An XI of players we can’t wait to see make their PL debut in 2022-23
One of the most exciting things about any new Premier League season is seeing new faces – and there are some exceptional signings at the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham already this summer.
It’s still over six weeks until the 2022-23 campaign gets underway, but plenty of clubs have been keen to get their business done early – and there are tons of players we can’t wait to see make their Premier League debuts.
For the sake of getting the 11 players we wanted to fit in here, we’ve gone with a Ralph Hasenhuttl-style 4-2-2-2 formation. Apologies to wide men.
GK: Gavin Bazunu
Like Liverpool, Manchester City boast a ridiculously talented young Irish goalkeeper.
Or they did until recently, with Bazunu having completed £12million transfer to Southampton. The 20-year-old is Ireland’s No.1 ahead of Caoimhin Kelleher, but he never made an appearance for City’s first team, instead shining on the international stage and away on loan in the lower leagues.
Last season, Bazunu was voted Portsmouth’s Players’ Player of the Year and into the PFA League One Team of the Year. He looks destined for big things and will surely back himself to become Saints’ first-choice ‘keeper ahead of Alex McCarthy.
19 year old Portsmouth goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu – on loan from Man City – saves a pen to deny Cristiano Ronaldo becoming the outright highest international goal scorer of all time (for now). Some moment pic.twitter.com/8OIxE2mIYy
— Simeon Gholam (@SimGholam) September 1, 2021
RB: Calvin Ramsay
We’re not expecting the Scottish teenager to get tons of minutes but he looks like a more-than-able deputy to Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Yet another promising youngster on Liverpool’s books.
CB: Diego Carlos
The Brazilian established himself as one of the best centre-backs in La Liga during his three years at Sevilla. He reportedly came close to a move to newly-minted Newcastle United in January but instead decided to stay for Sevilla’s title charge.
Unfortunately Sevilla’s 2021-22 campaign tailed off quite limply, but Diego Carlos has got his Premier League move in the end. The season had barely finished when Aston Villa announced the deal – a statement-making signing that looks quite the coup for Steven Gerrard’s side.
CB: William Saliba
It’s a complete headscratcher that Mikel Arteta hasn’t really fancied Saliba.
Surely – surely – after last season’s exceptional season on loan at Marseille, the Arsenal manager can’t ignore the 21-year-old France international any longer.
LB: Ivan Perisic
Please don’t shout at us. We’re well aware that Perisic is way more of a winger than full-back, but he’s adapted his game to left wing-back under Antonio Conte to great success at Inter – so we’re putting him as something of a square peg here as we refuse to adapt to a back three.
The important thing is Perisic is mint. The Croatian has been one of the most exciting wingers in Europe for years now. After years of transfer gossip, particularly with Jose Mourinho teams, he’s finally coming to England.
At 33, there’s a slight question of whether he’s past his peak, but Conte has form for getting the best out of grizzled veterans and wingbacks – and the World Cup runner-up fits the billing on both counts.
DM: Boubacar Kamara
Another head-turning move by Aston Villa, Kamara was outstanding in Ligue 1 last term, one of Marseille’s best players as they achieved a top-four finish – but he’s turned down Champions League football to join Gerrard’s project at Villa Park.
“It’s my choice,” he told RMC Sport.
“I had this feeling with Aston Villa, & I was very happy. When the coach comes to see you at home, when he makes the trip, when he explains the project, his ambition for me in the years to come, I take this into account.
“Especially when it comes from Steven Gerrard, one of the best midfielders in the world in his position. It leaned in my decision. I can’t wait to join him to work.”
DM: Marc Roca
Leeds failed to sign a central midfielder in the entirety of Marcelo Bielsa’s three-and-a-half-year tenure as manager.
That wasn’t a problem for a long time, thanks to the Argentinian favouring a single pivot at the base of midfield and Kalvin Phillips’ transformation into an international-class star.
However, it proved a problem last term with Phillips out injured and the lack of depth exposed. Having narrowly avoided relegation last term, and with new boss Jesse Marsch favouring more bodies in midfield, it’s no surprise to see they’ve finally addressed the gaping hole in their squad.
It remains to be seen whether new recruit Roca will replace Phillips – in the event of a reportedly imminent move to Manchester City – or play alongside him.
However things go, Roca looks like a talented addition to Marsch’s squad. He struggled to usurp world-class operators Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, making just 15 Bundesliga appearances in two years at Bayern Munich, but he showed at former club Espanyol that he’s immensely talented.
AM: Harvey Vale
Chelsea’s Academy Player of the Year for 2021-22 made a handful of appearances for Thomas Tuchel’s senior team in the domestic cups, but he’s yet to make his Premier League bow.
We’d expect the 18-year-old to feature for the Blues more prominently next year, with Vale set to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
AM: Fabio Vieira
Arsenal are yet to confirm the signing of the Portuguese playmaker, but Porto have confirmed a deal has been struck and it’s only a matter of time before the announcement.
Vieira topped the Primeira Liga for assists in 2021-22. In the past, Arteta has spoken about Arsenal’s need for players that can find space in dangerous pockets – think magicians like Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil – and on the evidence of last season, the Gunners have another one.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) June 16, 2022
ST: Darwin Nunez
We’ll be sad to see Mane go, but in Nunez Liverpool have secured a hell of a replacement.
The lethal Uruguayan striker also represents some interesting tactical quandaries for Jurgen Klopp, as more of a pure No.9 than they’ve had in years – arguably since Christian Benteke was sold six years ago.
Might his arrival mean the Reds move away from a 4-3-3 and more towards a 4-2-3-1 with Nunez spearheading the attack? We can’t wait to find out.
“Darwin is a wonderful player; already really good but so much potential to get even better,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
“That’s why it’s so exciting, to be honest. His age, his desire, his hunger to be even better than he currently is. His belief in our project and what we are looking to do as a club.
“He is as excited by us as we are by him, which makes for a great relationship, when you appreciate each other’s strengths. That is certainly the case here. He thinks we suit him and we believe he is the right fit for us – so let’s do it.”
ST: Erling Haaland
Arguably one of the most anticipated signings in Premier League history, Haaland – born in Leeds not long after his father Alf-Inge Haaland signed for Manchester City – looks like a proper superstar.
We’re excited and terrified in equal measure.
🎥 FIRST CITY INTERVIEW 🎥
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 13, 2022