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Top 12 signings of the 2018-19 Premier League season

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As we enter the final seven weeks of the Premier League season, now seems like a good time to focus on which players have stood out at their new clubs.

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From new star strikers to game-changing playmakers and much-needed defensive additions, a lot of clubs were extremely shrewd in the transfer market last summer.

Below we rank the top 12 signings of the season across the PL based on their performance so far.


1. Raul Jimenez (Wolves, on loan from Benfica) – The Mexican striker is Wolves’ top scorer and has them in seventh in the PL and in the FA Cup semis. Wolves are probably the best-ever newly-promoted team in PL history and his hold-up play, finishing and ability to run in behind and link-up with Diogo Jota is a big part of that. Now, they must try to sign him permanently. That is the hard part as clubs all over Europe are now chasing him after a wonderful debut campaign in the PL.


2. David Brooks (Bournemouth from Sheffield United, $15.2 million) – This was an absolute bargain. Brooks, 21, has shone in the top-flight and surprised everyone, including himself, at how well he has adapted. In his first PL season he has brought pace and trickery and he’s complemented Bournemouth’s other forwards perfectly. The Welsh winger has a bright future.


3. Joao Moutinho (Wolves from AS Monaco, $6.6 million) – The man who makes Wolves tick, the experienced Portuguese midfielder has oozed class and his set-piece deliveries cause all kinds of problems. Alongside Ruben Neves he just keeps chipping away, keeps the ball effortlessly and his range of passing is sublime. A real unsung hero. And a bargain.


4. Sokratis (Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund, $23.4 million) – After a bit of a shaky start, he’s come into his own in recent months and is one of the first names on Arsenal’s teamsheet. The towering Greek defender is a real character and is making the defenders around him better. A proper no-nonsense center half, Sokratis is becoming a cult hero at Arsenal and is a big reason they are in the top four.


5. Richarlison (Everton from Watford, $53 million) – It was big money for a Brazilian youngster who had just one season in the PL under his belt, but it was money well spent by Marco Silva. Richarlison, 21, has been called up to the full Brazil team and has scored 13 goals in his debut season at Everton. His pace has been crucial for the Toffees and although he’s played up front a lot on his own, out wide is where he is at his best.


6. Salomon Rondon (Newcastle, on loan from West Brom) – The big Venezuelan striker has been a revelation for the Magpies as Rafael Benitez has built his entire attack around Rondon. Able to hold the ball up and finish off plentiful crosses into the box, Rondon is perfectly suited for this Newcastle side. He gets the best out of the attackers around him, and his goal return of 10 is pretty decent for a team which has struggled at the bottom for most of this season. You’d think Newcastle will sign Rondon permanently this summer, but he does have one more year left on his contract at West Brom.


7. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal from Sampdoria, $33 million) – A huge signing for Arsenal, as Torreira has added extra bite to the Gunners midfield. After a wonderful start to life in England he has been a little subdued in recent weeks, but he has still been very important in pushing them into the top four.


8. Felipe Anderson (West Ham from Lazio, $42 million) – The Brazilian playmaker has lived up to his status as the Hammers’ club-record signing, with some classy performances. His goals have dried up but he has continued to deliver consistently good displays. A little inconsistent, but very good overall.


9. Rui Patricio (Wolves from Sporting Lisbon, $20 million) – Initially a free transfer after the player situation at Sporting, Wolves have agreed to pay $20 million for the Portuguese international goalkeeper via a tribunal. That is still a bargain. Patricio has made some wonderful saves and his distribution is very good and he brings a calming influence to the defense.


10. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford from Barcelona, $14.7 million) – Okay, he was on loan at Watford last January, but he didn’t play too well in the second half of last season. That said, Watford signed him permanently in the summer and he’s been very good with seven goals and five assists so far. A nomadic career finally seems to have settled down for the 25-year-old Spaniard.


11. James Maddison (Leicester from Norwich, $26.5 million) – The young Englishman has settled into life in the PL very quickly and he’s scored some stunning goals. Maddison has been called up to the England squad but didn’t make his debut, however he is a key part of Leicester’s future under new manager Brendan Rodgers. A fast start to the campaign has dissipated, but in recent weeks he has picked up form again. At 22, he has so much potential.


12. Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal from Lorient, $9.2 million) – Like Torreira, his arrival made a big difference early in the season but he has gone off the boil a little bit. That said, for a 19-year-old he has shown admirable maturity and the way he rattles into challenges and keeps the ball is a perfect fit for the Premier League. A rising star.


Notable buys: Alisson (Liverpool from AS Roma, $74 million), Fabinho (Liverpool from AS Monaco, $51 million), Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth from ), Harry Arter (Cardiff City from Bournemouth, loan), Lucas Digne (Everton from Barcelona, $23 million), Andre Gomes (Everton from Barcelona, loan), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham from Newcastle, $25 million), Issa Diop (West Ham from Toulouse, $29 million), Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham from Swansea, $9.2 million), Willy Boly (Wolves from FC Porto, $15.9 million)


Bonus – Best January buys: Youri Tielemans, Miguel Almiron, Michy Batshuayi, Samir Nasri

The quartet above have all made big differences to their respective teams, with Tielemans a classy addition for Leicester on loan from Monaco, Almiron adding some much-needed creativity to Newcastle’s attack after a club-record arrival from Atlanta United, Batshuayi banging in goals during his first few months on loan from Chelsea and Nasri making a big difference at West Ham. All four have delivered exactly what has been asked of them, so far. It is too early to say they deserve to be in the top 10 signings of the season, but it is clear they have made fast starts at their new clubs.

PL Friday Preview: West Ham, Watford looking to stay in top ten

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European competition next season may be out of reach, but a top-ten finish for West Ham and Watford is a distinct possibility as we head towards the home stretch of the regular season. This week of Premier League action is kicked off with a London derby between West Ham and Fulham and Watford visiting Cardiff City.

[READ: The 2 Robbies discuss Man City and Liverpool in the Champions League]

West Ham v. Fulham — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

One notable name that has been missing from West Ham’s lineup all season could finally be back in the gameday squad. Manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed that Argentine international Manuel Lanzini, along with Samir Nasri, could both feature in West Ham’s match against Fulham on Friday. The 26-year-old midfielder has been out ever since suffering a devastating ACL injury while in World Cup training camp with Argentina.

Whether he’s ready to go 90 minutes is unclear, but West Ham certainly needs him. The squad has lost five consecutive matches in all competitions, with just four goals scored. The strikers haven’t been able to finish very well recently, but the lack of a creative midfielder has really hurt the Irons in the most important sectors of the field.

Fulham meanwhile are in serious trouble with just 12 matches remaining. Fulham is eight points behind Cardiff City in the top spot outside of the relegation zone.

INJURIES: West Ham —  OUT: Jack Wilshere (ankle); PROBABLE: Samir Nasri (calf) | Fulham — OUT: None; PROBABLE: None


Cardiff City v. Watford — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Watford enacted a little bit of revenge last week after defeating former manager Marco Silva and Everton. This week, it’s arguably a tougher task.

Cardiff City supporters have helped will their team to three-straight victories, after the tragic plane crash carrying footballer Emiliano Sala. Cardiff has poked its head out of the relegation zone, and will be desperate for another home victory. Watford, meanwhile, is looking to solidify a place in the Premier League’s top ten.

Interestingly, all ten of Watford’s wins this season have come with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the starting eleven.

INJURIES: Cardiff City —  OUT: None; PROBABLE: None | Watford — OUT: Kiko Femenia (hamstring); PROBABLE: Roberto Pereyra (hamstring), Isaac Success (hamstring), Sebastian Prödl (hamstring and knee)

Three things we learned: West Ham v. Liverpool

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LONDON — Liverpool dropped two more points in the Premier League title race, as they drew 1-1 at West Ham United.

Pressure does strange things to teams at this part of the season.

Monday’s trip to the London Stadium offered Jurgen Klopp‘s men the chance to open up a five-point gap atop the table, but a spirited Hammers side cancelled out Sadio Mane‘s controversial opener as Michail Antonio grabbed them a well-earned point. And West Ham could’ve easily won the game had they taken their chances.

With Liverpool now drawing to both Leicester and West Ham in their last two games, Manchester City can jump top of the table with a win at Everton on Wednesday and put the pressure back on the Reds.

Here’s a look at what we learned from the London Stadium, as the title race is well and truly on.


