Grealish to Man City: Pogba, Maguire and the most expensive Premier League buys of all time

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Pep Guardiola's quest to conquer Europe and continue domestic domination with Manchester City has seen him sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in a deal reportedly worth £100million.

Grealish becomes the most expensive signing in Premier League history after being prised away from Villa Park, where he had spent his entire career and captained his boyhood club since 2019.

The England international, who helped the Three Lions to a first major final appearance in 55 years at Euro 2020, has regularly been linked away from Villa but committed his future after rumoured interest from Manchester United, signing a long-term contract in 2020.

In the 2020-21 campaign, the 25-year old contributed with six league goals and 10 assists, while also creating 81 chances across 26 appearances for the Villains.

Dean Smith will no longer have the playmaker to call upon, though, as Guardiola has demolished the previous Premier League transfer record – set by Paul Pogba's return to United in 2016 – to secure Grealish's services.

After City's record-breaking acquisition of Grealish, Stats Perform looks at the other most expensive signings in English top-flight history.

PAUL POGBA – Juventus to Manchester United, £89.3m

Jose Mourinho's first transfer window with the Red Devils saw the France midfielder return to Old Trafford in a then-world record transfer.

Since making that reunion in 2016-17, only Marcus Rashford (78) and Anthony Martial (64) have been involved in more Premier League goals for United than Pogba (57 – 28 goals, 29 assists), while the midfielder has created more top-flight chances (207) than any other player for the club during this period.

He scored and assisted one apiece for France at Euro 2020, while only Antoine Griezmann (10) created more chances than Pogba's eight for Les Bleus.

HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United £80m

United broke the world transfer record for a defender in 2002 when they signed Rio Ferdinand for £30m and 17 years later they acquired Maguire for more than double that fee.

The centre-back endured a tricky start to life in Manchester, however, his quality eventually shone through as he strung together 71 consecutive appearances for United.

Despite missing the last four games of the 2020-21 campaign, Maguire ranked second in the Premier League for aerial challenges won (135) and fifth for successful duels (203) before featuring prominently at Euro 2020 for England.

 

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Jurgen Klopp, albeit under contentious circumstances, convinced Van Dijk to move away from St. Mary's Stadium in December 2017.

The commanding Netherlands captain guided Liverpool to their sixth Champions League success in 2018-19 before playing a key role as the Reds ended their 30-year wait for an English title.

Van Dijk's absence severely affected their Premier League defence last term. Klopp's men have won 75.8 per cent of their league matches with Van Dijk in the side since his debut in January 2018, a figure that falls to 54.3 per cent in his absence.

 

ROMELU LUKAKU – Everton to Manchester United £75m

The Belgium forward never settled in at Old Trafford and left after two seasons, despite converting 42 times in 96 games for United.

Lukaku scored twice in United's stunning Champions League last-16 comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 before completing a switch to Inter, where he helped Antonio Conte's men to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

During the title-winning campaign, Lukaku shunned doubts over his finishing as he converted almost one in four chances to bag 24 goals and improved his link-up play to form an effective partnership with Lautaro Martinez. Since his Inter debut only five players have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than Lukaku (64).

He has now been linked with a return to former club Chelsea in a deal which could shatter Grealish's new record.

 

JADON SANCHO – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United £73m

After leaving Manchester City in 2017 for Borussia Dortmund, Sancho found himself signing for the red half of Manchester four years later. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pursued Sancho for multiple transfer windows and finally got his man in the wake of England's Euro 2020 shoot-out heartbreak.

Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, the 21-year-old has been directly involved in the joint-most goals of any English player across the top five European leagues (78), while he has played fewer minutes than Harry Kane – also on 78 – in this period.

Sancho also became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three consecutive seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01 for Alex Ferguson's United.

Related items

  • Zach Wilson's fourth-quarter heroics offer hope things will finally get better for the Jets Zach Wilson's fourth-quarter heroics offer hope things will finally get better for the Jets

    "One thing you can be sure about in life: just when you think that things are never ever going to get better, they suddenly get worse."

    The mantra of Victor Meldrew, the curmudgeonly lead character of British sitcom 'One Foot in The Grave' is one that has long since applied to the New York Jets.

    As such, it was difficult to envisage anything other than a painful ending to the Jets' Week 4 game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which saw Zach Wilson – returning from a preseason knee injury that once looked as if it would end his 2022 campaign before it started – given three minutes and 35 seconds to drive his team down 65 yards for a game-winning touchdown. 

    The fact he succeeded in doing so and the manner in which he achieved that feat suggests head coach Robert Saleh may soon be able to start pulling out the receipts he so emphatically spoke of in the face of questions about criticism of his team following a meek season-opening 24-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

    Wilson's raw numbers – a completion percentage of 50, 252 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions – along with a well-thrown percentage of 77.4 (below the average of 79 for the week) do not illustrate an overly impressive performance from a quarterback the franchise is hoping and praying will make the leap in his second year in the NFL.

    And in many ways, Wilson's display was a 'greatest hits' of everything that makes observers doubt his ability to make the grade at the highest level. He struggled under pressure, missed throws, attempted dangerous desperation heaves and, unsurprisingly, committed turnovers that on another day might have proved backbreaking.

