Darwin Nunez joins the Premier League's biggest deals

Jack Grealish is still proving himself after £100m City switch while Man United may regret splashing almost £200m on Harry Maguire and Paul Pogba… as £85m Darwin Nunez joins Liverpool, how have the Premier League’s other mega-money moves worked out?

  • Darwin Nunez will be one of the most expensive transfers in the Premier League
  • Nunez’s £85million switch to Liverpool will be in the top five biggest deals
  • Jack Grealish, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are the others at the top of the list 
  • Sportsmail takes a look at the Premier League’s top 10 most expensive players 

Darwin Nunez has become one of the Premier League’s most expensive transfers as he has joined Liverpool for a fee that could reach £85million.

The Uruguayan front-man’s move to Anfield is behind the likes of Jack Grealish, Paul Pogba, and funny enough, Romelu Lukaku on two occasions following the completion of his move from Benfica.

The pressure of a big money move doesn’t work out for some while others seem to thrive, but more so it’s a struggle to live up to a huge price tag. 

Sportsmail, takes a look at how the Premier League’s most expensive players have performed under the pressure of a huge price tag.

Striker Darwin Nunez is on the verge of becoming one of the most expensive transfers 

10. Kepa Arrizabalaga – Chelsea (£72m)

A world-record goalkeeper transfer fee of £72million for a second-choice goalkeeper, that is definitely a failed signing.

The Spanish shot-stopper came to the Premier League with lots of promise and perhaps the Blues had to overpay due to Athletic Bilbao’s policy of only fielding players from the Basque region.

The 27-year-old was a regular when he first arrived and performed to an average standard under Maurizio Sarri.

The following season he had the lowest save percentage of goalkeepers in the league, conceding 47 Premier League goals.

It then saw the Blues bring in Eduoard Mendy to replace Kepa and he has very much been second-choice ever since. Although he has still played in his part in different competitions.

Kepa has made 124 appearances in all competitions, but being a second-choice goalkeeper after paying £72m has got to be classed as a failure. 

VERDICT – FAILURE 

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the second-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea despite his £72m transfer fee

9. Kai Havertz – Chelsea (£72m)

The Germany international struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League after his £72million move from Bayern Leverkusen.

He struggled with both injury and illness at first when he arrived at Stamford Bridge and didn’t seem to find his feet under former manager Frank Lampard.

The arrival of Thomas Tuchel was the turning point for the 23-year-old as he has been deployed predominantly in a false nine position ever since.

His overall statistics may not speak volumes, having scored 23 times in 92 appearances for the Blues, but he will forever be a club legend after scoring the Champions League winner against Manchester City in 2021.

Havertz is also very much a big part of Tuchel’s plans going forward and seems to getting better during his time in west London. 

VERDICT – SUCCESS 

Kai Havertz struggled to adapt at first, but is a Blues legend for his Champions League winner

8. Nicolas Pepe – Arsenal (£72m)  

The Ivory Coast winger has so far utterly failed to live up to his mammoth transfer fee since heading to Arsenal in 2019. 

There was plenty of hype and expectation around him when he rocked up at the Emirates, having produced a return of 37 goals and 18 assists in 79 appearances for Lille.

So far in north London, though, Pepe is yet to truly live up to his potential and justify his £72m price-tag. If anything, he has proved he not worth nowhere near that.

A tally of 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 outings is disappointing, and to make matters worse last season he was only given five Premier League starts by Mikel Arteta.

Pepe has fallen behind the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith-Rowe in the pecking order.

The 27-year-old is still young enough to resurrect his Gunners career although that seems unlikely with Pepe wanting a move away. 

VERDICT – FAILURE 

Nicolas Pepe has failed to live up to his £72m price tag and only made five starts last season

7. Jadon Sancho – Manchester United (£73m)

Jadon Sancho was a long-term target for the Red Devils, who finally secured his signature last summer when they forked out £73million.

The England international has endured a torrid first campaign in the Premier League and has failed to adapt. Although having two different managers may not have helped.

He has gone from England’s rising star, who was tearing it up in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund, to missing a penalty in the Euro 2020 final and struggling to even get game time at Old Trafford and not even making the Three Lions squads in the space of one season.

Being just 22, time is on Sancho’s side, and most would expect him to bounce back from his miserable season.

Although, there is fear he might just well become yet another United flop, despite all of his success at a young age in Germany. This season will be massive for the England winger. 

VERDICT – JURY’S OUT 

Jadon Sancho joined Manchester United for £73million last summer and has failed to adapt

6. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (£75m)

The Holland defender is arguably the most successful on this list and one of very few that has lived up to his price tag.

Van Dijk is now praised as one of the best centre-backs in the world and has definitely helped take Liverpool to the next level.

The 30-year-old instantly changed the fortunes of Jurgen Klopp’s team as they reached the first of their three Champions League finals together.

A year later, Van Dijk had that winner’s medal around his neck and was named UEFA Footballer of the Year in 2019 to coincide with his fantastic season. 

