James Iles' pick of the new players who will be joining the Premier League next season - including Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Southampton stars.
As the start of the 2013/14 Premier League season is on the horizon, I thought I would take a closer look at a few of the new players who will be joining the Premier League this coming season. My aim is to shed some light on a selection of the players who have been signed from abroad this summer, who might not be that well known among Premier League fans today. I’ve decided to pick my ‘new boy XI’ fantasy football style, sticking to a standard 4-4-2 and a sub for each position.
There are quite a few keepers moving to new Premier League teams this season, but there are only a couple who are arriving from outside of the league and those are the players I want to focus on today. So the keeper who gets the nod for me is...
The Scottish international keeper will be holding the fort for Hull as they make their return to the Premier League. McGregor spent last season in Turkey helping Besiktas finish 3rd in the Turkish league, after leaving Rangers following the club’s financial collapse. During his 11 year spell with the SPL club, Allan made 205 appearances as well as having a couple of loan spells while he was cutting his teeth, or gloves if you like. During those 205 games he helped Rangers claim 3 SPL titles and 3 Scottish Cups and is certainly a great shot stopper who could play a huge part in keeping Hull up.
Sub – Maarten Stekelenburg
The 30 year old Dutch international keeper has joined Fulham to replace Mark Schwarzer who has moved up the road to Chelsea. Stekelenburg has spent his previous career at Ajax and Roma before heading to Craven Cottage. This 6 ft 5 keeper also helped his national compatriots reach the final of the 2010 World Cup so is certainly a good bit of business for Fulham who have snapped him up for a bargain £4 million.
For my starting back 4 I’ve gone for a selection of young Europeans who are ready to make their name in England.
The 24-year-old Croatian centre back has signed up to help Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton keep some clean sheets next season. An estimated £8.5 million was enough to lure Lovren away from Lyon where he rose through the ranks to become a regular starter for the 1st team. A solid buy for the Saints, Lovren was named as one of the 100 best young players in 2010.
Erik Pieters + Marc Muniesa
Mark Hughes has decided to strengthen Stoke’s defence by signing this 24-year-old left back from PSV. For only £3 million this has the potential to be one of the best transfers this summer. Pieters is a left back by trade and does enjoy the odd rampaging attacking run, however Stoke can be sure to get their money’s worth as he is also able to fill in at centre back.
Pieters might well find himself playing as centre back alongside Marc Muniesa who Hughes was able to bring in from his former club Barcelona. Muniesa started off at the age of 10 in the Barcelona youth set up and has more recently been one of the highlights of the fantastic Spanish U21 team who won this year’s U21 European Championship in Israel. Quite a coup for the Potters.
Another young Spaniard who will be gracing our shores next season is Antonio Luna. The 22-year-old left back has joined Aston Villa from Sevilla, however he actually spent last season out on loan at Real Mallorca and the season before at Almeria. Unfortunately Luna suffered relegation with both these teams but along with the young side which Paul Lambert has put together, hopefully he can help Villa avoid the drop.
Sub - Razvan Rat
Yet another left back I’m afraid (they seem to be hot property this season). Rat is at the other end of his career from the rest of my merry band as he is 32. The experienced Romanian has left Shakhtar Donetsk to join West Ham. Rat will be cover for fellow 32-year-old left back George McCartney.
Now we are talking. Everyone needs keepers and defenders but the midfielders and strikers are what get most of the country’s blood pumping.
It could be argued that Schurrle is a striker rather than a midfielder but I see him as a winger first and slotting in behind as striker as his secondary position. Either way the 22-year-old German is a great asset for Chelsea, he scored 18 goals in his two seasons at Bayer Leverkusen and assisted many more. His incredible work rate and pace helped him secure a spot in the German national team. He is hoping that teaming up with a returning Jose Mourinho will help guarantee his place in the German team for the 2014 world cup. When being interviewed after joining Chelsea, he was quoted ‘Everything is a big motivation now for me, the world cup, of course.’
Covering the defensive side of the midfield is the 6ft 2, 22-year-old Kenyan who has made the trek from Glasgow down to Southampton this summer. Wanyama has been playing for Kenya since he was just 15 and earlier this year became his country’s captain. He is renowned for his box to box style which made him a target for several Premier League teams this summer but in the end he has joined Dejan Lovren on his way to the south coast.
