Erling Haaland shirt

THE new Premier League season is almost upon us, bringing with it the arrival of several new players, who arrive with eye-watering price tags, glittering continental pedigree and high expectations.

Here’s what we can expect from the five most expensive newcomers to the Premier League.

Darwin Nunez – Liverpool (£64m)

Liverpool’s Community Shield victory over Manchester City last week gave a glimpse into what can be expected of their blockbuster summer arrival this season. Signed from Benfica for £64m, Darwin Nunez came off the bench in the second half of the English football’s traditional curtain raiser and instantly looked menacing with his energy and pace in behind the opposition backline.

When Sadio Mane departed for Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klopp was left with the task of filling a void of star power and goals. Time will tell how close Nunez will come to matching Mane’s legendary Liverpool output, but the Uruguayan certainly appears to have the requisite skillset to shine in the Premier League.

The Reds’ frontline has been long-established for most of the club’s success under Klopp – Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were a perfectly balanced trio, offering dynamism, creativity, graft off the ball and an abundance of goals.

This season, Anfield will be home to a new-look attacking trident. Salah has committed to a new deal and will remain the side’s star attraction, cutting inside from the right to devastating effect. But Colombian winger Luis Diaz, signed last January from Porto, has made the left flank his own and Nunez is eyed as Firmino’s long-term heir.

The 2022-23 season could mark the beginning of a bold and bright future for Klopp and Liverpool if their new frontline proves as deadly as the last.

Erling Haaland – Manchester City (£51m)

Ever since it was reported Erling Haaland’s Dortmund contract contained a release clause that became active in 2022, it was inevitable this summer would see the Norwegian superstar sign for one of the continent’s biggest clubs.

Manchester City won the race for the 22-year-old’s signature and it’s not difficult to discern what manager Pep Guardiola will be expecting of his newest addition – goals. Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne was City’s top Premier League goalscorer last season, with 15. Across all competitions, winger Riyad Mahrez set the club’s high mark, with 24 strikes to his name.

Since joining Red Bull Salzburg from Molde in 2019, Haaland has never scored fewer than 29 goals in a full season, having done so last term in just 30 appearances.

Few teams in football create scoring opportunities as ruthlessly and regularly as City. Few strikers dispatch them with such unerring reliability as Haaland. The reigning back-to-back champions just got even more formidable.

Lisandro Martinez – Manchester United (£48.5m)

There has been something of an exodus at Ajax this summer. Already, the Dutch champions have waived goodbye to a manager, last season’s top scorer and the latest jewel of their famous academy.

But the player whose exit will sting most is Lisandro Martinez. The Argentinian centre-back was voted Ajax’s Player of the Year last season for his key role in securing a successful title defence. The former Newell’s Old Boys defender has reunited with manager Erik ten Hag at Manchester United and the magnitude of his loss to Ajax is reflected in the hard bargain they drove, eventually agreeing a £48.5m fee with a further £8.5m in add-ons.

But if Martinez can replicate at Old Trafford what he did for Ten Hag in Amsterdam, United will not regret the outlay. Although undersized for his position, at 5ft 9ins, he reads play expertly, is quick across the turf and a tenacious tackler.

Martinez has been acquired as much for his skills with the ball at his feet, though. A progressive passer, expert at helping construct attacks from deep, the 23-year-old will be crucial to how Ten Hag wishes his United side to play.

A natural left-footer, Martinez is expected to occupy the left centre-back position at Old Trafford, meaning captain Harry Maguire will have to switch over to the right and contest a starting spot with Raphael Varane.


Kalidou Koulibaly – Chelsea (£34m)

A couple of years ago, Napoli were quoting interested clubs £90m for star centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. Chelsea have long been credited with an interest in the skilled and imposing Senegalese defender, and their patient approach has paid off, able to snag him this summer for the comparative bargain of £34m.

The Blues have lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers since last season’s third place finish, with the former joining Real Madrid and the latter Barcelona. As such, Koulibaly has been brought in to plug a gaping hole at the heart of Thomas Tuchel’s defence.

It’s a sizeable task and Chelsea are reportedly still in the market for further defensive reinforcements, with Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana linked, but Koulibaly has the calibre and experience to slot in and thrive.

Although now 31, Koulibaly remains lithe and dynamic on his feet. He is a commanding presence, too, and, when called upon, can display an ambitious approach to bringing the ball upfield. His price tag may have fallen, but Koulibaly’s immense value as a complete and dominant centre-back remains.

Gianluca Scamacca – West Ham (£30.5m)

Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca had appeared on the verge of a move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer, so West Ham provided one of the shocks of the current transfer window when they swooped to snatch away the towering 23-year-old.

Born in Rome, Scamacca spent a couple of seasons in Holland, in PSV’s youth ranks, earlier in his career. Having bounced around a string of loans with middling success, he finally established himself last season at Sassuolo, with whom he initially signed back in 2017, scoring 16 Serie A goals.

Scamacca has a nose for finding space in the penalty area through well-honed movement, can dispatch strikes from distance when the opportunity presents itself and, of course, his height makes him an obvious aerial threat. A statement signing and a sound stylistic fit for the side who produced the third-most crosses in the Premier League last season.

Transfer market