With the transfer window closing in just over a fortnight, clubs across the country will be frantically vying for signatures at inflated prices. These five players are already in place and have certain skills that could transform their respective teams – all of whom, in one way or another, failed to meet their respective goals in 2017/18.
Premier League Newcomers: Which Five Players Could Take the Premier League by Storm?
Naby Keita (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s need for an ‘upgraded’ deep-lying playmaker has been quenched. From humble beginnings in Guinea, Keita will serve as the versatile agent of transition Liverpool lacked in the earlier stages of last season. With Fabinho set to be the anchor in front of record signing Virgil Van Dijk, there is a distinct spine throughout the Anfield outfit
Such is Keita’s versatility, there is no reason to believe that he cannot also fill the ‘number ten’ role once filled by Philippe Coutinho, if Klopp desires a more attacking setup. In this scenario, there would exist the opportunity to bring his wide players forward. When the Liverpool squad executes such a formation to good effect against inferior opposition, it can provide devastating results.
While the Reds no longer have the services of Philippe Coutinho, there is nothing to suggest that the same heavy wins that characterised last season’s run to the Champions League final cannot be repeated. All it depends on is how long it takes for Keita, and Fabinho, to gel between Virgil Van Dijk and Mo Salah.
Felipe Anderson (West Ham)
At £36m, the playmaker – who was a vital part of Lazio’s fight to finish in the top four last season – is exactly the type of player for which the long-suffering claret and blue faithful have been praying. His arrival has also coincided with West Ham’s rise to a projected eighth place finish in current football spread betting markets, but more than anything, Anderson’s arrival is also a statement of intent from Manuel Pellegrini to drive an ailing club towards brighter days.
Through most of 2017/18, West Ham’s attack was one-dimensional under David Moyes, with only Marko Arnautovic enjoying any sort of consistency as a supporting attacker. Next season, the Austrian international will have backup in the form of Anderson, and Andriy Yarmolenko, who is also a Premier League debutant that has whet the Hammers’ appetite for success.
In 170 appearances for Lazio, Anderson scored thirty-three goals amongst many more assists. His ability to run on the ball has torn many an opposition’s gameplan asunder, and it is this sense of unpredictability that should see the Hammers improve on last season’s 13th place finish.
Adam Masina (Watford)
Jose Holebas has been a good servant to the Hornets, but at the age of thirty-four, many Watford fans believe that his time is up at Vicarage Road. Though some are skeptical, Masina’s ability in possession and good vision is exactly what the Hertfordshire club needs at this time.
An Italian football expert, cited in the Watford Observer, has balanced such an opinion with the warning that Masina will need to temper his fiery nature, if he is to avoid the wrath of the more card-happy referees in the Premier League. Yet, being the driving force behind Bologna’s promotion to Serie A is an impressive spur to his CV, and the fact remains that Masina has at least eight years of good football ahead of him.
The arrival of Jorginho at Chelsea is the clearest sign yet that the Blues’ new manager Mauricio Sarri will be sticking to his own personal preferences, regardless of any differential opinions he may face. The presence of Jorginho in the ‘engine room’ will give mainstays like Eden Hazard and Willian greater license than ever to roam, and play to their greatest strengths.
With every Premier League team now requiring good all-round pressing abilities to survive – let alone win trophies – Jorginho’s pace and technical ability has the potential to ensure that Chelsea can (at the very least) keep pace with the top four. As a Napoli player, Jorginho thrived behind Hazard’s countryman Dries Mertens in a similar role, and this sense of familiarity can only help Jorginho settle in the modern-day Premier League.
Chelsea FC’s two most recent title wins have come from an ability to exploit compact spaces as part of a high defensive line. As shown during Napoli’s close title race with Juventus in 2017/18, Jorginho’s skills in interception will also buy deeper-lying natural tacklers like N’Golo Kante some vital seconds when under pressure.
James Maddison (Leicester)
This is the man who could make or break Leicester’s reputation as a club with a good eye for business in the post-Steve Walsh era. Though Norwich finished nowhere near the EFL Championship’s promotion fight in 2017/18, James Maddison was a revelation for the Canaries, finishing as the club’s top scorer with fourteen league goals.
In a development that favours the doubters over the optimists, £22m man Maddison will face opposition of a whole new level. Yet, with the right coaching to hone the technical ability and shooting prowess that already exists, he can certainly do damage to the league’s weaker teams. What Maddison (for now) lacks in physicality, he compensates for with an ability to create space and make runs with the ease of a player five years his senior.
Also to Leicester’s advantage could be Maddison’s existing playing relationship with Demarai Gray, and ultimately, there is more than a hint that building a core of young British players is high on Puel’s agenda. Emulating anything close to Mauricio Pochettino’s achievements over at Tottenham will be a mountainous task, but while Maddison bears the Foxes logo over his heart, Puel has an able nucleus around which to mould such a team.
Main image credit: