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£20m+ Signings since 2019 - review of Big Six from The Athletic

carmeldevil

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2018
7,785
46,923

Arsenal excellent, Tottenham flawed: When the ‘Big Six’ splash the cash, has it worked?​

Philip Buckingham
Dec 31, 2022
172

The summer of 2021 brought Arsenal’s new recruitment strategy into sharp focus. Just over £140million ($168.4m) was spent transforming a squad that had staggered to an eighth-place finish in the previous Premier League season and not one new arrival was over the age of 23.

It was all premeditated, all part of a plan. In came Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, each bringing more potential than an obvious pedigree. “That has to be Arsenal,” said Edu, the club’s technical director.

The approach has not always appealed to everyone. “It seems a bit all over the place,” said Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender turned TV pundit, in the months that followed the marked shift. “Maybe there is [a strategy], but it’s not clear.”

Eighteen months on and it has become crystal clear under Mikel Arteta. An improving young squad has been supplemented by further expensive additions in the summer, including Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira, and most importantly leaves Arsenal seeing in a new year with a five-point lead at the Premier League summit.

A fairytale this is not. Money has been spent to bring Arsenal this far. Lots of it. And more is now being piled up to tempt Shakhtar Donetsk into selling their prized asset Mykhailo Mudryk in the January window.

An opening bid for the 21-year-old winger has already been rejected, but it will not mark the end of this pursuit. Arsenal want Mudryk to help cover the loss of Jesus to injury and ensure this season of immense promise keeps on bubbling to a springtime boil.

It will inevitably cost. Ukrainian giants Shakhtar have no wish to let their prized asset leave cheaply, despite all the troubles in their homeland. Albeit an ambitious one, their asking price is €100million (£88.5m, $107m) for one of European football’s most gifted youngsters.

Supporters might have reservations over the finances required to sign Mudryk. They remember Nicolas Pepe, whose £72million signing from Lille continues to stand as a lamentable club record, and shudder. There is also historical precedent at Arsenal for some of the biggest purchases not working out — going back further than Pepe there was Alexandre Lacazette and Shkodran Mustafi.

Pepe was Edu’s first big deal as technical director, though the Brazilian was still bedding in at the club and the former head of football Raul Sanllehi was a bigger driving force in the deal. The winger now finds himself on loan to French club Nice after barely leaving footprints in the Premier League sand during his three seasons.

Pepe was an expensive mistake but he is also an exception to the encouraging rule under Edu, especially since Arteta was picked to become the permanent replacement to Unai Emery three years ago.


Arsenal have predominantly spent money wisely under the current regime. As well as any rival, in fact. Almost every major deal that has followed Pepe has come to feel like a success. Some immediately, others in time.

Thomas Partey was an outlier when joining at the age of 27 for £45million but has since become an experienced mainstay alongside younger team-mates Gabriel, Ramsdale, Odegaard and White, who were all signed inside a year of each other.

Zinchenko and Jesus, two title winners with Manchester City, have been credited with sharpening mentalities this season within a group that fell short of Champions League qualification in May and perhaps only Vieira, who has so far only started one Premier League game, has struggled to justify the initial £30million outlay that brought him in from Porto this summer.

There are a few niggling concerns over the consistent availability of some of their recent big arrivals given a string of injuries, but that is still seven hits and a maybe without a miss since Pepe. Going back to the summer before Arteta was appointed and you can find William Saliba, a slow burner after loans with Saint Etienne, Nice and Marseille, and Kieran Tierney, two defenders with the ability to elevate Arsenal back into this debate for silverware.
For this piece, we are looking at arrivals in the £20million-plus bracket, so there may be some expensive failures who cost little or nothing when it comes to the initial outlay. David Luiz and Willian’s arrivals from Chelsea did not make as much sense in the same period and did not cost much in fees, but they were expensive in salary terms.


But this is a club that has pragmatically come to know its place in the food chain and embraced it. Arsenal see little value in pursuing ageing players on big money again, such as the club’s one-time club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, or challenging Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool for European football’s elite players.

