The most memorable Premier League debuts by big-money signings?

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August 10, 2021
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    Aguero, Lukaku and ShearerAguero, Lukaku and Shearer all scored twice on their debuts for Manchester City, Manchester United and Blackburn

    While the footballing summer has been dominated by the Euros and – to a much lesser extent – the Olympics, the transfer window has managed to command plenty of headlines.

    Premier League clubs have certainly been keeping busy.

    Manchester City forked out a British record £100m to add Jack Grealish to their title-winning squad, while Manchester United signalled their intent with the £73m capture of Jadon Sancho who, barring a last-minute breakdown, will be joined at Old Trafford by Raphael Varane.

    The spotlight on marquee arrivals is always intense from the outset, and it will be no different for the latest crop. Sancho will be keen to make an instant impact for United in their opener against Leeds on Saturday, while Grealish will aim to produce fireworks at the first time of asking for City when they travel to Tottenham a day later.

    With eye-catching debuts from expensive new recruits a strong possibility this weekend, BBC Sport looks at some of the times star men delivered at the first time of asking.

    Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United 4-0 West Ham, 13 August 2017)

    Having signed from Everton for an initial £75m, Lukaku announced his arrival at Old Trafford in style with two goals in an energetic, accomplished display that helped lift Jose Mourinho's United to an easy opening-day win over the Hammers.

    Nemanja Matic, a £40m signing from Chelsea, also impressed on his Red Devils bow, but it was Lukaku who dominated Monday's back pages.

    The Belgian went on to score 27 times in his debut United campaign, and while he could never really cement his status as a club icon before leaving to join Inter Milan in 2019, we may see the 28-year-old back in England this season if his proposed £97.5m move to Chelsea materialises.

    Sergio Aguero (Manchester City 4-0 Swansea City, 15 August 2011)

    Some new faces take time to settle, but not Aguero.

    The Argentine striker, signed from Atletico Madrid for £35m, needed just nine minutes to score his first City goal after being introduced as a 59th-minute substitute against Swansea.

    The South American then produced a spectacular assist for David Silva before capping his dream debut with a 30-yard piledriver.

    Ten years, five league titles and 260 goals later, Aguero left City having secured his status as one of the Premier League's deadliest ever marksmen.

    He's at Barcelona now, but of course he won't be making his debut for the Catalan giants either alongside compatriot and friend Lionel Messi or for another 10 weeks at least after his latest injury woes.

    Aguero's Premier League record with Manchester City
    Appearances Goals Assists Titles Golden boot
    275 184 47 5 1

    Alan Shearer (Crystal Palace 3-3 Blackburn Rovers, 15 August 1992)

    Shearer's £3.3m move from Southampton to Blackburn may seem like chump change now, but at the time it was a British record.

    But the England striker indicated he was worth every penny at the first time of asking with two goals during a scintillating draw with Palace at Selhurst Park in the newly formed Premier League.

    Shearer ended his first season with 16 league goals and, of course, hit a remarkable 34 in 43 games to lift Rovers to the title in 1995 before joining Newcastle a year later.

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    Harry Maguire (Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea, 11 August 2019)

    It is difficult for a centre-back to stand out in a 4-0 win, but Maguire did just that on his first appearance as the world's most expensive defender as United crushed Chelsea at Old Trafford.

    Two-goal Marcus Rashford grabbed most of the headlines, but England team-mate Maguire produced an authoritative performance, which he capped by stealing possession from Tammy Abraham to launch the attack that led to Martial scoring United's fourth.

    Now United's captain, Maguire hopes to forge a formidable defensive partnership with Varane as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side aim to dethrone local rivals City.

    Anthony Martial (Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool, 12 September 2015)

    Martial's £36m price tag made him the world's most expensive teenager in 2015Martial's £36m price tag made him the world's most expensive teenager in 2015

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    The pink-booted Frenchman, then the world's most expensive teenager, electrified Old Trafford with a superb individual goal to help United sink Liverpool, skipping past a befuddled Martin Skrtel and slotting the ball beyond Simon Mignolet to send the Stretford End into raptures.

    For new Manchester United players, debuts don't come much better than that.

    Martial has since scored another 77 times for United, but that remains by far his most famous strike in English football.

    Richarlison (Wolves 2-2 Everton, 11 August 2018)

    While some raised their eyebrows at Everton shelling out £35m to sign a player with five Premier League goals to his name, Richarlison struck twice in an eye-catching debut at Wolves to allay fears over his credentials.

    In his three seasons at Goodison Park, the Brazilian has ended the year on 14, 15 and 13 goals.

    New Toffees boss Rafael Benitez will hope that Richarlison can break the 20-goal barrier, after he recovers from his Olympic exertions of course.

    Sadio Mane (Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool, 14 August 2016)

    Mane made an instant impact for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool after joining from SouthamptonMane made an instant impact for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool after joining from Southampton

    At the time, the £34m Liverpool spent on prising Mane away from Southampton made him the most expensive African player in history.

    But the Senegal forward defied debut nerves to showcase the explosive dimension he promised to add to Jurgen Klopp's team with a stunning solo goal, making light work of Nacho Monreal and Calum Chambers before guiding a delightful left-footed strike into Petr Cech's top right-hand corner.

    Mane, now a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool, is just three shy of reaching a century of goals for the Reds.

    Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa, 10 August 2019)

    Ndombele became Tottenham's record signing when he joined for £53.8m from Lyon in 2019, his fee comfortably surpassing the £42m the north Londoners paid Ajax to sign Davinson Sanchez two years earlier.

    The Frenchman's career in England began with a bang, too, when he lashed a cracking equaliser home to spark Tottenham's comeback win over Villa.

    A fractious relationship with Jose Mourinho did not help Ndombele's consistency during his first year at Spurs, but he showed more than enough last season to suggest he can be a force under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

    Fabrizio Ravanelli (Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, 17 August 1996)

    Ravanelli joined Middlesbrough less than two months after helping Juventus win the Champions LeagueRavanelli joined Middlesbrough less than two months after helping Juventus win the Champions League

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    Last but by no means least, Ravanelli was the headline act in Middlesbrough's mid-90s spending spree that also brought Nick Barmby, Juninho, Branco and Emerson to Teesside.

    The silver-haired Italian striker was fresh from winning the Champions League with Juventus when he staged the most spectacular entrance into the Premier League, netting a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool at the Riverside Stadium.

    Ravanelli's goals helped Boro reach the FA Cup and League Cup finals that season, but he was unable to steer Bryan Robson's side away from relegation.

    In 1997, he left to join Marseille, only to pop up at Derby County three years later, where he also suffered relegation.

    Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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