Graham Cummins reviews the Premier League season: Harry Maguire was the worst signing

Graham Cummins reviews the Premier League season: Harry Maguire was the worst signing
Manchester United's Harry Maguire during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.

LAST weekend saw the end of a historic season in the Premier League.

The 2019/20 season will be forever remembered. Liverpool ended their 30 year wait for a league title; the league was suspended due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

We witnessed just how dull football can be without supporters and after years of asking for it – although I reckon most people wished they hadn’t now – VAR was introduced into the league.

Like every season, there has been highs and lows. Some will look back on the season fondly, while others will be happy to see the back of what has been a very long campaign.

One man who will never want to forget this season is Jurgen Klopp.

The Liverpool manager did come under fire for not attending his team’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury but he has more than redeemed himself by guiding the club to their first Premier League title and did it in style.

After coming so close, but still falling short of winning the league last season, anything other than securing Liverpool’s first Premier League title would have been seen as a failure this season.

Klopp would have been under immense pressure to win the league and the German should be applauded for the way he handled it.

There has been calls for Chris Wilder to win manager of the year after the remarkable job he did with Sheffield United on their return to the top tier.

However, Wilder was never under any real pressure. The Blades were tipped, by most, to be relegated at the start of the season and nothing was expected from Wilder and his team.

After the resumption of the season, Wilder’s men were in with a chance of finishing in the top-four but ending finishing a respectable ninth in the league.

People expectations of Sheffield United rose during the lockdown but the Blades failed to deliver the kind of levels they had reached before lockdown.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Wilder could not find a way of dealing with the pressure for a month, whereas Klopp handled it for 11 months and deserves to be manager of the year.

I’ve already stated my reasons in last week’s column as to why Kevin De Bruyne is my player of the year and his performance against Norwich reiterated my point.

The Belgian was robbed of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award and giving Jordan Henderson the award, was more to do with acknowledging Liverpool’s success rather than the writers truly believing that Henderson had a better season that De Bruyne.

In terms of value for money, Harry Maguire has to go down as the worst signing of the season.

The world’s most expensive defender has made a difference to the United defence but not near a big enough impact that justifies the €87m United paid Leicester for the England international.

Maguire has obviously made an improvement in the United dressing room and must have strong leadership skills, otherwise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not have named him United captain but the England international has too much flaws in his game for a player who was meant to be United’s Virgil van Dijk.

Unlike the Liverpool player, Maguire lacks pace, isn’t the greatest on the ball and doesn’t make who every is playing alongside him at centre-back a better player, something van Dijk does.

Bruno Fernandes has been a real find for United and is the reason Solskjaer’s team finished third in the league but Danny Ings must be the signing of the season. Ings initially sign on-loan for Southampton in 2018 but made the move permanent at the beginning of this season for a €22m. 

Southampton's Danny Ings.
Southampton's Danny Ings.

He finished joint-second top scorer in the league scoring 22 goals for a mid-table side and had it not been for Ings, the Saints would have found themselves struggling to fight off relegation.

Liverpool supporters might question why the club sold Ings considering the Englishman scored 22 league goals compared to Roberto Firmino’s nine goals but Liverpool’s style of play doesn’t suit Ings and he wouldn’t have scored the number of goals he did, had he played for Liverpool, even though he would have been in a better team.

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