Ranking £205.8m worth of unseen Premier League signings by how excited we are for their debut

Date published: Wednesday 17th August 2022 6:35 - Matthew Stead

Two games into the Premier League season, most summer signings have played for their new clubs. But plenty more are waiting for their debuts. And it’s time to rank them in terms of how excited we are for that.

 

27) Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: “Wayne is an excellent goalkeeper who has proven himself at the highest level over many years. He’s helped Wales reach new heights in the international game, and he has a wealth of Premier League experience. However, Wayne is also a great character, and he is a very strong addition to the Nottingham Forest dressing room.”
When he should debut: After he passes his test on the history of Nazi Germany. Or in the League Cup.

 

26) Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace)
Fee
: Free
Reason for absence: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: Nothing. But chairman Steve Parish said: “Sam is a player that we have admired for some time, and we are extremely pleased to welcome him to Crystal Palace. His extensive experience at club and international level, alongside his outstanding ability, will add even greater depth to our goalkeeping unit.”
When he should debut: In what is likely to become something of a theme, the League Cup, in which Palace travel to Oxford United.

 

25) Benicio Boaitey (Brighton)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Signed for U23s.
What the manager has said: Graham Potter described him as “one for the future” when Boaitey was on loan in February, with that move made permanent this summer.
When he should debut: Outside of the early League Cup rounds, it will be a long old while before Manchester United want him for £50m.

 

24) Ryan Fredericks (Bournemouth)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Injury.
What the manager has said: “I’ve known Ryan for a little while. I played with him at Fulham for a season and knew him as a young player at Spurs when I was playing there as well. I’m familiar with his qualities and he’s already shown them in the first ten days he’s been with us. I’m really pleased to have him and he will give us competition for places.”
When he should debut: “Probably a few more weeks away from really being fully integrated into training,” says Scott Parker, so not for a while.

 

23) Mateusz Lis (Southampton)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: “Mateusz is a player who has a lot of the right attributes we look for in a goalkeeper, and still with his best years ahead of him. Of course, it was a priority for us to strengthen this department in the summer, and Mateusz is an important addition who we hope will be able to help us in the future.”
When he should debut: Depends who wins the Carabao Cup triple threat between the 25-year-old, Willy Caballero and Alex McCarthy.

 

22) Alex Smithies (Leicester)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: Nothing. But Smithies himself said: “My role here might be a little different. I might be more of a team player, supporting and being ready to step in as soon as I’m asked to.”
When he should debut: That depends entirely on how many more goals Danny Ward fancies conceding.

 

21) Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: He wasn’t signed in time to play West Ham.
What the manager has said: “I really hope everyone is looking into why we’ve had to make so many signings and not just put the narrative of ‘Forest have signed loads of players, why?’ There’s been a real rationale behind it and it’s been a real necessity. We have had no choice. We would have loved to carry on last year with our team and added a few players but it was never going to happen.”
When he should debut: As soon as they find room to get him a locker.

 

20) Joe Rothwell (Bournemouth)
Fee
: Free
Reason for absence: Injury.
What the manager has said: “It was well-documented we were trying to get a deal done for Joe in January to come and try to help us. He’s a player I’ve admired for a long while in terms of his attributes and what he can bring. The next challenge for Joe is the next level and I believe he has the attributes to fulfil playing in the Premier League. He’s an excellent dribbler of the ball and someone who can scurry away. It’s not a dying art but it’s certainly not as common any longer in a midfield player.”
When he should debut: Not for a while, owing to that quad problem.

 

19) Fraser Forster (Tottenham)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: “I knew him when he played with Celtic and we played against them in the Champions League. Celtic vs Juventus. I was impressed because he’s a really good keeper and a really good guy. I have seen this week he has come in very well into the dressing room and for the second goalkeeper, it is a particular role and you need to have a second keeper who is very positive. I think we have made the best choice for us.”
When he should debut: League Cup third round, probably.

Fraser Forster makes a save while warming up for England.

