Groundbreaking on English soil

The English Premier League — arguably the world’s most-competitive league — is set to begin on August 12 as Chelsea will aim to retain its title. While the top clubs will hope to establish a stronghold in the early stages of the league, there are a number of Premier League new-comers who will look to impress this season.
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Spaniard Alvaro Morata joins EPL defending champion Chelsea on a five-year-deal, for a club-record fee of a staggering €78 million. The charismatic striker has had a remarkable career so far, having won the La Liga and the Champions League twice with Real Madrid. Adding to that, he was also part of the Juventus side that twice completed the domestic double of the Seria A and Coppa Italia. Morata netted 15 goals in 14 starts for La Liga champion Real Madrid last season, but the effort wasn’t enough for him to replace Karim Benzema as the team’s first-choice striker. While it is certain that the 24-year-old will play a pivotal role in Chelsea’s title-defence this season, it remains to be seen if he is able to fill the void left by the departure of Diego Costa.
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Victor Lindelof: The 22-year-old Swede announced his arrival to the EPL when Manchester United splurged €35 million on him — making him the club’s most expensive defender by surpassing the €33 million paid to acquire Rio Ferdinand back in 2002. The right-footed centre-back, who was chosen in the Champions League breakthrough XI of 2016, will combine with fellow youngster Eric Bailly to ease United’s defensive woes, as it prepares for a long season ahead, including a shot at the Champions League. The youngster is also known to be quite effective from set-pieces and will look to share free-kick duties with Paul Pogba. Owing to his great composure on the field, Lindelof was known as “The Iceman” during his time at Benfica and here’s to hoping that his four-year presence at Old Trafford leads to a water-tight defence for United.
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Antonio Rudiger: From playing on the streets of Berlin to signing for one of the biggest football clubs, Rudiger has always been one to watch out for. The 24-year-old penned a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge for a fee of €33.9 million, as Chelsea prepares to defend its Premier League title. The towering defender has made a name for himself as a hard tackler and proved his mettle when he excelled in Germany’s 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup victory. The German, who was awarded the Fritz Walter medal for being the best upcoming player in the U-19 category in 2012, is a timely arrival at Chelsea as he will play a central role in the back-line, following the departure of John Terry and Nathan Ake.
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Vicente Iborra: After having a highly successful spell at Sevilla that saw him captain the side to three Europa League triumphs in as many years, 29-year-old Vicente Iborra (right in pic) arrives in England on a four-year contract with Leicester City. The Spaniard plays a perfect defensive-midfielder role and has a lot to offer. While he does fall back and perform his defensive duties, he is just as lethal up front — his eight goals last season being testament to the same. He is also only the third man in La Liga history to come off the bench to score a hat-trick. His imposing presence will be a major boost to the 2016 Premier League champion, as manager Craig Shakespeare looks to re-build the Foxes side that finished a lowly 12th last season.
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Sandro Ramirez: Having played alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Sandro (left in pic) will now team up with former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney at Everton on a four-year deal. The 22-year-old Spaniard shot to fame last season when he had an impressive tally of 16 goals in 31 appearances at Malaga and was even linked with Atletico Madrid, but the move did not materialise due to Atletico’s transfer ban. The youngster has also proved himself at the national level and was part of the Spain U-21 squad that finished runner-up in the 2017 UEFA European Championship. Having won the La Liga twice with Barcelona in 2015 and 2016, the young attacker will aim to taste success in the Premiership this season.
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Laurent Depoitre: Belgium’s Laurent Depoitre joins Premier League entrant Huddersfield Town on a two-year deal, with an option for an additional season. The forward featured in 13 games for Porto last season, scoring twice and delivering one assist. During his time at Belgian side Gent, he was part of the squad that won the 2015 Belgian League. He was subsequently awarded the Jean-Claude Bouvy Trophy as the club’s most valuable player. The 28-year-old will look to deliver his best as Huddersfield looks to make an impact in the Premier League after qualifying for the first time in 45 years.
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Mathew Ryan: Brighton and Hove Albion cashed in on its Premier League new-comer status by signing Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan on a five-year deal for a club-record fee rumoured to be around £5million. The 25-year-old shot-stopper has had an illustrious career so far and manned the post for the Australian team that clinched the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, where he was also awarded the Golden Glove for his stellar performance. He also enjoyed two successful seasons at Belgian side Club Brugge, when he was consecutively voted as the Belgian Pro League’s Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Ryan will start as the Seagulls’ number one ’keeper and will look to keep the sheets as clean as his career.
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