Mudryk might represent the first change in that if the chase proves successful, but the overall shift has undeniably paid dividends in bringing them this far. The starting XI that came from behind to beat West Ham United on Boxing Day included eight players signed in the Edu years. Only academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, as well as the long-serving Granit Xhaka, buck the developing trend evident in this new Arsenal.
Go through that team and you would be howling at the moon not to find value in Arsenal’s recruitment. White, Ramsdale, Tierney, Saliba, Gabriel, Odegaard, Zinchenko…

Partey, who turns 30 next summer, might turn out to be the only starter (excluding the long-serving Xhaka) that Arsenal would struggle to claw back their initial outlay. Some, like Saliba (£27million from Lille) and White (£50million from Brighton), have begun to look like steals in a market that took Wesley Fofana from Leicester City to Chelsea in a £69.5million transfer.

Mudryk would have to do extraordinary things to bring the same sense of value if the investment turns out to be north of £70million. Arsenal, too, will have a number they will not go beyond to make it happen.

January, therefore, brings no guarantees a deal can be done, but Mudryk slots into a model that has not reinvented the wheel. “We don’t sign superstars, we make them,” said Arsene Wenger in 2007. Edu and Arteta, who both played under the Frenchman, continue to see the merits in that strategy, even if it means significant investments are required to set development in motion.

The recruitment is arguably working very well under Edu. Now the next challenge for him is nailing the other two parts of his job — retention and selling. In those two areas, he still has something to prove.

It is when you pitch Arsenal’s spending of more than £20million on individual players up against their traditional top-six rivals that real endorsement can be found. Others have committed similar amounts in the past three years to either chase or cement aspirations of the top four but have lived to regret their profligacy.

Like Tottenham, their nearest neighbours. Mistakes have been commonplace in the transfer market during a period that has lacked clarity amid a churn of managers.

Cristian Romero and Richarlison have been smart additions but others quickly began to look flawed. None more so than Tanguy Ndombele, a £55million signing in 2019 now on loan to Napoli, but Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon complete a quartet that have since been moved out of Tottenham in moves to suit all parties. Bryan Gil, another failure to this point, might not be far behind.

Chelsea are another cursed by their business. The jury is out on the merits of their summer splurge, including Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling, but even those from past regimes who sanctioned deals for Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech cannot find value in an approximate outlay of £200million.

Then there is Manchester United, a club without an obvious recruitment thread and uncomfortable with its mistakes. This summer might have been a relative success thanks to the starts made by Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez but others have been lost in the club’s fogged malaise.
Jadon Sancho might yet come good but heavy losses are unavoidable on the likes of Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Cristiano Ronaldo, albeit at lower financial levels, eventually proved another disastrous addition.

Perhaps only Manchester City and Liverpool, clubs that have found stability and cohesion to win the past five Premier League titles together, can claim to have enjoyed greater success than Arsenal since 2019.

Manchester City do not tend to make many errors of judgment. Rodri, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and Erling Haaland are all obvious hits irrespective of the outlays needed to sign them, while Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips might benefit from additional time before judgements are cast in stone. Only Ferran Torres flattered to deceive during his time at Manchester City but even that £21million transfer was made good when Barcelona opted to buy the Spaniard for £55million last year.

Liverpool, too, have been savvy in the main. Thiago, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz have all been sound investments, while Cody Gakpo, the Netherlands’ attacking star at the World Cup, also has value at an initial outlay of £37million ahead of his move from Ajax.

Darwin Nunez was the big summer gamble that has the potential to go south when potentially worth up to £85million, but 11 Premier League starts, including five goals, does not offer a sample size big enough to draw conclusions. Liverpool, all the same, are rarely considered dumb with their recruitment. Limited up against Manchester City and the other big fish in Europe, maybe, but seldom wasteful.

Arsenal, through accident or design, have aligned themselves as closely to Liverpool as any other rival. There are parallels between the two in what they hope to achieve on a healthy but not unlimited budget. Sign players (relatively) young, develop and grow together.

There will be mistakes, like Pepe. It is football’s way, forever unable to navigate the intangibles. But a sensible, unambiguous strategy, driven by talented individuals, will always give clubs a fighting chance.

That has led Arsenal to this point, where a title challenge no longer feels fanciful. They might not have enough, with or without Mudryk, when the all-conquering Manchester City are still around, but recruitment as sharp as any rival since 2019 has helped make up all that lost ground.

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fishhhandaricecake

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2018
19,688
49,265

Arsenal excellent, Tottenham flawed: When the ‘Big Six’ splash the cash, has it worked?​

Philip Buckingham
Dec 31, 2022
172

The summer of 2021 brought Arsenal’s new recruitment strategy into sharp focus. Just over £140million ($168.4m) was spent transforming a squad that had staggered to an eighth-place finish in the previous Premier League season and not one new arrival was over the age of 23.

It was all premeditated, all part of a plan. In came Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, each bringing more potential than an obvious pedigree. “That has to be Arsenal,” said Edu, the club’s technical director.

The approach has not always appealed to everyone. “It seems a bit all over the place,” said Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender turned TV pundit, in the months that followed the marked shift. “Maybe there is [a strategy], but it’s not clear.”

Eighteen months on and it has become crystal clear under Mikel Arteta. An improving young squad has been supplemented by further expensive additions in the summer, including Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira, and most importantly leaves Arsenal seeing in a new year with a five-point lead at the Premier League summit.

A fairytale this is not. Money has been spent to bring Arsenal this far. Lots of it. And more is now being piled up to tempt Shakhtar Donetsk into selling their prized asset Mykhailo Mudryk in the January window.

An opening bid for the 21-year-old winger has already been rejected, but it will not mark the end of this pursuit. Arsenal want Mudryk to help cover the loss of Jesus to injury and ensure this season of immense promise keeps on bubbling to a springtime boil.

It will inevitably cost. Ukrainian giants Shakhtar have no wish to let their prized asset leave cheaply, despite all the troubles in their homeland. Albeit an ambitious one, their asking price is €100million (£88.5m, $107m) for one of European football’s most gifted youngsters.

Supporters might have reservations over the finances required to sign Mudryk. They remember Nicolas Pepe, whose £72million signing from Lille continues to stand as a lamentable club record, and shudder. There is also historical precedent at Arsenal for some of the biggest purchases not working out — going back further than Pepe there was Alexandre Lacazette and Shkodran Mustafi.

Pepe was Edu’s first big deal as technical director, though the Brazilian was still bedding in at the club and the former head of football Raul Sanllehi was a bigger driving force in the deal. The winger now finds himself on loan to French club Nice after barely leaving footprints in the Premier League sand during his three seasons.

Pepe was an expensive mistake but he is also an exception to the encouraging rule under Edu, especially since Arteta was picked to become the permanent replacement to Unai Emery three years ago.


Arsenal have predominantly spent money wisely under the current regime. As well as any rival, in fact. Almost every major deal that has followed Pepe has come to feel like a success. Some immediately, others in time.

Thomas Partey was an outlier when joining at the age of 27 for £45million but has since become an experienced mainstay alongside younger team-mates Gabriel, Ramsdale, Odegaard and White, who were all signed inside a year of each other.

Zinchenko and Jesus, two title winners with Manchester City, have been credited with sharpening mentalities this season within a group that fell short of Champions League qualification in May and perhaps only Vieira, who has so far only started one Premier League game, has struggled to justify the initial £30million outlay that brought him in from Porto this summer.

There are a few niggling concerns over the consistent availability of some of their recent big arrivals given a string of injuries, but that is still seven hits and a maybe without a miss since Pepe. Going back to the summer before Arteta was appointed and you can find William Saliba, a slow burner after loans with Saint Etienne, Nice and Marseille, and Kieran Tierney, two defenders with the ability to elevate Arsenal back into this debate for silverware.
For this piece, we are looking at arrivals in the £20million-plus bracket, so there may be some expensive failures who cost little or nothing when it comes to the initial outlay. David Luiz and Willian’s arrivals from Chelsea did not make as much sense in the same period and did not cost much in fees, but they were expensive in salary terms.


