With the Premier League nearing one of its most crucial stages – the busy Christmas period – we’ve taken a look at how some of the league’s high-profile summer additions are settling in at their new clubs.
A staggering £52 million signing from Ligue 1 side Lyon in the summer, Alexandre Lacazette was the big money singing that Arsenal fans had been crying out for in recent years. The striker appears to have moved ahead of countryman Olivier Giroud as Arsenal’s first choice striker this season and he will be of huge importance in the Gunners’ fight for a place in the Champions League next term.
Interestingly, Lacazette has only completed 90 minutes on one occasion in the Premier League this season – arguably to be expected with the strength of Arsenal’s forward players – but with the price tag Lacazette commanded you could say he should be given the chance to complete matches in full.
When he has played, the Frenchman has made a commendable impact – with six goals in 12 league appearances so far in 2017/18 and he will be looking to continue his goal scoring form as the season progresses.
A modern-day centre forward, Lacazette can hold the ball up for midfield runners, link play with his feet and head, run in behind when needed and apply the finishing touch to a trademark Arsenal move when called upon.
The plight of Manchester City’s goalkeepers was grabbing more headlines than the rest of the side combined during parts of the 2016/17 season. With Joe Hart, Willy Caballero and Claudio Bravo all staking a less-than-convincing claim for the number one jersey over the course of Pep Guardiola’s first year in charge there was heavy pressure on £34.7 million signing Ederson to do the business between the sticks.
Much of the talk has been about the free-flowing attacking football which has seen Manchester City stride to the top of the Premier League this season and it is easy to overlook the good work being done by Ederson at the other end of the pitch. With seven clean sheets in City’s opening 12 games, the Brazilian – alongside his defensive colleagues – is giving the side’s attacking players a very solid base to work from.
In comparison, last season Manchester City claimed only three clean sheets in their opening 12 Premier League fixtures. Levels of trust in a defensive unit are key to the success of the creative players in any side and it is clear that the addition of Ederson has been pivotal in Manchester City’s levels of success so far this season.
A player who thrives off playing on the shoulder of the last defender, Alvaro Morata has already shown this season that he has the quality to fire Chelsea towards the top of the league.
With the high standard of delivery from Marcos Alonso and César Azpilicueta to rely on, Morata is reaping the rewards of his excellent movement in and around the box – most notably against Stoke City and Manchester United, where the Spaniard notched a hattrick and scored an impressive headed winner respectively.
Eight goals and four assists in 11 Premier League games makes it clear that his move from Real Madrid has been a masterstroke from Antonio Conte and one which Chelsea fans will be hoping helps them on their way to reclaiming their domestic title. Morata is likely to be an instrumental part of the plans for both Chelsea and Spain over the next seven months.
One of the most talked about signings of the summer window, on his move from Goodison Park to Old Trafford Romelu Lukaku was dubbed as a replacement for the outgoing Zlatan Ibrahimovic by many across the country. As the situation would eventually unfold, the Swede is back under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho after recovering from a knee injury and could partner Lukaku up front for United this season.
In Ibra’s absence, Lukaku has made a strong start to his Manchester United career with eight goals in 12 Premier League starts – making him an instant hit with the United fans.
Some of Lukaku’s critics would say that he doesn’t work hard enough at times and this is understandable when things aren’t going to plan during matches, he can be an easy player to scapegoat given the hype that has surrounded his arrival since the summer.
However, the Belgian is an undoubted goal scorer and could be the difference between Mourinho’s side putting up a meaningful challenge for the league title this season and another scrap for a third and fourth place finish.
A signing which excited the majority of Liverpool supporters during the summer, Mo Salah has contributed an impressive nine goals in 12 Premier League games as well as four in four in the Champions League so far this season.
As the club’s record signing, the Egyptian is making waves at Anfield at a rate not seen since Luis Suarez’s departure for Barcelona in 2014. Left-footed Salah operates mostly on the right-hand side of Jurgen Klopp’s frontline – with Roberto Firminio and Sadio Mane joining him in an exciting attacking trio.
Salah has pace to burn and a directness which puts defenders instantly on the backfoot. With the skill and technical ability to match Salah has contributed heavily towards the side’s success the season.
With Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane alongside him as the first names on the team sheet this season it isn’t an exaggeration to suggest that Salah has been the Premier League signing of the season so far.