The most expensive Premier League summer transfers rated so far, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea stars

5 Sep

The Premier League has paused for the international break so now is the perfect time to assess the early-season form of some of the new signings in the division.

Having seen four matches so far, we can safely say some of the business done has been excellent and some of it has been mystifying.

Ndombele was brought to Spurs from Lyon earlier this summer for £55million
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There are always winners and losers in the transfer market as not every club can keep hold of their best players and also sign improvements.

So who do talkSPORT.com believe has been the best signings so far? Find out below…


15. Ismaila Sarr (Stade Rennais – Watford) – £27m

After a summer spent at the African Cup of Nations with Senegal, it is understandable that it has been a slow start for Sarr at Vicarage Road.

However, Hornets fans caught a glimpse of his quality after he netted a beauty against Coventry in the Carabao Cup and he is sure to have many more chances to prove his worth.

Sarr will need time to adapt to the Premier League
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14. Joao Cancelo (Juventus – Manchester City) – £60m

Cancelo missed pre-season and therefore Pep Guardiola has been reluctant to hand him a first start as he gears up his fitness for the Premier league.

The Portuguese has looked assured off the bench and the full-back will surely become a first-team regular after the international break.

13. Ayoze Perez (Newcastle – Leicester) – £30m

Perez started in the opening three matches of the season but struggled to make an impact in the side and was subsequently dropped by Brendan Rodgers for the match against Bournemouth on the weekend.

Competition has never hurt anyone and the ex-Newcastle striker will have to prove his worth to his boss in the coming weeks to get back into the side.

Perez has struggled to make an impact so far for Leicester
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12. Pablo Fornals (Villarreal – West Ham) – £25m

Fornals will need time to adjust to the Premier League and it looks like the more he plays the more he is adjusting to the tempo of the English game.

He had a run out in the Carabao Cup and scored against Newport County but will be looking to break into the first-team in the league in the coming weeks.

11. Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon to Tottenham) – £55m

Ndombele had a good start in the Lilywhite shirt after netting his side’s equaliser against Aston Villa with a beauty of a strike.

However, injury has forced him out in recent weeks but he will be looking to continue his solid start after the international break.

10. Nicolas Pepe (Lille to Arsenal) – £72m

Arsenal’s club record signing has looked dangerous at times and is proving to be a real handful for defences.

The Ivorian just needs a goal to kick start his his Gunners career and so far he hasn’t shown composure in front of goal but he has plenty of skill.

Pepe has shown signs of promise in the early stages of his Arsenal career
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9. Joelinton (Hoffenheim – Newcastle) – £40m

Newcastle had a difficult start to the campaign and the Brazilian struggled to make an impact as they were dominated by Arsenal and Norwich, but he has now seemingly come into his own.

Against Spurs he was a constant menace up front, holding the ball well and making direct, effective runs, reaping the rewards of his efforts with a goal.

8. Alex Iwobi – (Arsenal – Everton) £28m

The ex-Gunner has looked dangerous for the Toffees whenever he has been called upon and he scored his first goal for the club over the weekend against Wolves in an impressive performance.

He will now be hoping to kick on and have his best season in the Premier League to date.

Iwobi netted hist first goal for Everton on the weekend
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7. Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid to Chelsea) – £40m

Kovacic was Chelsea’s only signing of the summer due to their transfer ban as he was already registered to the club following his loan move from Real Madrid in 2018.

The Croat has started this season very well, impressing with his surging runs from midfield and dribbling ability.

6. Rodri (Atletico Madrid to Manchester City) – £63m

Rodri has had a couple dodgy moments but on the whole he has looked an assured presence in the midfield when called upon by Guardiola.

At just 24 years old, he is the natural successor to Fernandinho and you sense he will be mightily impressive in the role given what we have seen of his technical ability so far.

Rodri is seen as the heir to Fernandinho
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5. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace to Manchester United) – £50m

Wan-Bissaka looks unbeatable in one-on-one situations but the Man United defence is still leaking goals due to the midfield being overrun.

Solskjaer needs to find cover for the back four as they are more than capable than defending well but just need more protection higher up the pitch.

4. Harry Maguire (Leicester to Manchester United) – £85m

Maguire had a brilliant debut performance against Chelsea but results have turned sour since then.

He will undoubtedly prove to be a good acquisition for the club but as previously mentioned, Solskjaer needs to sort out his midfield otherwise the defence are left with too much to do.

Maguire will eventually become a great signing for United
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3. Raul Jimenez  (Benfica – Wolves)  – £34m

This signing has gone under the radar because it was agreed in January but what a coup for Wolves it is nonetheless.

Jimenez was one of the best strikers in the league last season and he is continuing to prove a handful up top this term, having scored his first of the campaign against Everton on the weekend.

