Deadline day transfers: where will Premier League clubs' new signings fit in?

Deadline day
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Deadline day might have lacked the inflatable dildos, the car window interviews and the wild rumours of yesteryear, but several clubs managed to squeeze in an extra bit of spending before the window slammed shut. 

We run the rule over yesterday's key movers, whether they can expect much playing time, and how they fit-in from a tactical standpoint. 

Edinson Cavani - Manchester United (Free transfer)

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The Uruguayan forward’s glittering achievements at Napoli and PSG are well known to football fans across Europe, but so is the fact he hasn’t kicked a ball in seven months. Cavani understands he won’t be a guaranteed-starter in Manchester United’s attack. 

But his presence from the bench, as well as his experience in training, may prove invaluable as United look to compete on four fronts this season. When he does play, the 33-year should operate as a central striker, likely in place of the inconsistent Anthony Martial, in United’s 4-3-3 formation. 

Thomas Partey - Arsenal (£45m)

Thomas Partey Atletico Madrid

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A transfer saga which has slowly simmered away all summer finally reached a satisfactory conclusion for Gunners fans after the club agreed to pay the Ghanian’s release clause.

Partey hasn’t come to play second-fiddle, and will be selected in Mikel Arteta’s midfield as soon as he’s up to speed. The former Atletico Madrid man has been billed as a defensive midfielder, which is true to a degree, but that falsely infers he’s not a genuine all-rounder. 

In Mikel Arteta’s favoured 3-4-3 formation, Partey will boss the centre of the park alongside current main man Granit Xhaka. It’s a pairing which is strong, excellent on the ball and aggressive off it - not adjectives associated with many recent Arsenal midfields. 

Alex Telles - Manchester United (£13m)

Alex Telles Porto

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made no secret of his desire to sign a left-back and Alex Telles was top of that list since the start of the summer. United fans will be frustrated that it took so long to get a deal over the line but will be happy it was done eventually. 

Telles should slot straight in at left-back, replacing the solid if unspectacular Luke Shaw in Manchester United's 4-3-3 formation. The defender - capped once by Brazil - is quick and has superb stamina. He is also composed on the ball and has a lethal cross. 

His 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions for Porto last season are evidence of his quality going forward, even if many of those strikes were penalties. Should Bruno Fernandes be unavailable, Telles will back himself to take over penalty duties. 

Theo Walcott - Southampton (loan)

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An emotional homecoming from the former England winger sees him return to Southampton after 13 years away. It’s widely accepted Walcott’s best days are behind him, as his lightning pace diminishes with each passing year. Still, he remains an experienced and hardworking forward who knows where the goal is. 

Hasenhuttl tends to operate with an old-school 4-4-2 formation, and Walcott may find opportunities partnering Danny Ings in attack. Che Adams, Ings’ current strike-partner, is a hard worker, but lacks the goalscoring nous of a proper finisher. Walcott will back himself to take that position for himself. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - Fulham (loan)

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The on-loan Chelsea man has made the bold - if straightforward - decision to move just down the road to struggling Fulham. Once fit, the central midfielder should slot straight into the Cottagers’ midfield in their favoured 4-3-3 formation, alongside the industrious Frank Zambo-Anguissa and the more mooching presence of captain Tom Cairney. 

It’s an engine room that should be capable of competing against even the better sides in the league. But can Loftus-Cheek stay fit long enough to help his new teammates to safety? Do that, and a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next summer’s Euros will surely be his reward. 

Ben Godfrey - Everton (£25m)

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Everton fans have every reason to feel their club “won the window”, as the Toffees made a string of eye-catching signings. The late capture of Ben Godfrey from Norwich might not grab headlines the way James Rodriguez’s arrival did, but it looks another smart piece of business. 

Twenty-two year old central-defender Godfrey might not start in Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred 4-3-3 formation - with Yerry Mina and Michael Keane beginning the season so well - but he gives the side a great rotation option. Godfrey is lightning quick for a defender and excellent on the ball. He lacks aerial presence, and will rely on his defensive partner to clear crosses, but his pace will allow Everton to play with a high line against inferior opponents.

Raphinha - Leeds United (£17m)

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Former Rennes winger Raphinha will give Marcelo Bielsa a quick, agile and aggressive option on the wing. The Brazilian will have to compete against Helder Costa, Jack Harrison, Stuart Dallas and Ali Alioski for a spot on either flank, but with Bielsa encouraging his midfielders to run like sled dogs, he won’t be short of playing time as the fixtures pile up. 

One to watch later in the season, but not necessarily a starter from the off. Leeds United fans can look forward to seeing one of the most exciting young wingers in Europe in action once he gets himself minutes. 

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Ed McCambridge
Staff Writer

Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.