I have been an admirer of Juventus for years so my ears always prick up when I hear that a player is coming over to England from the old lady. Giaccherini is one of the most exciting signings this summer in my opinion. He is an Italian international who has won Serie A twice as well as lifting the Supercoppa Italiana all with Juventus and has now joined Sunderland. I am shocked that he has not joined one of the Europa or Champions League teams in the Premier League, especially after his very impressive Euro 2012 tournament. Certainly a one to watch hopefully Di Canio can get the best of his fellow countryman.
I enjoyed my summer watching the Confederation’s Cup in Brazil which ended with the host nation lifting the trophy. While Neymar was named player of the tournament another highlight from the squad was Paulinho who ran the midfield for Brazil. A lot of English fans had their eyes on him as he netted a lovely volley against England to earn a 2-2 draw. Paulinho did not disappoint. Since then he has signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Brazilian giants Corinthians for a bargain £17 million. Jose Paulo Bezerra Macial Junior, to give him his full name is a box to box midfielder in a similar mould to the likes of Yaya Toure. He is capable of making the team tick as well as chipping in with the odd goal from time to time. In his three seasons at Corinthians he netted 20 times and helped his team win the league in 2011 and the Copa Libertadores in 2012. I wonder if he will help Spurs lift some silverware?
Sub - Fernandinho
Fernandinho is one of the biggest signings of the summer, making his move from Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester City for a massive £34 million. The Brazilian box to box midfielder has a wealth of Champions League knowledge which might help to explain why he cost twice as much as his compatriot Paulinho. However with Paulinho keeping him out of the national team he will be keen to help secure a place in the 2014 World Cup squad so expect him to put in some powerful performances this season.
The position that gets us all drooling, the strikers! Premier League teams have splashed out over a £100 million on players whose main job is to smash, stroke or place the ball in the back of the net, so who have I picked? Well read on and find out.
The Montenegrin striker has been on several Premier League team’s wish lists but in the end Manuel Pellegrini has managed to secure his signature as a replacement for Carlos Tevez who will be going the other was to join Serie A. Jovetic scored 35 goals during his time at Fiorentina and can play on the left or as a central striker. With the likes of Negredo, Dzeko and Aguero battling for places I suspect we will see Jovetic playing more on the left, this might mean that he is not challenging for the golden boot but should be a key player for City this season.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
The big bad wolf as he has been dubbed in Norwich’s new kit publicity shots is a fantastic signing for the Canaries. The Wolf was linked to Manchester United for the last couple of seasons but Chris Hughton was able to work his magic and sign him up as a replacement for Grant Holt. He has become the club’s record signing costing £8.5 million to bring him in from Sporting Lisbon. During his time in Portugal the Dutchman played 55 games and hit the net 28 times. This is a fantastic return for a striker in any of Europe’s top leagues and he will now be joined up from with Gary Hooper another hot property who scored 63 times in his 95 appearances for Celtic. A tantalising prospect next season. Will we be seeing a splash of yellow in the Europa league soon?
Sub – Wilfred Bony
Swansea managed to secure one of the best signings of all time last summer. Michu joined in the summer of 2012 for a tiny £2million and scored 18 goals in his debut season in English football, an astonishing bit of business. Now hoping for similar success is Ivory Coast striker Wilfred Bony. The 24-year-old has signed from Vitesse after scoring 46 goals in just 65 games. Bony might not be as great a deal as Michu, as he cost a more substantial £12 million but he did help Vitesse finish 4th in the Dutch league so who knows.
Honourable mention – Nicola Anelka
I have stuck to new players joining the league from abroad but thought it was worth acknowledging a player who is returning to England. If you looked up ‘journeyman’ in the dictionary then you would find a picture of Nicola Anelka’s miserable face. During his professional career he has played for 11 top flight clubs around the world. He left Chelsea in 2012 for a payday in China with Shanghai Shenhua which many thought would be it for the Frenchman. However he spent last season on loan at Juventus and has now signed for West Brom. The sulking speedster could prove to be a useful way for the Baggies to deal with Lukaku returning to Chelsea. ‘Le Sulk’ as he was nicknamed during his time in England has played for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton and Chelsea and scored 123 goals while playing in England. He is a controversial figure but can certainly do a job. His goal scoring ability also saw him pull on the jerseys for PSG, Real Madrid and Fenerbahce. He may be 34 but expect to see him hit the net a few times this season.
So not matter what happens with the Premier League favourites like Suarez and Rooney, we can all look forward to some new signings making their impact next season.
image: © carca