After a very slow start around much of Europe, the transfer window seems to be kicking into life with big deals being signed regularly. It’s common for transfers to happen in a domino sequence. 

Aston Villa’s sign of Leon Bailey appears to have given the green light for Jack Grealish to join Manchester City, which could cause Bernardo Silva to be sold by the Premier League champions.

Manchester United fans can look forward to seeing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this season, whilst Paris Saint Germain fans will be eagerly awaiting the chance to see Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, and Georginio Wijnaldum at the Parc des Princes.

For fans of some clubs though, they’re less interested in the players the club is buying this summer. They are more excited to see players already in their squad return from long-term injuries. 

When a player has missed the best part of an entire season because of injury, it can give fans the same feeling when they return as a brand-new signing playing for the first time.

Which Clubs Can Look Forward To a Player Returning This Season?

The club that stands to gain the most this season from players returning from injury is Liverpool. Their very disappointing 2020/21 title defense was largely down to losing Virgil Van Dijk in September 2020 and Joe Gomez in November. 

They were then both absent until they appeared for the first time on the pitch in one of Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies against Hertha Berlin. Van Dijk suffered a cruciate ligament rupture after a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Joe Gomez suffered a damaged patella whilst on England duty in training.

In the Italian Serie A, AS Roma will be the team most looking forward to the return of injured players. The more high-profile example is Leonardo Spinazzola who was having a wonderful Euro 2020 with Italy before rupturing his Achilles in the quarter-final against Belgium. 

He claims he could be back playing by November, but it will more likely be December or January for the full-back. 

AS Roma fans haven’t missed any games from him yet, but they will be hoping he can replicate the amazing form he showed at Euro 2020 when he does return to fitness.

The other play the Romanisti will be thrilled to see is Nicolo Zaniolo. The new 22-year-old is regarded as one of the best young footballers in Italy but he has only just recovered from his second cruciate ligament rupture. 

He has almost missed the equivalent number of games as two full Serie A seasons with 67 games on the sidelines. He’s back with the squad now though and already scoring excellent goals in pre-season fixtures under the new coach, Jose Mourinho.

Another young star who will be hoping to resurrect his career after a terrible injury is Barcelona’s Ansu Fati. 

The 18-year-old showed himself to be one of Barcelona’s most talented attackers during the 2019/20 season and the beginning of the 2020/21 season. In that time he made 31 La Liga appearances and eight Champions League appearances, scoring 13 goals altogether. 

In November 2020 his career took a dark turn as he suffered a meniscal laceration and has since missed 44 games. The young Spaniard has since undergone surgery and the club has not put a definitive time frame on his return. 

It is expected to be towards the beginning of the new campaign and Barcelona fans will be hoping he breathes fresh life into a struggling team.

Someone making a return to having what could be their last hurrah in the sport is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

The Swedish veteran missed the final quarter of last season with AC Milan and had to miss Euro 2020 due to ligament damage, but he was still given an extra year on his contract. 

The striker will turn 40 in October so there is a chance that he will be returning with the mentality of it being his final year in the sport.

In a season where clubs are struggling so much financially and being forced to avoid many big transfer fees, the clubs who have players returning from injury could make the most impressive start to the season out of everyone. 

Due to the amount of time spent away watching their teammates enjoy playing regularly and the months of personal training, these returning players will likely have more to prove than anyone else on the pitch.

Euan Burns is a features editor at Origym Centre of Excellence, which provides high-quality personal training courses and packages.


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