LIVERPOOL SHOULD BE HAPPY WITH A DRAW

In the first half West Ham should have been at least 3-0 up. Liverpool were all over the place from defensive set piece situations, holding a high line for no apparent reason. Antonio scored from one situation. Declan Rice somehow nodded wide from another and both Aaron Cresswell and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez drilled just wide from counters which stretched Liverpool’s defense easily. It was as if Liverpool’s defenders were keen to keep their high-line no matter what, and in the second half they were lucky both Felipe Anderson and Mark Noble lost their cool in the penalty box when big chances arrived. Liverpool had chances themselves, as they always do, but this was far from a game where they played well and had to settle for a draw against a stubborn West Ham side. Klopp’s men got away with one by not losing at West Ham and now they are just three points ahead of Man City atop the Premier League table, and must expect City to beat Everton on Wednesday and slip to second place, albeit with a game in hand. Injuries are impacting Liverpool, but Klopp’s men are showing signs that they are cracking under the pressure. The nervous tension emanating from Liverpool’s fanbase is seeping into the previously carefree players. The 29-year wait for a league title is weighing heavy on everyone connected with Liverpool right now.


WEST HAM COUNTER TO PERFECTION

Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool have all failed to win at the London Stadium and for Pellegrini this was a perfect response after three-straight defeats for the Hammers in embarrassing fashion. Like Leicester City, the Hammers are one of those teams outside of the top six who frighten the life out of the big boys. When they aren’t forced to possess the ball, create chances and take the games to opponents, that is when they are at their best. Sure, Manuel Pellegrini has brought a certain panache and control to their game since arriving in the summer, but the fact that both Marko Arnautovic and Samir Nasri were missing through injury did them a favor. Anderson, Antonio and Chicharito pounced when they could on the counter and the pace of full backs Cresswell and Ryan Fredericks was helpful in supporting attacks and stopping Mane and Salah from running riot. In truth, West Ham’s wasteful finishing let Liverpool off the hook. Yes, West Ham’s fans want them to be more attractive to watch but when they counter this well, it’s hard to see them not deploying these kind of tactics on a regular basis against the big boys. They lost their impetus when Andy Carroll came on late in the game and that proved what direction the Hammers must move in going forward. They have the squad to hurt teams on the counter and must realize, and play to, their strengths.


INJURIES MOUNT UP FOR KLOPP

The news that Joe Gomez now requires surgery on a fractured leg was bad enough for Liverpool fans to wake up to Monday, but when Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and particularly Georginio Wijnaldum missed the game at West Ham due to injury, the alarm bells were ringing. A midfield trio of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Adam Lallana should have had enough quality to wrestle control of this game but Mark Noble, Robert Snodgrass and Declan Rice won that battle rather easily. Joel Matip appears to frighten the life out of his fellow defenders when he plays and even the usually placid Virgil Van Dijk was caught out as Liverpool’s undoubted defensive leader failed to settle things down. James Milner, playing at right back, was targeted throughout and both Snodgrass and Anderson had a field day drifting out to his flank. Liverpool’s squad is not quite large enough to deal with injuries to five key players, as Milner and Henderson at right back in recent games has shown. Letting Nathaniel Clyne leave on loan in the January window and not adding another defender as back up could be the difference for them in this title race.

Premier League preview: West Ham v. Liverpool

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The Reds look to keep pace with Manchester City and Tottenham as they travel to the Olympic Stadium to take on West Ham United on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

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Liverpool is facing a defensive crisis with Dejan Lovren‘s hamstring still acting up, Trent Alexander-Arnold remains sidelined with a knee injury, and Joe Gomez‘s fractured leg not healing properly. That left midfielder Jordan Henderson forced to deputize at right-back last time out in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City, but James Milner returns from his red card suspension to take over that role.

Jurgen Klopp has the Reds at the top of the Premier League table, but Man City’s victory over Arsenal on Sunday leaves them with just a two-point lead, needing points against the Hammers to restore the lead to a more significant cushion.

West Ham could have Marko Arnautovic ready to play despite a foot injury forcing him off against Wolves last time out. That would be a big boost for the Hammers who sit 12th in the table, a solid nine points above the relegation zone but also seven points behind the European places. Samir Nasri only made it two appearances before picking up an injury of his own, still out with calf problems that forced him out of the loss to Wolves last time out.

