Nine new signings that need to step up after the international break…
Premier League football returns this weekend after a two-week break, which has given managers plenty of thinking time as to how they can get their new star signings firing on all cylinders.
Here are nine players who will be hoping to up their game after a slow start to their respective Premier League careers…
Fred – Man Utd
It’s not been the best of starts for the £52m midfield man following his summer move from Shakthar Donestk. The Brazilian looked all at sea in the error-strewn loss to Brighton, started well but faded against Spurs, and was dropped by Jose Mourinho as Man Utd recovered some ground against Burnley.
Publically, the Utd boss insisted the switch was tactical to allow him to bring in Maroune Fellaini to counter the Clarets’ physical battle in midfield – but if will be interesting to see where Fred appears on the team sheet against Watford.
Fabinho – Liverpool
Liverpool wasted no time licking their wounds after the disappointment of losing last season’s Champions League final, taking many of their major rivals by surprise by swooping early to secure Brazilian holding man Fabinho’s signature for £39m back in May.
So far he’s not played a single minute of Premier League football, despite Jürgen Klopp’s insistence he has taken ‘big steps’ towards making his debut. It might come this weekend after Liverpool made hard work of edging out Leicester before the international break.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh – Brighton
The top scorer in last season’s Eredivisie has enjoyed a gentle introduction to English football, making only fleeting appearances from the bench so far.
Unsurprisingly for a manager known for his caution, Chris Hughton often likes to take time to integrate his new signings, but will be hoping £17m signing Jahanbakhsh is now fully up to speed after linking up relatively late in the window with the Seagulls.
Andriy Yarmolenko – West Ham
With so many new signings still adapting to life in East London, it’s perhaps no surprise the Hammers are currently playing like a team of individuals. Manuel Pellegrini has work to do in all areas of the pitch, but would have hoped for more from experienced winger Yarmolenko after splashing out nearly £18m for his services this summer.
Scoring the only goal for his country in a 1-0 Nations League win over Slovakia earlier this week should help his confidence.
Max Meyer – Crystal Palace
Eyebrows were raised late in the transfer as highly-rated midfielder Meyer arrived on a free at Selhurst Park after initially being tipped for much greater things earlier in his career.
In truth, Eagles fans have only seen fleeting glimpses of Meyer’s potential from the bench, with Roy Hodgson giving the 22-year-old time to adapt to the unique demands of Premier League football. Palace struggle to stay in games without their main man Wilfried Zaha and will be hoping Meyer can add extra dynamism and resilience in midfield as they look to keep their heads above water in the fight to avoid relegation.
Jefferson Lerma – Bournemouth
In this era of extraordinary transfer fees, some signings can easily slip under the radar. The fact the Cherries’ club record £25m signing of Lerma went through with relatively little fanfare is a sign of the changing times.
So far, the 23-year-old Colombian has only made one Premier League outing in Bournemouth’s 2-0 defeat against Chelsea. Whether he lives up to his transfer fee can surely only be judged when the Cherries take on the sides around them.
Bobby Reid – Cardiff City
Being a Bluebirds striker might just be the hardest job in Premier League football this season, with many pundits wondering where the goals are going to come from in a team widely expected to slip back down to the Championship.
In fairness, Neil Warnock’s side managed to put two past a rejuvenated Arsenal, but will need Reid to start repaying some of his £10m transfer fee soon – however his goalscoring record before last season gives some cause for concern.
Matej Vydra – Burnley
Vydra is an intriguing player who has shown he is more than capable at Championship level. Question marks remain, however, whether he really belongs among the elite after previously failing to catch fire with Watford and West Brom.
The jury’s out on Vydra with a suspicion he could be destined to join a long list of players who hit a brick wall – Cameron Jerome, Tom Ince and David Nugent to name a few – once they reach the top tier. Sean Dyche is the Premier League’s leading expert at getting players to find another level and Vydra will surely be his next big project.
Bernd Leno – Arsenal
On Bernd, where art thou?
That’s what Arsenal fans will be asking with Unai Emery seemingly reluctant to play a goalkeeper that cost the best part of £22m this summer. The new Gunners boss has instead opted to play veteran Petr Cech, making a surprisingly late career conversion into the role of sweeper-keeper.
Patience might just be a virtue both for Leno and the Emirates faithful as they wait and see whether he can seize his chance when the opportunity comes, with Cech holding onto the shirt for now.
All image sources from PA Images
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