The football season has resumed following a summer hiatus and has resumed its role at the forefront of the minds of football supporters across the land. The moment of jubilation as the ball hits the back of the net and the moment of despair as the ball smites against their own has returned following a dry summer.
But football fans will be rapidly forming opinions on the clubs new signings, whether they are a £15m striker, with the weight of his team on his shoulders, or whether that is a free transfer. Supporters will hope the player, whoever he may be, will improve the shape of their beloved club.
But who has impressed so far? Here’s my analysis on the best five recruits to date.
1) Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – Cardiff
Nobody would have thrown money at Neil Warnock reviving the malaise stricken Welsh side and resurrecting them back to top the Championship, even in the competitions embryonic stages. Yet Warnock’s Bluebirds has accelerated out of the blocks and sit at the summit of the division. They owe a significant amount of this early success to new signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Mendez-Laing sits top of the Championships goal scoring charts, boasting a record of four goals in only eight shots. After joining on a free transfer from Rochdale, Mendez-Laing has impressed with his direct offensive style and his ability to cut inside onto his left foot. A total goal contribution percentage of 50% highlights how integral Mendez-Laing has been to the Bluebirds.
It remains to be seen whether Mendez-Laing can maintain this impressive start, but with an average of 3 shots on goal per game, and 2 key passes a game, Mendez-Laing could be an extra bow to Cardiff’s arsenal.
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2) Martyn Waghorn- Ipswich
Despite a troubled period in Glasgow, Waghorn returned south of the border to link up with Mick McCarthy’s Tractor Boys in hope to revive his career. Waghorn has struggled to be a prolific operator in this division, struggling with Wigan, Leicester and Millwall, but he’ll be hoping for better in Suffolk.
With a 67% shots on target rate, four goals in four games and registering four goals from six shots, Waghorn could prove to be the goal scorer Ipswich have been so keen to recruit following the reoccurring injuries to David McGoldrick and sale of the robust Daryl Murphy.
Questions remain over whether this is merely a sunny patch of form for Waghorn, or him shining in his new settings, but Ipswich fans will be jubilant with their new number nine to date. If Waghorn can maintain his goal scoring record, he could find his name being scribbled into Ipswich folklore.
3) George Saville – Millwall
Millwall have, thus far, struggled with their early adaptation back to the second tier of English football, and despite a 4-0 rout of Norwich, Neil Harris’ men are yet to register results which their impressive performances have warranted. One of the major cogs to Millwall’s early season clockwork has been ball-winning midfielder, George Saville.
The 23-year-old has been a starring figure in the Lions return to the Championship, and the ex-Wolves midfielder will be pleased with the transition he’s made. Saville has provided robust, tough tackling in the middle of the pitch, and his hunger to win the ball has, through aerial duels and tackles, solidified Millwall defensively.
Furthermore, Saville has contributed to the offensive side of the game, chipping in with two goals against Bolton and Norwich respectively. However, Saville has been wasteful in possession, with a pass success rate of 74%, which is lower than expected for a central midfielder.
Millwall fans will hope Saville maintains this level of performance.
4) Michael Hector – Hull City
In the aftermath of relegation, an exodus have departed the KCOM Stadium, including the departures of Curtis Davies, Andrew Robertson and Tom Huddlestone. New Hull manager Leonard Slutsky has depended on his quota of football contacts to replace the dominating figure of Davies in the Tigers back line.
Following a flirtation with Germany, Hector was keen to remain in England after his European loan spell. The Chelsea loanee has donned the Black and Orange of City and has certainly made a positive first impression on Humberside. Averaging four tackles a game; Hector has applied an abrasive and aggressive style to the Hull back line.
The Jamaican international has also provided a calm and technical element to Hull, with good distribution from the back, Hector has impressed in the infancy of his loan spell.
5) Willy Boly – Wolverhampton Wanderers
An influx of continental talent has arrived at Molineux following a busy summer in the Midlands for new Wolves coach Nuno Espírito Santo. Big bucks were departed with for the arrival of the young Ruben Neves from Porto, however, it has been a loanee from Nuno’s former employers who has grabbed all the headlines, albeit quietly.
Boly has been an imposing colossus for Wolves. The French youth international has been impressive with his technical quality alongside his strong, athletic core. He has averaged a staggering eight clearances a game, as well as holding impressive interception and tackling statistics.
Wolves remain in the hunting pack and are amongst the early pacesetters after impressive early results. A major question mark will be over whether Boly can maintain this level of performance over a 46 game period, but the defender has thus far been excellent for Wolves.