Saving the best until last? All the Premier League clubs' final signing of the summer 2021 window

·10-min read

The transfer window's open and everyone seems to be doing more business than your club. But no matter, the window is open to September 2 so there's still plenty of time to get those deals over the line. And spending more time getting the deal done means you are more likely to get it right, right? Well, not necessarily. We have taken a look at each Premier League club's final acquisition of the summer 2021 transfer window to see if they really did save the best until last.

Arsenal - Takehiro Tomiyasu (August 31)

Signed on deadline day from Bologna for £18million, Tomiyasu was the third and final defensive addition to the Gunners' ranks and the least well known behind Ben White and Nuno Tavares.

However, the Japan international impressed on debut against Norwich and his calming influence and ability to use both feet made him a mainstay of the Arsenal defence until injury ended a run of 15 consecutive games. The right-back wasn't quite so imperious on his return from injury but at 23 he looks a sound investment.

Aston Villa - Caleb Chukwuemela (August 16)

Villa made a raft of high-profile signings in the summer 2021 window but their last was with an eye to the future, with 19-year-old Chukwuemela joining from Northampton Town for an undisclosed fee.

He was awarded Premier League 2 player of the month for September 2021 after scoring five goals and providing one assist in three matches and went on to make his debut in a 6-0 win over Barrow in the EFL Cup.

A subsequent loan move to Scottish side Livingston didn't work out so well, with the youngster's work rate questioned after he was hooked just seven minutes into an appearance as a substitute.

Bournemouth - Jamal Lowe (August 31)

The Cherries beat off competition from Blackburn to land Lowe who had scored 14 goals in 52 matches the previous campaign to help Swansea to the play-offs. The £1.5million, rising to £2million, was the most Bournemouth had spent on a transfer fee since their relegation from the Premier League but proved to be money well spent as Lowe scored seven goals to help his new side regain their top-flight status. He struggled to hold down a place in the starting line-up, however, and is now thought to be a target for newly promoted Championship side Wigan.

Brentford - Rocco Rees (September 10)

Brentford signed 11 players in the summer transfer window as they prepared for their first season in the Premier League. However, they still weren't done and added two free agents after the transfer window closed. The last of these was teenage keeper Roco Rees.

The former Brighton youngster was signed on a one-year deal to play for Brentford B but impressed enough to be offered a further one-year deal this summer.

Brighton - Marc Cucurella (August 31)

Marc Cucurella Spain Jun21
Marc Cucurella Spain Jun21

Brighton triggered a £15.4million release clause to sign the 23-year-old from Getafe and were rewarded with a superb campaign from the Spaniard.

The wing-back scooped the Albion's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards and is now reported to be a £34million target for Tottenham and Manchester City.

Chelsea - Saul Niguez (August 31)

Saul Niguez chelsea Mar22
Saul Niguez chelsea Mar22

You're European champions and have just signed Romelu Lukaku from the Serie A champions to boost your attacking output so why not acquire the midfielder who helped Atletico Madrid win the La Liga title? He's on loan too just in case it doesn't work out. Not that that's going to happen, right? He plays for Spain, he's a good age, he's the final missing piece to deliver the Premier League title.

A season and five starts later, the only good bit of business here was the loan option for Saul who now finds himself back in the Spanish capital.

Crystal Palace - Odsonne Edouard (August 31)

Edouard made quite the impact, scoring twice inside six minutes on debut after joining from Celtic for just short of £15million. Added just four further goals, however, and none after January.

The Evening Standard labelled him the "biggest letdown" of the season and who are we to argue?

Everton - Salomon Rondon (August 31)

It looked a little desperate when Rondon arrived on a free transfer from Chinese side Dalian Professional and an injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin meant he saw more action in the early stages of the season than Rafa Benitez was probably expecting him to. Nevertheless, he still failed to score until December - his only goal of the campaign - and should he depart in the summer as expected, will leave with his cameo against Brentford as his most memorable Everton moment.

Fulham - Nathaniel Chalobah (September 1)

Chalobah only made 11 starts after joining from Chelsea, with hamstring and calf injuries disrupting the early part of the season.

Nevertheless, he was regularly involved in the second half of the campaign and will hope his previous Premier League experience leads to more game-time in 2022/23 with Fulham now back among the big boys.

Leeds - Daniel James (August 31)

daniel james joel ward
daniel james joel ward

It's easy to say in hindsight, but even at the time Leeds looked to have massively overpaid for a player whose pace seems to blind people to his many faults, including a lack of end product.

Not Simon Jordan, however, with the former Crystal Palace chairman calling the winger "a fundamental disappointment all season to Leeds and a waste of money".

