Daka, Gil and the 20 most underrated transfers so far this summer
The 2021/22 summer transfer window is well underway, and with plenty of high-profile moves confirmed, such as Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, and several still in the works, Jack Grealish to Manchester City, here at FootballTransfers, we thought we'd delve into 20 underrated transfers so far this summer.
With money still tight for the majority of European clubs following the coronavirus pandemic, shrewd acquisitions have been plentiful, and many have opted to look to the future, and sign some promising youngsters.
In no particular order, here are 20 of the most underrated transfers so far this window.
Patson Daka - €27m (£23m) (from RB Salzburg to Leicester)
With 61 goals in his final 65 starts for RB Salzburg, it's fair to say Patson Daka is a clinical centre forward. Tasked with replacing Erling Haaland's output, Daka managed to fill the Norwegian's boots, and some would argue played better for Salzburg.
A pacey number nine, with a killer instinct in front of goal, Daka has already scored for Leicester in pre-season, and the Foxes already have their Jamie Vardy replacement lined up. With Daka up top, Brendan Rodgers' side will consolidate their place in the Premier League's top six.
Enock Mwepu - €24.2m (£20.7m) (from RB Salzburg to Brighton)
Daka's former Salzburg teammate Enock Mwepu has also moved to English shores, joining Graham Potter's Brighton. Some saw this move as evidence that Yves Bissouma would be leaving the Seagulls, but he looks set to stay, and a double pivot of Bissouma and Mwepu will be formidable.
With a mightily impressive 27.17 presses per 90 last season, Bissouma was at 15 for reference, as well as over 4.0 tackles and interceptions per 90, Mwepu is a monster in midfield, and talk of a big move will take place sooner rather than later.
He added five goals and an assist last season, showing he can get involved from deep, and he also scored in Brighton's friendly against Luton.
Bryan Gil - €25.3m (£21.6m) plus Erik Lamela (from Sevilla to Tottenham)
After years of service, Erik Lamela has finally left Tottenham, and in his place Bryan Gil has stepped in. The Spaniard is an unorthodox winger, given he prefers to play on the left despite being left-footed - a rarity in the modern game. With Heung-Min Son likely to be used cutting inside off the left, Gil may be utilised on the right, and it will be interesting to see how he develops.
He does, however, certainly have the talent to adapt immediately. He spent last season on loan at Eibar, netting four goals and four assists, but it was his underlying numbers that impressed most. Only Tanguy Ndombele could better Gil's 2.5 dribbles per 90 last season, whilst he whipped in 7.8 crosses per 90 as well.
That tally of crosses would rank first in Tottenham's squad, and third in the entire Premier League, of players to play more than 1,000 minutes. That number will drop at Spurs, but it shows his ability to beat a man and produce quality afterwards.
Michael Olise - €9.8m (£8.37m) (from Reading to Crystal Palace)
The 2020/21 Championship Young Player of the Year joins Crystal Palace for an absolute bargain. Michael Olise made the second tier look like a school playground last year, scoring seven goals and assisting 12. At just 19, his future is extremely bright, and paired up with Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze, Olise could explode this season.
Last term, he managed 2.0 shots, 1.6 dribbles and 2.3 key passes per 90, showing his ability in the final third.
Joachim Andersen - €18.5m (£15.8m) (from Lyon to Crystal Palace)
Arguably the most underrated player in the top flight last season, Joachim Andersen was one of the best centre-backs in the league, and Crystal Palace have managed a coup to sign him from Lyon.
Both Arsenal and Tottenham were reportedly interested, but the Eagles swooped and were successful. Only five outfield players had a better aerial win rate than Andersen's 69% last season, with Gary Cahill Palace's best centre-back with a 64% success rate.
Andersen will offer leadership, he was Fulham's captain last year, and alongside the talented Marc Guehi, they will be hard to break down.
Alphonse Areola - Loan (from PSG to West Ham)
Outstanding on loan at Fulham last year, Alphonse Areola brings experience from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid to the London Stadium, and will help West Ham in their Europa League journey.
With Lukasz Fabianski now 36, they needed a replacement, and although a short-term option, Areola is perfect.
The best way to analyse a goalkeepers' performance is via Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed. In essence, how many goals should they have conceded versus how many did they concede? Areola ranked in the 99th percentile in Europe's top five leagues last season for this metric, meaning he was in the best 1% of goalkeepers in 2020/21.
Francisco Trincao - Loan (from Barcelona to Wolves)
Francisco Trincao managed just three league starts for Barcelona last season, so a move away was needed. Despite managing just 683 minutes in La Liga, Trincao still scored three goals and assisted a further two, contributing to 0.68 goals per 90, the same tally as Joao Felix.
Of course, it was in limited minutes, but his final year at Braga suggests he's a huge talent in waiting. He netted nine goals and assisted nine in his final season in Portugal, and still just 21, and with 3.6 dribbles per 90 last year, Trincao is an exceptional player.
