Both West Brom and Swansea were relegated from the Premier League last season, and with that comes the inevitable exodus of players.
Last season was no exception for either club, as they saw some of their star players remain in the top flight. Two of those were centre backs Jonny Evans, who moved to Leicester, and Alfie Mawson, who moved to Fulham.
With both players hoping to avoid a season like the had last year, let’s compare these two transfers…
Leicester signed Jonny Evans from West Brom in early June for a fee of £3.5m. This move was made early by manager Claude Puel, as he clearly wanted to start building a stronger squad. Time was of the essence, as a number of clubs would have made a swoop for the Northern Ireland international.
Evans has a glowing CV due to his nine years spent at Man United, winning three Premier Leagues. This is the sort of experience and solidity The Foxes wanted, as they sought to replicate their formidable defence from a few seasons ago.
So far, Evans has made the start that most people expected from him at the Kingpower Stadium. He’s started two Premier League matches, as he battles Wes Morgan for the spot to partner the imperious Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence.
At 30-years-old, Evans is not necessarily a signing for the future, but it’s a purchase that will help Leicester through the next couple of seasons, and that is the key. With Morgan now at the age of 34, he may be on the decline; Evans is a great candidate to share the workload, as Morgan’s playing time begins to decrease.
Evans is not the player that will demand to start every game, as, after all, he would have known full well the circumstances at the club when he joined. No one was going to usurp Maguire, and Morgan was always going to have a part to play in the team. Evans would have known the situation that he was joining.
On deadline day, Leicester made one final plunge into the transfer market and came out with centre back pair Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu. The Croatian Benkovic signed from Dinamo Zagreb for £13m, while Turkey international Soyuncu from SC Freiburg for £19m. The Croatian is is 21, while the Turk is 22, and both clearly have a long term future at the club, but not necessarily a short term one.
That is where Evans fits into the picture. Leicester are clearly prepared for what may happen in the next couple of seasons, with the departure of Maguire and possible retirement of Morgan. Evans is there to keep continuity in the team whilst they transition to the next generation of defenders. The Foxes clearly have a lot of players in defence, but perhaps only Maguire sits between the young and the old. However, Evans is still at an age where he can see the club through a period of change.
That is fundamentally why the signing of Evans was such good business for Leicester. They heavily recruited in terms of their defence in the summer, but the mix of young and old mean they are set for the present and the future.
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Newly promoted Fulham signed Swansea’s Mawson in late July for a fee of £20m. It was a deal sandwiched in the middle of a summer of heavy spending by The Cottagers as they went on to spend over £100m.
This is quite a large sum, but for a 24-year-old defender that is knocking on the door of the England team, that kind of price is just par for the course. Mawson was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier this year, however, failed to earn a cap.
The defender joined with a pre-existing injury, as he was recovering from knee surgery, so it would be unfair to judge the player on what he has done at the club so far, as, although he has made a few appearances, he may not be back to his best yet.
What Fulham can expect is a robust defender that is particularly threatening from set pieces, which will help the club at both ends of the field. At the end of the day, Swansea still got relegated, but Mawson remained one of the few shining lights at the Liberty Stadium last season and did not damage his reputation.
The Cottagers have failed to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League thus far this season, and Mawson’s return will be welcomed by manager Slaviša Jokanović, as he hopes to shore up his profligate defence. This could be the weakness that throws Fulham into a relegation battle this season, so an in-form Alfie Mawson will likely be indispensable as the season progresses. It is that reason which makes Mawson such a good transfer.
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This is an interesting battle as both players joined their clubs at different junctures in their career, but both serve a very vital purpose.
At the ages of 30 and 24, both Evans and Mawson are now experienced Premier League players that can give their clubs a lot this season. Given the strength of Leicester’s defence, it is arguable that Mawson will provide more to Fulham this season given it is their first season back in the Premier League.
While Evans was much cheaper than Mawson, that is understandable given his age, and therefore that cannot really be factored in when making this comparison. But age is the fundamental aspect of this transfer.
Evans role at the club is one of helping transition, but he may not be a long term player for The Foxes. On the other hand, Mawson can look forward to many successful seasons at Craven Cottage in the Premier League, if their success continues. It is for that reason that Mawson wins this contest.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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