Whenever a club signs a new first-team player, they are expected to make an impact. When the new players are signed for hefty fees, many fans expect them to walk into the team and hit the ground running. However, five major summer signings from Europe’s top leagues are yet to start a league game for their club this season.
#5. YERRY MINA (EVERTON)
Yerry Mina signed for Everton in the summer after a fantastic World Cup with Colombia during which he scored three goals – a joint record for the number of goals scored by a defender in a single World Cup tournament. The 24-year-old only signed for Barcelona in January 2018 but wasn’t fancied by Ernesto Valverde and was allowed to leave in the summer. On Premier League transfer deadline day he joined the Toffees for €30 million.
Mina is yet to feature for Everton as he was sidelined with an injury he sustained with Colombia during the World Cup. The original injury was considered minor but it has dragged on longer than expected. He has started training recently and should make his debut for his new club after the international break.
#4. GELSON MARTINS (ATLETICO MADRID)
Gelson Martins is one of many stars to leave Sporting in the summer after cancelling their contract. He initially signed for Atletico Madrid on a free transfer but Sporting insisted they were owed €45m for the player. Eventually, the two clubs agreed to settle on a fee of €30m.
Martins was linked with several clubs in the summer after his impressive performance for Sporting but the Portuguese international opted to sign for Atletico Madrid because of Diego Simeone.
“Simeone was very important in my arrival, I took the decision thanks to him and I know that I’ll really like working with Simeone.”
However, since arriving at Atletico Madrid Gelson has played 57 minutes combined as a substitute in three league games. He hasn’t even featured in any of Atletico’s Champions League games.
#3. VINICIUS JUNIOR (REAL MADRID)
Real Madrid agreed on a deal to sign Vinicius Jr. for €46 million in May 2017 but the player could only officially join Los Blancos once he turned 18. He celebrated his 18th birthday on 12 July 2018 and was presented as a Real Madrid player on 20 July.
He featured for his new club in pre-season friendlies and captured the imagination with his performances. The 18-year-old made his official debut as an 87th-minute substitute in a goalless draw against Atletico Madrid and became the first ever player born in the 2000s to play for Real Madrid.
Vinicius has played for Real Madrid in two games so far as a substitute totalling 12 minutes on the pitch. The youngster is considered the future of Real Madrid but he may not get many opportunities to start for them this season.
#2. FABINHO (LIVERPOOL)
Fabinho was Liverpool’s first summer signing and one that excited the fans. Liverpool fans have been crying out for a world class defensive midfielder for years and in Fabinho, they got what they were asking for.
However, the Brazilian who cost Liverpool £39 million is yet to feature for his new club in a Premier League game. He has only featured as a substitute in two Champions League games totalling 15 minutes and started a League Cup match.
Jurgen Klopp admitted that it could take the Brazilian midfielder up to six months to adapt to the Reds’ tactical philosophy. This is something Fabinho has also addressed.
“My process to adapt to English football has been very good. Since pre-season I believe I have understood the way Jurgen Klopp plays and the way the team plays. It’s a new experience for me because Klopp has a different style of work from the way I’m used to – but this is something I will learn.”
#1. MALCOM (BARCELONA)
Malcom’s transfer to Barcelona was a much talked about subject in the summer as the Catalan club nabbed him from under Roma’s noses for £36.5 million. The 21-year-old was a regular for Bordeaux and could have moved to Roma where he would have had regular playing opportunities. However, he joined Barcelona where the competition for places is intense.
Ernesto Valverde started the season with a 4-3-3 formation to accommodate his wide players, especially Ousmane Dembele but even then Malcom has found opportunities difficult to come by. In fact, he’s only featured for the Catalan side as a substitute in two games totalling 25 minutes.
The Brazilian is so far down the pecking order that Valverde has opted to start Munir El Haddadi instead of Malcom whenever the squad has been rotated.
Malcom’s agent, Junior Minguella, recently opened up on the player’s lack of playing time.
“It is difficult to explain. All players need adaptation and Malcom has had enough time to do it and have minutes. So far he has not had them, but when he can play he will demonstrate the quality he has. He’s fine and eager to play. He does not like the situation, but he is focused and very motivated.”