 

18) Darko Gyabi (Leeds)
Fee: £5m
Reason for absence: Inexperience – the 18-year-old has not made his professional debut yet but was on the bench against Wolves.
What the manager has said: “We were excited from the start about the possibility of adding him to the group and now watching him live and seeing his mentality to improve, even more so.”
When he should debut: Against Barnsley in the League Cup.

 

17) Giulian Biancone (Nottingham Forest)
Fee: £9m
Reason for absence: Competition.
What the manager has said: “Giulian is a very talented defender who has attracted a lot of interest from clubs across Europe. He’s proven himself at the highest level in France and Belgium over recent years and he recognises what we want to build at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League. He’s a versatile defender who is a very strong addition at centre-back or on the right. We’re delighted to welcome him to Nottingham Forest.”
When he should debut: It could be any time. Biancone was an unused substitute for both of Forest’s opening games and featured in an U23s game so is available. Apropos of nothing, the Tricky Trees face Grimsby in the League Cup second round.

 

16) Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Fee
: £5.7m
Reason for absence
: Signed as back-up.
What the manager has said: “I’m really happy with him. The way he has settled in, he’s an extraordinary character, a lot of personality and he’s great at what we want.”
When he should debut: The League Cup third round, unless Aaron Ramsdale suffers an untimely setback.

 

15) Ludwig Augustinsson (Aston Villa)
Fee: Loan
Reason for absence: Benched behind Lucas Digne.
What the manager has said: “We need players that have got experience not just on the domestic stage but internationally and in Europe too. We’re bringing in a player who’s a fantastic professional, a good character and he will also push for game time. It’s a real shrewd signing for the club.”
When he should debut: At Bolton in the League Cup seems likely.

 

14) Omar Richards (Nottingham Forest)
Fee: £10m
Reason for absence: Injury.
What the manager has said: “I’ve seen a lot of Omar through his time with Reading and, alongside our recruitment team, we have been following his progress in Germany. He previously established himself as one of the best full-backs in the Championship, but has since gone on to experience the Champions League and the Bundesliga with one of the biggest clubs in the world. We believe that he can make a big impact in our return to the Premier League and are delighted that he has chosen to join us at Nottingham Forest.”
When he should debut: The recovery period from his hairline leg fracture was reported as up to ten weeks, which was four weeks ago. So probably October at the earliest.

 

13) Julio Enciso (Brighton)
Fee: £10.4m
Reason for absence: Signed for the U23s.
What the manager has said: “He’s a little powerhouse, to be fair to him. He can run, he’s got the capacity, he’s tenacious but he is only young. So it’s about seeing how he adapts to a new continent, a new club, a new league. We have seen it before with Alexis (Mac Allister) and Moises (Caicedo). It’s not straightforward but we like what we see and he has made a really good first impression.”
When he should debut: Brighton are still deliberating over whether to send him on loan, so it’s a strict League Cup diet at best.

 

12) Bernd Leno (Fulham)
Fee: £3m
Reason for absence: Marek Rodak.
What the manager has said: “The player with the No 1 shirt is Marek Rodak. Of course, Leno is ready now. He is a top, top goalkeeper. He will give us so many good things: experience, quality, maturity as well. He will be important for us.”
When he should debut: The moment Rodak drops his first clanger.

 

11) Thomas Strakosha (Brentford)
Fee
: Free
Reason for absence: David Raya.
What the manager has said: “I am pleased that we have managed to sign a top goalkeeper. He has been No 1 at Lazio for a long time, which is very impressive. He has played in Serie A and European competition and will bring that experience with him. He fits our goalkeeper model and comes into a good environment with David Raya and Matthew Cox pushing each other every day.”
When he should debut: The League Cup should give Strakosha his first right of reply in an intriguing battle.

 

10) Marquinhos (Arsenal)
Fee
: £3m
Reason for absence
: Signed for the U21s.
What the manager has said: “First of all we have to expose him here and see how he reacts to the environment. He is very physical and is coping really well with the demands of our training session but another thing after is to compete.”
When he should debut: Potentially the early rounds of the League Cup, although a loan is being considered.