2. Youri Tielemans (Monaco – Leicester) – £40m

Despite impressing in each match so far, Tielemans only got off the mark in the 3-1 win over Bournemouth over the weekend.

The Belgium international was a revelation for the Foxes in the second half of last season and he has picked up where he left off this campaign.

Tielemans impressed during his brief loan spell at Leicester last season
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1. Sebastien Haller (Eintracht Frankurt – West Ham) – £35m

Haller had a difficult start to life at the London Stadium but in the last two games he has really come into his own.

He seems be in the right position at the right time constantly, and having netted twice from close range against Watford and against Norwich – West Ham have seemingly signed a real dime in the Frenchman.

Haller found the net again for West Ham against Norwich
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Top 20 most expensive transfers in Europe’s top five leagues this summer

4 Sep

The transfer window across Europe slammed shut on Monday until January with dozens of deals completed by the deadline.

Across Europe’s top five leagues, 1903 deals were completed worth £5.24billion.

Harry Maguire became the world’s most expensive defender this summer
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The transfer window for Premier League clubs shut before the season started in August while teams in Spain, Italy, France and Germany having longer to do their business.

English clubs could still sell but were not able to bring in replacements until the start of the next window.

There were several high profile deals that never materialised with Tottenham no doubt delighted that Christian Eriksen remains with them, for now.

Despite some not going through, there was still a huge amount of money changing hands with plenty of clubs wanting to get their business done early.

Here are the 20 top deals completed by teams in Europe’s top five leagues.

20. Youri Tielemans – £40m (Monaco to Leicester City)

Tielemans is Leicester record signing
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19. Joelinton – £40m (Hoffenheim to Newcastle United)

Joelinton cost Newcastle £40m
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18. Mateo Kovacic – £40.2m (Real Madrid to Chelsea)

Chelsea activated their clause to purchase Kovacic from Real Madrid after the Croatian was on-loan at Stamford Bridge last season
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17. Sebastien Haller – £40.7m (Eintracht Frankfurt to West Ham)

Sebastien Haller is the new marksman at the London Stadium
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16. Ferland Mendy – £44m (Lyon to Real Madrid)

Ferland Mendy was signed by Real Madrid for £44million
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15. Eder Militao – £44m (Porto to Real Madrid)

Eder Militao cost Real Madrid £44million
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14. Aaron Wan-Bissaka – £45m (Crystal Palace to Manchester United)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka joined Manchester United in the summer
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13. Tanguy Ndombele – £55.5m (Lyon to Tottenham)

Ndombele arrived for £55.5m from Lyon
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12. Luka Jovic – £57.5m (Eintracht Frankfurt to Real Madrid)

Jovic scored 25 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season
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11. Joao Cancelo – £60m (Juventus to Manchester City)

Joao Cancelo joined Man City from Juventus
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10. Rodri – £62.6m (Atletico Madrid to Manchester City)

Rodri has become a star for Man City
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9. Frenkie de Jong – £65.3m (Ajax to Barcelona)

Frenkie de Jong helped Ajax reach the Champions League semi-final
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8. Matthijs de Ligt – £67.8m (Ajax to Juventus)

Matthijs de Ligt is one of the best centre backs in the world
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7. Lucas Hernandez – £68m (Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich)

Lucas Hernandez joined Bayern Munich for £68million
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6. Nicolas Pepe – £72m (Lille to Arsenal)

Nicolas Pepe is Arsenal’s record signing
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5. Romelu Lukaku – £74m (Manchester United to Inter Milan)

Romelu Lukaku scored on his debut for Inter Milan
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4. Harry Maguire – £80m (Leicester City to Manchester United)

Harry Maguire is the world’s most expensive defender
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3. Eden Hazard – £88.5m (Chelsea to Real Madrid)

Hazard joined Real from Chelsea earlier this summer
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2. Antoine Griezmann – £107.6m (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona)

Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona after they activated his release clause
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1. Joao Felix – £113m (Benfica to Atletico Madrid)

Joao Felix is already impressing at Atletico Madrid
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Fantasy Premier League tips: Five players you must sign for Gameweek 4, including Man United, Chelsea and West Ham stars

30 Aug

The 2019/20 campaign is well and truly underway and Fantasy Premier League managers have already started tinkering their teams ahead of Gameweek 4.

In Gameweek 3, Mohamed Salah delivered the goods once again, netting a brace against Arsenal to deliver a tidy 15 point haul to please his 43 per cent ownership.

Mohamed Salah scored twice against Arsenal last weekend
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Elsewhere, it was a frustrating weekend for Harry Kane owners, with the England captain blanking at home as they suffered a shock home defeat to Newcastle.

West Ham’s club record signing Sebastien Haller got off the mark for his club after scoring two against Watford.

