wednesday and while the north London side perhaps overspent to sign the 27-year-old, he offers manager Mauricio Pochettino some much needed versatility in the midfield. Capable of playing in the midfield or on the right, the Spurs boss can maximise the Frenchman’s powerful running either out wide or in the middle.

Since moving to Newcastle in January 2013, only Eden Hazard (480) and Raheem Sterling (292) have completed more dribbles than Sissoko (271), while in his three full Premier League seasons with Newcastle, he ranked fifth for key passes from open play (175). In the absence of Mousa Dembele, Spurs have lacked a link between the two banks of midfield in Pochettino’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and it’s a role Sissoko is capable of filling, with one of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama holding. Options out wide have also been problematic for Spurs and it’s a role Sissoko can fill having proven so effective there for France at Euro 2016 – only Hazard (24) and Gareth Bale (23) completed more dribbles than Sissoko (18) of all players at the summer’s European Championship, with a majority coming from the right. It’ll be intriguing to see how Pochettino uses the midfielder following his arrival, but Sissoko’s transfer affords his new manager options in the middle of the park, which Spurs have lacked in the past.

Wilfried Bony – Stoke
Perhaps one of the more puzzling transfers of the summer, in that it was bewildering that Wilfried Bony had not departed Manchester City sooner. A host of teams were supposedly interested in the Ivorian, with Stoke ultimately winning the race to sign the striker after he was made surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola. While the 27-year-old underwhelmed on the back of his big money move to the Etihad Stadium, it’s worth noting Bony’s time at Swansea as a true testament of his striking ability. 

In 54 top-flight appearances for the Swans, Bony netted 25 goals, a commendable return. Many seem to forget his impressive strike rate at the Liberty Stadium and Hughes is hoping he can now rediscover his Swansea form following his deadline day switch to the Bet365 Stadium. The main striker has been a problematic position for Stoke under Hughes, with the Welsh manager trying Peter Crouch, Joselu and Mame Biram Diouf as the lone frontman in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Of players to make 20 or more league appearances last season, only Philippe Coutinho (every 19 minutes) and Sergio Aguero (every 20 minutes) had a shot more often than Bony (every 21 minutes) in the Premier League. If he can quickly gel with Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan and Marko Arnautovic in the final third, Bony can transfer these shots to goals as the Potters look to pull away from the relegation zone and push for a European finish.

Islam Slimani – Leicester
Leicester were one of 13 Premier League teams to break their club-record transfer fee at least once this summer, with the champions doing so three times while the window was open. The deadline day capture of Islam Slimani was a long time coming, with the Algerian hotshot strongly linked with a Premier League switch for much of the window. Only Jonas (32) scored more goals than Slimani (27) in Liga NOS last season, with Sporting keen to extract as much as possible from the sale of the frontman.

He parted ways with the Portuguese giants on good terms with a key goal in the 2-1 win over FC Porto prior to the international break. With the pace on offer to Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri, Slimani has the ability and physical stature to flourish in the Premer League. He’s an upgrade on Leonardo Ulloa and should he quickly strike up a partnership with Jamie Vardy, the Algeria star can excel at the King Power Stadium. 

Didier Ndong – Sunderland
Sunderland were another to smash their club-record transfer fee this summer, though did so on the capture of holding midfielder Didier Ndong. While clubs will often break the bank for attacking players, the Black Cats splashed the cash on the tough-tackling 22-year-old to signal David Moyes’ intentions for the club going forward. The Black Cats boss was keen to improve Sunderland’s defensive resilience having conceded five goals in the opening three games of the season, one of the worst returns in England’s top tier so far.

The Gabon international is renowned for his physical approach having committed the second most fouls (73) in Ligue 1 last season, which can ultimately land him in hot water. Indeed, he was red carded 30 minutes into his final appearance for Lorient and was yellow carded 11 times in France’s top tier last term. A failure to conclude a deal for Yann M’Vila prompted the move for Ndong, but he remains a risk. The youngster can be rash in his attempts to win the ball, though Moyes will be hoping he can keep this weakness to his game in check.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.

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