We’re not done yet.
Following impressive bows from the likes of Richarlison and Naby Keita last week, there is a stream of other stars poised to make their first appearances for their new clubs.
Here are six potential debutants ahead of this weekend’s slate of top-flight fixtures:
Max Meyer, Crystal Palace
Meyer let his contract run at Schalke after he spoke out against the regime of sporting director Christian Heidel. Considering he was dubbed to be part of Germany’s thrilling generation featuring Leroy Sane, Julian Brandt, Niklas Sule and Timo Werner, he may have expected to be snapped up by a more illustrious name than Crystal Palace.
But there are shortcomings in Meyer’s game, such as a lack of pace. Rafa Honigstein noted on “The Totally Football Show” podcast that there may be similarities between Meyer and Lewis Holtby – a player who proved he had technical prowess and little else during a disappointing spell with Tottenham. And will his greatest attributes come to the fore in Croydon? Some of his best work was in the deeper position of last season, but ball retention isn’t too important when the Eagles look for the pace of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend, and their full-backs on the counter-attack.
Will Roy Hodgson deploy Meyer in his regista position from 2017-18, or find a better way to uncover his obvious potential?
Jefferson Lerma, Bournemouth
If some Bournemouth fans were uneasy with the decision to allow Harry Arter to join Cardiff City on loan, they will hopefully by appeased by Lerma’s English initiation, which may come at West Ham United on Saturday.
He’s an all-action midfielder, relishing hounding opponents with even less patience than the indefatigable Arter. If Eddie Howe can choose the right man to partner with Lerma at the base of midfield – somebody like Andrew Surman could be asked to keep it simple while the Colombian wreaks havoc – the Cherries’ fourth Premier League season could be their best to date.
The pint-sized Brazilian was snapped up on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Shakhtar Donetsk. Five years ago, he cost the Ukrainian club €25 million.
The 25-year-old loves parading his talents down the left flank, and one of his most impressive qualities is his composure. Despite being pestered by a couple of defenders, he can lift his head up and coolly roll it to a teammate in a more dangerous position. He also scored three times in eight Champions League starts last season, with one effort a sublime curler into the top corner of Manchester City’s onion bag.
Bernard, who played with Ronaldinho at Atletico Mineiro, took a while to settle in at Shakhtar, so Marco Silva will be hoping the winger can quickly strike a chord with compatriot Richarlison, a product of Atletico’s Belo Horizonte foes America Mineiro.
Lucas Perez, West Ham United
The biggest need for West Ham may have arrived at the end of last week. Carlos Sanchez now has a week’s worth of training under his belt, and he could be called into the XI after Mark Noble and Declan Rice were overrun in the middle by Liverpool.
However, perhaps the biggest punt is Perez, a former panic purchase for Arsenal who never found his form from Deportivo La Coruna in the Premier League. He spent last season on loan back in Galicia before Arsenal offloaded him to West Ham for around £4 million this summer – more than £13 million less than they paid for him in 2016.
He has been able to overcome adversity in the past – he toiled in Spain’s lower leagues and had a miserable spell at Dynamo Kyiv – and his knowledge of various positions in the attacking line will be helpful when there are so many injury-prone frontmen on the Hammers’ books.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham
£22.3 million after only 33 Ligue 1 starts seems a bit much – especially for a club boasting Kevin McDonald, Stefan Johansen, and Tom Cairney among its promoted contingent before the shock coup of Jean Michael Seri – but this is an ambitious buy with an eye to the future for big-spending Fulham.
Anguissa’s only 22 and, although there is room for improvement, he’s blessed with a nascent ability to carry and spread the ball. If he is able to comfortably pair that with his education in defensive midfield, Fulham could demand at least double the physical Cameroonian’s fee a year or two down the line.
Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea
Maurizio Sarri says his loanee from Real Madrid can man each of his three midfield positions, but expect him to be introduced from the bench in Saturday’s London skirmish with Arsenal while Ross Barkley is granted another start.
“He is a very technical player,” the Chelsea manager said at Friday’s press conference. “At the moment he has to work. He is not ready now for 90 minutes, but maybe tomorrow, for the first or last 30 minutes, he can be used.”
Kovacic is able to push forward-thinking, accurate passes through the middle, but is regularly credited for his ability to squirm out of pressure and slalom through bodies. Originally an attacking midfielder, the 24-year-old improved his defensive traits through three years in the Spanish capital.
Notable mentions: Florin Andone (Brighton & Hove Albion), Harry Arter (Cardiff City), Carlos Sanchez (West Ham), Adama Traore (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Kurt Zouma (Everton)
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)