Vicario, Tonali and Udogie: Premier League thrilled by early displays from Italian arrivals

Sandro Tonali, Guglielmo Vicario and Destiny Udogie all moved to the Premier League from Serie A this summer and the Italian trio have made a great start to life in England.


Three Italian players in the shape of Sandro Tonali, Guglielmo Vicario and Destiny Udogie landed in the Premier League during the summer transfer window of 2023 and they have been incredibly well received by fans and pundits alike after a few games.

Despite Italy being such a prominent and successful footballing nation, Italians moving from Serie A have not traditionally performed very well in the Premier League.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but the trio of Tonali, Vicario and Udogie seem as though they could all go against the grain, albeit with just three league games under their belts.

Sandro Tonali’s energetic Newcastle United start

One of the most surprising and high-profile transfers for both Serie A and the Premier League this summer, Sandro Tonali‘s move to Newcastle United for €64m was one which stunned many fans of both teams.

Newcastle fans didn’t necessarily think that they would be able to just pluck Tonali away from Milan, whilst Milan fans did not think there was a chance that Tonali would be playing anywhere other than at the San Siro this season.

He has slotted straight into Eddie Howe‘s team, starting all three of their Premier League games so far. He also scored his first Newcastle goal just six minutes into the first game of the season. Since then, he has played 67 minutes against Newcastle and 72 minutes against Liverpool. The Magpies may have lost both of those games narrowly, but he was impressive in both.

Sandro Tonali poses after joining Newcastle. (@NUFC)

Speaking during the Sky Sports commentary of the 2-1 loss against Liverpool, Gary Neville picked Tonali out for praise on multiple occasions. “He looks good in a black and white shirt, Tonali,” Neville said. “He’s settled down straight away. There’s a really good balance in that Newcastle midfield.”

He also said: “Tonali has been brilliant at the start of this second half.” Speaking ahead of the game, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp discussed Newcastle’s transfer business and said: “Smart business. I don’t want to miss anybody but probably the two standouts in this window: Tonali and [Harvey] Barnes. Really good business.”

Vicario’s cat-like displays for Tottenham

Whilst Serie A fans will remember just how vital Guglielmo Vicario was to Empoli last season, fans who don’t focus on Italian football can be forgiven for having not heard of him.

With Hugo Lloris both injured and possibly on his way out of the club, Vicario has arrived at Tottenham with a chance to make himself the number-one goalkeeper. He made a shaky start to things against Brentford in the first game, but he has since kept clean sheets against Manchester United and Bournemouth.

He can reach the corners so much better than most goalkeepers and that is something that translates to any league. Vicario has saved 93.3% of all shots he has faced in the Premier League and has conceded only one goal in open play.

He’s been receiving plaudits from teammates such as James Maddison and Destiny Udogie on social media in the last couple of weeks.

Udogie slots into Postecoglou’s Tottenham side

Destiny Udogie has waited patiently for this moment as he actually signed for Tottenham in the summer of 2022, before then being loaned back to Udinese for the 2022/23 campaign.

Now that he has arrived in the Premier League, it is Ange Postecoglou who is in charge. There is a great feeling around the team right now after they beat Manchester United and Bournemouth in their last two games, and Udogie is one of many players that has impressed.

Predictably, Gary Lineker tweeted after the Bournemouth match: “Udogie’s destiny looks very positive.”

He has started all three games this season and secured his first assist for the club against Bournemouth. He is keeping former Inter winger Ivan Perisic out of the team despite being 20 years old and only just arriving at the club.

These three players impressing in a new environment can only be a good thing for the Italy national team, and new boss Luciano Spalletti could find himself watching more Premier League action than he may have expected.


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