Every Premier League club's player that the fans instantly loved

  • Kat Lucas

Many footballers find they aren't automatically granted hero status when they join a club. 

As much as fans might be excited about their latest acquisition, it sometimes takes a while for them to warm to new arrivals.

Yet for others, they immediately become a cult figure. 

That might be thanks to a goal on their debut, or simply because they find themselves playing for their hometown club.

Whatever the reason, every Premier League club has at least one player who was an instant hit.

Liverpool - Virgil van Dijk

There's no better way to endear yourself to Liverpool fans than with a goal on debut against Everton. Kopites were also well aware that the £75 million man could finally be the missing cog in their erratic defence and that prediction has proved correct.

Watford FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Manchester City - Sergio Aguero

Aguero's debut in a 4-0 win over Swansea was so good it's still remembered now. It took just nine minutes for him to score his first Manchester City goal and he's now their greatest goalscorer of all time. 


Leicester City - Christian Fuchs

Fuchs was signed in the summer of 2015 and that season helped the Foxes to the most unlikely Premier League title in history. The other heroes of that season, like Jamie Vardy, had taken a little more time to get going at the club.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Chelsea - N'Golo Kante

It's just impossible not to love Kante, whoever you support. The little midfielder had just shone in Leicester City's triumph and Chelsea fans were delighted to welcome him to Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United - Marcus Rashford

Rashford was pretty unknown, except to followers of Manchester United's academy, when Louis van Gaal handed him his opportunity in the first team. The youth team graduate snapped his hand off, scoring a brace against Midtjylland in the Europa League. Days later, he repeated the feat against Arsenal. 

Manchester United v Norwich City - Premier League

Wolverhampton Wanderers - Ruben Neves

It almost seemed too good to be true when the Portugal international signed for Wolves while they were still in the Championship. He's since become the poster boy of Nuno's transformative era. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - Premier League

Sheffield United - Oliver Norwood 

Signed in 2018, Norwood immediately became an important part of Sheffield United's promotion-winning side. He sometimes skippers the Blades, too. 


Tottenham Hotspur - Son Heung-min 

Son took a while to really hit the heights at Spurs, but their fans still took to him in 2015/16. The South Korean scored some important goals, giving the north Londoners their first win of that season against Crystal Palace and away to Chelsea in the famous 'Battle of the Bridge'.

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Arsenal - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

What a signing. Aubameyang had shown what he could do at Borussia Dortmund and for a time, Arsenal fans believed the Gabon star just might restore them to their former glories. That hope's gone now, but the striker is still revered.


Burnley - Chris Wood

Scoring on your debut's important for a striker. But at Wembley in the 92nd minute? Glorious. Of course, Wood's feat came in a league game during Spurs' stay at the national stadium in 2017.

Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League

Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha

Palace were disappointed when Zaha left for Manchester United, a move which just didn't work out for him. Across his two spells at Selhurst Park, Zaha has been quite brilliant. The Ivorian is now far and away their most important player. 

Everton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Everton - Richarlison

Eyebrows were raised when Richarlison signed for Everton in a deal rising to £50m. The Brazilian soon silenced his critics though, with a brace on his debut. 

Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League

Newcastle United - Matty Longstaff 

Couple his local heritage with a knack for scoring against Manchester United and it's easy to see why Longstaff was an instant hit with the Geordies. 

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League

Southampton - James Ward-Prowse 

Ward-Prowse has spent his entire career at Southampton and scored on just his second start for the club. While many of his fellow Academy graduates have moved on, the midfielder has stayed loyal.

Southampton FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Brighton & Hove Albion - Aaron Connolly

The 20-year-old has still only played a handful of games for Brighton but he's already made a name for himself - not least thanks to his two goals during his first Premier League start as he inspired a 3-0 win over Tottenham back in October. 

Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa - Premier League

West Ham United - Mark Noble 

The epitome of 'Mr West Ham'. Noble ticked all the boxes during his first couple of seasons in the first team - winning Young Hammer of the Year and scoring a long-range goal against Spurs. Moreover, he's played with his heart in a side where that hasn't always been true of his teammates.

Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League

Watford - Ben Foster

Foster's time-wasting tactics infuriate other fans but it's the sort of behaviour that his own supporters can get behind. The Hornets relished the arrival of the stopper, who had already spent time on loan from Manchester United at Vicarage Road earlier in his career. 

Manchester United v Watford FC - Premier League

Bournemouth - Callum Wilson 

Wilson scored twice on his debut against Huddersfield and it looked as if he was going to be unstoppable. It's a shame injuries have plagued the striker during his time with the Cherries.

AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa - Premier League

Aston Villa - Jack Grealish

Not only is Grealish a boyhood Villa fan, he was one of their few players to come out of the 2015/16 season with any credit whatsoever. Thrown in at the deep end with Villa relegated, the midfielder helped them back up and they've been batting away interest from top clubs ever since.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Premier League

Norwich City - Max Aarons

Aarons actually started at Luton Town but joined Norwich's academy in 2016. The young right-back helped them up to the Premier League and since hitting the top flight, he's epitomised their brave style of play - even if it's come at the expense of their defence a little too often.

Norwich City v Leicester City - Premier League

None of the players above have ever looked back and most continue to be loved by the fans.

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