The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.
The transfer window has closed in the Premier League and we have witnessed some big names swapping shirts. The season has already begun and the new boys are showing signs of fitting in like a glove.
We’ve been taking a look at five of the best signings from each of the top five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.
With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility, and potential are some of the criteria used in the development of this list.
Here’s a look at Premier League….
Rodri (Manchester City) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €70 million
Value: €80 million
Procuring the right midfielders for Pep Guardiola in the right position is one way Manchester City can have their hands glued to the Premier League trophy.
Sergio Busquets, Javi Martinez, Fernandinho are evidence of how Guardiola has perfected the use of the central defensive midfielder position and Rodri will follow suit.
The 23-year-old was labelled the ‘next Busquets’ even before his name appeared on mainstream media. Rodri’s positional awareness, ability to make and break plays renders him a perfect fit to the City side.
Replacing Fernandinho – one of their most crucial players of the last two seasons – was bound to be arduous but City have seemingly found an upgrade.
Expectation: Numbers can’t define the impact of a player of his profile. Rodri must establish himself in the squad right away and play a key part in the title defence and a deep run in the Champions League.
Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €60 million
Value: €65 million
After hibernating for two transfer windows, Tottenham have made a statement by signing one of the most complete midfielders in Tanguy Ndombele.
The Frenchman’s physicality and defensive prowess will bring a lot of stability to the Spurs midfield. His partnership at the base of midfield with Harry Winks could provide the Champions League runners-up a massive upgrade.
Ndombele is a confident dribbler of the ball, thrives under pressure and is accurate with his pressing. His presence at the centre of the pitch could also bring the best out of Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen in front of him.
Expectation: Transform Spurs midfield. Placing such a burden on a player just entering the league could be harsh, but Ndombele is capable of seeing it through. His skill-set is diverse and he was made for the Premier League.
Sebastien Haller (West Ham United) – Midfielder
Transfer fee: €40 million
Value: €40 million
West Ham witnessed the departure of Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Lucas Perez and failed in their pursuit of Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez. However, the capture of Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt saved their transfer window.
Haller’s 6’3” towering physique and huge frame is built for the rigours of the Premier League. The all-round striker’s ability to link-up with players outside the penalty box, eye for passes and smart movement to create space for his team-mates attaches a promise to this transfer.
The German scored 20 goals in all competitions at an xG (expected goals) of 17.33 last season, hence erasing doubts about his efficiency in front of goal, if any.
Expectation: 20 goal involvements. Haller was involved in 30 goals in all competitions last season with 20 goals and 10 assists. However, he will be transitioning from a two-striker system to being the lone No9 for West Ham. This and the challenge of adjusting to a league of superior quality could warrant for lowering of expectations.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) – Defender
Transfer fee: €55 million
Value: €35 million
United fans will experience a welcome change in personnel with Aaron Wan-Bisssaka pacing down the right flank in place of the heavily underperforming Ashley Young.
The 21-year-old has established himself as a top tackler and interceptor of the ball during his time at Crystal Palace. He is also one of the last defenders you would want to face in a one-on-one situation.
Wan-Bissaka is still honing the offensive aspect of his game, as evidenced by the mere three assists he garnered last season. His final deliveries need to improve and the flashy dribbles must conclude with some end-product.
Expectation: Seven assists and obvious improvements in the attacking aspect of his game. Both Crystal Palace and United waste less time in build-up and look to transition very quickly. In theory, Wan-Bissaka must fit like a glove and this transfer must bear fruits from the very first season.
Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – Winger
Transfer fee: €80 million
Value: €65 million
After leading Lille to the Champions League for the first time in a long time, Nicolas Pepe has decided to settle for Europa League football by choosing Arsenal over other top clubs like Liverpool. This could only mean that the marriage of interests between the parties involved was truly immense.
Arsenal’s failure to land a quality winger has brought about a sense of blandness on the flanks but the arrival of Pepe could shake things up for the better. The directness that the explosive forward brings to his game could go a long way in adding some much-needed firepower in Arsenal’s attack.