While Chelsea starlet Mason Mount, who talkSPORT.com tipped for your teams for last week’s fixtures, once again impressed, bagging the opener as the Blues ran out 3-2 victors at Carrow Road.

But who should you draft into your team this week? talkSPORT.com has assessed the form and fixtures of several players and identified five must haves for the upcoming weekend and beyond.

Have a look at our verdict below…

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Emerson Palmieri (£5.5m)

Emerson is now one of Chelsea’s most important players in Frank Lampard’s new look starting XI.

The Italy international had a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge but he is now enjoying a fine run of form in the side. impressing with his explosive attacks on the left flank.

Emerson has had an impressive start to the campaign
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While Chelsea have yet to record a clean sheet this campaign, Emerson could be a great option to have as they face new boys Sheffield United this weekend.

The defender takes the occasional set piece and often finds himself in goalscoring positions, with Lampard urging him to burst forward in attack constantly.

This season, there have been goals galore when Chelsea have played and you’d be daft not to expect more of the same at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Sebastien Haller (£7.4m)

Haller netted his first two goals for the club against Watford last weekend and Hammers fans breathed a sigh of relief.

There is a lot of pressure on the Frenchman’s shoulders to deliver the goods following his club-record arrival from Frankfurt.

Now he’s off the mark you’d expect the £45m man to continue his good form and kick on in the claret and blue shirt.

Haller’s brace helped West Ham beat the Hornets
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His fixtures suggest Fantasy managers from around the globe should waste no time in bringing him in.

West Ham face Norwich, Aston Villa and Manchester United next and provided he gets the service, Haller is going to win a lot of headers and score plenty of goals.

Jamie Vardy (£8.9m)

Leicester secured their first three points of the season at Sheffield United and they look primed to climb further up the table in Gameweek 4, facing a Bournemouth side with one of the shakiest defences in the division.

James Maddison has had a great campaign so far, providing a beautiful assist to Vardy last time out and he could be another great option – but we are backing the striker to deliver a decent haul of points against the Cherries this week.

Vardy faces Bournemouth next
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Last weekend, Vardy dispatched his goal expertly and quite often when the 31-year-old nets his first he tends to go on a hot-streak of form.

With Brendan Rodgers at the helm and the Foxes playing free-flowing attacking football, there will be chances aplenty for the Englishman over the weekend.

Olekzandr Zinchenko (£5.5m)

There has been a lack of clean sheets so far this season, with just 13 shut-outs across the 30 matches played so far.

However, with Man City at home to Brighton this weekend that looks set to change.

Pep Guardiola’s side are in brilliant form and look set to run riot against the Seagulls, despite the latter’s solid start to the campaign.

Zinchenko nailed down a regular starting spot in Pep Guardiola’s side in the latter stages of last season
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Left-back Zinchenko has a great chance to pick up up an assist or two in the match, and at just £5.5m he is definitely the best value-for-money asset in City’s defensive ranks.

With the fluidity of the side in attack and their strong home form at the Etihad, it could be an absolute hammering at the Etihad so now is the time to bring in another City ace.

Daniel James (£6.0m)

James has had a fine start to his United career, having already netted against Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the opening three matches of the campaign.

Interestingly, the winger is owned by only 3.7 per cent of managers for his trip to Southampton, making him a superb differential option in your team.

James scored a great goal against Palace
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The Welshman has recorded six shots inside the penalty area, more than any team-mate so far and he is a much cheaper alternative to  Anthony Martial (£7.7m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.7m) if you are looking to include an option from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in your ranks.

United will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Crystal Palace last week and with a trip to Southampton next, this could be the time to invest.


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Premier League Team of the Weekend: Liverpool and Chelsea stars included from game week three

26 Aug

Game week three in the Premier League saw us get treated to more goals, shock and of course VAR in another exciting weekend of top-flight action.

The standout match saw Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield thanks to Joel Matip’s header and Mohamed Salah’s brace, with Lucas Torreira grabbing a consolation goal for the Gunners.

Mohammed Salah was in particularly good form against Arsenal
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Manchester City got back to winning ways as  Sergio Aguero’s double helped them get past Bournemouth. Raheem Sterling also scored in their 3-1 win.

Frank Lampard recorded his first win as Chelsea manager after edging to a 3-2 victory over Norwich with Tammy Abraham netting two goals, while Aston Villa secured their first victory of the season by beating Everton 2-0.

Newcastle United displayed their defensive resilience to claim a surprise 1-0 win at Tottenham, while Wolves left it late to find an equaliser against Burnley at Molineux.

The big surprise of the weekend saw Crystal Palace claim a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford – the first time the Eagles have beaten the Red Devils in the Premier League era.

