Premier League clubs again set records when it came to transfer spending last summer, investing £2.44bn on 89 permanent signings during the transfer window.
While some signings have hit the ground running in the colours of their new clubs, others have had a more challenging opening few months after transfers last summer. We’ve looked at six summer signings who are still awaiting their Premier League debuts.
Five summer signings yet to make their Premier League debut:
Christopher Nkunku (Chelsea)
Christopher Nkunku’s arrival at Chelsea was greeted with excitment last summer, as the west Londoners signed the forward in a £52m deal from RB Leipzig. Chelsea scored just 38 goals in the Premier League last season – the club’s second-lowest return in a top-flight season – and Nkunku arrived with pedigree after a brilliant Bundesliga spell.
The France international scored 58 goals in all competitions across the last two seasons at Leipzig, and impressed on Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States. Nkunku linked up well with fellow recruit Nicolas Jackson during the club’s summer schedule and offers a mix of versatility and goal threat missing from the Blues’ forward line.
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However, Nkunku suffered a knee injury during Chelsea’s final pre‑season friendly against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. The forward is yet to return, but there is optimism that Nkunku could return before the new year. Having produced 57 G/As in his last 59 appearances in German football, he is a player who could help transform the fortunes of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace)
Dean Henderson departed Manchester United on a permanent basis last summer, agreeing a deal to sign for Crystal Palace for a fee of £20m. The 26-year-old had successful loan spells at Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest before leaving Old Trafford, where he failed to earn an extended chance to prove he could be the club’s number one goalkeeper.
Henderson’s move to the Eagles has not worked out as planned however, with the shot-stopper unable to oust England colleague Sam Johnstone from the number one position at Selhurst Park.
Henderson was handed his debut against former club Manchester United in the Carabao Cup last month, but suffered a thigh injury and was substituted. He is facing an extended spell on the sidelines and faces a difficult challenge to break back into the Palace team given Johnstone’s form this season.
Romeo Lavia (Chelsea)
Romeo Lavia is another of Chelsea’s big-money buys who is still awaiting his Premier League debut. Chelsea beat Liverpool to the signing of the Southampton starlet last summer, agreeing a £58m deal to sign the midfielder from the relegated Saints.
The Belgian suffered an ankle injury in training in September and Chelsea are being cautious with the 19-year-old’s recovery, following a setback in his rehabilitation. Chelsea initially expected Lavia to return following October’s international break, but the midfielder could now be missing until the festive period.
Clement Lenglet (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa brought in Clement Lenglet to bolster their centre-back stocks during the summer, in the Frenchman’s second successive Premier League loan from Barcelona. Lenglet made 26 league appearances during a loan spell at Tottenham last season, but the 28-year-old is still awaiting his Premier League bow in a Villa shirt.
Fellow summer arrival Pau Torres has been a fixture in Unai Emery’s plans alongside the in-form Ezri Konsa, with Lenglet’s minutes restricted to continental competition so far. The 15-cap France international has started each of Villa’s three Europa Conference League games, as Emery’s side look to progress from the group stage. Villa are second in Group E, level on points with leaders Legia Warsaw, after thrashing AZ Alkmaar last time out.
Altay Bayindir (Manchester United)
The exits of David de Gea and the aforementioned Dean Henderson from Manchester United saw goalkeepers required at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils bringing in Andre Onana and Altay Bayindir.
The former arrived with huge pedigree after reaching the Champions League final at Inter Milan last season, but Onana has struggled during his opening months in the Premier League. Despite being familiar with Erik ten Hag’s methods from their time together at Ajax, Onana has failed to convince that he is the long-term solution in goal.
Bayindir is yet to make debut for the club in any competition, but could be handed a debut should Onana’s struggles continue, or when the Cameroonian departs for AFCON duty in the new year. The 25-year-old has won six caps for Turkey and at 6ft 6in boasts the presence needed for Premier League football.
Santiago Bueno (Wolves)
Wolves’ search for a centre-back landed at Santiago Bueno during the summer, as the 24-year-old arrived from La Liga overachievers Girona.
Bueno’s performances last season saw him earn his first senior caps for Uruguay earlier this year and an £8.5m move to the Premier League.
So far the central defender has been unable to break into Gary O’Neil’s team, with the Wolves manager having preferred the tried and tested pairing of Max Kilman and Craig Dawson. Each have commendable attributes, but there is reason behind Wolves’ decision to allow Nathan Collins to leave for Brentford and bring in Bueno.
Described as a ‘front-footed defender’ who ‘can cover the space in behind’ by sporting director Matt Hobbs, Bueno will need to be ready to seize his chance when it arrives this season.