But this is a club that has pragmatically come to know its place in the food chain and embraced it. Arsenal see little value in pursuing ageing players on big money again, such as the club’s one-time club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, or challenging Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool for European football’s elite players.

Mudryk might represent the first change in that if the chase proves successful, but the overall shift has undeniably paid dividends in bringing them this far. The starting XI that came from behind to beat West Ham United on Boxing Day included eight players signed in the Edu years. Only academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, as well as the long-serving Granit Xhaka, buck the developing trend evident in this new Arsenal.
Go through that team and you would be howling at the moon not to find value in Arsenal’s recruitment. White, Ramsdale, Tierney, Saliba, Gabriel, Odegaard, Zinchenko…

Partey, who turns 30 next summer, might turn out to be the only starter (excluding the long-serving Xhaka) that Arsenal would struggle to claw back their initial outlay. Some, like Saliba (£27million from Lille) and White (£50million from Brighton), have begun to look like steals in a market that took Wesley Fofana from Leicester City to Chelsea in a £69.5million transfer.

Mudryk would have to do extraordinary things to bring the same sense of value if the investment turns out to be north of £70million. Arsenal, too, will have a number they will not go beyond to make it happen.

January, therefore, brings no guarantees a deal can be done, but Mudryk slots into a model that has not reinvented the wheel. “We don’t sign superstars, we make them,” said Arsene Wenger in 2007. Edu and Arteta, who both played under the Frenchman, continue to see the merits in that strategy, even if it means significant investments are required to set development in motion.

The recruitment is arguably working very well under Edu. Now the next challenge for him is nailing the other two parts of his job — retention and selling. In those two areas, he still has something to prove.

It is when you pitch Arsenal’s spending of more than £20million on individual players up against their traditional top-six rivals that real endorsement can be found. Others have committed similar amounts in the past three years to either chase or cement aspirations of the top four but have lived to regret their profligacy.

Like Tottenham, their nearest neighbours. Mistakes have been commonplace in the transfer market during a period that has lacked clarity amid a churn of managers.

Cristian Romero and Richarlison have been smart additions but others quickly began to look flawed. None more so than Tanguy Ndombele, a £55million signing in 2019 now on loan to Napoli, but Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon complete a quartet that have since been moved out of Tottenham in moves to suit all parties. Bryan Gil, another failure to this point, might not be far behind.

Chelsea are another cursed by their business. The jury is out on the merits of their summer splurge, including Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling, but even those from past regimes who sanctioned deals for Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech cannot find value in an approximate outlay of £200million.

Then there is Manchester United, a club without an obvious recruitment thread and uncomfortable with its mistakes. This summer might have been a relative success thanks to the starts made by Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez but others have been lost in the club’s fogged malaise.
Jadon Sancho might yet come good but heavy losses are unavoidable on the likes of Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Cristiano Ronaldo, albeit at lower financial levels, eventually proved another disastrous addition.

Perhaps only Manchester City and Liverpool, clubs that have found stability and cohesion to win the past five Premier League titles together, can claim to have enjoyed greater success than Arsenal since 2019.

Manchester City do not tend to make many errors of judgment. Rodri, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and Erling Haaland are all obvious hits irrespective of the outlays needed to sign them, while Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips might benefit from additional time before judgements are cast in stone. Only Ferran Torres flattered to deceive during his time at Manchester City but even that £21million transfer was made good when Barcelona opted to buy the Spaniard for £55million last year.

Liverpool, too, have been savvy in the main. Thiago, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz have all been sound investments, while Cody Gakpo, the Netherlands’ attacking star at the World Cup, also has value at an initial outlay of £37million ahead of his move from Ajax.

Darwin Nunez was the big summer gamble that has the potential to go south when potentially worth up to £85million, but 11 Premier League starts, including five goals, does not offer a sample size big enough to draw conclusions. Liverpool, all the same, are rarely considered dumb with their recruitment. Limited up against Manchester City and the other big fish in Europe, maybe, but seldom wasteful.

