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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Five summer signings that have massively improved their new sides

Manager’s positions often depend on their success in the transfer market, with the right recruitment a huge part of building any successful side.

Premier League clubs once again splashed the cash during the summer transfer window, investing huge sums in the hope of progress and success during the 2021/22 campaign.

The season remains in its early stages but already we’ve seen several summer signings make an instant impact, a host of names having swiftly shown their managers were right to delve into the transfer market.

Here are five summer signings that have massively improved their new sides.

Aaron Ramsdale

Many questioned Mikel Arteta’s wisdom in spending £24m to sign Aaron Ramsdale during the summer, the goalkeeper arriving at the Emirates after successive Premier League relegations and without a guarantee of first-team football.

Given the pressing concerns elsewhere in the Gunners’s squad, the sizeable sum was widely criticised, though those initial doubts have since been squashed following Ramsdale’s emergence as the North London side’s number one.

What was widely swept aside in the early-season criticisms of Ramsdale’s arrival at Arsenal was that he was named as his side’s Player of the Season in each of those relegation campaigns, the common consensus that the struggles of both Bournemouth and Sheffield United would have been even worse without his presence in goal.

The 23-year-old was handed his opportunity at Arsenal following the club’s winless start to the season and the Gunners have since amassed an eight-game unbeaten run with Ramsdale in the side, a sequence that has included five clean sheets.

Aaron Ramsdale has now kept more clean sheets (5) than he has conceded goals (4) in the Premier League for Arsenal.

And he’s still unbeaten. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/VjCw7RBWTi

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 7, 2021

Ramsdale’s extroverted persona has made him an instant fans’ favourite at the Emirates, whilst he ranks second in the Premier League for save percentage behind only Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy so far this season.

His performance at Leicester last month was outstanding and his fine distribution has added a new dimension to Arsenal’s developing side, whilst his next objective will be to mount a genuine challenge for England’s number one shirt.

Mentions must also go to both Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who have each played their own roles in the improvement of Arsenal and their new-look backline.

Conor Gallagher

That Conor Gallagher’s omission from the England squad for November’s World Cup qualifiers was greeted with criticism is perhaps the greatest indication of the midfielder’s impact at Crystal Palace this season.

Having had his first experience of Premier League football on loan at West Brom last season, the Chelsea midfielder was sent on a second successive top-flight loan after moving across the capital to Selhurst Park.

Thomas Tuchel is a big Conor Gallagher fan 🤗 pic.twitter.com/o5Yyt3uXLL

— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 5, 2021

Gallagher has become an integral figure in Patrick Vieira’s new-look side at Crystal Palace, starting the season in superb form with his box-to-box energy adding an exciting dynamic to the Eagles’ side.

Gallagher’s knack for ghosting forward into goalscoring positions has seen the midfielder score four times in the Premier League already this season, including the second against Wolves last weekend as an improving Palace moved into the top half.

The 21-year-old has also registered two assists and his enthusiasm and energy has won admirers, with Thomas Tuchel having admitted he is keeping a close eye on the midfielder’s progress this season.

Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea’s search for a centre-forward resulted in the £97.5m club-record return of Romelu Lukaku to west London during the summer, the Belgium international becoming the most expensive player in the Blues’ history following a prolific period at Inter Milan.

Lukaku scored on his second debut for Chelsea at Arsenal and netted three times in his first league appearances for the European champions, in addition to netting a crucial winner as the holder’s Champions League campaign got up and running against Zenit St Petersburg.

Embed from Getty Images

The 28-year-old endured a difficult run without a goal before an ankle injury halted the progress of his campaign, but Chelsea will be keen for the forward to make his return after the international break with the Blues’ undoubtedly a more dangerous prospect with Lukaku in the side.

Having been the driving force of Inter Milan’s title success in Serie A last season, Lukaku will have a major role to play in Chelsea’s hopes of being crowned champions for the first time since 2016/17.

Marc Cucurella

Brighton have been amongst the Premier League’s most impressive outfits during the season’s opening weeks, with Graham Potter’s side beginning to earn the results their performances often deserved last term.

The Seagulls are seventh and eyeing a push for European qualification this season, having addressed needs in their squad with some shrewd signings during the summer window.

Embed from Getty Images

Marc Cucurella has made a fine start to his Premier League career since a £15m arrival from Getafe, the left-sided Spaniard already a popular figure amongst the Brighton faithful for his all-action performances.

Brighton have lost just one fixture – to Manchester City – with Cucurella in their side this season, his signing having provided the Seagulls with balance, drive and defensive tenacity on the flanks.

In Cucrella – whose release clause fee is rapidly looking like a bargain – and Tariq Lamptey, Brighton now possesses one of the most impressive full-back partnerships in the division.

Hwang Hee-Chan

Of the 17 sides to have avoided relegation from the Premier League last season, only Burnley scored less goals than Wolves, who saw the Nuno Espirito Santo era come to an end following a season of uninspiring football at Molineux.

The long-term absence of Raul Jimenez left Wolves without a focal point and a succession of players struggled to fill the void, with Ruben Neves and Pedro Neto finishing as the club’s joint-leading scorers on just five league goals.

The signing of additional firepower was made a priority for incoming manager Bruno Lage, whose loan signing of Hwang Hee-Chan from RB Leipzig flew under the radar before a blistering start to the season for the South Korean.

Embed from Getty Images

Hwang – comfortable in almost any role across the frontline – scored on his debut against Watford and netted four times from his first six league fixtures as Wolves recovered from a shaky start to climb up the division.

The 25-year-old’s intelligent movement and blistering speed have added a new threat to Wolves’ forward line, his runs inside from the flank having often been found by the returning Jimenez as an encouraging partnership has been formed.

Wolves are understood to be keen on securing Hwang’s signing on a permanent basis and the £13m fee in the loan agreement could be activated as soon as the winter window.

Read – Picking a tasty XI of the best players managed by Antonio Conte

Read Also – Midfield Magicians: Barcelona and Spain’s beating heart, Xavi

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