With the Premier League now only days away from thrilling us once more, I pick out five summer signings that could light up English football in the months ahead.
1.) SANTI CAZORLA - Arsenal
The arrival of the 27 year old Spanish midfield mistro from Malaga was a protracted one that rumbled on for what seemed like an age as complications arose due to the Spanish club’s financial difficulties and general unwillingness to lose their best player. Cazorla however, was worth the wait. 45 caps in a Spain team currently regarded as one of the best if not the best international team of all time is testament to his genius. His ability finally provides Arsenal with the replacement for Cesc Fabregas, with the talent to both dictate and orchestrate play from almost anywhere on the pitch in the manner of a David Silva. Lacks physical stature but makes up for it with a hugely fierce competitive streak that helped fire Malaga to the Champions League last season. If Arsenal are to end their trophy drought this year, Cazorla will be at the heart of things.
2.) JOE ALLEN - Liverpool
For all the talk of Brendan Rodgers’ arrival at Liverpool suddenly bringing the kind of patient, tippy tappy, Barcelona-lite possession football in a flash to Anfield, it seems to have been conveniently forgotten by the many Liverpool ex-players in the media that the playing staff currently at the club are far too ill-suited to the philosophy Rodgers espoused so brilliantly at Swansea. However, although Allen hasn’t come cheap at £15 million, in him Liverpool not only have one of the most impressive players of the previous season and indeed the recent Olympic tournament, but one who is perfectly suited to Rodgers’ ideas. A mainstay at Swansea, Allen will give Liverpool’s midfield a sense of control and an ability to keep possession with both short and long passing that the Reds have lacked since Xabi Alonso’s departure. In a midfield three alongside Lucas and Steven Gerrard, Allen provides the perfect balance. Will look to add goals to his game this season.
3.) JUNIOR HOILETT - QPR
A signing that has perhaps gone under the radar a little amidst all the big money signings at the top of the league but QPR’s snaring of Blackburn’s brightest star in an admittedly dismal relegation campaign could prove to be an inspired one. Such was Hoilett’s form last season, which saw him rack up 7 goals, 7 assists and generally look like the one player capable of saving Blackburn from the drop, that talk of moves to Arsenal, Tottenham and Bayern Munich emerged as his contract ran down at Ewood Park. Thus, QPR’s ability and ambition to get their man should be applauded. Will provide some much-needed pace and creativity to a QPR starting line up that will provide perspiration rather than inspiration and will provide an excellent foil to the industrious work of Park on the opposite flank.
4.) MICHU - Swansea City
Seen as the replacement for Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michu comes from a highly productive season at Rayo Vallecano in La Liga where his 15 goals from an advanced midfield position saved the club from relegation by two points. Will be well known to Swansea’s new manager Michael Ladrup with his managerial experience in Spain and indeed was described by him as a “bargain” at only £
2 million. The key for Ladrup will be to play to his strengths and keep faith with him, particularly during the first few months when Michu’s slight frame may find itself exposed to the rough and tumble of English football. All going well, will provide the Swans with goals from midfield, something lacking in their impressive debut Premier League campaign.
5.) AROUNA KONE - Wigan Athletic
A Wigan Athletic incoming transfer, so invariably it was practically ignored by almost all media outlets focusing on the latest twist in the Robin Van Persie saga or Manchester United’s latest friendly match but at just over £3.5 million, the Ivorian forward could provide the Latics with a consistent goal threat that has been severely lacking in recent years as the likes of Mauro Boselli flopped, Hugo Rodallega underperformed and Franco Di Santo being...Franco Di Santo. Kone brings international pedigree and a season that saw him hit 15 goals as Levante finished a surprise 6th in La Liga. Indeed, a disastrous stint at Sevilla aside, Kone has consistently scored goals wherever he’s been and although a little raw around the edges, has the pace, power and finishing ability to hit the ground running at the DW Stadium.
Adam Mazrani @AMazrani
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