Arsenal, through accident or design, have aligned themselves as closely to Liverpool as any other rival. There are parallels between the two in what they hope to achieve on a healthy but not unlimited budget. Sign players (relatively) young, develop and grow together.

There will be mistakes, like Pepe. It is football’s way, forever unable to navigate the intangibles. But a sensible, unambiguous strategy, driven by talented individuals, will always give clubs a fighting chance.

That has led Arsenal to this point, where a title challenge no longer feels fanciful. They might not have enough, with or without Mudryk, when the all-conquering Manchester City are still around, but recruitment as sharp as any rival since 2019 has helped make up all that lost ground.

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Wow just shows we've wasted a heck of a lot of money but also because of changing Manager style etc means our transfer approach hasn't been able to be part of a consistent plan.
 

Bluto Blutarsky

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2021
15,736
72,814
I don't understand - those players for Spurs are all young players with high sell-on values...that is the way.
 

wspur

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2021
868
3,130
A bit harsh to call Sessegnon a miss. Can't really argue with the others but Reguilon was good even with Conte, not sure what happened there and on Bergwijn we made our money back. And what has Zynchenko done to be a hit? Nathan Ake and Maguire hits?
 

SUIYHA

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2017
1,742
8,664
A bit harsh to call Sessegnon a miss. Can't really argue with the others but Reguilon was good even with Conte, not sure what happened there and on Bergwijn we made our money back. And what has Zynchenko done to be a hit? Nathan Ake and Maguire hits?

Sessegnon definitely a miss. 3 and a half seasons in and only one good run of form towards the end of last season to show for it. Not good enough overall.

Think Richarlison is lucky to get called a hit signing - jury very much still out for me especially at the price paid.

I agree with the overall sentiment of this article. Most of our recruitment and scouting since Paul Mitchell left has been atrocious, although this article doesn't tell the whole story as it omits Kulusevski and Bentancur, as well as Bale's return which was expensive but a good transfer overall.
 

SirNiNyHotspur

23 Years of Property, Concerts, Karts & Losing
Apr 27, 2004
3,134
6,781
Yep a bit kind to call Richarlison a hit, jury still out for me.

Just shows what a failure our transfer ‘commitee’ have been, if we had one manager or at least one constant direction without interference (more relating to our playing style vs the need for young with sell on value) I suspect our list may be a bit better, we fail to spend big at pivotal times for success and when we do spend big the criteria for such a purchase is so skewed we screw it up almost every time.
 

nferno

Waiting for England to finally win the Euros-2024?
Jan 7, 2007
7,119
10,253
If Bryan gil is a miss then surely Jadon Sancho is also a miss, not “jury’s out”. Not denying that we have spent our money in the worst way compared to our rivals, but things like that do taint this analysis piece with bias.
 

PrettyColors

Rosie47 Fan
Aug 13, 2011
3,866
10,074
You know the worst part? We actually bought even WORSE going back to 2016. Sissoko £30m, Sanchez £40m, Aurier £22m…. How the fuck did we have an entire window after nearly winning the league and only bought Sissoko, Janssen, and Wanyama (who was a good buy tbf)… and then almost won the league AGAIN and followed it up with… Sanchez, Foyth, and Aurier??? That is genuinely criminal, like gross negligence. We fucked it up a long time ago.
 

Cochraam

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2015
229
1,021
The crazy thing is you can take this back even further than summer 2019, and it's still hard to find many "hits" for players over 20 million. Maybe Son in 2015 is how far back you have to go pre-2019 to find a "hit." Could definitely quibble with some of these, but the overall story rings true - we have had a truly terrible run of transfers, not helped by lots of changing between managers who had drastically different styles. I do think under Paratici the ship has begun to right itself though.
 

PrettyColors

Rosie47 Fan
Aug 13, 2011
3,866
10,074
Levy has turned what was the most fearsome side in the league in 15-17 to what is now a joke of a football club on the outside looking in.
 

