English football can perhaps boast the strongest domestic league in world football at present, the summer transfer window having seen another influx of leading talents head to the Premier League.
Chelsea’s expensive summer spending grabbed plenty of headlines, whilst the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and newly-promoted Leeds were amongst those to have significantly splashed the cash.
Transfer windows always represent a period of intrigue as we see players in new colours for the first time, and we’ve decided to pick out some of the best imports and new faces into the Premier League this season:
Here is the Football Faithful’s best XI of players to have made their Premier League debut in 2020/21:
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy – Chelsea
Chelsea’s goalkeeping position had been a continued source of contention in recent seasons, the world-record signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga having proven an expensive mistake.
The Spaniard had failed to convince in his two seasons at Stamford Bridge and his disappointing displays prompted change, with Chelsea securing the signing of Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
Petr Cech had recommended the towering Senegalese international and it has proven a shrewd signing thus far, the 28-year-old having conceded just three goals in 12 appearances – keeping an impressive nine clean sheets in that time.
Edouard Mendy has now kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season.
Chelsea's great wall 🤚 pic.twitter.com/i9V6tbkLST
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 29, 2020
Mendy’s imposing frame has brought a commanding and calming presence to a Chelsea backline that struggled last season, his signing a key piece in Lampard’s jigsaw as he attempts to turn the west London side into title contenders.
Right-back: Nelson Semedo – Wolves
Wolves’ contingent of Portuguese players grew once again this summer, with Nelson Semedo joining in a deal worth a reported €30m.
The right-back had spent the previous three seasons with Barcelona, signing for the Catalan club as a replacement for Dani Alves and winning back-to-back league titles in his first two seasons at the Camp Nou.
Semedo was also part of the Portugal side which won the inaugural Nations League in 2019, his speed and attacking intent from deep making him perfectly suited to Wolves’ favoured wing-back system.
The 27-year-old’s proven pedigree earns him inclusion here over both Matty Cash and Timothy Castagne, who both deserve mentions for solid starts to the season at Aston Villa and Leicester respectively.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias – Manchester City
Ruben Dias became Manchester City’s record signing during the summer after arriving from Benfica, the centre-back the latest expensive import tasked with solving the club’s defensive fragility.
The early indications are that Pep Guardiola has found a player who can be depended upon, however, Dias having instantly improved the City backline with a series of solid performances at the heart of the defence.
The Portugal international is dominant in the air and comfortable in possession, bringing a sense of leadership and authority to a defence which has lacked those attributes since the departure of Vincent Kompany.
Still just 23-years-old, Dias could become the bedrock of the City side for seasons to come.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva – Chelsea
Another side in need of defensive reinforcements during the transfer window, Chelsea opted for experience with the signing of Thiago Silva following the veteran’s departure from Paris Saint-Germain.
It represented a gamble given the Brazilian turned 36 in September, though he had led PSG to a maiden Champions League final last season and was keen to remain playing at the highest level.
Silva has quickly shown there is plenty left in the tank and has marshalled the Chelsea defence superbly during his opening months in English football, keeping 10 clean sheets in 14 appearances for club and country so far this season.
No player in the Premier League can better his pass success percentage so far this season and whilst Silva may not be able to play week in week out for the west Londoners, his free transfer signing is already shaping as one of the bargains of the campaign.
Left-back: Sergio Reguilon – Tottenham
Sergio Reguilon enjoyed a breakthrough campaign on loan at Sevilla last season to be named as the best left-back in Spanish football, only for Real Madrid to surprisingly allow the player to depart upon his return.
Reguilon signed for Tottenham during the transfer window with the likes of Ferland Mendy and Marcelo blocking his path to first-team football at Real, and has quickly shown he is far too talented to have wasted time on the Bernabeu bench.
The 23-year-old is a quintessential modern full-back with an onus on pushing forward with intent, bringing endless energy and pace to the side and needing little invitation to gallop into the opposition half.
Real Madrid were well aware of his potential and inserted a buy-back clause into the deal which can be activated in the summer of 2021 and 2022, a potential nightmare scenario for Spurs following the left-back’s start to life with the club.
Midfield: Thomas Partey – Arsenal
Arsenal splashed out on deadline day to secure the signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, activating the £45m release clause in the midfielder’s contract to bolster their midfield options.