    Yet Wilson never lost the confidence he exuded on the Jets' first touchdown drive, which saw him hit Elijah Moore on a perfectly timed deep comeback and go back to the same receiver on the deep dig before he then caught the ball for the score from Braxton Berrios on a trick play he celebrated with the 'gritty' dance.

    There was both grit and that same confidence on show as Wilson then led the Jets on successive touchdown drives to turn around a 20-10 deficit to secure the victory.

    He hit Corey Davis in stride on fourth down to keep the first of those drives alive before connecting with Davis again on the whip route for a five-yard touchdown after a succession of red-zone penalties threatened to stall the Jets' progress.

    Wilson was six for six passing on the final drive, producing another pinpoint downfield throw to Davis to help set up Breece Hall's two-yard touchdown run to stun a Steelers crowd ready to crown Kenny Pickett as their saviour after he replaced Mitchell Trubisky at half-time.

    Both Wilson and the Jets still have a long way to go, the downs that came with the critical ups in this game reiterated as much. Yet his showing also demonstrated how effective he could become with a talented supporting cast around him.

    The Jets' offensive line has been hit by injuries, but between Hall, Davis, Moore and standout rookie namesake Garrett Wilson, last year's second overall pick has the skill position players around him to make significant strides in 2022.

    Garrett Wilson (two receptions for 41 yards) was kept relatively quiet by his early-season standards, but Davis (five for 74 yards and a touchdown) and Moore (three for 53) shone when it mattered for the Jets, while Hall's 66-yard effort contained flashes of the upside on the ground that convinced the Jets to take him in the second round.

    A big-ticket signing in free agency last year, Davis is repaying the Jets' investment in him by registering a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 18 of his 24 targets. His burn rate of 75 per cent is the best among receivers with at least 20 targets. He also leads all wideouts in burn yards per target (17.16) and big-play rate (56.1 per cent).

    Garrett Wilson is averaging 3.7 burn yards per route, well above the average of 3.0, and all three of the Jets' top trio of wideouts have double-digit receptions for first downs. Davis has racked up 13, Garrett Wilson has 12 and Moore 10. Hall, meanwhile, is averaging 4.7 yards per attempt and has put up 3.24 yards before contact per rush (the average for backs with at least 10 attempts is 2.51), showing burst that was doubted by some draftniks prior to his selection by the Jets.

    On the other side of the ball, however, there are still doubts about a defense that has allowed 12 offensive touchdowns, tied for the third-most in the NFL, even after a performance in which they picked off Trubisky once and Pickett three times.

    While the Steelers were missing star edge rusher T.J. Watt and dealing with sub-par play at quarterback, a win on the road in Pittsburgh is one that should breed confidence in the ecosystem and in Wilson.

    Games against the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos present a challenging immediate road ahead for Wilson but after his fourth-quarter heroics in Pittsburgh, there is room for confidence that this time, with this quarterback and this surrounding cast, things will finally get better for the Jets.

  • Halaand 'not just City's but the Premier League's', says Carragher Halaand 'not just City's but the Premier League's', says Carragher

    Erling Haaland feels like he belongs to the Premier League as much as he does Manchester City, believes Jamie Carragher.

    The Norway international continued his stunning start to life in the English top flight with another hat-trick in Sunday's 6-3 derby demolition job against Manchester United.

    It was the Leeds-born attacker's third consecutive three-goal haul in a home league game – a competition first – and furthers his tally for the season to 14 in eight games.

    Now, former Liverpool defender Carragher, speaking as a Sky Sports pundit, feels the 22-year-old's talents are something to be savoured by fans up and down the country rather than just at one club.

    "He's not just City's, he's the Premier League's [player]," Carragher said on Monday Night Football.

    "That's what it feels like to me. It felt like that when he joined, it was something to be enjoyed by the whole Premier League."

    Carragher's fellow pundit Gary Neville echoed his sentiments, adding: "I can't think of another time where the Premier League has signed a player in the last 30 years where you've thought [they are] a world star.

    "[Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Thierry] Henry, [Virgil] van Dijk, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Mohamed] Salah – all these players have gone to be some of the best in the world. They weren't that when they signed into the Premier League.

    "But what we've signed here is somebody that everybody knew was going to be one of the best in the world."

  • Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season Former Argentina forward Higuain confirms retirement at end of MLS season

    Gonzalo Higuain will retire from professional football at the end of the 2022 MLS season, he announced on Monday.

    The veteran striker, a 75-cap former Argentina international who was a member of the squad that came second at the 2014 World Cup, will bring the curtain down on a glittering 17-year career.

    Higuain played over 100 games for each of Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, having began his playing days with River Plate, while he also had brief spells with Milan and Chelsea before joining Inter Miami.

    A six-time domestic league champion – with three LaLiga crowns and three Serie A triumphs – he signed for the MLS club in September 2020.

    Higuain has been in top form for Miami in the second half of this season, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further two in the past 14 games.

    Phil Neville's side are seventh in the Eastern Conference, clinging to the final playoff place with two games of the regular season remaining.

    Victories over Orlando City on Wednesday and CF Montreal on Sunday would extend Miami's season and Higuain's career.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.