Football news - Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Ben White - which Premier League signing is best-placed to succeed?
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have all made big signings ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League season. But which mega signing is best-placed to succeed at their new club? Which players will hit the ground running and which will struggle to settle in their new surroundings?
Jack Grealish of Man City during the FA Community Shield match between Leicester City and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on August 7, 2021 in London
The 2021/22 Premier League season is nearly upon us and if the campaign itself is as dramatic as the summer transfer window, it could be a classic.
Premier League clubs have been very busy in the transfer market over the last two months, particularly near the top end of the table where every ‘Big Six’ club has made at least one big-money addition.
But how will each of those signings settle into their new surroundings? And which player is best set up to succeed at their new club?
There’s no doubting Jack Grealish’s quality as one of the most formidable creative forces in the Premier League, but it’s not yet clear where the £100m man will fit into Pep Guardiola’s side. Even the Manchester City manager himself appears cloudy on where Grealish will be used.
"He can play up front of course, mainly on the left side area but can play as a winger, can play like an attacking midfielder, can play as striker - many positions with his quality,” Guardiola said. Grealish has the technical ability to succeed at the Etihad Stadium, but may have to adapt his game to truly find his role in a squad packed with attacking options.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
At Inter, Romelu Lukaku underlined his status as one of the best centre forwards operating in the game right now. Thomas Tuchel wanted a world class goalscorer to lead the line and Chelsea have delivered one for him. However, Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge could go two ways.
If Tuchel harnesses the Belgian like Antonio Conte did, and like Roberto Martinez has for Belgium for a number of years, Chelsea might just have added the final piece of the puzzle. If, however, Tuchel makes the same mistakes Jose Mourinho did in his use of Lukaku as a static frontman at Manchester United, the 28-year-old will be another misfit for the Blues.
Jadon Sancho (Manchester United)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prioritised the signing of Jadon Sancho in order to address a clear deficiency on the right side of his Manchester United team. In this sense, the England international will be the perfect fit for the Old Trafford outfit who now won’t be so heavily weighted towards the left wing.
Jadon Sancho im Trikot seines neuen Klubs
Image credit: Getty Images
However, many argue Sancho is actually most effective on the left, where United already boast a number of options (see Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford). If Sancho gravitates towards the left side over time, Solskjaer could find that he still has a position to fill on the right.
Ben White (Arsenal)
Arsenal splurged £50m on the signing of Ben White from Brighton. On the surface, it was somewhat peculiar that the Gunners prioritised the addition of a new defender given that their defensive record was one of the few positive aspects of last season (Arsenal had the third best defensive record in the Premier League).
It could be the case that Mikel Arteta wants to ease the pressure on Rob Holding to move Arsenal forward from defence, with White exceptionally comfortable on the ball. The England international could even play in central midfield, which might help Arsenal given their current deficiencies in that area.
Raphael Varane (Manchester United)
Manchester United’s need for a world-class central defender has been clear for some time and now they have one in the form of Raphael Varane. The Frenchman is considered one of the best players in his position,and has been for a number of seasons, but he isn’t the perfect fit for Solskjaer’s side.
Originally, United targeted left-footed centre-backs so Harry Maguire could be shifted over to the right centre-back role. Varane, however, is right-footed. He has the physical attributes and experience to succeed in the Premier League, but Solskjaer still has some work ahead of him to integrate his new defender.
Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool)
It’s been a relatively quiet transfer window for Liverpool, at least compared to that of some of their rivals, but they got some early business done by signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. After the defensive troubles of last season, it was unsurprising to see the Anfield club move for a centre-back.
Image credit: Eurosport
Konate is a complete defender in the way he has the attributes to deal with the physical side of the game and the technical ability to fit into Jurgen Klopp’s team. In some ways, the 22-year-old is a Virgil van Dijk-lite - this could ease Liverpool’s reliance on the Dutchman at the back.
Cristian Romero (Tottenham)
Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment at Tottenham Hotspur raised a number of tactical questions. Primarily, the Portuguese is known for favouring a 3-5-2 shape which meant Spurs were somewhat light on central defensive options. This is why the signing of Cristian Romero is so significant.
Seen as one of the best defenders in Serie A last season, Romero will be key to the way Tottenham play out from the back under Nuno - he averaged 2.3 long passes per appearance for Atalanta in 2020/21. He could be Spurs’ Conor Coady, who was crucially important to Nuno’s Wolves team.