London – Mesut Ozil and Willian could be among the players making their first appearances when the Premier League resumes on Saturday, while Tottenham Hotspur will begin life without Gareth Bale.
No sooner did the transfer window close on September 2 than the international break began, meaning that fans have had to wait close to two weeks for a first glimpse of their clubs' new signings in action.
Arsenal's capture of Ozil from Real Madrid in a club-record £42.4 million deal stole the deadline-day headlines, and he is expected to make his debut at Sunderland on Saturday.
The deal made Ozil the most expensive German footballer of all time, but the 24-year-old has played down the significance of his price tag.
“I would have come here without a fee. That would not be a problem,” he told reporters after being officially presented as an Arsenal player on Thursday.
“Of course I am proud of this, but the most important thing is that the manager trusts me. That was crucial for me and that is why I came to Arsenal.”
The manager, Arsene Wenger, says there is a “possibility” that Ozil will start at the Stadium of Light, where Arsenal will be bidding to record a fifth consecutive win in all competitions.
Their last league outing saw them prevail 1-0 against north London rivals Tottenham, who host Norwich City on Saturday in the first game since Welsh forward Bale completed his move to Madrid for a reported world-record fee of around £86 million.
Spurs offset Bale's departure by spending around £110 million on new players and could hand a debut to Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen against Norwich.
With the Bale saga finally at an end, coach Andre Villas-Boas has urged his players to refocus quickly.
“What we have to do is move on,” he said during Thursday's pre-game press conference.
On Eriksen, he added: “I think what happened with Christian is a bit like that happened with Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart when they were at Ajax.
“We expect great things of Christian Eriksen and we want to develop him into becoming that sort of important player for us as well.”
Defending champions Manchester United were not nearly as active in the transfer market, but they could hand a debut to £27.5 million new recruit Marouane Fellaini against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
United's 1-0 loss to Liverpool left them five points behind their northwest rivals, who top the standings ahead of Monday's visit to manager Brendan Rodgers's former club Swansea City.
With Liverpool not in action over the weekend, second-place Chelsea can claim top spot in the nascent standings if they prevail at Everton on Saturday.
Manager Jose Mourinho will have Willian at his disposal for the first time since he completed his £30 million move from Anzhi Makhachkala, but the 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder says he does not expect to stroll into the starting XI.
“I know that I haven't secured my spot here, but I will do my best to achieve that place, while respecting the other players,” he told Brazilian media outlet Globo Esporte, in comments widely reported in the British media.
“I will train, play and do my best to get the trust of the manager and of the fans.”
Manchester City, who have won two and lost one of their opening three matches, face a reunion with former manager Mark Hughes when they travel to Stoke City.
The 2012 champions continue to have problems at centre-back, with new signing Martin Demichelis ruled out for around six weeks with a knee problem and captain Vincent Kompany sidelined by a groin injury.
Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov says the club's defenders are also adjusting to the new tactics introduced by incoming manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“We are still getting used to the new coach,” Kolarov told the club website.
“There is a change in our style, but I think we can do much better than last season. We'll be looking to do well in the Premier League and Champions League this time.”
Saturday (4pm unless stated): Manchester United v Crystal Palace (1.45pm), Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Fulham v West Bromwich Albion, Hull City v Cardiff City, Stoke City v Manchester City, Sunderland v Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City, Everton v Chelsea (6.30pm)
Sunday (5pm): Southampton v West Ham United
Monday (9pm): Swansea City v Liverpool – Sapa-AFP