Football Features

Seven potential Premier League debuts we’re looking forward to this weekend

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:10, 16 October 2020

Some Premier League clubs concluded their summer transfer business early, while others waited until the final few hours of the international window to plug the gaps in their squad.

What that means is we could see a number of players make their Premier League debuts for their respective new clubs this weekend, despite the season being a month old already.


William Hill’s 2020/21 Premier League title odds:

  • Liverpool: 5/4
  • Man City: 6/4
  • Chelsea: 14/1
  • Spurs: 16/1
  • Everton: 18/1
  • Arsenal: 25/1
  • Man Utd: 40/1

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Here are the potential debuts should you be most excited about.

1. Thomas Partey (Arsenal)

In arguably the marquee signing of deadline day, Arsenal addressed one of their biggest problems by bringing Thomas Partey to the Emirates. The 27-year-old is often referred to as a defensive midfielder but his skillset goes much further than that.

Yes, he is very good at breaking up play when used in the right system, a la Diego Simeone, and can pass the ball out from midfield, but he is also a wonderful ball-carrier. In La Liga last season, Partey completed 83.82% (57) of his attempted take-ons, a better success rate than any other player to attempt at least 50 across Europe’s top five divisions.

And Mikel Arteta hasn’t ruled out throwing Partey in at the deep end when Arsenal play Manchester City this Saturday at 5.30pm.

“He was here just yesterday (Wednesday), getting familiar with everything around the club,” Arteta told reporters on Thursday.

“Today he will have his first training session. Everything has to come really quickly for him.

“We knew that before we signed him. But he’s fit, he’s very willing to start playing. We will see how he goes in the next few days.”

2. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

Chelsea were one the summer window’s most talked-about teams, bringing in the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell. All of those have already made their debuts, but one new Blue still waiting to make his competitive bow is Hakim Ziyech.

Ziyech was technically Chelsea’s first new arrival, his transfer having been confirmed as early as February, and was part of the team that drew with Brighton & Hove Albion in pre-season.

He injured his knee in that friendly and has been on the sidelines since, but the Morocco international is now reportedly fit and could play a part for Chelsea this Saturday against Southampton at 3pm. Ziyech is expected to be a regular starter for the Blues this season, providing the attacking threat from the right side, and delivering crosses for the likes of Havertz and Werner.

3. Alex Telles (Manchester United)

Manchester United were busy on the final day of the transfer window and added depth to their squad in a number of positions. And while Edinson Cavani is unable to make his debut this weekend, Alex Telles could find himself straight in the team.

The left-back position has arguably been United’s biggest weakness over the past few years, with Luke Shaw failing to live up to expectations through a mixture of poor performances and tough luck with injuries.

Although Telles’ goalscoring figures with Porto were inflated by the fact he took penalties (something that won’t happen as long as Bruno Fernandes is also on the pitch), Telles remains an extremely attacking full-back and will be a thrill to watch. Newcastle United are Man United’s hosts on Saturday at 8pm.

4. Raphinha (Leeds United)

Leeds’ return to the Premier League was accompanied by much excitement, mostly due to the club’s history and Marcelo Bielsa, but there was also interest in seeing how they’d approach a summer transfer window as a top-tier team again.

One of their later signings is former Rennes winger Raphinha, a key member of the squad that reached the Champions League for the first time last season, one who scored seven goals and recorded five assists in 1,695 minutes of Ligue 1 playing time.

He’s already left an impression on his new teammates in training during the international break.

“He’s sharp, he’s very sharp,” defender Luke Ayling told BBC Radio Leeds.

“He’s scored a few good goals already in training and he’s set up a few. We did a murderball and I was playing against him and he had some very good touches, very quick, very sharp and so it looks like we have got a good player on our hands.

“He’s come straight in, he’s fitted straight in with the boys and Helder Costa has taken him under his wing a bit because they both speak Portuguese and everything. I think we have got a good player on our hands.”

Leeds have Wolves on Monday night. We can’t wait.

5. Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United)

Despite previously appearing on the bench for Liverpool, Rhian Brewster hasn’t actually made an appearance in the Premier League. That may all change this weekend, though.

The Englishman signed for Sheffield United in the final days of the transfer window, and Chris Wilder may look towards him to solve the Blades’ scoring problems. In their five games across all competitions so far this season, Sheffield United have scored just two goals, both of which have come through David McGoldrick.

Last season while on loan in the Championship with Swansea City, Brewster scored 11 goals in 22 games to help them reach the play-offs. With McGoldrick having picked up an injury while on international duty, it could be Brewster’s time to shine. Sheff Utd play Fulham on Sunday’s early kick-off.

6. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

OK, this would be a second debut, but who isn’t excited about the return of Gareth Bale to the Premier League?

It’s been seven long years since Bale swapped London for Madrid after his wonderful performances with Tottenham, and he’s brought *just a few* winner’s medals back with him. Bale’s return to action for Tottenham was temporarily delayed before the international break by a knee injury, but the Welshman could be in line for an appearance this weekend.

He set a Premier League record in 2012/13 for the most goals scored from outside the box within a single season (nine). So if long-range efforts are your thing, you might want to tune into Spurs v West Ham this Sunday at 4.30pm.


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7. Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)

Thiago Alcantara has already played in the Premier League for Liverpool this season and few will have missed his excellent second-half display against Chelsea.

But he has yet to start a game for Liverpool, so this weekend we could finally see Thiago make his full debut. With Naby Keita absent, there is space in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield for an attack-minded player with the abilities of their new No.6.

Potentially joined by two of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnadlum, Thiago’s presence could be key to breaking down what has so far this season been a very impressive Everton team, Liverpool’s opponents at 12.30pm on Saturday.