Many thought he deserved a Ballon d’Or win, but the great Lionel Messi was the only man to finish above the Dutchman.

He then suffered an ACL injury, which was cause for concern, but he helped the Reds to 21 clean sheets in his 34 Premier League games this season.

Not forgetting they won both the FA Cup and League Cup plus he was named in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Season.

VERDICT – SUCCESS 

Virgil van Dijk has lived up to his £75million price tag by helping take Liverpool to the next level

5. Harry Maguire – Manchester United (£80m)

The England defender has faced intense criticism this season and has not solved any of United’s defensive woes since his £80million move from Leicester in the summer of 2019.

The centre-back joined on the back of impressing massively for the Three Lions on the world stage at the 2018 World Cup – helping Gareth Southgate’s side reach the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Croatia.

Maguire has had his worse season to date since his move to Old Trafford – despite making the team of the tournament at Euro 2020 last summer, where he helped England reach the final, before losing to Italy on penalties.

It is a bizarre one with Maguire as he seems to always step up for his country, but his club form suggests he shouldn’t even be called up for international duty, yet when he is he always impresses.

This season is a big one as to whether he can find his best form once again under new boss Erik ten Hag. Overall, he has not proved he is worth £80m, especially given how many goals United continue to concede.

VERDICT – FAILURE 

The England defender, who cost United £80m, has come under intense criticism this season

4. Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United (£90m)

The Belgian scored 16 and 12 goals in his two Premier League seasons at the Old Trafford club, respectively, before leaving and going on to greater heights at Inter Milan.

All in all, two relatively decent seasons and a sale that recouped most of the fee that was parted with for him, he wasn’t the colossal failure he is sometimes made out to be.

Perhaps his time with the Red Devils he was used as a scapegoat to deal with the miserable form, but overall was he that bad, I don’t think we could say he was as he had a decent return goals wise and the club managed to get a good fee back for the striker.

His success at Inter led to fans questioned whether they should have allowed him to move on, but his form at Chelsea back in the Premier League this season, sees this one as a questionable decision whether it was a failure or success.

We will put it down as a failure given he failed to help United to win any silverware and his time was short lived before it ended on a sour note. 

VERDICT – FAILURE

Romelu Lukaku scored plenty of goals for United, but it was short lived and ended badly 

3. Paul Pogba – Manchester United (£94m)

Paul Pogba arguably one of the best midfielders at the time, moved back to Old Trafford in 2016 with the hope being that he could be the catalyst to take Manchester United back the summit of the Premier League.

But the Frenchman was unable to build on his impressive four Scuetto’s, two Coppa Italia’s and two Supercoppa Italiana’s that he’d won in Italy with Juventus – winning just one League Cup trophy and one Europa League crown during his six years at United.

The World Cup winner made 232 appearances in total for the Red Devils where he notched 39 goals – although he never really found his best form for the club.

Pogba did, however, always find a way to turn it on when he went away on international duty with France and perhaps he just didn’t suit United.

Either way he goes down as a huge failure after they paid £94m only to see him leave on a free transfer this summer upon the expiration of his contract. 

VERDICT – FAILURE

Paul Pogba only managed to help Manchester United win two trophies during his six-year spell

2. Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea (£97m)

The Belgium striker was brought back to Stamford Bridge to resolve their lack of goalscoring, but instead has struggled in front of goal, caused off the pitch issues and is now very much the second-choice to Kai Havertz.

The 29-year-old has struggled to adapt back to life in the Premier League along with injuries after tearing it up in the Serie A for Inter Milan.

After a bright start, Lukaku’s form deteriorated and appeared to be ill-suited to the tactics employed by Thomas Tuchel.

Lukaku even announced in an interview during the season that he wanted to return to Italy, which did not go down well with the Blues, after his big money move back to the club last summer.

There is talk once again about a potential loan move back to Inter this summer after notching 15 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions for the Blues. If he is to move on this summer, it’s a failure.

VERDICT: FAILURE 

Romelu Lukaku has struggled in his second stint at Chelsea since his £97m move last summer

1. Jack Grealish – Manchester City (£100m) 

It’s still early days in terms of Jack Grealish joining Manchester City with the forward only joining Pep Guardiola’s side last summer from Aston Villa for £100million.

Granted, early impressions are that he has been a flop for the Premier League champions, as he spent the majority of the season as an understudy and on the substitutes bench. 

The 26-year-old England international has not settled into his new team, but the expectation is that he may have needed some time to adapt, after being the focal point at Villa for so many years and now being at a team that doesn’t revolve around him.

Nonetheless, four goals and three assists in 29 games is underwhelming by any standard, but all the more so for the most expensive player in Premier League history.

He did, however, help City win the Premier League title and has still been impressive on international duty for England. This deal may just take time. 

VERDICT – JURY’S OUT

Jack Grealish has not impressed yet since his £100million move to Man City last summer




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