The Premier League returns this weekend with big-money signings out to impress and potential new stars desperate to make an impact.
Here, the PA news agency picks five players to look out for on the opening weekend.
Unbelievable feeling seeing all the fans turn out at the Etihad today. Thank you so much for the amazing welcome since I joined! Overwhelmed by all the support! 💙💙 pic.twitter.com/vf52Yg4rGi— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) August 9, 2021
The spotlight will be firmly on the £100million man who is primed to make his full Manchester City debut against Tottenham having already got a run-out in the Community Shield. Grealish was stationed on the left of the front three at Wembley but Pep Guardiola says he can play anywhere in and around the final third. His challenge is to adapt from being a big fish in Aston Villa’s comparatively small pond to becoming an influential cog in Guardiola’s star-studded attacking machine.
England international Sancho has finally arrived at Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund for £73million after the Red Devils missed out on signing him with three previous attempts. With Marcus Rashford sidelined through injury, exciting winger Sancho is in line to be thrown straight in for a potentially explosive debut against fierce rivals Leeds in one of the highlights of the opening weekend.
𝗕𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗼𝗶𝗿, 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘀 👋— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 27, 2021
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made strengthening the centre of his side’s defence a priority once an agreement had been struck for Sancho. The feeling at Old Trafford is that Harry Maguire needs a solid, long-term partner at the back and Varane’s pedigree fits the bill. The 28-year-old has won 18 major honours with Real Madrid and was also a World Cup winner with France in 2018.
The Championship’s top scorer last season gets his second crack at the Premier League, having failed to make the grade at Newcastle as a youngster before dropping down the divisions. Toney hit 31 league goals last season to fire Brentford to promotion but his all-round game has also come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. The 25-year-old is also a prolific penalty taker. Expect the net to bulge plenty of times at Brentford’s new stadium.
Pre-season is never an accurate gauge of a player’s prospects but West Ham winger Benrahma has surely made manager David Moyes sit up and take notice with sparkling goals in friendlies against Celtic and former club Brentford. The unpredictable Algerian endured a frustrating maiden campaign at the London Stadium, but he is capable of the spectacular and Moyes looks ready to lean on him more and more after Jesse Lingard’s return to Manchester United.
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