There were some outstanding performances across the weekend and here’s who we deemed good enough to be included in the Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United)

The Magpies keeper did not have to make a huge amount of saves during their victory over Spurs but, when called upon, did not let his side down.

The Slovakian was equal to an effort from Heung-min Son in the first-half but what was more impressive was the way he commanded his box well throughout.

Few would have backed him to claim a sheet against a formidable Spurs attack but Dubravka did just that.

Centre-back: Paul Dummett (Newcastle United)

Dummett helped Newcastle claim a surprise win at Spurs
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One reason Dubravka was not required to make so many saves at Spurs was because of the great defensive work from Dummett.

The Wales international had one of those games where he did everything right.

Son, Harry Kane and Lucas Moura all struggled to make a major impact – largely down to Dummett and Newcastle’s well-organised defence.

Centre-back: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

Tyrone Mings battling with Evertons Dominic Calvert-Lewin in Friday night’s match at Villa Park
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Newly promoted Aston Villa secured the services of defender Mings from Bournemouth in the summer, after the Englishman spent a successful six months on loan as Villa gained promotion via the Championship play-offs.

Against Everton, Mings showed just why Dean Smith was so desperate to retain his services. He was outstanding as Villa kept a clean sheet, throwing himself in front of every shot directed at Tom Heaton’s goal, as well as clearing the majority of crosses that came into the box.

Centre-back: Joel Matip (Liverpool)

Joel Matip, number 32 (right) celebrating in-front of the Liverpool fans are scoring the opening goal against Arsenal at Anfield
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A central defender who perhaps doesn’t get the credit he deserves when partnered next to Virgil van Dijk, the Cameroonian was outstanding against Arsenal.

Matip rose to connect with a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner just before half time, his powerful header beating Bernd Leno to open the scoring.

After the break, with Liverpool 3-0 ahead, Matip also recovered well to snuff out a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chance as the Gabon striker went through one-on-one against Adrian. An impressive display.

Centre-midfield: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)

Chelsea activated their clause to purchase Kovacic from Real Madrid after the Croatian was on-loan at Stamford Bridge last season
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He was one of the most criticised players in the squad for his performances last season under Maurizio Sarri, but Kovacic seems to be finding his feet in the blue of Chelsea this season.

The Croatian was directly involved in Chelsea’s third goal and continued to make them tick, being the player who transformed defence into attack in a game that was end-to-end throughout.

Kovacic is still being used in a slightly deeper role due to N’Golo Kante being injured, but he’s showing signs of why Real Madrid signed him all those years ago and is set to give Frank Lampard a selection headache when everyone is fit.

Centre midfield: James Maddison (Leicester City)

Gareth Southgate must be considering Maddison for England’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in September
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What does this man have to do to make a first appearance for England’s senior squad?

Leicester midfielder Maddison was classy as usual during their victory over Sheffield United, which was the Foxes’ first three points of the season.

Maddison’s best moment in the game saw him provide a sublime assist for Jamie Vardy’s opener and Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers insisted Maddison was one of the few players capable of playing a pass like that.

It’s no surprise Maddison has been linked with the likes of Manchester United despite only being a Leicester player for just over a year.

Left-wing: Moussa Djenepo (Southampton)

Moussa Djenepo’s second half performance will leave Ralph Hasenhuttl with a big decision to make as Southampton face Manchester United at St. Mary’s next in the Premier League
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Talk about making an immediate impact. The Mali international scored against Brighton just seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Djenepo replaced Yan Valery early into the second-half and moments later he unleashed a curling effort from 25 yards that curled beautifully past Mathew Ryan to make it 1-0.

The 21-year-old, who moved from Standard Liege in the summer, was also praised for his defensive duties during the game, as Southampton changed to a three at the back.

Right-wing: Harvey Barnes (Leicester City)

Harvey Barnes celebrating his rocket-shot winner against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane
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Barnes played less than half an hour against Sheffield United but gets the nod given his match-winning heroics.

The youngster scored with an absolutely thunderous strike that was clocked at 71mph as it hit the back of the United net.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game and demonstrated the huge potential the midfielder possesses.

Forward: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Tammy Abraham sprinted to to the dugout to celebrate with Frank Lampard after finding the net
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Abraham has gone through a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few weeks, missing the decisive spot kick in the Super Cup final against Liverpool and losing his place to French striker Olivier Giroud last week, while he was also the victim of disgusting online abuse.

But he had an afternoon to remember against Norwich, netting his first Premier League goal for Chelsea and then following it up with another. Both were brilliantly taken and went a long way to silencing the doubters.

Forward: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Salah was at his brilliant best in the second-half against Arsenal
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Last week it was Sadio Mane with the man of the match performance, but this week it was 2018/19’s other joint Golden Boot winner Salah who eased Liverpool to victory – against Arsenal – to give the Reds nine out of a possible nine points this season.