The Hammers have dropped their last two Premier League matches and four of their last seven, a trend they’ll want to reverse sooner rather than later given the difficult end-of-season fixture list.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini on January transfer window: “The transfer window brought a lot of damage to this club. The focus went away from the team, and I’m not just talking about ​Marko Arnautovic, there were others considering leaving.”

Klopp on pressure of leading the league: “Yes, there is pressure. There was pressure last year, a lot of pressure when we played Man City away in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and we dealt with it. There was pressure at Rome, there was pressure in so many moments in the Premier League. We had to win each game because Chelsea were constantly chasing us. That is the only way we can do it.”

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Prediction

West Ham’s poor form is not the way they’d like to enter the game against a Liverpool team earning results despite injury troubles. Those defensive woes will leave Liverpool vulnerable, and West Ham should find joy through Arnautovic, but ultimately Liverpool will prove too dynamic in a 3-1 victory.

Complete list of January transfer deals in the Premier League

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Who moved, and who didn’t?

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Here are the hundreds of players on the move into and out of Premier League clubs this month.


Arsenal
In: Denis Suarez (Barcelona) Loan
Out: Emiliano Martinez (Reading) Loan, Emile Smith Rowe (RB Leipzig) Loan

AFC Bournemouth
In: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) Loan, Chris Mepham (Brentford), Keelan O'Connell (Morton) Loan, Dominic Solanke (Liverpool)
Out: Jermain Defoe (Rangers) Loan, Alex Dobre (Yeovil Town) Loan, Tyrell Hamilton (Salisbury) Loan, Jordan Holmes (St Mirren) Loan, Corey Jordan (Eastbourne Borough) Loan, Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) Loan, Marc Pugh (Hull City) Loan, Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Wimbledon) Loan, Charlie Seaman (Dundee United) Loan, Matt Worthington (Yeovil Town) Free

Brighton & Hove Albion
In: Tudor-Cristian Baluta (Viitorul Constanta), Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors), Jan Mlakar (NK Maribor)
Out: Billy Arce (CS Emelec) Loan, Ben Barclay (Notts County) Loan, Aaron Connolly (Luton Town) Loan, George Cox (Northampton Town) Loan, Anders Dreyer (St Mirren) Loan, Josh Kerr (Derry City) Loan, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Leyton Orient), Mathias Normann (FC Rostov), Oliver Norwood (Sheff Utd), Ezequiel Schelotto (Chievo) Loan, Markus Suttner (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan, Ben White (Peterborough) Loan, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Loan, Stefan Ljubicic (Eastbourne Borough) Loan

Burnley
In: Peter Crouch (Stoke City)
Out: Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland) Loan, Ali Koiki (Swindon Town) Loan, Ntumba Massanka (RWD Molenbeek) Loan, George McMahon (Ashton United) Loan, Conor Mitchell (Linfield) Loan, Sam Vokes (Stoke City)

Cardiff City
In: Leandro Bacuna (Reading), Oumar Niasse (Everton) Loan, Emiliano Sala (Nantes)
Out: Omar Bogle (Portsmouth) Loan, Ciaron Brown (Livingston) Loan, Mark Harris (Port Vale) Loan, Gary Madine (Sheffield United) Loan, Paul McKay (Morecambe) Loan, Anthony Pilkington -Released, Lee Tomlin (Peterborough)

Chelsea
In: Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) Loan
Out: Lewis Baker (Reading) Loan, Cesc Fabregas (Monaco), Josh Grant (Yeovil Town) Loan, Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan, Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) Loan, Victor Moses (Fenerbahce) Loan, Lucas Piazon (Chievo) Loan, Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Loan, Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Loan, Charlie Wakefield (Coventry City) Free, Karlo Ziger (Sutton United) Loan, Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) Loan

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace
In: Lucas Perri (Sao Paulo) Loan, Bakary Sako (West Brom), Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) Loan
Out: Joseph Hungbo (Margate) Loan, Sullay Kaikai (Breda), Nya Kirby (Blackpool) Loan, Jordon Mutch (released), Jason Puncheon (Huddersfield Town) Loan, Alexander Sorloth (KAA Gent) Loan, Oliver Webber (Greenwich Borough) Loan, Jonny Williams (Charlton)