The 24-year-old is forward-thinking with his play, crafty with his movements off the shoulder coming in from the wing and confident with his finishing. In an ideal world, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pepe could forge one of the deadliest trios in Europe.
Expectation: 15 assists. Pepe managed 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille last season. Given Lacazette and Aubameyang will be first in line to bag the goals, Pepe must finish the season with at least 15 assists. He could go step on the podium for the top assists in Premier League this season.
Fiorentina have announced the signing of former Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery.
Ribery, 36, who left German champions Bayern when his contract expired at the end of last season, will be unveiled by Fiorentina at a press conference on Thursday, the Serie A club said in a brief statement on their official website.
Fiorentina have not disclosed details about Ribery’s contract, but it has been reported he has signed a two-year deal.
Ribery won a record nine Bundesliga titles and the Champions League, in 2013, during his 12-year spell with Bayern after joining from Marseille in a £17million deal in 2007.
He began his career at Boulogne in 2002 and has also had spells at Metz and Galatasaray.
Ribery scored 16 goals in 81 appearances for France and played in their 2006 World Cup final defeat to Italy.
Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season?
We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.
We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why, or why not.
Barcelona -> Exchange -> Juventus
Juventus have proposed an exchange deal with Barcelona that will see them land Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic and Germany’s Emre Can head the other way, according to Tuttosport.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
Liquid cash is in short supply for both giants after extensive summer investments, but a desire to improve their squads remain before September 2’s deadline. This is why Juve sporting director Fabio Paretici made the proposal on Monday – with both footballers also refusing to rule it out. Barca have declined to improve Rakitic’s contract, despite five years of stellar service. The Croatian’s quality will appeal to Juve, who continue to desire refinement in midfield. Can failed to make any impact in 2018/19’s debut campaign, but his stock remains relatively high after excelling at Liverpool.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
There are so many moving parts. Finding a mutual agreement on valuations of the two midfielders will require extensive negotiation, never mind then agreeing personal terms etc. Rakitic is also continually linked with becoming a makeweight in a part-exchange deal to bring Brazil superstar Neymar back to Barca from Paris Saint-Germain. He’s also regularly voiced his contentment about life in Spain. Can may also want another season in Turin to showcase his true quality.
TRANSFER RATING: 4/10
Real Madrid -> Loan -> AC Milan
AC Milan are prepared to change strategy and pursue a bold loan move for Real Madrid new boy Luka Jovic, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
Rumours persist that Jovic has failed to impress Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane, despite only joining from Eintracht Frankfurt for €60 million in June. This once-unlikely scenario could gain further traction if Neymar is extracted from PSG before the close of the market. Milan’s failure to strike a permanent deal for Atletico Madrid forward Correa has put a loan operation on the table for Jovic.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Jovic has been emphatic in his dismissal of exit rumours, telling Serbian publication Novosti after Saturday’s competitive debut off the substitutes’ bench at Celta Vigo that: “I laughed at those reports.” The freshness of his arrival at Santiago Bernabeu and Milan’s failure to compete in the Champions League make this move a distinct long shot, at present.
TRANSFER RATING: 2/10
Chelsea -> Loan -> Monaco
Monaco are facing a tough task in convincing Chelsea to sign off a loan return for defensive midfielder Bakayoko, according to RMC Sport.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
Bakayoko has proven a disaster since a £40 million move was agreed from Monaco in August 2017. A repeat arrangement of 2018/19’s temporary stint at AC Milan is on the cards again after he did not feature in any competitive match-day squads under new boss Frank Lampard. Bakayoko is eager to return to Monaco, where he’ll experience a familiar environment and plenty of opportunity to play. It could bring out the best in him, once again.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Chelsea are reluctant to sign off the arrangement as they are not convinced Monaco is the best showcase for Bakayoko’s talents. They want to recoup their spend and cannot see how this scenario will play out at Monaco. This provides opportunity for other suitors.
TRANSFER RATING: 6/10