The ‘Egyptian King’ gave new Arsenal signing David Luiz a torrid time at Anfield as he spun him in the box early in the second half, forcing the Brazilian to tug back Salah’s shirt and concede a penalty, which he then dispatched expertly into the top left corner to make it 2-0.

Next came a moment of magic where Salah flicked the ball round Luiz and drove towards the goal before slotting the ball brilliantly into the corner of the net.

Forward: Sebastian Haller (West Ham United)

Haller celebrates his second goal of the game in-front of West Hams travelling supporters
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West Ham’s record signing was the centre of attention in their 3-1 away win to Watford at Vicarage Road – the French striker picking up two goals and impressing with his hold up play.

Both goals came in the second half with the first being a nicely timed run into the six yard box before poking home into an empty net after neat work from Felipe Anderson down the wing.

Then the French striker showed some finesse to his game, with an acrobatic effort 15-minutes from time to make it 3-1 and ensure West Ham would take the points away from the Hornets.

talkSPORT.com’s Premier League Team of the Weekend
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West Ham set impressive Premier League record as £45m signing Sebastien Haller stars in Watford win at Vicarage Road

24 Aug

West Ham’s record signing Sebastien Haller scored a brace to secure a 3-1 win and condemn Watford to a third-successive Premier League defeat this season.

Captain Mark Noble converted from the penalty spot inside the opening minutes before Andre Gray hauled the hosts level with 17 minutes gone.

Sebastien Haller became the 150th different goal scorer for West Ham in the Premier League
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But Watford were made to pay for spurning a number of chances as Haller, the £45million summer arrival from Frankfurt, scored twice in nine second-half minutes to heap the pressure on manager Javi Gracia, whose side have now lost their last seven matches in all competitions.

Despite missing the opening two games through injury, Noble was thrown back into Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-up and – on the 15th anniversary of his debut – the West Ham skipper put his side ahead.

With just 59 seconds on the clock at Vicarage Road, Manuel Lanzini fell in the box following a clumsy challenge from Abdoulaye Doucoure. Referee Chris Kavanagh did not hesitate in pointing to the spot.

In his 468th West Ham appearance, Noble then made no mistake, sending goalkeeper Ben Foster the wrong way, to score the 25th penalty of his career.

Mark Noble scored from the spot inside three minutes
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Only Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have scored more times from the spot in the Premier League than the 32-year-old midfielder.

But it was Haller’s goal which was record-breaking.

West Ham are the first club to have had as many as 150 different goalscorers in the Premier League, following Sebastian Haller’s first goal for the club.

Felipe Anderson popped up on the left-hand side and his perfect cut back found Haller, who could not miss from six yards.

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Top 12 Premier League debutants from the opening weekend

13 Aug

The opening weekend of the 2019/20 Premier League weekend is done and in the books and it’s certainly whet our appetites.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Man United have already set their stalls out, while Brighton and Burnley also pulled off excellent wins.

Tottenham players celebrate Tanguy Ndombele’s goal against Aston Villa
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As well as this, a number of debutants starred across England and look like making a huge impact on the top flight this season.

So, who were the men who made a difference on the opening weekend?

Here talkSPORT.com takes a look at 12 players who starred in their opening performance for their new clubs.

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Rodri (Manchester City)

After an early shaky moment, which almost saw him give away a penalty when Manuel Lanzini robbed him in the area just six minutes in, he put on a real masterclass.

The ex-Atletico Madrid man looks to be the perfect long-term replacement for Fernandinho and doesn’t seem to be phased by the Premier League one bit.

Rodri looks to halt Sebastien Haller.
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Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

It wasn’t quite the performance some hyped it to be but the England centre-back already looks like a massive upgrade for the Red Devils.

He’s going to need a bit of time to settle but looks like being a superb acquisition so far and should be able to showcase his offensive talents more in other games this season.

Maguire helped United keep a clean sheet against Chelsea
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Erik Pieters (Burnley)

On paper, this was perhaps one of the most boring transfers of the summer. In practice, Sean Dyche added another weapon to his team and on day one it paid off.

The former Stoke City full-back – signed for £1million – grabbed two assists from crosses and could be set for a big year.

Pieters looks like being a bargain if he plays like he did against Southampton in every match
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Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur)

It took some time for the Frenchman to get going against Aston Villa but when he did, he hit them like a freight train.

As he adapts to Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics we expect he’ll be a real threat both with his creativity, progressive play, and goal-scoring.

Tanguy Ndombele enjoyed a dream debut
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Bjorn Engels (Aston Villa)

Not many defenders come into the Premier League and immediately put in such an impressive rearguard display.

Even though the Villans eventually lost 3-1, he was in fine fettle and should be praised for the six clearances, and tidy 88 per cent pass success rate when he and his teammate were being dominated.

