Summer is a time to sit back, enjoy the sun and gather your thoughts. Right? Wrong! Clubs in the Premier League are working hard to make some critical decisions that will affect their teams’ chances of success in 2019/20.
As we’re now just over a month to go before the Premier League season kicks off, and with rumours and talks clouding our thoughts what do we know about some new exciting acquisitions that HAVE HAPPENED? Well, here I take a look at just that – specifically players many have never heard of before.
Pablo Fornals – West Ham (£24m from Villarreal)
First on the list is Fornals who played a key part in Spain’s U21 European Championship victory this summer. Positionally, Fornals is seen as a playmaker that can play anywhere across the midfield in an attacking role, primarily coming in from the left as seen at this tournament or as a no.10.
Fornals is known for his incisive passing, impeccable technique, operation in tight spaces and as a player with flair. Last season he shared the top assists chart next to Messi and Suárez with 12. What’s less known is that he can produce moments of magic like his outside boot assist against France’s U21’s this summer, or long-range volley he scored against Athletico Bilbao last season.
At just 23 and already a full Spain international, West Ham have a player that can really impact their race for 7th place. More than that though, Fornals alongside Felipe Anderson are two players the Hammers can potentially profit from in the future should they decide to sell them, provided they play well of course. At just £24m this was a shrewd piece of business by West Ham, at least on paper.
Che Adams – (£15m from Birmingham)
Many might not know but Southampton have a live database, known as the black box, that is fuelled by analysts. Data is stored from games across every major league and has allowed the Saints to make smart decisions when it comes to recruitment in the past.
Adams is a player that will add a new dimension to the Southampton attack with his speed and directness and as imagined, a player they’ve been following for some time now using the black box. The 22-year-old stood out in a relatively unsuccessful campaign for Birmingham City that saw them finish 17th. Adams scored 22 goals and added a further 5 assists that saw him pick up both the Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season.
It will be interesting to see how a step up in League will affect the young striker but Southampton have a strong track record of developing young players, and this gives him a better chance of success relative to other clubs. With so much to still develop on Adams could possibly take some time to find his feet but opportunities will be plenty.
Wesley Moraes – (£22.5m from Club Brugge)
Signing a 22-year-old Brazilian attacker is one way to ease the nerves of Aston Villa fans as they enter the Premier League once again. Wesley has been scouted by a number of European sides but it’s at Villa Park that he was presented with the best opportunity.
At 6ft3 he isn’t your classic Brazilian striker however he joins on the back of a successful season in Belgium that saw him net 13 and create 7, finishing the season with 17 goals in all comps including two strikes in the Champions League.
Despite his size, Wesley possesses good tactical ability and awareness. In the past, he has been referred to as a target man especially after Newcastle were linked with a move as a replacement for Rondon, but he is of a different style and compromises aerial ability for technique on the ball. My only concern with this signing is adapting to a side that will be less dominant than Brugge were in Belgium, and that will be challenging.
Leandro Trossard – (£17m from Genk)
The Belgium First Division has been a relatively untapped league in the past however this season it has seen two big names join the PL, with the other being Trossard joining Brighton from Genk. Newly appointed Graham Potter made the Belgium winger his second signing this summer.
At just 24, Trossard captained Genk to their first league title in eight years, scoring 14 and recording 8 assists whilst mainly operating as a left-winger. In total, he managed 22 goals last season, with 8 coming from the Europa League. Apart from direct output however the skillful winger is known for his speed, directness, and dribbling with a tendency to score versatile goals.
His speed, in particular, will be vital in counter-attacking situations or when Brighton look to relieve pressure against stronger opposition. Although Potter intends to implement a possession styled game, Trossard will have to improve his defensive contributions when facing stronger sides next season which could be many…
These four are just a few of many new names that we’ll be seeing in the PL from August. As so often seen before, the chances of success for new signings is low because of a number of different factors, that includes many that are uncontrollable as well as the first season syndrome. Another factor to consider is that as fans and football viewers, in general, we tend to be overconfident in the past and use this as a strong indication of the future, this is not always the case.
Despite these points, it’s important to mention all these players are young and so they have time on their side with Trossard being the oldest at 24. As a result, they are yet to reach their peak and should only improve, in hindsight. Finally, with time anything can happen in football, and that includes poor signings turning into important players. So all I can say to these boys is good luck.