Cochise

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2019
4,964
12,891
I think Reguilon may have proven to be hits under a different manager, he's just not suited to being a wing back. Emerson might have been a decent player in a back four where there is little emphasis on him creating for others. I'd also say that Bergwijn might have been decent at that price had we not had Son in the form he was in. A Dutch friend of mine was always asking why we didn't use him more.

Still though, there is more red than green and that's a big issue.
 

wspur

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2021
868
3,130
I think Reguilon may have proven to be hits under a different manager, he's just not suited to being a wing back. Emerson might have been a decent player in a back four where there is little emphasis on him creating for others. I'd also say that Bergwijn might have been decent at that price had we not had Son in the form he was in. A Dutch friend of mine was always asking why we didn't use him more.

Still though, there is more red than green and that's a big issue.
Reguillon was good but he's had a difficult year (as he recently posted on Instagram), Sessegnon had loads of injuries as well. The others... we need a bit more consistency to avoid these mistakes
 

DarwinSpur

Well-Known Member
Dec 30, 2020
6,019
10,625
Richarlison a hit? Based on what - his performances for Brazil?

Can barely get on the park for us. Can't say it's hit or a miss at all.
 

DiVaio

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2020
4,192
17,463
A bit harsh to call Sessegnon a miss. Can't really argue with the others but Reguilon was good even with Conte, not sure what happened there and on Bergwijn we made our money back. And what has Zynchenko done to be a hit? Nathan Ake and Maguire hits?
Yeah this list is so bad and so contradictory. Looks like some are rated based only of price, some based only of performances etc.
Don't undestand how can they give Bryan and Sess miss and at the same time they gave Amad Diallo jury's out when he made less impact for first team and was more expensive
 

cider spurs

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2016
9,401
23,735
Konate supposedly cost Liverpool €40m, he's always injured, absent from that list tho'.

Yes, i'm going back a year, but Keita cost them €60m, and he's not looked anything like value for money.

So there's €100m right there you could add to the Liverpool list, a €100m of mediocre. Whack that in the reckoning and suddenly they don't look that superior do they.

Add over a €130m on 'jury's srill out' re: Nunez and Gakpo, and they could well have spunked nigh on 1/4 billion euro's on mediocre types.

They only tell you what they want to believe. It's bullshit. Why can't we include players like Bentancur and Kulu, is it because we snaffled two exquisite players for a very good price, cracking business for under the £20m fee we have to use in his crappy article.

Then we can go in on 'how bad' Spurs are doing.

If he wants to play big boy games, he must act accordingly and play properly. D-, must try harder.
 

Albertbarich

Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2020
5,373
20,384
At least we didn't sign Partey and keep playing him so there is that

It's not like the players we signed are bad, I think we haven't had a clear philosophy which means some just don't fit , see. Regillion and Emerson.
 

jolsnogross

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2005
3,847
5,711
The lesson here is we shouldn't spend more than 20M on anyone. Levy is spending too much :cautious:

Ourselves and Chelsea have been spending recklessly. Bentancur and Kulu change the metrics for us a bit and haven't been included in that assessment, but we've wasted far too much. Ndombele and Royal are probably the two biggest misses for us, just scandalous fees for guys with contrasting but deep problems (attitude and ability).

20M is a good threshold to evaluate going forward. I'd spend more on Harvey Barnes, for example, but also spend less to get Trossard if Barnes isn't available. Is there a very real chance that Porro will have an effect at RWB for us that (for example) Trippier is having at Newcastle. If so, pay the release clause. If there are doubts, don't.

And there ar eplenty of hits on these lists that are decent but not worth the outlay:
White, Zinchenko, and Tierney are fine, but not worth what they paid
Antony, MAguire, MArtinez, Wan-BIssaka - all ok, not worth up to 80M
HAvertz, Mendy, even Richarlison (as others have said) - work to do to justify those crazy transfer fees

It seems only Man City really know what they're doing by getting it consistently right for the most part. And that is likely a combination of good scouting and structure, plus an astronomical salary level.
 
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