Engels did his best for Villa but couldn’t hold out for a clean sheet
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Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

A loan deal turned permanent, his showing was less surprising given what he did in the Championship.

He did, though, make an astonishing 17 clearances, while also grabbing the assist for John McGinn’s opener in the 3-1 defeat.

Mings plays riskier passes but could be rewarded in other games.

Mings impressed despite the eventual scoreline against Spurs
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Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)

We suggest you’re unlikely to ever see the former Crystal Palace man give anything less than 100 per cent in a match.

Already the man affectionately known as ‘Spider’ is launching his long legs into tackles and poking the ball away from its intended target.

He’s already got one clean sheet to his name and we expect a lot more.

Wan-Bissaka is likely to be an England international very soon
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Neal Maupay (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Not only did the £20m Frenchman score one of Brighton’s goals, he put in a tigerish display up top.

He’s going to do the hard yards for Graham Potter and could cause several defences a problem with his pressing.

Brighton new boy Maupay was excellent from the bench
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Phillip Billing (Bournemouth)

It was hard for anyone to stand out at Huddersfield last season but the Dane definitely did.

Surrounded by better players he put in a stunning display in the middle of the park for the Cherries.

Billing managed six tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of his game while he also managed two key passes and three completed dribbles when going forward.

If it’s a sign of things to come we can’t wait to watch him thrive.

Billing could well be a massive hit on the south coast
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Joelinton (Newcastle United)

Having your Premier League debut come against Arsenal is always tough but the Brazilian looked more than ready.

He bullied the Gunners’ backline during the first period and was unlucky not to get a goal.

Joelinton already looks like an upgrade on Salomon Rondon due to his all-round game which saw him win tackles, interceptions, complete several dribbles and be a general nuisance.

The Brazil ace gave Magpies fans plenty of hope
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Sebastien Haller (West Ham United)

As highlighted by talkSPORT.com, like Joelinton, the Frenchman already looks like an upgrade on his predecessor due to the work he puts in.

Haller will have easier days but is showing great promise for the Hammers.

Haller did his best against Man City and was a handful
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Daniel James (Manchester United)

What a cameo from the young Welshman. His brother didn’t have him in his Fantasy Football team but many others will from now on.

At which ever point of the match James enters the fray he’s going to cause havoc for teams on the counter.

James lashed the ball home to round off the scoring agains Chelsea
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The stats which suggest Sebastien Haller is already a better fit for West Ham than Marko Arnautovic

12 Aug

Once again, West Ham United have made a dreary start to a Premier League season to leave fans fearful of the campaign to come.

After being battered by Manchester United in 2017 and then Liverpool 12 months later, the Hammers were hoping for an opening day homecoming against champions Manchester City.

Sebastien Haller has the physicality attributes and technical ability to be a threat to Premier League defences
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But Pep Guardiola’s side ripped the Hammers to shreds on Saturday afternoon as a Raheem Sterling hat-trick helped City to a 5-0 win.

Yet it’s not all doom and gloom in the East End as fans got to see a glimpse as to why Manuel Pellegrini shelled out £45million to sign Sebastien Haller.

Marko Arnautovic held the club to ransom over the summer, yet rather than be bullied by the Austria international, the Hammers were aggressive in getting Arnautovic out and finding an instant replacement.

No sooner had the links to Shanghai SIPG begun to resurface, bids were placed for Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez.

Marko Arnautovic has got his new career in China off to a flyer
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Although the deal collapsed, the club record of capture of Haller was a statement of intent by Pellegrini and the owners.

The Chilean hailed the Frenchman for his performance at the London Stadium. But despite the emphatic scoreline, the praise was not empty.

Against one of the best club sides in the world, the 25-year-old showcased serious talent and ability – enough to suggest he will be a serious handful for opposition defenders and an asset to his new teammates.

Below, we have compared Arnautovic’s performance against Manchester City from November 2018 to Haller’s display on Saturday to highlight exactly the type of striker the Hammers are getting and why he could prove to be so valuable.

Last season, Pellegrini set up against his former side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Arnautovic the lone striker. Having initially started his career as a left winger, the Austrian moved into a central role under the guidance of David Moyes.

However, he struggled at times in the 2018/19 season and found it difficult playing up top on his own – lacking sufficient understanding of the role to bring others into play.

Take for instance his pass completion rate; Arnautovic completed 72% of his 25 passes, which was fewer in total than Ederson that day.

Conversely, Haller completed 83% of his 35 passes. The forward may have bagged 20 goals in all competitions for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, but his strengths lie in bringing others into play.

Sebastien Haller has the perfect combination of power and poise to trouble Premier League defenders this season
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Haller won both of his aerial duels on Saturday and made four successful tackles as he worked tirelessly for his side. In fact, he was West Ham’s joint-top tackler at the London Stadium, making as many tackles as Declan Rice.

