There are no return policies on permanent transfers.
Unlike the snazzy shirt that appears svelte on the rack only to fit like a potato sack when tried on, when clubs splash millions on players, they don’t have the luxury of repayment or exchange. It’s the point of no return, if you will.
For nine of the 20 Premier League sides, club-record transfer fees were broken or matched as part of a lucrative summer spending spree that saw £1.2 billion spent on new players.
With a little less than a quarter of the 2018-19 campaign in the bag, here’s a look at how the nine record signings have fared thus far (transfer fees are reported totals, not including potential performance-related bonuses):
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City – £61m)
Free-spending Manchester City narrowly surpassed their club-record fee tabled for Aymeric Laporte the previous January with a move for former PFA Player of the Year Mahrez. The signing seemed excessive at first glance. Blessed with the league’s deepest squad, many a pundit questioned the need.
Thirteen competitive matches later, the Algerian has proven his worth, especially of late, winning Man of the Match honors in the 5-0 drubbing of Burnley. Able to platoon with Raheem Sterling on the right side of attack, Mahrez is rounding into form with four goals in his last seven.
Previous transfer record: Aymeric Laporte (£57m)
Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea – £72m)
The starting shot-stopper in all nine of Chelsea’s league outings, Kepa, 24, was lured to Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for the most expensive fee ever paid for a netminder just days after Liverpool set the standard with Alisson’s addition.
An instant replacement for Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois, Kepa’s kept four clean sheets in the league and two in Europe while conceding just seven goals domestically, the second fewest in England. Agile with an eye for the perfect pass, the Spaniard appears set to enjoy a lengthy Blues career.
Previous transfer record: Alvaro Morata (£58m)
Felipe Anderson (West Ham – £35m)
One of eight first-team summer additions for the Hammers, Anderson, who was a reported Manchester United target before seeing his stock plummet at Lazio, has enjoyed a revival under Mauricio Pellegrino at the London Stadium.
The Brazilian has been named to the starting XI for all nine of West Ham’s league affairs, pairing one goal with an assist. More than the numbers, the left-winger’s virtues have been epitomized by his work rate. His Man of the Match performance in the win over the Red Devils was particularly brilliant.
Previous transfer record: Marko Arnautovic (£25m)
Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth – £25m)
Fresh off a role with Colombia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, central midfielder Lerma, 24, swapped Levante for Bournemouth in a move that largely flew under the radar. For Eddie Howe’s in-form lot, it’s a signing that’s proven to be worth every penny.
Bournemouth currently sit sixth in the table, and a big reason for that has been the play of Lerma, fellow summer addition David Brooks, and Ryan Fraser. Where the latter two have excelled in attack, Lerma’s added grit and composure, providing crucial interceptions while dominating in aerial duels.
Previous transfer record: Nathan Ake (£20m)
Jean Michael Seri (Fulham – £25m)
Like Anderson, Seri was once linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs, seemingly destined to join Barcelona only for the move to dissolve. Also like his fellow Premier League newcomer, the Ivorian international settled for a move to one of London’s “other clubs.”
The former Nice midfielder made the switch to Fulham as part of a busy transfer window and has started all nine of the club’s league matches, including a stellar showing in a win over Burnley. Seri has very much been a victim of Fulham’s failures, however, with the west London lot conceding a league-worst 25 goals.
Previous transfer record: Aleksandar Mitrovic (£22m)
Adama Traore (Wolves – £18m)
Arguably the Premier League’s most explosive player, Traore ditched Championship-bound Middlesbrough for Wolves’ enthralling return to the top flight. However, for manager Nuno Espirito Blanco, the Spanish youth international’s acclimation appears to be a work in progress.
Although he’s yet to start a league match despite coming on as a substitute in eight of Wolves’ nine EPL outings, Traore, 22, registered a dramatic added-time winner at West Ham, and with speed and dizzying dribbling skills to burn, is a wildcard for Santo’s dynamic attacking side.
Previous transfer record: Ruben Neves (£15.8m)
Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield Town – £17.5m)
After making 13 league appearances while on loan at Huddersfield Town from Monaco during the second half of the 2017-18 season, the Swiss-born Dutch international agreed to permanent terms with the Terriers in June.
Able to ply his trade both as a central defender and left-back, Kongolo has started seven league matches for David Wagner’s lot. While he’s displayed a knack for blocking shots and interceptions, it’s hard to get excited about anything with the West Yorkshire side, who’ve yet to score a goal at home.
Previous transfer record: Steve Mounie (£11.4m)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Brighton – £17m)
Big things are expected of Iranian international star Jahanbakhsh after he became the first Asian player to lead the Dutch top flight in scoring last season with 21 goals for AZ Alkmaar. That showing prompted Brighton’s interest and subsequent record-setting signing.
Months later, and the 25-year-old with two World Cups under his belt has started in just two league fixtures and has yet to score a goal as he languishes behind Glenn Murray on Chris Hughton’s depth chart. With Murray hampered by a concussion, Saturday’s visit from Wolves may be his chance.
Previous transfer record: Jurgen Locadia (£14m)
Ben Gibson (Burnley – £15m)
What do you get the club blessed with two quality centre-halves set for its first foray in European football in 51 years? Apparently a central defender, and that’s precisely what Burnley did in matching a club-record signing for Ben Gibson from relegated Middlesbrough.
With last year’s centre-back duo James Tarkowski and Ben Mee starting for Sean Dyche in each of the Clarets’ nine league outings, Gibson, 25, featured in two Europa League losses for Burnley, seeing red against Olympiacos in late September, his last appearance for the club before picking up a hernia.
Previous transfer record: Chris Wood (£15m)