Everton
Out: Beni Baningime (Wigan Athletic) Loan, Callum Connolly (Bolton) Loan, Kieran Dowell (Sheffield Utd) Loan, Antony Evans (Blackpool) Loan, Mason Holgate (West Brom) Loan, Shayne Lavery (Falkirk) Loan, Cuco Martina (Feyenoord) Loan, Oumar Niasse (Cardiff City) Loan

Fulham
In: Havard Nordtveit (Hoffenheim) Loan, Ryan Babel (Besiktas), Lazar Markovic (Liverpool)
Out: Stephen Humphrys (Southend), Stefan Johansen (West Brom) Loan, Aboubakar Kamara (Yeni Malatyaspor) Loan

Huddersfield Town
In: Jaden Brown (Spurs), Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) Loan, Karlan Grant (Charlton Athletic)
Out: Jaden Brown (Exeter City) Loan, Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Brighouse Town) Loan, Rekeil Pyke (Rochdale) Loan, Collin Quaner (Ipswich Town) Loan, Ryan Schofield (Notts County) Loan, Ramadan Sobhi (Al Ahly) Loan, Rajiv Van la Parra (Middlesbrough)

Leicester City
In: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco) Loan
Out: Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest), Fousseni Diabate (Sivasspor) Loan, Callum Elder (Ipswich) Loan, Vicente Iborra (Villarreal), Darnell Johnson (Hibernian) Loan, Andy King (Derby) Loan, Josh Knight (Peterborough United) Loan

Liverpool
Out: Pedro Chirivella (Extremadura UD) Loan, Nathaniel Clyne (AFC Bournemouth) Loan, Ovie Ejaria (Reading) Loan, Liam Miller (Kilmarnock) Loan, Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth), Lazar Markovic (Fulham)

Manchester City
Out: Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid), Ed Francis (Wolves), Luke Bolton (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan, Rabbi Matondo (Schalke)

Manchester United
Out: Ethan Hamilton (Rochdale) Loan, Joel Pereira (KV Kortrijk) Loan, Regan Poole (Newport) Loan, Ro-Shaun Williams (Shrewsbury Town)

Newcastle United
In: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United), Antonio Barreca (Monaco) Loan
Out: Ronaldo Aarons (Sheff Wed) Loan, Liam Gibson (Accrington) Loan, Achraf Lazaar (Sheff Wed) Loan, Jacob Murphy (West Brom) Loan, Elias Sorensen (Blackpool) Loan, Jamie Sterry (Crewe) Loan, Josef Yarney (Chesterfield)

Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United (Photo credit: nufc.co.uk)

Southampton
Out: Steven Davis (Rangers) Loan, Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria), Wesley Hoedt (Celta Vigo) Loan, Ryan Seager Released, Cedric Soares (Inter Milan) Loan

Tottenham Hotspur
Out: Jaden Brown (Huddersfield Town), Mousa Dembele (Guangzhou R&F), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Monaco) Loan, Kazaiah Sterling (Sunderland) Loan

Watford
In: Adam Parkes (Southampton)
Out: Ashley Charles (Barnet) Loan, Michael Folivi (AFC Wimbledon) Loan, Stefano Okaka (Udinese) Loan, Jerome Sinclair (Oxford United) Loan, Ben Wilmot (Udinese) Loan, Randell Williams (Exeter City), Marvin Zeegelaar (Udinese) Loan

West Ham United
In: Samir Nasri (Unattached) Free, Mesaque Dju (Benfica)
Out: Sead Haksabanovic (Norrkoping) Loan, Moses Makasi (Stevenage) Loan, Toni Martinez (Lugo) Loan, Vashon Neufville (Newport) Loan, Reece Oxford (FC Augsburg) Loan, Joe Powell (Northampton) Loan

Wolverhampton Wanderers
In: David Wang (Jumilla B), Ed Francis (Manchester City), Jonny (Pictured, Atletico Madrid)
Out: Benik Afobe (Stoke), Danny Batth (Stoke), Harry Burgoyne (Falkirk) Loan, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Rochdale) Loan, Bright Enobakhare (Coventry) Loan, Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) Loan, Dominic Iorfa (Sheffield Wednesday), Phil Ofosu-Ayeh (Wurzburger Kickers) Loan, Connor Ronan (FC DAC 1904 Dunajska Streda) Loan, Jack Ruddy (UD San Sebastian) Loan, Ben Stevenson (Colchester United), David Wang (Sporting Lisbon) Loan