With the premier league well and truly under way, it’s about time we ran through some of the best dealings of the summer so far. Special mentions go out to Louis Saha > Sunderland, Adebayor > Tottenham and Nuri Sahin > Arsenal.
5) Kevin Mirallas – Olympiakos > Everton – £6M
24-year-old versatile forward Kevin Mirallas scored 20 league goals last season for Olympiakos, sparking a race between Arsenal and Everton for his signature. Talks with Arsenal were revealed to be at an ‘advanced stage’, but Mirallas instead chose Everton, in favour of the promise of more game-time.
“Discussions were at quite an advanced stage with Arsenal but… I was convinced that what was important for me at this stage of my career was to get plenty of time on the field.”
Capable of playing on the left, right or down the middle, and also capable of scoring incredible goals from anywhere on the pitch, he’ll prove to be a valuable asset to Everton this season, who are buoyant after a brilliant 1-0 win over Manchester United on Monday evening. Having already made 28 caps for Belgium, scoring 5 times, expect Mirallas to be a key figure for the Belgian National Team for years to come.
4) Jan Vertonghen – Ajax – Tottenham – £9M
The second Belgian on the list, centre-back Jan Vertonghen has got all the tools to do well in the robust English game. Standing at 6ft 2, he is dominant aerially but, as well as this, uncharacteristically for someone his size, he is remarkably composed. Last year saw him named captain of Dutch giants Ajax, and enjoy a very successful season with the club, in which they won the Eredevisie in some style Vertonghen himself scored an incredible 8 goals from centre-back as Ajax racked up a superb 93 goals in just 34 matches. Expect Vertonghen to have a similar impact to what Vermaelen had when he first joined Arsenal. Aggressive, aerially dominant yet calm and collected on the ball, he and Younès Kaboul will form a formidable partnership at the back this season.
3) Shinji Kagawa – Borussia Dortmund – Manchester United – £12M
Shinji Kagawa is a remarkable player. The mercurial Japanese midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise from his days at Cerezo Osaka just 2 years ago. After his €350,000 move to Dortmund in 2010, Kagawa went on to make 49 league appearances in 2 years as Borussia Dortmund dethroned Bayern Munich and won back-to-back Bundesliga titles. An attacking-midfielder capable of scoring and assisting, 13 goals and 8 assists in the league last season, Shinji Kagawa will almost certainly take the Premier League by storm. A snip at £12M when you consider his age and ability, had he not been in the last year of his contract, the demanded fee could have easily been double that.
2) Santi Cazorla – Málaga – Arsenal – £12M-15M
Considered by many to have been the best player in La Liga outside of the top two, Santiago Cazorla is a massive coup for Arsenal. Signed for a cut price fee, believed to be between £12M – £15M, from cash-strapped Málaga, Cazorla is what Arsenal lacked throughout the entire ’11/’12 campaign. A real attacking-midfielder capable of making something out of nothing, but, as well as this, he incredibly well-rounded. In fact, according to WhoScored, he was the most complete midfielder in Europe last season.
His Arsenal debut brought wide-spread praise from pundits and fans alike, despite Arsenal drawing 0-0 with Sunderland. He created 7 chances, made 3 tackles and 2 interceptions and notched up an impressive 8.3 overall rating on WhoScored. Expect more of the same from the little Spanish magician as the season progresses.
“I’m very happy to be here, Arsenal are a huge club. I hope to win trophies here, that is what I want.” – Cazorla on joining Arsenal.
1) Miguel Pérez Cuesta, better known as Michu – Rayo Vallecano – Swansea – £2M
Now, Michu may not be a name known by many of you, but I’m sure that if you ask any La Liga expert out there, they’d speak glowingly of the 26-year-old midfielder. I highly doubt that, barring Frank Lampard, you’ll find a better goalscoring midfielder anywhere in Europe. A superb 15 league goals last season for lowly Rayo Vallecano led to new Swansea boss Michael Laudrup snapping the Spaniard up for a bargain price of just £2M. If his debut Is anything to go by, he will go some way to replicating his form from last year. 2 goals and an assist, including a stunning curling finish on his favoured left-foot, in Swansea’s 5-0 drubbing of QPR made everyone stand up and pay attention. If he does go on to perform consistently this season, expect several clubs to be looking at the player closely next summer! He may not be the most expensive or most well-known signing of the summer but he has considerable talent and £2 Million Pounds is an absolute steal…
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