With a buy option included in the deal, Wolves have taken advantage of Barcelona's financial struggles.
Frank Onyeka - €10.5m (£9m) (from FC Midtjylland to Brentford)
A defensive machine, Onyeka made over 6.0 tackles and interceptions per 90 last year, and with nearly 22 pressures, he's got the stamina to match. Impressive in the Champions League group stages, Onyeka will adapt immediately to English football, and expect him to become well-known fairly soon.
Romain Perraud - €12.8m (£11m) (from Brest to Southampton)
With the threat of relegation hanging over their heads, a full-back pairing of Perraud and Kyle Walker-Peters is exciting, with Valentino Livramento waiting in the wings.
Perraud managed 10 goal contributions in Ligue 1 last season, with seven of those assists, which would've ranked fourth in the Saints' squad, and first for full-backs in the entire Premier League.
Milot Rashica - €11.6m (£9.9m) (from Werder Bremen to Norwich)
While he managed just three goals and two assists last term, before that he had back-to-back seasons with over 15 goals contributions.
Capable of playing out wide or through the middle, Rashica is an excellent dribbler, and although he won't match Buendia's output, he will add a directness to Norwich's attack.
Mohamed Simakan - €15m (from Strasbourg to RB Leipzig)
Upamecano tended to drive forward with the ball, and Leipzig have recruited the exact same style of player. Simakan's 1.5 touches in the attacking penalty area ranked in the 97th percentile in Europe's top five leagues, and was more than Upamecano.
Their profiles are similar, and although Simakan isn't polished, at 21, he has time to be moulded into a world class centre-back.
Lukas Nmecha - €8.4m (from Manchester City to Wolfsburg)
They're looking for a centre-forward, and Manchester City have instead sold one of their most promising number nines. Lukas Nmecha was the U21 European Championship top scorer, and he netted 21 goals in 40 starts for Anderlecht last season.
As a partner for Wout Weghorst, Nmecha could explode this season, and City may well regret letting him leave so cheaply.
Sebastiaan Bornauw - €14.6m (from Koln to Wolfsburg)
A talented 22-year-old, Sebastiaan Bornauw arrives at Wolfburg with high expectations in Germany. Capped twice by Belgium, he could well make Roberto Martinez's World Cup squad if he impresses this season, and at Wolfsburg he has a great platform.
Strong in the air, and calm on the ball, Bornauw is an excellent defender who just needs a bigger stage to show what he can do; 2021/22 will provide that opportunity.
Suat Serdar - €8.4m (from Schalke to Hertha Berlin)
In the 92nd percentile for dribbles completed by central midfielders, Suat Serdar was one of the only shining lights in a dismal few years for Schalke.
A box-to-box number eight, he made over 3.0 tackles and interceptions per 90 last season, while still having over 2.0 touches in the opponents penalty area.
He will quietly impress in Berlin.
Loic Bade - €18m (from Lens to Rennes)
One of the best young centre-backs in Europe last year, Loic Bade has stayed in France rather than move further afield as was expected.
It's a steal for Rennes who will likely turn a nice profit in the next two years. With over 4.0 aerial wins, and nearly 8.0 clearances per 90, Bade is an exceptional penalty box defender, and would suit a club like Atletico Madrid in the future.
For now, however, he'll impress once more in France.
Calvin Stengs - €15m (from AZ Alkmaar to Nice)
Nice are having an excellent window, and securing the signature of Calvin Stengs is a huge coup. The tall winger was one of the Eredivisie's best players last season, and a move to a Champions League club seemed inevitable, with Nice swooping.
Seven goals and five assists in the Dutch league doesn't sound amazing, but with great underlying numbers, 2.1 shots, 1.9 key passes and 2.1 dribbles per 90, Stengs will set Ligue 1 alight in 2021/22.
Pablo Rosario - €6.3m (from PSV Eindhoven to Nice)
More than able of mopping up in front of the back four, Rosario also progresses the ball to a high level, and Nice have signed a bargain.
At 24, he will need to really impress this year if he wants a bigger move, something his talent deserves.
Sofiane Alakouch - Free (from Nimes to Metz)
Sofiane Alakouch is a name that few people will have heard of, but on a free transfer, it's a great signing for Metz.
A solid performer, Alakouch won't fly forward like many modern full-backs, but he's great at locking down the right flank. With defensive actions in the top 10% in Europe, Alakouch is an excellent addition for an average Metz side.
Emerson Royal- €9m (from Real Betis to Barcelona)
With 4.5 tackles and interceptions per 90, Emerson is more defensive than Dest and will offer Ronald Koeman an alternative against the better sides.
Boulaye Dia - €12.6m (from Stade Reims to Villarreal)
The reigning Europa League holders have replaced Carlos Bacca with one of Ligue 1's top scorers from last season.
Boulaye Dia netted 14 goals for a poor Reims side, and will add some added firepower to this Villarreal side.