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Seven January signings who will benefit from a full pre-season

Arriving during the January transfer window is always difficult for signings, thrust into the midst of a frenetic Premier League campaign with little time to adapt to a new club or league.

While some hit the ground running, others require a little more time to get up to speed and there are several stars who will benefit from a full pre-season this summer as they look to make an impact at new clubs.

Here are seven January signings who will benefit from a full pre-season.

Jakub Kiwior – Arsenal

Jakub Kiwior was brought in to strengthen Arsenal’s defensive ranks last winter as the Gunners challenged Manchester City at the top of the division. The Poland international made just five starts despite William Saliba’s absence through injury, as Mikel Arteta took a patient approach with the new arrival.

Kiwior showed signs of his potential despite Arsenal’s slump during the run-in and the 23-year-old will hope a full pre-season can catapult him into Arteta’s first-team plans. The centre-back has impressed during the north London side’s summer programme and has demonstrated a versatility that could make him important to Arsenal’s season.

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A centre-back by trade, Kiwior is a progressive passer of the ball and has operated in a left-back position during Arsenal’s summer fixtures. Capable of stepping into midfield – where he featured previously at former club Spezia – he has emerged as an alternative to Oleksandr Zinchenko in the inverted full-back role.

Given Zinchenko’s injuries last season and Kiwior’s superior physical presence, it is an option Arteta will consider on occasion this season.

Illya Zabarnyi – Bournemouth

Illya Zabarnyi’s career with Bournemouth proved to be a false start, as the defender arrived injured on transfer deadline day in January and made just three Premier League starts across the second half of last season.

The talented ball-playing centre-back had been courted by several leading clubs before his move to Bournemouth from Dynamo Kyiv, with the Cherries targeting emerging talent as the club look to consolidate back in the Premier League.

Zabarnyi will hope a full summer of pre-season work can enable him to hit the ground running during his first full season in English football, for a Bournemouth team who will be under the management of Andoni Iraola this season.

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The 20-year-old – who has already won 26 caps for Ukraine – is the profile of player that will have attracted Iraola to the role, with the defender boasting huge potential.

Mykhaylo Mudryk – Chelsea

While Zabarnyi’s opening months in the Premier League went largely under the radar, his compatriot Mykhaylo Mudryk found himself firmly in the spotlight. The £88.5m fee that Chelsea spent to sign the winger from Shakhtar Donetsk piled the pressure on Mudryk, who struggled as each performance suffered intense scrutiny.

The 22-year-old spent the summer representing Ukraine at u-21 and senior level and impressed, while there have been encouraging flashes during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the USA. Team-mate Ben Chilwell has backed the January arrival to succeed this season as part of a new-look forward line under Mauricio Pochettino.

“I just see endless bags of potential that hasn’t been fulfilled yet. I’ve told him that, I’m not just saying it,” Chilwell said of Mudryk.

“I’ve told him he hasn’t fulfilled that yet for one reason or another. I literally had a conversation with him today after training in the changing room, because he’s been on fire the last few days and obviously was on fire in the game against Brighton and I just said he needs to keep that up now for the whole season. We all see how good he is and he just needs to keep up what he’s been doing.”

Cody Gakpo – Liverpool

Cody Gakpo ended his first half-season at Liverpool as a fans’ favourite, with the Eredivisie import growing in confidence and importance as the season progressed. Gakpo arrived from PSV Eindhoven as Liverpool endured their worst period of the season, but after an initial slow start flourished during the run-in for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp often used the Dutchman in a false nine position and Gakpo’s flexibility could be crucial to a new-look Liverpool this season. Pre-season fixtures have already seen the 24-year-old used in both forward and midfield roles, operating as an advanced number eight on occasion and impressing with his ability to carry the ball evasively through lines.

Having also shone in a left-sided position for PSV, there are options for Jurgen Klopp who will hope to coax out the prolific form that Gakpo showed in Dutch football. Just five players produced more goals and assists combined than Gakpo in the Eredivisie last season, despite his mid-season departure from the division.

Anthony Gordon – Newcastle

By his own admission, Anthony Gordon’s start at Newcastle was a sluggish one. Signed from Everton in a big-money deal, the winger struggled to establish himself in Eddie Howe’s impressive team as the Magpies secured Champions League qualification.

Gordon conceded his own fitness was not up to scratch upon his arrival at St James’ Park, but a productive summer could boost his chances of earning a place in the side.

The 22-year-old was named Player of the Tournament as England’s u21 side were crowned champions of Europe for the first time since 1984 and impressed in a false nine role for the Young Lions.

Gordon’s ability to operate across the frontline has been praised by Howe, who has a wealth of options to choose from this season as Gordon battles Miguel Almiron, Jacob Murphy, Elliot Anderson, Callum Wilson, Alexander Isak and new arrival Harvey Barnes for a regular role.

Danilo – Nottingham Forest

Danilo overcame the language barrier to impress as Nottingham Forest secured survival, with the midfielder admitting his initial adaptation to the division was ‘challenging’ after arriving from Palmeiras in January.

The 22-year-old soon settled and shone with box-to-box influence at the City Ground, becoming a popular figure and playing a prominent role in Forest’s climb away from danger. Such was his impact, Brazil manager Tite called to check in on his progress and there are many at Forest who feel the winter window signing can break into the national side with a strong season.

“The beginning was challenging due to the language. I had difficulties, but later with time and many studies, I was able to adapt well,” Danilo told Globo.

“All the players helped me, I was very well received by the coaching staff and when the season ended I was very happy with the affection I received from the club’s fans. Now I’m going to do a full season. I’m already adapted to the country, the language, the style of play and we hope to have a quieter season.

“I had the opportunity to be called by Tite (former Brazil boss) and it was very rewarding. If I keep working and playing well the chance will come, so I have to focus on playing good games next season.”

If the midfielder can kick on from a promising period during the run-in, Forest might just have a player worth double their initial £16m investment.

Pedro Porro – Tottenham

Pedro Porro arrived at Tottenham from Sporting Lisbon in January, signing on loan with an obligation to make the deal permanent.

The Spanish full-back’s first six months showed the best and worst of his game, with Porro a marauding attacking force when given licence to bomb forward, but occasionally vulnerable defensively.

Porro featured at right-back, wing-back and as a right-sided midfielder during his 17 league appearances and produced his best performances when freed from defensive responsibilities, providing three assists and scoring against Southampton, Manchester United and Leeds.

Ange Postecoglou’s preference for a back four presents a potential headache, but the Australian manager – who favours adventurous full-backs – will hope a summer on the training ground can bring the best from Porro next season.

Read – Five of the Premier League’s most underrated goals: Bartlett, Kasami, Wallace

Read Also – Golazo Merchants: Ian Wright, Arsenal’s irrepressible difference maker

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