As most summers seem to be, this one has been littered with transfer speculation and misleading rumours.

The talk of transfers always outweighs the actual action. Players do move eventually, but the number of deals that happen is seldom as high as the talk suggests. The transfer window has become its own area of entertainment for many...

The plane-tracking, rumour-craving part of football is as real as the matches themselves, with fans giddy with excitement about the potential arrival of a new star because of a liked tweet or a following spree on Instagram.

Luckily, it isn’t too long before actual real-life football is played again. The Premier League isn’t far off and some of the signings that actually happened will be making their debuts in mid-August as they look to impress a new expectant fan base.

There have been plenty of famous opening weekend fixtures, these five players will hope to star in another one this August…

 

Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal flirted with the idea of Crystal Palace winger for Wilfried Zaha. Instead, the Gunners moved for Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.

For a fee of around £80 million, Arsenal smashed their previous transfer record and have added yet more pace alongside star striking duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Unai Emery still needs reinforcements elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be excited about Pepe in the Premier League. Arsenal’s attack, with Mesut Ozil creating for the big two, was scary enough.

Adding Pepe, who produced 0.37 non-penalty expected goals per 90 last season, should take them to another level.

Expected to play out on the right flank, Newcastle’s defenders will be watching all the videos of Pepe they can find before the opening weekend of the season.

With an eye for goal, Pepe likes to cut inside, and don’t be surprised to see him given a lot of freedom to drift around the pitch from the right flank, potentially creating mismatches elsewhere on the pitch.

How will Arsenal get on away to Newcastle? Find out in our 2019/20 opening weekend tips

 

Patrick Cutrone

The excitement around Patrick Cutrone has waned over the last year or so.

He was the hot new Italian striking prospect after making his Milan debut back in 2017, but the continuous changes at the club saw him sold to Wolves for what looked like a bargain fee this summer.

Having played for Italy throughout the various youth levels, he made his full debut in 2018 but hasn’t followed that up with a second cap.

Limited to just 12 Serie A starts in 2018/19, this was a great buy-low opportunity for Wolves – they continue to be one of the shrewder teams in the transfer market.

His movement in the final third is superb, and with Wolves eyeing a Europa League run, there are plenty of minutes to go around.

While the 21-year-old may not start on opening day – Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez will likely get the nod – he’s a great option off the bench for Nuno Espirito Santo, particularly if they are chasing a goal at the King Power.

Cutrone’s new side are 11/5 to win their first match of the season in 888sport’s football odds.

 

Tanguy Ndombele

Spurs’ need for a central midfielder has been alarmingly obvious for several seasons.

Getting to the Champions League final fortunately didn’t put Daniel Levy off throwing some money at Lyon to land box-to-box 22-year-old sensation Tanguy Ndombele.

Since Mousa Dembele’s decline and subsequent departure, Spurs’ midfield has been a mess. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have been forced to drop deeper, while Harry Winks’ injury issues have further complicated things for Mauricio Pochettino.

Ndombele doesn’t answer all those problems, but his ability to contribute all over the pitch will change the way this Tottenham side play.

Spurs host Aston Villa on the first Saturday of the Premier League campaign. The White Hart Lane faithful will be looking to their new man to take the game by the scruff of the neck, and no one would be surprised if he stole the show against the Villains.

Can Ndombele’s arrival push Spurs to the next level? They’re 18/1 in 888sport’s Premier League Odds to win the title…

 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Manchester United’s summer has been rumour central. Linked with new players every 24 seconds, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are headline-makers even when there’s nothing happening.

One deal that did happen, however, was Aaron Wan-Bissaka arriving from Crystal Palace for around £50 million.

Wan-Bissaka’s first challenge as Manchester United’s new right-back will be Chelsea at Old Trafford.

There’s no Eden Hazard to deal with fortunately for the former Palace man, but with Diogo Dalot impressing last season, he’s under pressure to get off to a good start at his new club.

One of the league leaders in tackles and interceptions last season, Wan-Bissaka’s defensive credentials are hard to challenge.

It will be fascinating to see how he does at the other end of the pitch, however, such are the different demands of playing for Palace and playing for Manchester United.

 

Moise Kean

Since selling Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, Everton have been searching everywhere for a new centre forward.

Cenk Tosun didn’t pan out, Richarlison is better playing from the flank and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is limited. The signing of 19-year-old striker Moise Kean from Juventus is one of the most fascinating of the summer.

Kean scored six goals in just over 500 Serie A minutes last season, with a 0.65 non-penalty expected goals per 90. Still raw – as you’d expect for a teenager – Kean is far from the finished article, but his ceiling is as high as any young forward’s in the world.

He’s already appeared three times for Italy, and has a complete game, effective running in behind, holding the ball up or competing aerially.

The Toffees face a challenging trip to Crystal Palace to start the season. The blue half of Merseyside will be extremely excited to see Kean link up with Bernard and Richarlison.

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
By
Sam Cox

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.