White, Sancho and Grealish – how did the Premier League’s debutants fare?

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 16 Aug 2021 19:00 BST
  • 9 min read
Jack Grealish makes his Man City debut against Leicester City
© ProShots

The Premier League began over the weekend, which meant a flood of new faces in new colours.

While Euro 2020, the Copa America and the Olympics variously meant that many star players were not fully involved at the weekend, there were still an array of new players for supporters to feast their eyes upon.

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Among them were three of the four biggest Premier League signings of the summer to date, with the exception being Raphael Varane, who only joined Manchester United on the eve of their match with Leeds.

But how did 15 of the most prominent debutants get on?

Ben White

All eyes were on Arsenal centre-back Ben White after his lavish £50 million move from Brighton. It was an inauspicious start from the England defender, who was bullied by Brentford’s Ivan Toney in a 2-0 defeat.

Albert Sambi

Another new player at Arsenal this season is Albert Sambi, who made his bow after being given a start by Mikel Arteta. A quietly promising debut was pushed into the shade by the nature of the result.

Albert Sambi Lokonga during Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Brentford in the Premier League
© ProShots

Jadon Sancho

Came off the bench with Manchester United cruising to a 5-1 win over Leeds. Upstaged by glorious performances from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, but this should not count against him.

Junior Firpo

Introduced with Leeds shipping water, not the type of situation that the former Barcelona defender typically thrives in. Did not disgrace himself, despite the outcome, though might have done more to stop Bruno Fernandes scoring his second.

Trevoh Chalobah

Given the amount of time he has spent away from Chelsea, he is included in this list, especially since he has battled his way into Thomas Tuchel’s thoughts thanks to fine pre-season displays. This continued in his first Premier League outing for the club, in which he scored from range in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Trevoh Chalobah, Chelsea, 2021/22
© ProShots

Marc Guehi

The Crystal Palace man was unable to impress against his former club Chelsea as Patrick Vieira’s men suffered a resounding defeat.

Jannik Vestergaard

Arrived a matter of days before Leicester opened their season against Wolves and played well as a replacement. Could well start next week.

Boubacary Soumare

Played half an hour for Leicester and looked accomplished in terms of his attacking play. Will improve as he builds himself physically.


Wolves signed the winger from Barcelona in the summer and he made a poor start as he struggled to get involved.

Emmanuel Dennis

A dream debut for Watford’s summer signing from Club Brugge. He combined brilliantly with Ismaila Sarr and was arguably the pick of the Premier League’s new boys at the weekend.

Emiliano Buendia

A disappointing start from Aston Villa’s marquee summer arrival. Looked off the pace and lacked an influence in the game.

Danny Ings

Scored a penalty but offered little else as Aston Villa lost 3-2 at Watford. Capable of a good deal more.

Leon Bailey

Brought life to Aston Villa in his 20-minute cameo and created a goal for John McGinn. Will surely start next week.

Billy Gilmour

At Norwich for the season on loan from Chelsea, the Scotland international had a tough assignment on debut against Liverpool. Showed for the ball well and looked thoroughly composed even as his side was overwhelmed.

Adam Armstrong

Netted on debut for Southampton against Everton, but faded after a bright first-half display as his side were defeated.

Jack Grealish

Much is expected of the £100m man. He didn’t deliver as Manchester City lost 1-0 to Tottenham.

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