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Premier League: 8 signings who have surprised and shocked fans - for good reasons and bad

Ramsdale, Sancho
(Image credit: Getty)

Now's about the time in the season that you can tell who's in for the title and who's in trouble - but equally, it's a good time to take stock of some of the Premier League's summer signings and judge just how they're getting on.

Every transfer window sees ever-inflated fees with more pressure heaped on the shoulders of young hopefuls. It can make or break a player - it often has already by this time of the season.

TRANSFERS The five most valuable Premier League players out of contract next summer

So we thought we'd look at some of the biggest surprises of the season. Good surprises and bad surprises, of course...

GOOD: Aaron Ramsdale

Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal splashed £25m on a goalkeeper who had just been relegated twice on the bounce. Especially as they had spent a similar sum in the not-too distant past on Germany international Bernd Leno. 

Yet Leno's unimpressive form last season forced their hand, and Ramsdale has been nothing short of a revelation since breaking into the team. The 23-year-old's cool distribution have helped the Gunners take initiative in games, while house lightning reflexes have saved their bacon on more than one occasion. Six clean sheets in 10 appearances is an impressive return, with Arsenal building a winning momentum during that period. Mikel Arteta has a new undisputed no.1, and that price tag is looking better by the week. 

BAD: Saul Niguez

Saul Niguez

(Image credit: Getty)

In theory, Saul Niguez could have slotted in perfectly to Chelsea's side alongside any one of their regular midfielders and looked tailor-made for the Premier League with a blend of physicality and technicality perfect for English football. But it hasn't worked out that way just yet.

The Atletico Madrid loanee looked like a fish out of water against Aston Villa and was hooked at half-time. He's played two Premier League minutes since, even with injury issues to Mason Mount. Saul might need a little adaptation to England, after all - and he might not get up to speed by the time his loan ends next May. 

GOOD: Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray

(Image credit: Getty)

Demarai Gray looked excellent for Leicester City on the right flank during a rare period of Riyad Mahrez playing behind Jamie Vardy, under Claude Puel. Since that... he'd done not a lot. 

Which made Everton's decision to bring him back from Bayer Leverkusen a strange one, especially considering that he'd hardly lit the Bundesliga up either. Gray has been excellent, however, offering goals and width for a faltering Everton side and looking well worth the modest fee. And Andros Townsend on the other side? He's looked good, too. 

BAD: Milot Rashica

Milot Rashica

(Image credit: Getty)

Kosovan winger Rachica was considered one of the most exciting emerging talents in the Bundesliga during his three years at strugglers Werder Bremen. His quick feet, and scorching pace were often the only thing fans enjoyed about watching a team now languishing in the second tier of German football. 

After racking up 27 goals and 19 assists in 100 appearances for Bremen, the 25-year-old was offered a fresh start in England by Norwich boss Daniel Farke. Yet he has struggled to adapt, neither scoring or assisting in any of his 11 appearances for the Canaries to date. He needs to apply himself if he is to make the most of his obvious talent. 

GOOD: Nuno Tavares

Nuno Tavares

(Image credit: Getty)

Nuno Tavares couldn't get in Benfica's side, lacked defensive intelligence and reportedly fell out with his bosses. It's fair for Arsenal fans to have felt like Sead Kolasinac pt.II was about to unravel. But in Kieran Tierney's recent absence, the young Portuguese has been excellent. 

Galloping up and down the left flank, even having a pop from distance, Tavares has been a breath of fresh air for Gunners who had to witness Granit Xhaka, Cedric Soares and the best right-winger at the club, Bukayo Saka, all fill in at left-back last season. Tavares has been surprisingly good - and the fact that he called Emile Smith Rowe "The Smith" in his introduction video online just makes us love him even more. 

BAD: Jadon Sancho

Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho

(Image credit: PA Images)

There are mitigating factors, including a lack of playing time or tactical cohesion at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United. Sancho also enjoyed a difficult summer, sitting out of much of England's run to the final of Euro 2020 and then missing a penalty against Italy at Wembley. 

That being said, Sancho should still have made more of an impact than he has. In truth, he's not earned the playing time he needs to get into full swing. The 21-year-old scored 50 goals and laid on 64 more in 137 BVB appearances, yet has managed none in 12 for United. He will come good eventually, but it's been a miserable period so far. 

GOOD: Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

(Image credit: Getty)

Relegated with West Brom last season, midfielder Gallagher was sent back out on loan by Chelsea this term. A Crystal Palace struggling for numbers took a chance and it's proved a masterstroke. 

Gallagher has brought not just his usual energy to the Eagles midfield, but also end product. He has three goals and two assists in nine Premier League outings so far, and has taken some of the creative burden off Wilfred Zaha's shoulders. The blonde Pirlo deserves a permanent move next summer, to a club who can build around his growing gifts. 

BAD: Emi Buendia

Emi Buendia

(Image credit: Getty)

Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect Emi Buendia to fill Jack Grealish's boots (and low, low socks) in just ten games - but the new Aston Villa playmaker hasn't so much as given an indication that he could become key to the Midlands side.

Villa have floundered, moved to a 3-5-2 which has brought little success and looked a shell of themselves creatively. Buendia hasn't taken his new teammates by the scruff of the neck creatively, either, leaving fellow newbie Leon Bailey to pick up the baton and get hearts racing. Maybe it's a slow start - but the record signing has picked up where he left off in the Premier League after an underwhelming campaign two years ago with Norwich. 

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