More than £155 million was spent by Premier League clubs on transfer deadline day, bringing the summer total to a record-breaking £1.165 billion. Many of these last minute signings will make their debuts this weekend.
Slow starts for Stoke City, Tottenham, and West Ham has ramped up the pressure on their new marquee signings, whilst Chelsea and Bournemouth fans will be hoping – rather than expecting – David Luiz and Jack Wilshere to hit the ground running.
Which of the new signings is most likely to make an instant impact for their new club?
5) Jack Wilshere
Eddie Howe’s possession-based philosophy makes Bournemouth the ideal club for Jack Wilshere to prove his worth to Arsene Wenger, but Wilshere is not necessarily the right signing for them.
Bournemouth looked worryingly open in central midfield for large parts of last season, clearly lacking a strong defensive midfielder to counterbalance the elegant pass-and-move style of Harry Arter and Drew Surman. Only time will tell if Bournemouth can find a way to accommodate the Arsenal man without further compromising their defensive shape.
Then again, Wilshere is an exceptionally gifted footballer who would surely be playing at a higher level had injuries not plagued his career. Don’t expect Wilshere to make an instant impact at either end of the pitch, but in time his clever orchestrating from the heart of midfield should elevate Bournemouth above relegation matters.
4) David Luiz
The most surprising deal on deadline day was David Luiz’s switch to Chelsea. The erratic centre-back has improved significantly in Paris but remains prone to the odd lapse in concentration.
Antonio Conte has confirmed that Luiz will feature as a centre-back this season, and any talk of Chelsea converting to a 3-5-2 formation was quashed by the £23 million capture of full-back Marcos Alonso on August 31..
Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson will lurk in the space between defence and midfield on Sunday, and thus Luiz’s biggest impact could be in stepping out of the back line to meet the Iceland international. He may not be the most obvious choice to make an instant impact this weekend, but Luiz always seems to find a way to make the headlines in England…
3) Wilfried Bony – Stoke City
Stoke only scored 41 Premier League goals last campaign despite possessing the likes of Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Marko Arnautovic in attack. Their measly tally of two goals in three games so far this time around confirms that Mark Hughes was in desperate need of a proven goalscorer.
Bony perfectly fits the bill. The Ivorian international had a torrid 18 months in Manchester – scoring eight goals in 43 appearances – but was rarely given first-team opportunities by Manuel Pellegrini. It is easy to forget how prolific a scorer he was at Swansea, where 25 strikes in 54 league games deservedly earned him a £25 million move to the then champions.
Spurs’ rock solid defence will make it a tricky debut, and the pressure on Bony to lift Stoke off the bottom of the table could prove too much.
2) Alvaro Arbeloa – West Ham
The Hammers have had big problems at right-back this season, with Michail Antonio making a crucial error against Chelsea and Sam Byram struggling in Europe. Alvaro Arbeloa, signed on a free transfer, should immediately break into the first eleven.
The former Real Madrid right-back brings poise and experience, having performed faultlessly for Liverpool between 2006 and 2009. Now 33-years-old, the pace of the Premier League could be a problem for the Spaniard, although his intelligence should limit this potential weakness.
Arbeloa is expected to make his debut when the Hammers host Watford at the London Stadium on Saturday, with a second clean sheet of the season looking likely for Slaven Bilic. This should prove to be a very shrewd acquisition.
1) Moussa Sissoko – Tottenham
Tottenham have struggled to penetrate defences this season, with Erik Lamela the only bright spark in attack after three Premier League games. Although many fans are concerned that Moussa Sissoko is not consistent enough to warrant his £30 million fee, the Frenchman’s surging runs through central midfield offer a new dimension for Mauricio Pochettino.
Stoke City are particularly vulnerable to this tactic. Raheem Sterling dribbled through the heart of Mark Hughes’s midfield on several occasions in their 4-1 win at the Britannia, where Joe Allen and Glenn Whelan were overwhelmed by his speed.
It is easy to imagine Sissoko similarly dominating this zone, making him the most likely player to grab the headlines on his debut this weekend. Back Spurs to beat Stoke at 3/4.