Top debuts to watch across Europe’s big five leagues in 2022-23

Amid a summer of busy transfer news around the world, the 2022-23 season will get underway across Europe. From Arsenal investing heavily to Barcelona’s spending spree, this transfer market is unforgettable so far and there’s still a month until the window closes.

Established veterans and young stars will take the spotlight at their new clubs. So which debuts should you watch out for?

We asked our writers Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Constantin Eckner, Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens which debutants in Europe’s Big Five leagues we should be looking out for in the 2022-23 season, and here’s who they picked.

– Premier League 2022-23: Full fixture list
– When does the 2022/23 season start across Europe?

– ESPN+ Guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (USA)


Robert Lewandowski

Barcelona’s summer transfer deals have caused a stir for all sorts of reasons – and they’re still ongoing – but there’s no doubt Robert Lewandowski’s €45m arrival is the the most eye-catching deal in LaLiga in this window. Yes, he’ll be 34 soon but Lewandowski looks in form, hungry to bring Barca back into the European elite and ready to bring star power to a league that has missed out on Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. With the likes of Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri providing the ammunition at the Camp Nou, Lewandowski struggled against Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema for LaLiga Pichichi (top scorer) must not be missing.

Antonio Ruediger

If Real Madrid fans weren’t already excited to sign centre-back Antonio Rudiger – a Champions League-winning, prime-aged German international who can make his defense faster, bigger and more aggressive – then make his debut in their defeat last season Barcelona in Las Vegas did more than enough to whet their appetites. Thoroughly overhauled by Barca’s new signing Raphinha, Rudiger did well in an unfamiliar role at left-back, even finding time to face off against Ronald Araujo as the mood flared before half-time. Rudiger cited Madrid legend Pepe as an inspiration in his opening press conference, which was a fair warning. Expect fireworks. – Kirklands

First League

Erling Haaland

All eyes will be on Manchester City’s first game of the season against West Ham at the London Stadium to see how Haaland handles his first taste of Premier League football. The Norway international striker has scored regularly everywhere he has been – 134 goals in 182 club games in his career so far – but the English top division is another test and it will be fascinating to see how one of the world’s best young players fares. Already at just 22, he is considered one of the successors to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and Pep Guardiola’s city seems like the perfect place for him to showcase his talents.

Gabriel Jesus

Will Jesus be the final piece of the puzzle that will finally allow Arsenal to take the next step under Mikel Arteta? The Brazilian striker has proven himself in the Premier League despite never being first choice at Manchester City. At Arsenal he seems to be the main man and with that comes a different kind of pressure: he’s the player Arteta backed to score the goals to bring Arsenal back to the Champions League. Jesus is a top finisher but has never seen a season where he has scored more than 14 league goals. He will need more at the Emirates but the potential is there. – Dawson


sadio mane

Before Bayern Munich agreed to let Lewandowski move to Barcelona, ​​they made sure to bring a worthy heir to the Allianz Arena. With Mane, the German champions have signed one of the most exciting players in the Premier League of the past eight years. It’s not just a statement for FC Bayern, but for the entire Bundesliga. Liverpool fans around the world have rightly lamented the departure of the Senegalese international who was so crucial to the Reds’ success, but Liverpool’s defeat is Bayern’s win. Many Bayern fans will be curious to see how he will influence the team’s style and help compensate for the absence of the relentless goalscorer Lewandowski.

Mario Götze

It feels like a prodigal son is coming home. Götze, who scored the famous World Cup winning goal for Germany in 2014, had to cope with a number of setbacks in his career and advanced from being a generational talent to a bench presser. His move from Borussia Dortmund to PSV two years ago surprised many but was perhaps the best decision possible. Away from the limelight, Götze was able to regain his self-confidence and redefine his game. At 30 he is far from the player he used to be, but his technical ability and quick feet make him a threat to any defence. It would have been unthinkable not so long ago that he would return to the Bundesliga in the Eintracht Frankfurt jersey. Regardless, his debut for the Europa League winners is highly anticipated, with many fans excited to see just how much magic is left. — Eckner

league 1

Alexandre Lacazette

Five years after leaving Lyon for Arsenal, Lacazette is back. The forward, welcomed back almost like a god by OL fans, re-signed as a free agent this summer. At 30 he could have gone to another country or to a club in Europe, but he wanted to help his hometown back to the top. In the second of three seasons, Lyon have missed out on European football, falling too far behind in the title race last year. Lacazette’s signing, like that of Corentin Tolisso (also from Lyon) and Moussa Sissoko (Nantes), is a major coup for Ligue 1.


Vitinha is the perfect representation of the new direction PSG are taking this summer: less big names, less bling and a focus on more hard work and potential. The 22-year-old Portuguese midfielder is just that. His transfer fee of just over €40m is reasonable for someone of his potential. He was outstanding for Porto last season, guiding them to a domestic double. Vitinha is the perfect midfielder – although he’s not the greatest – as he can defend, attack, score goals, create, attack and dribble. PSG’s new sporting director Luis Campos could have recruited other players but he ticked all the boxes. — Laurens

Series A

Divock Origi

Okay so the guy started as many Premier League games as I did last season and probably won’t start for Milan. But his 1.72 goals (albeit with a tiny sample size) per 90 minutes was by far the highest of last season among Premier League forwards. And of course he’s scored some tremendous goals for Liverpool over the years (not just for the Champions League winners… just ask Barcelona, ​​Everton or Wolves). I’m curious what he can do with meaningful minutes on the pitch when you don’t have Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota keeping you out of the squad.

Khvicha Kvarachelia

Highly hyped from a young age, the Georgia winger is a human highlight and one of the hottest prospects around. He shone in his native Georgia with Dinamo Tbilisi and in Russia with Rubin Kazan and now comes on to replace the late Lorenzo Insigne at Napoli. He’s fast, he’s tall, he can dribble and he has an eye for goal. He only turned 21 in February and establishing himself in Serie A isn’t always easy, but he certainly has the tools to succeed. And if he does it at Diego Maradona’s old home, he’ll be a folk hero, to the point where people will learn to spell his name correctly (for now, he’s asked people to just call him “Kvara”) . – Marcotti Top debuts to watch across Europe’s big five leagues in 2022-23

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