The Premier League’s Five Hidden Gems That Could Secure Big Moves This Summer

As is commonplace, the summer transfer window will be met with a media rumour mill of epic proportion. The likes of Harry Kane, Gareth Bale, Paul Pogba, and Jack Grealish will be just four of the big names linked with moves elsewhere – whether there’s any substance to the speculation or not. That is simply the media landscape that we, as consumers, have helped to create.

The smart clubs will go about their business under the radar, and rather than getting locked into a public bidding war, they will serenely snap up the players they believe can take them to the next level. Plus, it doesn’t always require huge sums to be spent – even in the Premier League, a competition watched by billions worldwide. There are still hidden gems and underrated stars that could aid the efforts of a club considered ‘bigger’ than their current employer.

Here are five examples of players that could climb another rung of English football’s ladder this summer.

Raphinha

He’s not a hidden gem in Yorkshire, Leeds United fans cherish Raphinha as their adopted Brazilian son. However, the 24-year-old maybe hasn’t received the national attention he deserves – odd, really, given that he contributed six goals and nine assists to his team’s cause this term.

As part of Marcelo Bielsa’s all-action Whites, Raphinha was able to help Leeds comprehensively outperform their outright Premier League betting odds in 2021. What’s more, previous to this amazing turnaround, they were believed to be probable relegation candidates rather than top-half security. What a joy they – and Raphinha – were to behold too.

Vladimir Coufal

The star of West Ham’s season was undoubtedly Tomas Soucek, who at times played like a man possessed at both ends of the pitch. However, quietly attracting plaudits was his Czech Republic colleague, Vladimir Coufal, who served up seven assists from right back and displayed plenty of defensive mettle too.

As many sides have found to their cost, it can be difficult in the modern game to find full backs who are diligent in their defensive work and yet creative in the final third too. So, Coufal could be an under-the-radar target for the Premier League’s ‘big six’ clubs.

Anwar El Ghazi

As football statisticians, often we’re drawn to the greatest quantities of things – top goalscorer, most assists/clean sheets, etc. But we can learn more sometimes by digging deeper, and that’s certainly the case with Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi.

The Dutchman netted ten Premier League goals this term in just 1617 minutes of action – that, if you think about it, is a ratio of better than a goal every other game.

For a player that largely occupies wide areas, that is an excellent return and highlights why El Ghazi can be considered an optimal signing for a club seeking a relatively affordable goal-getter.

Solly March

Premier League fans with a love of deep stats will have been sated by Brighton in 2020/21. Despite only just avoiding relegation by all accounts, the Seagull’s data – including their Expected Goals tally – suggests that they far outperformed their points total. We could write 1,000 words about that topic alone, but let’s cut to the chase and instead focus on their excellent chance creation – powered by tricky wide man Solly March.

The 26-year-old had a consistently excellent campaign, and WhoScored gave him an average rating of 7.07 across the season. That’s the same as Mo Salah and Bernardo Silva, and better than the likes of Paul Pogba and Patrick Bamford. March is another who produced excellent levels without capturing the attention of the wider football community.

Ademola Lookman

Anyone that can shine in a relegated team must be a player of some class. Ademola Lookman, who was once considered a shoo-in for England selection, seems to have finally found his feet – albeit at relegated Fulham.

But his performances suggest this is a player who can thrive in the Premier League. 1.8 key passes per game, which ranks him eleventh of all top-flight players for that stat, was matched by 2.4 completed dribbles and 2.0 shots per 90 minutes.

That’s the output of a quality player, so Lookman – and the other four names on this list – could be surprise targets for the Premier League’s big boys this summer.