Whether it be marquee signings like Erling Haaland that rock the foundations of the entire league, exciting youth players that develop from the academy of their boyhood clubs, or shrewd acquisitions such as Moisés Caicedo that assert themselves amongst the best and skyrocket in value, every season there are dozens of new debutants that make a significant impact in the Premier League catch the eye of everyone watching in the process.
So with the new campaign almost underway, we are going to give you five of this seasons debutants that you should be excited to watch in this coming weekend of fixtures- when the 2023/24 Premier League season will finally begin.
We’ll pick players in a wide range of positions and will provide a mix of well-known signings, as well as others that may have gone under the radar. Whoever we name though, we can guarantee they will be worth keeping an eye on not only this weekend, but during the entire season.
Firstly, we do have a few honourable mentions of players that should not go unnoticed in their respective Premier League debut’s this weekend.
Burnley’s talented £17m forward Zeki Amdouni, Luton’s new cross-heavy wing-back Ryan Giles, and Sheffield United’s young Ivorian striker Bénie Traoré are all definitely worth watching for the newly promoted sides. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how big-money signings such as Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai, Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali, and West Ham’s Edson Álvarez perform at their respective new clubs.
- Andre Onana (Manchester United, Goalkeeper)
The arrival of Andre Onana at Manchester United has the potential to the most influential in the English top flight this season. The Cameroonian has been brought in from Champions League runners-up Inter Milan for a fee in the region of €50m, and will bring significant change at Old Trafford- both in style of play and personnel- as he replaces Spaniard David de Gea, who recently departed for free after 12 years at the club.
Having previously worked with Erik ten Hag during his time at Ajax, and being a graduate of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, the 27-year-old is set to transform the way the Red Devils play this season.
Onana’s is proficient when sweeping up behind a high defensive line, excellent on-the-ball composure under pressure, and has the ability to consistently pierce line-breaking passes into both midfielders and forwards. These are all key attributes that will significantly help United transition the ball from defence to attack and sustain pressure on their opponents- capabilities which they struggled to do throughout last season.
As a result, these are tactics should look out for Onana and his new side consistently trying during their opening game against Wolves this Monday 14 August.
- Milos Kerkez (Bournemouth, Left-back)
Bournemouth’s €17m signing of Milos Kerkez from AZ Alkmaar is one of the most exciting and under the radar moves of the summer.
The 19-year-old has already made 8 caps for Hungary’s senior side and gained valuable experience in Europe for multiple sides. In all competitions last season, Kerkez made 52 appearances, scoring five and assisting seven- proving vital in helping Pascal Jansen’s Alkmaar achieve a fourth place in the Eredivisie and reach the Semi-Final of the Europa Conference league, which they narrowly lost to eventual winners West Ham.
An athletic, attacking left-back capable of both tucking into more central positions or overlapping his winger, the precocious talent has already featured three times in pre-season for The Cherries, playing a full ninety minutes in two of them. Consequently, expect to see Kerkez start in his, and Bournemouth’s new manager Andoni Iraola’s, first game on Saturday 12 August, when they host David Moyes’ West Ham at the Vitality Stadium.
- Mahmoud Dahoud (Brighton, Midfielder)
A free signing that has gone slightly overlooked amidst the abundance of expensive midfield transfers this summer, we think Mahmoud Dahoud of Brighton is certainly a new arrival worth watching this weekend.
Boasting excellent technical ability, security in possession, and the capability of making a wide-range of intelligent passes, the 27-year-old possesses the key characteristics that Roberto De Zerbi requires in his midfielders, thus allowing him to fit seamlessly in the Italian manager’s side. Ther German’s skillset will enable The Seagulls to effectively draw in the opposition press and execute their trademark manufactured counter-attacks, or be able to break down an opponent’s deep-block with disguised, line-breaking passes into forwards- something which the South Coast side may need their new man to produce when they face newly promoted Luton Town this weekend.
Furthermore, having played as one half of a double pivot at least 45 minutes in each of Brighton’s four pre-season fixtures, Dahoud is expected to start at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, as he fills in for last season’s breakout star Moisés Caicedo, who looks set to make an £100m move to either Chelsea or Liverpool in the coming days.
- Moussa Diaby (Aston Villa, Winger)
Having moved to Aston Villa for a club record €55m, Moussa Diaby has already got off to a fine start for the Midlands side by scoring in two of his four appearances in pre-season. The French international has mainly featured as a right-winger or right-sided striker alongside Ollie Watkins in those four games, and demonstrated how he will be a pivotal figure in Unai Emery’s attack this season.
When his side are out-of-possession, expect to see the 24-year-old remain forward whilst his teammates look to win possession and spring fluid, rapid counter-attacks, as they look to exploit Diaby’s intelligent attacking movement and electric speed both on and off-the-ball. These were traits which the former PSG forward repeatedly showed under Xabi Alonso throughout last season- where he accumulated 14 goals and 11 assists in 48 appearances.
Furthermore, in their other new arrivals Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres, the Villans have two excellent passers capable of consistently finding Diaby with drilled passes to feet or lofted balls in behind opposition defences- patterns which you should look out for as each of them debut against Newcastle United at St.James’ Park this Saturday August 12.
- Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea, Striker)
(Written by Connor Holden)
Throughout Pre-season, Nicolas Jackson has been the bright spark in Chelsea’s forward line. This is something The Blues have lacked for a while now, having a centre forward contributing to all facets of the game, and providing goal contributions.
The Senegalese forward scored 2 goals and provided 3 assists in pre-season- excelling with his ability to make runs in behind and stretch the opposition defence. Meanwhile, the timing of his runs is excellent, and his close ball control and ball carrying ability is also very underrated. And of course the big factor for Chelsea right now, he scores goals and looks a calm, instinctive finisher.
With the fantastic passers Mauricio Pochettino’s new side have at their disposal, such as Enzo Fernández and Levi Colwill, Jackson is a dream to play with, as without even looking the Chelsea players know their new €37m striker will be making a run beyond the opposition defenders.
So, there you have it, five (and a few honourable mentions) of some of the most exciting debutants you should look out for during the opening round of fixtures- and throughout the entire 2023/24 campaign.
Regardless of how each of these players and their new sides perform this weekend, there will undoubtedly be some fantastic individual and collective performances throughout what is set to be yet another enthralling Premier League season.
Travis Levison | Get Football