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7 summer signings who can light up the Premier League

 • by Matt Gault
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As ever the summer transfer window delivered the usual absorbing combination of rampant speculation, media tactics and deadline day trolley dashes.

Somewhere among all the noise, actual deals were done. Some clubs didn’t get what they wanted – looking at you, Manchester United – while others got more than they ever could have dreamed of; fair play, Fulham.

As usual, a raft of eye-catching signings add a layer of intrigue to the new season. Here, we look at seven of them who have the potential to light up the Premier League.

Naby Keïta

One of the most exciting signings of the summer, Liverpool fans have had to wait a year to see Keïta turn out in red after agreeing a deal to sign him from RB Leipzig 12 months ago.

The 23-year-old Guinean boasts immense promise, particularly in an attacking sense. He played more accurate through balls than any other player in the Bundesliga last season and averaged the most successful take-ons too, with 3.07 per 90. His xA of 4.7 was a league-high while he was second when it came to goals-xG ratio.

Yes, Keïta is a one-man stats machine.

It’s clear that Keïta will offer craft and cutting edge from midfield, further bolstering Jürgen Klopp’s enviable attacking line-up, and he certainly has the ability to take the Premier League by storm in a manner not too dissimilar to his new teammate Mohamed Salah last year.

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James Maddison

Riyad Mahrez’s departure to Manchester City leaves a cavernous void in the Leicester City line-up. Thankfully, the burden of keeping the Algerian’s King Power legacy intact falls to not one, but two players.

The Foxes signed Rachid Ghezzal from Monaco to share some of the burden, but the man heavily tipped to become the next Foxes star is James Maddison, the £20million signing from Norwich City.

Maddison attracted plaudits for his exciting displays at Carrow Road last season, with 14 goals and eight assists enough to earn him a spot in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

He certainly seems impressively refined for a 21-year-old and, should he take the sizeable leap to the top-flight in his stride, Maddison has the natural ability to become Leicester’s most exciting attacking weapon behind Jamie Vardy.

Felipe Anderson

Dimitri Payet left West Ham in January 2017. Since then, the club have longed to replace the Frenchman’s fan-pleasing showmanship and invention.

Anderson might just be what they’ve been looking for. The 25-year-old Brazilian broke through for Lazio during the 2014/15 season and, while he wasn’t always a pillar of consistency for I Biancocelesti, there were more than enough glimpses of a genuinely exciting talent.

Of course, the inescapable caveat is his price. Some have argued that a club record £33.6million is excessive for a player prone to patches of indifferent form and one who has largely failed to hit the heights of his breakthrough season.

But Anderson is a quick, technically gifted playmaker with the capacity to set pulses racing at the Hammers. Nobody could match his average of 6.02 successful take-ons per game in Serie A last season.

He was dispossessed on average 3.67 times per game, too, suggesting that it doesn’t always come off for him but four goals and seven assists during Lazio’s run towards agonisingly missing out on Champions League football last season suggest that the Hammers may have a real gem on their hands.

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Jean Michaël Seri

It’s remarkable to think that Fulham, who finished 20th in the Championship just two years ago, have landed a player who spent last summer being chased by Barcelona.

There is, of course, much more to the story. The Cottagers’ astonishing regeneration under Slaviša Jokanović has handed them the pulling power to attract relatively high-profile players from the continent, while Seri’s own dip in form during the 2017/18 campaign for Nice put paid to his Barça dream.

Regardless, securing his services has been rightly perceived as an impressive coup by the Whites. A dynamic, box-to-box midfielder with an eye for a pass, Seri will line up alongside club record signing André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and club talisman Tom Cairney in a hugely impressive midfield.

Seri offers finesse and imagination on the ball. Last season, he averaged 1.37 open play key passes per 90 and notched six assists. The Ivorian is an astute reader of the game, too, which allows him to break up play and bring the ball forward from midfield with haste.

Fulham fans will want to see the 2016/17 Seri, when he scored seven goals and added nine assists, but make no mistake; £25million for the Ivorian has the potential to become an absolute steal.

Bernard

One of three eye-catching deals made by Everton on deadline day, Bernard will be an unknown quantity to the vast majority of Premier League fans.

But the Brazilian is worth getting excited about. A free transfer after having let his contract at Shakhtar Donetsk run down, Bernard is a busy No.10, an agile player with more a few tricks up his sleeve and a deadly eye for goal.

The 25-year-old has improved on his previous season’s goal tally in each of the last three campaigns which, on the face of it, suggests he is on an upward trajectory.

His arrival alongside Richarlison represents a real opportunity to inject pace and flair into the Everton attack, offering great support to Cenk Tosun.

Bernard is also a dead-ball specialist, so expect plenty of two-man free-kick committees between him and Gylfi Sigurðsson this season.

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Mohamed Elyounoussi

Sure to be the scourge of frazzled sub-editors on deadline, Elyounoussi is the man tasked with supplying Southampton with a much-needed creative edge following the departures of Dušan Tadić and Sofiane Boufal (two players who, for all their faults, do have a penchant for the spectacular).

Elyounoussi, a Moroccan-born Norwegian, arrives on the south coast following a highly productive two-year stint in Switzerland with Basel, during which he returned a not-too-shabby 24 goals in 84 appearances.

Last season, the 24-year-old scored 14 goals and added ten assists. Two of his goals came in the Champions League, one of which was against Manchester City, so the winger has proven that he can deliver on fairly grand stages.

What Southampton need, however, particularly given their profligacy in front of goal last season, is a player who can produce consistently and breathe new life into a squad that have too often looked tragically short of ideas in recent times.

Adama Traoré

Adama Traoré is not the finished article. Two seasons ago, Traore was a raw and wildly inconsistent figure for Middlesbrough as the Teesiders dropped out of the Premier League.

Traoré stayed and, while he remains far from the complete package, his time under Garry Monk and Tony Pulis at the Riverside last season seems to have hammered some semblance of consistency into him.

His pace and dribbling have always allowed him to excel in certain categories, so while an average of 9.72 successful take-ons per 90 is a staggering figure, it’s not all that surprising.

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Routinely demolishing full-backs is Traoré’s bread and butter though. What Boro fans craved was an end product and, thankfully, they got it last season, with the 22-year-old scoring five times and producing ten assists.

He seems to have responded to Pulis’ instructions. Wolves fans can only hope that he is similarly amenable when listening to Nuno Espírito Santo.

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