Thomas Partey, Gareth Bale: 12 Premier League stars in line for debuts this weekend

Alex Telles, Hakim Ziyech and Gareth Bale

Hallelujah, the international break is finally over, meaning club football is back on the agenda this weekend. And it’s thrown up some fascinating potential debuts.

Transfer deadline day was a hectic time for Premier League clubs, with lots of deals being struck right up until the final few minutes. That’s all led to the very exciting prospect of seeing plenty of new faces — and some familiar ones in new shirts — turn out for various clubs this weekend.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of names to look out for. Spoiler alert: Manchester United new boy Edinson Cavani didn’t make the cut, as he’s still following government guidelines and self-isolating after travelling over from France.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and find out which players could be in line to make their debuts this weekend.

Thomas Partey

It almost didn’t happen, but in the end Arsenal finally got their man. £45m was enough to take Partey to the Emirates Stadium and he now faces the prospect of a daunting debut against Manchester City. We could even see two Arsenal debutants feature, given the news earlier in the week that Kieran Tierney had to self-isolate after coming into close contact with COVID-positive Stuart Armstrong, paving the way for William Saliba to also start his first game for the Gunners.

Hakim Ziyech

Hackim Ziyech

Ziyech has been struggling for fitness ever since injuring his knee in a pre-season friendly against Brighton ahead of the Premier League’s opening gameweek. The attacking midfielder should breath new life into a Blues side that’s lacked creativity. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be fit enough for Chelsea’s match with Southampton on Saturday, but he did feature for Morocco against Senegal during the international break, which can only be a positive sign.

Ben Godfrey

Godfrey’s £25m transfer from Norwich was a club-record sale for the Canaries, and big things are expected on Merseyside from the 22-year-old centre-back, too. The defender featured in Norwich’s first three Championship games ahead of his move, and could go straight into the starting lineup for the Toffees’ derby day matchup versus city-rivals Liverpool. Talk about a baptism of fire.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The midfielder looked to be Chelsea’s next big thing when he burst onto the scene back in 2015, but a series of injuries have severely hampered his progression. Now 24, Loftus-Cheek will be hoping he can get his career back on track just down the road from his parent club while on loan to Fulham. His new employers square off in a bottom-of-the-table clash with Sheffield United on Saturday, and Scott Parker will be hoping Loftus-Cheek’s ability proves the difference in a crucial six-pointer.

Raphinha

One of the more left-field names on this list, Leeds snapped up the Brazilian winger from French club Rennes for £17m earlier in the window. The player himself described the move as “a dream come true” and should add some extra creativity from out wide to Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Leeds take on Wolves on Monday night, with Raphinha set to play a starring role… if he’s up to speed with Bielsa’s required fitness levels, that is.

Wesley Fofana

Wesley Fofana

Fofana’s move to Leicester turned out to be a summer-long saga. The club courted the teenage centre-back all transfer window but were rebuffed multiple times by Saint-Étienne, thanks in no small part to their manager, Claude Puel. The ex-Leicester boss didn’t exactly part on good terms with the Foxes, and proved to be just as incensed at interest in one of his star players. Still, Leicester got the deal over the line and Fofana could slot into their back three this weekend against Aston Villa.

Rhian Brewster

Brewster’s name was never far from the rumour mill all transfer window, but it took until deadline day before Sheffield United finally took the plunge and stumped up £23.5m for his signature. The striker adds some much-needed firepower to Chris Wilder’s stuttering frontline, and the Blades’ head coach will be hoping Brewster can immediately inspire an upturn in form as Sheffield United host Fulham, in a match already shaping up to be a relegation contenders scrap. 

Alex Telles

Alex Telles

While Cavani may not be able to make his debut, one new United signing who can is Telles. The Brazilian left-back signed on deadline day for a reported £13.5m fee and looks to be a direct replacement for Luke Shaw, who’s struggled for form in recent years. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has a bit of a headache up front, with Cavani in isolation and Antony Martial suspended, so it could be a big debut for Telles against Newcastle, with a clean sheet being even more imperative than usual.

Theo Walcott

It’s been 14 years since Walcott last pulled on the red and white shirt of Southampton. The winger has had a storied career since then, making close to 400 appearances for Arsenal and spending three seasons at Everton. Now back at his boyhood club on loan, Walcott will be hoping to have an immediate impact for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s high-energy side. At only 31, Walcott has plenty still to offer, starting with the Saints’ game this weekend at Chelsea.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

Arguably the Premier League’s most eye-catching transfer this window, Bale returned to Spurs after seven years in Spain with Real Madrid. The Welsh winger’s arrival has brought about plenty of fanfare, but supporters will be hoping he can translate the hype into brilliant performances in the weeks to come. Clips of Bale training surfaced on social media this week, only adding to the excitement ahead of his potential debut against West Ham this weekend.

Carlos Vinícius

Another Tottenham arrival who could also be in line for his debut this weekend is ex-Benfica frontman Vinícius. The striker’s rise in recent years has been pretty meteoric, with the Brazilian having only played as a forward since he was 20 years old. Now 25, Vinícius will be hoping to rival Harry Kane for a spot in José Mourinho’s starting lineup, and looks a valuable option for Spurs with a hectic fixture list both domestically and in Europe ahead.

Craig Dawson

It’s not quite as glamorous as a South American winger or the return of a local hero, but Dawson’s loan move to West Ham still looks to be an astute piece of business. Boss David Moyes has had to manage from home in recent weeks, after contracting coronavirus, but the Hammer’s have been flying in his absence, with back-to-back wins against Wolves and Leicester. Dawson may well come into Moyes’ back five on Sunday and add another layer of defensive stability to an already watertight backline.

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