With all five of the major European leagues now back under way for the 2020-21 season, we’ve been given a glimpse of new signings in action across the continent. There have been some eye-catching displays. Here are the 10 most impressive.
Given how little Gabriel had played since the early curtailment of the Ligue 1 season back in March, it was a surprise to see the Brazilian line up for Arsenal against Fulham in the opening game of the Premier League season. Nevertheless, his fitness didn’t seem to be a concern whatsoever. Mikel Arteta’s selection was vindicated after an excellent debut. He even scored in Arsenal’s 3-0 win, which was something of a surprise given that he only managed two goals in as many seasons at Lille. Gabriel attempted 114 passes and completed 108 of them – more than any other player achieved on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Having failed to break into the first team at Lyon, 20-year-old Amine Gouiri made the move to Nice and made an instant impression in the very first Ligue 1 start of his career. Operating from the left of a front three, the youngster scored both goals for Patrick Vieira’s side as they came from behind to beat newly-promoted Lens 2-1. Gouiri had three shots in total, finding the net with both of his efforts on target.
While Adrien Truffert was not a summer signing for Rennes (he stepped up from the youth team), his recent substitute appearance against Monaco was one he will never forget. When starting left-back Faitout Maouassa picked up an injury in the first half, Truffert was given his chance. The 18-year-old came on and turned the game in his side’s favour. Rennes were trailing to a goal from Wissam Ben Yedder before Truffert set up a late Steven N’Zonzi equaliser and then scored the winner himself in injury-time. As well as a goal and assist on his debut, the full-back completed 28 of the passes he attempted to secure our man of the match award.
Birger Meling has made a superb start to life at Nîmes since his move from Rosenborg, particularly on his debut against Brest. The 25-year-old Norwegian left-back set up youngster Kevin Denkey’s early opener before scoring Nîmes’ second goal in a comprehensive 4-0 win.
If Willian needed to win over Arsenal fans following his move from Chelsea, he did it in one afternoon in Fulham. He was brilliant in his debut at Craven Cottage, even stealing the limelight from fellow Brazilian Gabriel. Having hit the woodwork with a trademark free-kick in the first half, the 32-year-old set up both of Arsenal’s goals in the second half to ensure a comfortable 3-0 win. On top of that, he misplaced just one of his 26 passes.
Timothy Castagne is another player who popped up with an unexpected goal on his debut. The versatile Belgian full-back arrived from Atalanta and was put straight into the Leicester team for their season opener against West Brom. Leicester missed the attacking outlet of the injured Ricardo Pereira in the second half of last season, but Castagne has stepped up admirably. The 24-year-old broke the deadlock in an eventual 3-0 win over the Baggies, while winning five aerial duels and three tackles to pick up our man of the match award.
Luis Milla signed for Granada from second-tier Tenerife and carried on his happy knack of scoring from midfield. The 25-year-old was on hand to score Granada’s second goal in a 2-0 win over AthleticBilbao on what was his La Liga debut. He also won four aerial duels, made three interceptions and completed two dribbles in a fine all-round display, earning our man of the match award.
Jeff Hendrick stole the show for Newcastle on his debut against West Ham. Having assisted fellow debutant Callum Wilson with an intelligent flick-on at the near post, the former Burnley midfielder rifled home a second late on to ensure that Newcastle picked up all three points. Having never scored and set up a goal in a Premier League game before, Hendrick picked some time to do it.
Dejan Kulusevski had to wait for his Juventus debut after agreeing to join the club in January, but he made sure it was worth it. The 20-year-old was one of the breakout stars in Serie A last season and he picked up in Turin where he left off in Parma, albeit in a new role, partnering Cristiano Ronaldo up front rather than starting from wide. The Sweden international tucked away the first goal of the Andrea Pirlo era after just eight minutes with what was his only attempt. In a complete performance, he created three chances, completed three dribbles and made two interceptions to secure our man of the match award.
Leroy Sané’s long-awaited debut for Bayern Munich is the pick of the bunch. He was merciless against his former club Schalke. In 72 minutes on the pitch the 24-year-old scored once and set up two more in a thumping 8-0 victory. Sané did not look like a player who had missed most of last season with injury. He hit the target with both of his attempts at goal and created five chances for his teammates. The addition of Sané makes the European champions an even more frightening attacking proposition.