While Arnautovic managed more shots in last season’s game, only one managed to find the target as the other two were blocked. Haller will have been disappointed to have only had one shot in the entire game, but it did at least force Ederson into a save.

Haller could be a big hit at West Ham
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The 6ft2in striker had the highest WhoScored.com rating of any player in claret and blue on the day as he continued to graft even when the game was long gone.

His 6.57 rating eclipses Arnautovic’s 6.26 and the game against Brighton on Saturday should present the striker to showcase his attacking talents.

But the early signs from Haller suggest West Ham finally have a frontman they can depend on to showcase their attacking talents to the fullest.

Manuel Pellegrini insists Sebastien Haller will shine this season and claims there are plenty of positives for West Ham fans after Manchester City drubbing

10 Aug

Manuel Pellegrini believes there is plenty for West Ham United fans to be optimistic about this season, despite another opening day thrashing.

Champions Manchester City were at their ruthless best at the London Stadium to secure a 5-0 win and make it the third season in succession the Hammers have conceded four or more on the first day of the Premier League season.

Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half and Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a penalty to add to a brilliant hat-trick from Raheem Sterling.

Manuel Pellegrini is confident of success for West Ham this season
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However, City were denied another after a goal was disallowed by VAR for the first time in the Premier League, when Sterling was ruled offside by a matter of millimetres.

Then VAR ruled Aguero’s spot-kick, initially saved by Lukasz Fabianski, should be retaken as Declan Rice had encroached into the penalty area. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice.

West Ham actually played some slick football for the opening 25 minutes, but still found themselves on the end of another hiding – in five visits to the London Stadium, City have scored 22 and conceded once.

But despite the result, Pellegrini told talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface there is plenty to be positive about for West Ham fans.

Sterling lobbed Fabianksi to seal his hat-trick
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“I think for the first 45 minutes, we played really well,” he said. “Similar as Manchester City, they didn’t create chances, we had lots of possession of the ball.

“But we were vey unlucky in their first goal because it is so important against City to go one goal down because they had more possession.

“But we conceded that first goal which rebounded off Issa [Diop] and after that in the second half, we have some destructions in their second goal.”

The subject of increased technology in football has caused widespread debate across the globe, with critics complaining VAR removes passion from the game.

Gabriel Jesus became the first Premier League player to have a goal ruled out by VAR
BT Sport

However, this is not a sentiment shared by the veteran Chilean, who believes extra help for officials can only be a good thing.

“I think it will be positive,” he added. “In the way we review important mistakes where it is very difficult for the referee to see all of the plays.

“It is not easy to be used, but it is useful.”

Despite facing a team who have accumulated 198 points in the Premier League over the past two seasons, there was a genuine sense of optimism amongst the home supporters.

Sebastien Haller has the perfect combination of power and poise to trouble Premier League defenders this season
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Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop all stayed with the Hammers, despite rumours of moves away, and Pellegrini worked well once again with director of football Mario Husillos to make a number of astute signings.

Club record signing Sebastien Haller was given his full debut by the Hammers and, despite making little impact in the opposition box, his manager is confident the goals will soon flow for the £45million man.

Pellegrini continued: “What you saw in this game is a player who is strong striker that can support the ball very well.

“He will score a lot of goals in the Premier League, he was unlucky not to score today but I am happy with his performance.”

West Ham striker Sebastien Haller hopes to touch the ball against Premier League champions Manchester City

10 Aug

It will be a baptism of fire for West Ham’s record signing Sebastien Haller on Saturday.

The £45million striker is likely to make his debut against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, LIVE on talkSPORT.

Sebastien Haller will hope to hit the ground running against Manchester City
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Haller became the Hammers’ most expensive signing after joining from Eintracht Frankfurt last month.

“What a s*** game to start with!” joked Haller. “I go there for a lot of money, now first game City! Why?

“There are better games to build your confidence – hopefully I will touch the ball! We will see.

“What can I say? Everyone needs to be prepared. They are the champions from the league, the cup, from even the cup that I don’t know the name of.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

“So yes, it will be difficult. We will need to make a crazy game. It is probably best for the team to get a game like that because we will need to be focused 100 per cent.”

Haller scored 15 goals in 29 games last season and West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini insists the Frenchman can handle the step up to the Premier League.

“He does not have any problem about that,” said Pellegrini. “In the two of three games I saw with him in pre-season, he is able to start without any problem.

“It’s always difficult to change leagues. The German league is a big league but you have to make another step to arrive at the Premier League.

“It’s a new league, with better defenders, a new way, but I think that in the way he continues working and playing as he did last season he will do well.”

