Premier League 2022/23: New signings (so far) to watch

Premier League 2022/23: New signings (so far) to watch

The new Premier League season is almost here, and with it, a chance. For Manchester City: to defend their title. For a couple of others: to fight City for said title. For a few more: to fight for European football in the 2023/24 season. And for the rest, to secure their spot in the league for another season.

All 20 teams have been strengthening themselves (or at least trying to) in the transfer window. And today, I will be looking at those signings and picking out 8 of them that I really think will be worth keeping an eye on during the season. In making this list, I have forced myself to pick a maximum of 1 new player per team, while please be aware that this is correct as of 27ᵗʰ July, though I may do a second list once the transfer window closes picking up any new signings. *Crosses fingers and hopes United sign Frenkie de Jong and hold onto Ronaldo*


Dean Henderson

I’ll start this off with the one loan signing on this list. Henderson had an incredible 2019/20 season with Sheffield United and broke into the Manchester United XI the next season, putting himself on Gareth Southgate’s radar. But a return to form for David de Gea saw him only make 3 appearances last season. With de Gea holding the starting spot, Henderson has been given the chance to go back out on loan this season to newly-promoted Nottingham Forest, and will be hoping for a repeat of his exploits with Sheffield United, with a strong start to the season potentially earning him a spot on the plane to Qatar.

Richarlison

This is a very interesting signing, with the Brazilian leaving Everton for Spurs. He has impressed in some poor teams, so in theory becoming part of a strike team that contains Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, who could perhaps now drop into a slightly deeper position where his range of passing can be utilised. However, at a reported £60m, Richarison seems a very expensive signing, especially when you look at some of the other forwards who are on this list, and he can also be a little hot-headed at times, which could cause trouble if Spurs have some issues.

Sékou Mara

At 19 years old, Southampton’s signing from Bordeaux feels like a risk. Southampton struggled for goals last season, with their top scorer being James Ward-Prowse, with 11 in all competitions. Is Mara going to be the answer to that? Granted he is still young so should be improving by the year, but with just 12 goals in 50 professional appearances, is he really going to be the answer, especially considering that he will have to get used to a new team and an arguably more difficult league. Could develop into a great player over the next few years, but will be interesting to see what chances he gets this year and how quickly he adapts.

Nick Pope

I talked earlier about Dean Henderson’s loan to Forest giving him the chance to push for a spot in England’s World Cup squad. Well if we assume that Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale are the top 2 choices, Henderson is likely competing with Nick Pope for the final spot. Pope shot onto the scene years ago now when Tom Heaton got injured, and though he has continued to play well, Burnley’s form kept him far too busy and eventually saw them relegated. Now having moved to a Newcastle team that has been on the up since the Mike Ashley era ended, this looks like a great chance for Pope to remind everyone of his quality an help secure the Magpies in the top half of the table.

Lisandro Martínez

Manchester United’s defence has been a mess in recent year, not helped by the form of Captain Calamity Harry Maguire, while the signing of Raphaël Varane did not quite go as expected as he struggled with injuries. With other options not overly reliable, Martínez could be a huge signing. Coming fro Ajax, you can imagine that he is a player Erik ten Hag knows a lot about if he feels confident to shell out £57m for him, but if he can start making United more secure at the back and reducing David de Gea’s workload, then he’ll be worth every penny.

Erling Haaland

The big signing of the summer. After a couple of seasons of Manchester City largely playing without a recognised striker, they have signed the 22-year-old Norwegian to lead their line. If he can quickly adapt to the league (coming from the Bundesliga, Ithink this is more likely than from La Liga or Ligue 1) then I expect to see him taking the City attack to a new level as they once again have a focal point in front of goal. Signed for a reported £51.2m, it won’t take long for him to start paying Pep Guardiola back with goals.

James Tarkowski

Was linked with Arsenal a few years ago but stayed with Burnley and saw the team decline and eventually get relegated. Now he moves to Everton looking to remind everyone why he was in and around the England squad 4 years ago, while at 29 he is still in his prime for a centreback and can help the Toffees fight back from an awful season that saw then just avoid relegation and get back to the top half of the table.