 

9) Neto (Bournemouth)
Fee: Free
Reason for absence: Scott Parker probably didn’t want to sacrifice him to Manchester City.
What the manager has said: Nothing. But chief executive Neill Blake said: “To be able to attract a player of Neto’s calibre is very pleasing. This is a real coup for the club and we’re delighted he has chosen to join us. He has vast experience at the very top level of the game so I’m sure he will be a huge asset for us.”
When he should debut: With all due respect to Mark Travers, Arsenal (h) on Saturday. Unless Parker wants to keep Neto out of the firing line of yet another imperious title challenger.

 

8) Nayef Aguerd (West Ham)
Fee: £30m
Reason for absence: Injury.
What the manager has said: “We have tracked his progress for some time and I’m very pleased that we have been able to complete the signing. He’s a great addition that will add to our defensive options. I have been really impressed with Nayef’s character and attitude during our discussions. He has a great desire to improve and be successful, and I am sure he will fit in very well to the environment we have.”
When he should debut: “He has had an operation and we think he will probably be back in 10 weeks,” Moyes said at the start of August.

 

7) Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea)
Fee: £20m
Reason for absence: He is an 18-year-old with 19 senior first-team appearances.
What the manager has said: “I like his personality, I like his physicality and he was very promising in the matches he played for Aston Villa at Premier League level. Very dynamic. Very good first touch on the ball and very self confident in a very positive way, smiles a lot.”
When he should debut: The League Cup is his friend for now.

 

6) Issa Diop (Fulham)
Fee: £15m
Reason for absence: Lack of match fitness.
What the manager has said: “He was a target from the moment we started planning for this season. It was a long process but finally we have him with us. He is a player who, for sure, will add something different. He can play easily on both sides – right side and left side – even if recently he’s been playing more on the left. He can play on both sides of our central defence. That is really important for us. And that experience, that quality.”
When he should debut: In Fulham’s next game – Brentford (h). Poor Tim Ream.

 

5) Djed Spence (Tottenham)
Fee: £20m
Reason for absence: Tactical.
What the manager has said: “Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it. I said okay, this player is young but he showed he can become a good, important player for us. The club decided to buy him.” Charming as ever.
When he should debut: “He is a guy who has to work a lot, because to go into the Premier League with Tottenham is different,” said Conte after Spence didn’t even feature in a pre-season defeat to Roma. So don’t hold your breath.

 

4) Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest)
Fee: £8.1m
Reason for absence: Forest haven’t played since his signing was confirmed, which is fair enough.
What the manager has said: Nothing. Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini said: “Freuler has this opportunity and it materialised in a short time. Now he’s gone to the Premier League, clearly he’s a player I’m very fond of. If he’s happy with this I can’t do anything other than thank him for what he did and wish him the best.”
When he should debut: In Forest’s next game – Everton (a).

 

3) Mikkel Damsgaard (Brentford)
Fee: £12.6m
Reason for absence: Lack of match fitness.
What the manager has said: “Mikkel is, in my opinion, another classic Brentford signing. He is a young player with big potential to develop further. We know we can help Mikkel reach his highest level, we have the staff here that have experience in doing that and we are looking forward to working with him. We think Mikkel can play as one of our ‘eights’ in a 4-3-3 system or as a ‘ten’. He can also play on the wing.”
When he should debut: In Brentford’s next game – Fulham (a).

 

2) Emmanuel Dennis (Watford)
Fee: £20m
Reason for absence: He wasn’t signed in time to play West Ham.
What the manager has said: Nothing. Steve Cooper is probably bored of introducing new signings by now.
When he should debut: In Nottingham Forest’s next game – Everton (a).

 

1) Fabio Vieira (Arsenal)
Fee
: £34m
Reason for absence
: Injury.
What the manager has said: “We have tried him in training in different positions. He has played off the left, off the right, he has played as a false nine, attacking midfielder. He doesn’t want to be locked into one position as well because he’s so used to it.”
When he should debut: In Arsenal’s next game – Bournemouth (a).

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