After Arsenal’s FA Cup success over the weekend, which brought the North London club a record 12th FA Cup and the club’s second in succession, there has been much spoken about in regard to the impact of Arsene Wenger’s Chilean Summer signing Alexi Sanchez who had a very specific part to play in Saturday’s win with a staggering 30-yard goal to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead and put the tie essentially out of reach for Aston Villa. Sanchez has been heralded as Arsenal’s player of the season and the one of the best signings ever made by Wenger.
The Premier League is widely considered to be the toughest league in world football and one that usually takes even the best imports at least one season to acclimatise to, thanks to it’s the pace and conditioning. With all things Premier League now over and done with, there is not much argument regarding the effect of Alexis Sanchez’s debut season on Arsenal’s successful campaign. In this vein, we took a look at some of the other fantastic Premier League debutants to see just how good those who have hit the ground running have had to be and just how important their impact was on their respective clubs.
Alexis Sanchez – From Barcelona To Arsenal – Goals: 24 (in all competitions)
Since signing from Barcelona in the summer in what was, for the most part, a shock move for the Chilean and the North London club, Alexis Sanchez has been truly phenomenal for the Gunners. In a season that has had the high’s of FA Cup success and a third placed finish coupled with a torrid Champions League campaign and some crucial defeats in the league, Sanchez has been consistently influential and crucial to Arsenal. Wenger paid Barcelona approximately £35 million last summer seal the signature of Sanchez. In his debut season, Sanchez, 26, was a finalist for the PFA’s Player of the Season award and a member of its Team of the Season along with contributing 24 goals to Arsenal’s cause including stand-out goals against Manchester City and of course Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final. Sanchez has been en ever-present in the Arsenal squad and seems reluctant to let any tie pass him by with out at least touching turf.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy – From PSV To Manchester United – Goals: 36 (in all competitions)
After the Dutch striker’s £19 million move from PSV Eindhoven had been delayed by injury, the weight of expectation proved feather light for van Nistelrooy when he finally made the move to the Theatre Of Dreams. The Dutchman scored his first goal in the Community Shield and didn’t let up for the rest of the season. He went on as he started, registering 36 goals in his debut season. Although Ruud didn’t eventually lift the Premier League in his debut season, he did claim top-goal scorer and top-assist’s in that season’s Champions League for the Red Devils. As we would all go on to learn, Van Nistelrooy was destined to be one of Man Utd’s greatest ever strikers, joining a very elite list.
Jurgen Klinssmann – From Monaco To Tottenham Hotspur – Goals: 29 (in all competitions)
Jurgen Klinsmann’s debut season at Tottenham Hotspur impressed everyone from the moment he first kicked a ball in the white shirt. The German quickly built up a relationship with Spurs legend Teddy Sheringham and for that season they worked in tandem and syncronicity that was almost telepathic. Klinsmann’s rapport with the fans built to the legend status he holds today. Within that first season Klinsmann and Sheringham became at times unplayable up front for Tottenham, leading to the German netting 20 goals in his debut season. Klinsmann missed only one league game in his debut season and scored five goals in Tottenham’s FA Cup run along with a hat-trick in the League cup and of course introducing the world to his now famous ‘dive celebration’
Fernando Torres – From Athletico Madrid To Liverpool – Goals: 33 (in all competitions)
Fernando Torres’ debut season at Anfield and Liverpool was, to date the most prolific debut season of any foreign player entering the fray of Premier Legaue football as he bettered the previously held record of 23 goals held by Ruud Van Nistlerooy by going one better with 24. At home Torres was absolutely sensational, especially in the second half of Liverpool’s season. A goal against Sunderland in February 2007 started a run of eight successive home League matches in which he scored 12 times, including successive hat-tricks against Middlesbrough and West Ham United as well as the winner in his first ever Merseyside derby. He was runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the vote for the Football Writers’ Player of the Year and also came second when his fellow professionals cast the votes. Torres didn’t end the season with silverware but had established himself as one of the most feared players in the best league in world football.