Gabriel Jesus

I could have picked either of the players who have made the move from the Etihad to the Emirates (or to sound much cheaper, from Manchester to London), but Jesus just beats out Zinchenko here. The Brazilian will finally get the chance to lead the line, while his ability to play out wider keeps the fluidity up front that highlighted the young Arsenal attack last season. At £45m he feels a much better signing that rivals Spurs have got with Richarlison, can he prove it by helping propel Arsenal into a title fight?


Which new signings are you keeping an eye on?

Thanks for reading.

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Premier League 2021/22: August

Premier League 2021/22: August

Football may not have quite come home this summer, but the Premier League has returned, along with grounds full of cheering fans!

Kicking off midway through the month, we have had 3 rounds of football before the first international break of he season, and boy did it leave the table in an interesting place. Champions Manchester City opened up their campaign with a loss to a Tottenham side who were not even playing star striker Harry Kane as they tried to avoid loving him to the sky blues, while newly-promoted Brentford defeated Arsenal in Friday night’s opener. And for the two North London rivals things just continued in the same manner, leaving Spurs top of the table with the only 100% winning record, while the Gunners find themselves dead last, one of 3 teams yet to earn a point.


The race is on!

The race for the Golden Boot: Michail Antonio (West Ham) – 4 goals; Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) & Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) – 3 goals

The race for Playmaker of the Season: Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – 5 assists; Michail Antonio (West Ham) & Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 3 assists

The race for the Golden Glove: Hugo Loris (Tottenham Hotspur) – 3 clean sheets; Édouard Mendy (Chelsea), Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City) & David Raya (Brentford) – 2 clean sheets


Heading for trouble

Remember how both last season and during the summer professional football continued to show that it doesn’t care about player safety when it comes to concussions? Well it appears that narrative will continue this season.

The game: Chelsea’s 0-2 win at Arsenal. Reece James went up to compete with Nuno Tavares for an aerial ball and the pair made contact, with James flopping to the ground on landing, before lying there unmoving in a star shape. To everyone watching, it looked like James had been knocked out, but after the game was stopped and he received medical attention, the Chelsea fullback was allowed to play on. The incident conveniently didn’t even appear in the Match of the Day highlights.

Now if James was knocked out (more on this shortly), then it is absolutely disgusting that medical professionals allowed him to play on. Contact sports like rugby and American football continue to sponsor research that shows the danger of head injuries, and yet football—a game where you are legally allowed to play the ball with your head—continues to bury its head in the sand, which will likely have fatal (and expensive, to use language the people in charge may actually care about) consequences.

Of course, if you ask anyone at Chelsea, James never lost consciousness, with Thomas Tuchel saying that he stayed down as he was afraid that he had broken a tooth. Now watching the footage of James staying down, that is not how I imagine someone reacting if they think they’ve broken a tooth. Especially given the visible worry of players and officials, it feels like James would have had more of a reaction if this was the issue. It feels like a poor excuse to cover for the fact that they risked their players life. And if it is true, then you have to ask why acting as if you’ve been knocked out is acceptable.

Hopefully this is the last time we see an event like this, but given recent history, I very much doubt it!

Wingman

It’s been a strange old summer for Manchester City. The defending champions successfully brought in Jack Grealish, but with Sergio Agüero no longer at the club and Gabriel Jesus apparently not fully trusted as the lead striker (judging by the amount of times the team played without a recognised number 9 last season), many would argue that their summer spending was somewhat of a failure as they failed to come to terms with Spurs for Harry Kane and similarly failed to bring in a striker, which was even more noticeable given the signings some of their rivals made (more on that later).

So with no new striker signed, it has been interesting to see how City have began the season up front, with Ferran Torres in the middle of a front three, with Grealish on the left and Jesus on the right. And yet it’s working. Jesus has had a brilliant start to the season, causing all manner of problems for defenders on his side and putting in a number of super dangerous crosses, which should have led to more than 3 assists so far, while he has also been able to come in from a wider position to cause trouble in the box, or move more centrally once substitutions are made.

While I still think that City will regret not bringing in a bigger striker before the season is out, it looks like Gabriel Jesus may just have found the opportunity to become a regular in the starting XI.

