The Premier League transfer window closed on August 8th, even though the rest of the European leagues closed on September 2nd. There was a lot of movement within the league, but I wanted to touch upon a handful of guys who transferred in from abroad.
Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham)
The 22-year old joined Spurs from Lyon in a surprising relatively early move by Daniel Levy. Ndombele fills a gaping hole left by the ghost of Mousa Dembele. While they have some solid wide players in Son and Moura, and the strength of a resurgent Moussa Sissoko, Ndombele puts an anchor into the ground.
The Spurs midfield needed some depth, and adding Tanguy and Giovani Lo Celso will be huge down the stretch. However Ndombele looks as though he’s going to make a difference right away. His first touch in a Spurs shirt turned into an assist during a preseason match against Juventus, and then he scored the team’s first goal of the season against Aston Villa in week 1. Unfortunately he’s been hampered by a thigh injury and has missed a chunk of the very young season already.
Last year with Lyon, Ndombele managed 3 goals and 8 assists, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. His versatility is going to be a big boost for a Spurs midfield that has been inconsistent at best so far in 2019. His ability to attack, play as a central midfielder pulling the strings, and sit in a more defensive role should be huge now that he’s fit again.
Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
The former Lille winger is already making an impact for Arsenal. He has come off the bench in both matches so far. His pace is scary good, and his direct play is going to be tough for defenders to slow down. The Gunners’ defense needed improvement and, while they did that, the addition of Pepe may be the best piece of business the North Londoners did over the summer.
So far this season, Pepe has proven his worth. The right winger has managed to play in all four matches so far this season, but has started only two of those. Despite that, he has been an impact player every minute he’s been on the pitch, proving one of the better transfers in the window. He was particularly pesky in the North London Derby against Spurs, pouring in shots and picking up an assist. If the Gunners can figure out their defensive woes, Pepe’s incisive play could put them in a position to finish back in a coveted top 4 position.
Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)
The only argument against Pepe being the best business Arsenal did over the summer is Dani Ceballos. Joining the Gunners from Real Madrid on loan, he’s already racking up assists and proving he’s a player worthy of your starting XI. Ceballos did not want to leave Madrid on a permanent transfer, so it’s key for Arsenal to finish in the top 4 and be able to offer Champions League football. If they can do that, they may be able to convince Dani to stay longer term.
The Spaniard, like Pepe, has made an instant impact at the Emirates. Unai Emery needs to take notice and start him in every match. He didn’t start in the NLD, but made an impact as soon as he came on. He made his first start on matchweek 2 against Burnley and turned in 2 assists. He’s the real deal, and is fun to watch, despite my allegiance to their biggest rivals. Play the kid. He’s GOOD.
Rodrigo (Manchester City)
Manchester City won the Premier League for the second year in a row. Their B team is good enough to battle for top 4 on their own, according to Jose Mourinho. So what did they do? They convinced Rodri to come to them from Atletico Madrid.
Their attacking options have been solid, but their defense can get in its own way, mostly by way of injury. Rodri joining sures up their midfield, and helps cover an increasingly injury-prone set of centrebacks. While his impact won’t necessarily be as apparent through the likes of goals and assists, his being the lynchpin of that midfield should help to prevent goals.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
This is a little bit of a cop-out choice, because Tielemans joined the Foxes on loan in the latter half of last season. The 22-year old Belgian played in 13 matches, scoring 3 times for Leicester. His permanent addition to the squad is a huge boost for a team a lot of pundits are picking to finish in the midst of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Their attacking options are strong, and the midfield is now even stronger. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tielemans play a larger role and lead Leicester to a European spot. He has started each match so far this season, and played 90 minutes in all but one. The other? 89 minutes. His durability is going to be huge for Leicester in the long run. And his goal and assist in their 3-1 win over Bournemouth helps, too.
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