After a rather depressing international break, football lovers can have a lot to look forward to this coming week, with European leagues and the Champions League returning. Here are five of this summer’s new signings worth watching over the course of these seven days.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid
As the now most expensive player in the world at €91 million, Bale has a lot to live up to in Madrid and his journey begins away to Villareal. Bale must be looking forward to playing attacking football with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema but he may have to roll back the years in his former position at left-back due to the injuries of Marcelo and Fábio Coentrao. If he does play, regardless of where he plays, you want to miss his La Liga debut.
Bale will then play in the Champions League for the first time since Tottenham crashed out to Madrid in 2011 to a 5-0 aggregate scoreline. He travels to Istanbul to face Galatasary, where he could potentially take on former Premier League men Albert Riera or Emannuel Eboué. These two teams had a cracking quarter-final last year and it should be a good group stage fixture again with Bale involved.
Marouane Fellaini – Manchester United
In what many would consider to be a bad panic buy from David Moyes, Fellaini joined United on deadline day for a whopping £27.5 million to try giving Michael Carrick a proper centre-midfield partner after Paul Scholes retired for good this summer. Fellaini is expected to make his debut at Old Trafford this Saturday when United play Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace and it will be interesting to see if Fellaini does fit into this United team. Fellaini was certainly a wonderful weapon for Everton last season and now he is reunited with David Moyes this season. For his first game surrounded by new and different players, this could tell a lot of how United’s season is set up to be with the Belgian being their only summer signing.
Fellaini then goes into a Champions League group stage fixture with Bayer Leverkusen as a first-timer along with David Moyes in the same boat. This being a big game for the whole team, playing under a new manager with no Champions League experience other than a qualifier, which he lost in 2005.
Mesut Özil – Arsenal
After a summer of missing out on many, many players, Arsene Wenger surprised us all by bringing world-class German midfielder Mesut Özil from Real Madrid for what is believed to be a fee of £42.5 million. A stellar signing, Özil is expected to be playing against Sunderland on Saturday and it won’t just be Arsenal fans interested to know how he gets on. Özil can do a lot of things for the Gunners, including playing behind Olivier Giroud and letting him fulfill his potential from his Montpellier days by playing him into good positions. Özil will bring goals, assists, skill to the team and Sunderland, who are just coming off a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace, should be very afraid.
Arsenal then travel to Marseille on Wednesday for their first Champions League game of the season. Özil is expected to bring a lot of experience in Europe as Arsenal will need it in their tough group which also includes last years finalists Borussia Dortmund and born-again Napoli.
Samuel Eto’o – Chelsea
In a transfer that would have been much more exciting if it happened a few years ago, Samuel Eto’o was reunited with former manager Jose Mourinho at Chelsea this year. Adding to their firepower along with Fernando Torres and Demba Ba. Eto’o looks to feature against Everton this Sunday and he needs to make a good impression considering Ba and Torres aren’t guaranteed goalscorers for Chelsea’s title launch. Eto’o, no stranger to the Champions League, will also look to play a part in Chelsea’s game against FC Basel this Wednesday.
Jésus Navas – Manchester City
Not a late signing in the window, Navas has featured in City’s three games so far this season but has failed to make an impact so far. Many people predicted him to be the architect of many goals straight off the bat but hasn’t got an assist to his name yet, something he did a lot at Sevilla. Navas will hope to kick off his season properly at the Britannia on Saturday where they play Stoke.
Navas will also be back in the Champions League after a year out with Sevilla last season and will be eager to play a key role in a victory over Czech team Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday. Manchester City would hope to win that comfortably considering they have upcoming opposition in the form of holders Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.