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

10 debutants we can’t wait to see in the Premier League this weekend

7 Aug

The buzz of a new signing is just one of the reasons fans can’t wait for the return of the Premier League.

First impressions count for a lot and clubs will be hoping their summer purchase can live up to expectations and justify the hype.

Moise Kean has joined Everton
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There will be several stars hoping to make a maiden appearance in the top flight this weekend.

talkSPORT.com takes a look, in no particular order, at 10 debutants we are excited to see in action.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Portsmouth vs Birmingham (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

Wesley Moraes – Aston Villa (vs Tottenham) – live on talkSPORT

Dean Smith was keen to replace Tammy Abraham, who was instrumental in Villa returning to the Premier League, following his recall back to Chelsea.

At £22million, the ex-Club Brugge striker has looked very good so far in pre-season and has the presence up top that will trouble a number of defences.

Can he get the better of a backline which leaked goals at the end of last season?

Wesley Moraes in action during pre-season
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Daniel James – Manchester United (vs Chelsea)

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the Welshman his first summer signing and judging by his summer displays, it has been easy to understand why.

The 21-year-old arrived from Swansea and has seamlessly fitted into his new side, starring as one of their best players in pre-season.

What stands out first and foremost is his searing pace and confidence on the ball and fans will hope to witness both on a regular basis.

He gave Spurs a runaround in Shanghai and might put Cesar Azpilicueta through his paces on Sunday.

James has fitted in well since moving to United
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Tanguy Ndombele – Tottenham Hotspur (vs Aston Villa) – live on talkSPORT

Signed from Lyon for a club record £55m this summer, much will be expected early on from the Frenchman.

While there is no doubting his potential, he will understandably need time to get to grips with the intense demands of Mauricio Pochettino’s way of football.

There were hints of his class against Inter Milan on Sunday and fans will need to be patient to see this over the course of a year.

Can he dominate against the visiting Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

Ndombele has quality but will need time to settle
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Sebastian Haller – West Ham (vs Manchester City) – live on talkSPORT

This could prove to be an inspired piece of business by the Hammers.

With Marko Arnautovic no longer at the club, West Ham sought to replace him and did so with French forward Haller.

He was outstanding for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, scoring 15 times and creating nine more, netting five times en route to the Europa League semi-final.

Strong, quick, skilful and intelligent, Haller has more to his game than the departed Austrian and could become a real hit at London Stadium.

Haller could be a big hit at West Ham
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Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle (vs Arsenal)

The Frenchman has arrived at St James’ Park to much fanfare and certainly looked the part in his second-half appearance in the win over Saint-Etienne.

His pace, tricks and flair got supporters off their seat and he could be the player to take away much of the doom and gloom surrounding the club.

While not much should be read into a half hour cameo, Saint-Maximin certainly has enough about him to star on Tyneside.

Saint-Maximin impressed in his brief appearance
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Christian Pulisic – Chelsea (vs Manchester United)

The American is likely to be tasked with being Frank Lampard’s flair player to fill the void of Eden Hazard and the early signs are very encouraging.

Cutting short his holidays, the former Borussia Dortmund has looked pacy and direct and appears to have struck up a solid understanding with Ross Barkley.

Pulisic has looked sharp this summer
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Patrick Cutrone – Wolves (vs Leicester City)

Wolves cannot afford to be complacent this year following their impressive 2018/19 campaign and the addition of Cutrone is a massive step forward.

The Italian striker is talented and has a high for goal and in 2017/18 Cutrone scored 18 goals in his breakthrough year for Milan.

While his record was halved the next season, he does have a clinical touch that could push Nuno Espirito Santo’s into the top six.


Rodri – Manchester City (vs West Ham United) – live on talkSPORT

The former Atletico Madrid man cost a record £62m and is seen as the ideal replacement for the ageing Fernandinho.

He showed his class in the Premier League Asia Trophy and was hailed by Pep Guardiola for an ‘incredible game’ after a commanding display in the Community Shield victory over Liverpool.

Rodri commanded the City midfield in the win over Liverpool
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Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal (vs Newcastle United)

The 24-year-old took Ligue 1 by storm last season, netting 22 times and providing 11 assists for Lille and this form prompted the Gunners to bring him to north London.

He penned a five-year deal with them and will definitely add to an already productive attack.

His late addition, on top of Africa Cup of Nations action in the summer, might mean a role off the bench is perhaps all he might muster.

Nicolas Pepe signed for Arsenal
getty

Moise Kean – Everton (vs Crystal Palace)

It was unexpected, but Everton surprised practically everyone with the signing of Kean from Juventus on a five-year deal.

The Italian international, still only 19, is one of the most exciting youngsters in the world and scored six goals in just five starts last season and two in three for his country.

At £29m the Toffees have a player of extreme quality and will hope he can hit the ground running.

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.