Adapting to the pace and intensity of the Premier League can be a cumbersome process for new signings but, oftentimes, once they’ve gotten a season under their belt, they improve immensely in their second term.
Philippe Coutinho is possibly one of the most astute signing made this season – Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers really impressed me with his January signings this term and whilst Daniel Sturridge started well, it’s important to remember Coutinho is just 20 years old and has been developing his trade in Spain, Italy and his homeland Brazil.
He’s made a good first impression at Anfield this term, netting 5 goals and making 8 assists for the Reds in all competitions but you just wait until next season – he’ll be one of the trickiest customers around and certainly a dangerous player to have alongside the likes of Luis Suarez.
Lewis Holtby hasn’t been himself since he arrived in England since he premature deal to move to Tottenham from Schalke in January. He’s yet to score a goal for Spurs and his assists tally isn’t great either but this 22-year-old has the ability to be the Spurs’ answer to Jack Wilshere.
His Bundesliga form before his move hints at the quality player Spurs have bought – he scored 4 goals and made 11 assists in 2012 alone for Schalke and he’s capable of much much more. He’ll find his feet next term and provided he gets a decent pre-season, he’ll be a real handful.
Shinji Kagawa suffered an unfortunate period sidelined through injury for Manchester United this term since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund where his previous boss Jurgen Klopp rates him as the best player in the world.
His 6 goals and 6 assists for United this term don’t tell the same story but just wait until next season when he’ll undoubtedly rival Juan Mata for playmaker of the year – he’s that good. Really, he is.
Kevin Mirallas is another case of unfortunate injuries since he signed last summer for Everton from Olympiacos where he was last season’s highest goalscorer in Greece with a tally of 20 goals in 25 appearances.
His hamstrings gave him trouble this term but, like Kagawa, if he gets a good pre-season in, he’ll be very very dangerous for Everton next term. His 9 goals and 9 assists this term only scratch the surface of what he brings to the table. In the long-term he could become a more important player for Everton than his compatriot Marouane Fellaini is at present.
Jack Butland hasn’t made the step up to the top tier yet but, after signing with Stoke in January and finishing out the Championship season with Birmingham, he’ll be raring to go next season. Whether or not Stoke lose Asmir Begovic remains to be seen but, either way, they’ve got the future England number one and he’s only 20 years old.
image: © Dean Jones