The Ghana international had forged a reputation as a powerhouse of a player with the Spanish side, capable of influencing proceedings at both ends of the pitch in an imposing box-to-box style.
Partey’s presence and physicality is mixed with a tenacious tackling ability and elite athleticism, with the Gunners having long lacked a player capable of dominating proceedings in the engine room.
The north London side have only seen glimpses of the Ghanaian’s talents thus far, though will hope his impending return from injury can spark an upturn in form following a difficult start to the season.
Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips – who has stepped up impressively from the Championship this season – deserves a mention for our holding midfield role following his performances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Midfield: Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool
Another player the Premier League is yet to see the best of due to injury, it has been a frustrating start for Thiago at Liverpool following the huge hype surrounding his move to Merseyside.
This is a player who effortlessly conducted the finest side in European football last season, dictating the play for Bayern Munich as they claimed a historic Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble.
The Spaniard’s desire for a new challenge after seven trophy-laden seasons in Munich resulted in a move to sign for the Premier League champions, who will be relishing the 29-year-old linking up with their attacking options.
Thiago oozes class with his flawless technique and passing range, his arrival eagerly anticipated by Premier League fans who will be keen to see his talents on a weekly basis upon his return.
Midfield: James Rodriguez – Everton
Tucked into our midfield three is a player enjoying a renaissance in new surroundings this season, James Rodriguez having become a firm fans’ favourite since swapping Real Madrid for Everton.
The classy Colombian’s career had stalled in recent seasons and Everton’s decision to sign the 29-year-old was viewed with scepticism by many, with Carlo Ancelotti keen to reunite with a player he previously coached at Bayern Munich.
Rodriguez has slotted seamlessly into the side and formed a fine understanding with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, helping fire an encouraging start to the season for Everton who currently sit eighth in the division.
Rodriguez has provided six goal involvements in just nine games for the Toffees thus far, his ability to effortlessly drift into dangerous pockets of space and create chances a joy to watch.
Right-wing: Hakim Ziyech – Chelsea
Rodriguez’s shift into a central role comes amid the inclusion of Hakim Ziyech on the right-hand side of our attack, another captivating creative talent who has thrived since signing for Chelsea.
The Moroccan has sprinkled his magic on the Chelsea side after recovering from an injury sustained in pre-season, cutting inside onto his wand of a left foot and carving out opportunity after opportunity for the club’s forward players.
Ziyech was not regarded as the headline act of the west London side’s summer spending but he has quickly proven himself as arguably the most influential of the new arrivals, a player capable of unlocking defences with pinpoint passes and dangerous deliveries.
The 27-year-old has scored twice and provided three assists in just six starts in all competitions, a figure expected to rise significantly with many already hailing Ziyech amongst the division’s best creators.
Left-wing: Timo Werner – Chelsea
Timo Werner will no doubt prefer to feature in a central role but we’ve selected him on the left flank, a position he has featured in regularly since signing for Chelsea from RB Leipzig.
Werner arrived with a burgeoning reputation having become Leipzig’s all-time record goalscorer during a prolific four-year spell with the club, finishing as runner-up for the Bundesliga’s Golden Boot last season after netting 34 goals in all competitions.
We’re yet to truly see the explosive best of the Germany international in a Chelsea shirt, though he has made a solid start to life at Stamford Bridge with eight goals in all competitions to date.
The 24-year-old is a relentless runner and his electric pace and movement have resulted in an abundance of chances for the star, whose goalscoring tally will only increase as he continues to adapt to the demands of the division.
Forward: Edinson Cavani – Manchester United
Edinson Cavani may be yet to start a Premier League fixture for Manchester United, but the veteran forward has already shown that class is permanent and earns his inclusion as our starting striker.
Cavani has taken just five substitute appearances – compiling a total of just 129 minutes – to score three Premier League goals and provide a further assist, including a match-winning intervention off the bench to defeat Southampton last weekend.
The Uruguayan international has been one of Europe’s premier forwards for more than a decade and has lost none of that goalscoring instinct, taking up dangerous positions inside the penalty area and leading by example in attack.
Cavani’s experience, quality and winning mentality could yet have a huge impact on the Red Devils’ season, the forward having joined Thiago Silva in leaving Paris Saint-Germain for the Premier League on a free transfer during the summer.
Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins is the unfortunate party to miss out, the forward having scored eight goals in 10 starting appearances for the club since signing from Championship side Brentford.