Building for success

It’s been a mixed summer transfer-wise for the big six. But who has been put in the best position by their summer’s business.

While Jack Grealish is in my personal opinion an upgrade on Raheem Sterling, he is arguably a luxury in a position where City already have plenty of options, especially with Jesus now playing a wide position. Much more important was getting a star striker in. Harry Kane would have been the perfect option, as someone who can play as a classic 9 but also has the skill to play a little deeper, so to miss out on him could be costly. That said, with the depth they have elsewhere in the squad, don’t be shocked to see them still remain favourites for the title.

Moving across the city and Manchester United have had a busy summer! Though Dan James will be a loss, the Red Devils had already secured his replacement in Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho, while the arrival of Raphaël Varane should go a long way to solidifying things at the back, something the team has needed for years! But to then end the transfer window by bringing back the prodigal son in Cristiano Ronaldo was a masterstroke. Not only will his return pump up a crowd that is already excited to be back, but his talent belies his age and he will be such a threat leading the line and at set pieces. But what United also benefit from now is leadership. In Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani—who has vacated the 7 shirt to let Ronaldo have it back—United now have 2 world class strikers to teach Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood the finer points of the position whilst also ensuring the supply men are putting the ball in exactly the right position. But more than that, the leadership of those 2 and Varane, combined with a high number of top class players will hopefully bring out the best in Paul Pogba, whose prodigious talent has too often been outweighed by a lack of effort. They may still be a man short in the midfield, but this looks like a team that can compete for the title once again.

United aren’t the only team who look really set to challenge now, though. Chelsea looked a real threat under Thomas Tuchel last season, and the only thing that appeared to be missing was an elite striker, with Timo Werner struggling to get the results his effort deserved and Tammy Abraham never quite convincing. However, a return for Chelsea’s own prodigal son in Romelu Lukaku has given them the missing piece and I think that they will be genuinely pushing for the title this season.

As for Spurs, they’ve had some ins and outs, but arguably their most important piece of business was keeping hold of Harry Kane. They have started the season well with 3 clean sheets helping them earn 3 wins, but having a player of Kane’s quality around for another season is huge. Will it be enough for them to compete with some of the other teams for a top 4 spot? Only time will tell.

Liverpool’s summer has been largely quiet, with their one signing being defender Ibrahima Konaté. It’s a lot of money for a young defender and has the potential to be a bust, but if he can live up to expectations, he and the returning Virgil van Dijk could become one of the strongest—if not the strongest—centreback partnerships in the league. However, with the loss of Georginio Wijnaldum and no new names coming in up front (unless you count some of the younger players beginning to take a slightly larger role), there is a risk that things could get stale further up the field. With Chelsea and United both strengthening, I expect a top 4 finish but I think they will fall short in the title race.

And so we reach Arsenal, and what do I really say here? While they managed to sign Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith-Rowe to new contracts and sign Martin Ødegaard following a successful loan spell last season. However while Ben Smith looks a promising young player, £50 million is far too much for a young defender with just 1 season of top flight football under his belt, especially when previous seasons have continually shown the Gunners to have defensive frailties regardless of who plays in the defence. Elsewhere, signing Aaron Ramsdale for more money than the vastly superior Emiliano Martínez was sold for is just bad business. Arsenal have had a shocking start to the season, which hasn’t been helped by ongoing COVID issues, but even before the first 3 rounds, I would have struggled to envision the Gunners getting anywhere near a Champions League spot. If things don’t turn round soon, Mikel Arteta will be in trouble.


Team of the Month

Tottenham Hotspur

While West Ham were certainly in contention after scoring 10 goals in 3 games to finish the month second in the table, in the end I had to go for Spurs. Not only have they started the season with 3 wins from 3, but they are yet to even concede a goal! Meanwhile, they have barely used Harry Kane so far as it looked like just a matter of time before their star player left, and yet they still managed to pull out the wins, including what must have been an especially sweet victory over defending champions Manchester City in Round 1.

They certainly weren’t perfect and need to start finishing more of their chances, but after a positive start, keeping hold of Harry Kane will be a huge boost, which they can use to push on this month.