Still only 24, Leeds will be hoping there is still room for improvement from the £25million former Manchester United man.

Leicester City - Ademola Lookman (August 31)

Lookman arrived from RB Leipzig, via Fulham, on a season-long loan deal and clocked up 41 appearances in all competitions. He displaced Harvey Barnes on the left and also proved an able deputy in an unfamiliar right-wing role.

Available to buy from £14million, it is an option Leicester are keen to pursue this summer, with manager Brendan Rodgers believing "there's still growth in him".

Liverpool - Ibrahima Konate (July 1)

Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate
Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate

Liverpool's transfer business was wrapped up early, with Konate joining from RB Leipzig on the first day of July for £35million. The 23-year-old went on to make 19 appearances in all competitions and is seen as one for the future at Anfield, with even manager Jurgen Klopp admitting he needs to improve his concentration levels and Mark Lawrenson claiming he sometimes "disappears" from his position in games.

Manchester City - Jack Grealish (August 5)

Gabriel Jesus replaced by Jack Grealish Dec21
Gabriel Jesus replaced by Jack Grealish Dec21

City activated a £100million release clause to sign Grealish from Villa and despite the moans about lack of game-time from the player, fans and critics alike, it's hard to argue with the cold, hard facts: City won the league, Grealish picked up his first major honour and Villa finished down in 14th.

Grealish sat out many of City's more high-profile games in 2021/22 but with a season under his belt and whole pre-season with Pep, he'll be more attuned to his manager's way of thinking in the forthcoming season - and more trusted.

Manchester United - Cristiano Ronaldo (August 31)

Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to stay at Manchester United for one more season
Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to stay at Manchester United for one more season

The final piece in the jigsaw that saw the previous season's runners-up transformed into Premier League winners. After all, Ronaldo wouldn't be returning to Old Trafford simply to battle it out with West Ham for a sixth-placed finish would he?

Oh, he would.

Still, he won the supporters' player of the year award, so he can't be held personally responsible for United's poor season, surely?

Oh, he can.

Newcastle - Santiago Munoz (August 31)

Munoz was brought in on loan from Liga MX side Santos Laguna, with the 19-year-old linking up with the Magpies' academy sides.

Boasting a very similar name to the GOAL! fictional film star Santiago Munez, he is still a long way from a Hollywood ending having had to wait six months to make his debut for the Magpies' under-23 side.

Nottingham Forest - Rodrigo Ely (September 2)

Ely joined Milan as a 17-year-old and despite being released by the Serie A club, returned in 2015 after impressing at Avellino. He had also spent four season at Alaves so when the chance to sign the centre-back as a free agent arose, it appeared a sensible move for Forest.

Four months later his contract was terminated by mutual consent after he failed to make a single appearance for the then-Championship side.

Southampton - Lyanco (August 25)

Brazil-born Lyanco announced it was "a dream that I have had since I started playing football as a child to play in the Premier League and for a team like Southampton." A fee of close to £7million saw him leave Torino to achieve his dream, which luckily for him was for a team very much like Southampton.

However, an injury-disrupted season saw him only make 15 appearances for the Saints. He signed a four-year deal, however, so he'll still be living his dream next season.

Tottenham - Emerson Royal (August 31)

Royal signed from Barcelona for £25.8million on the final day of the transfer window and was promptly given the runaround by Wilfried Zaha on debut as Spurs were beaten 3-0 by Crystal Palace. Further poor displays followed but he finally looked to be finding his feet in the second half of the campaign.

A reported target for Atletico Madrid this summer, Spurs may be willing to sell.

West Ham - Alex Kral (August 31)

Alex Kral West Ham Feb22
Alex Kral West Ham Feb22

"I am delighted to welcome Alex to West Ham United," said David Moyes after picking up Kral on a season's loan from Spartak Moscow. "He will provide good competition in the centre of midfield. He is another young, talented player who we feel has a big potential and will be capable of adapting to the demands of the Premier League." Unfortunately, it was difficult to judge whether could adapt to the demands of the Premier League, with the Czech Republic international getting just one minute of top-flight action before heading back whence he came. That the Irons also signed Nikola Vlasic for £33.5million on the same day (19 appearances, one goal, no assists) probably underlines why West Ham should do their business early this season.

Wolves - Hwang Hee-Chan (August 29)

Hwang Hee-Chan Wolves Feb22
Hwang Hee-Chan Wolves Feb22

Signed on loan from RB Leipzig in a move which was later made permanent for £14.4million, Hee-Chan was reportedly being tracked by Liverpool in January.

A hamstring injury then ruled him out for four matches and as Wolves floundered in the second half of the campaign so did the South Korean, notching just one goal in 2022.

Liverpool, understandably, turned their attentions elsewhere.

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