Summer 2012 Transfer Team
Total Value: £107.2m
GK: Julio Cesar – Inter Milan to QPR (Free)
Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar was not long ago considered by some the best goalkeeper on the planet. He was part of the Inter Milan side that won the Champions League in 2010, and it appears a real coup for QPR, a club who staved off relegation to remain in the top division of English football by the skin of their teeth, to have signed him. Given his age, Julio Cesar is unlikely to improve as a player, but if he can replicate the form shown throughout his career, the goalkeeper will be a fantastic piece of business, especially considering the fact that he was purchased on a free transfer. Dare I say it, there appears to be no debate over whether to replace mistake-prone Robert Green, and with a more solid, experienced and confident man guarding the goal, QPR will in all likelihood have a better defensive record this season than they did last.
CB: Jan Vertonghen – Ajax to Spurs (£10m)
Jan Vertonghen seems like a centre-half with great potential. Although Spurs have started this campaign poorly, with new manager Andre Villas-Boas yet to register a win with the North London club, for £10m Vertonghen seems excellent business. The Belgian is strong and fairly quick, good in the air and not uncomfortable with the ball at his feet. A versatile player, he can also operate at full-back, though obviously his preferred role is in the middle. Vertonghen was pursued by Spurs’ rivals Arsenal, but was desperate to seal a move to White Heart Lane from Dutch club Ajax.
CB: Ron Vlaar – Feyenoord to Aston Villa (£3.2m)
£3.2m seems like a small fee to pay for Ron Vlaar. The Dutch defender impressed at Eredivisie club Feyenoord, and appears, despite Villa’s poor start to the season, to be a good signing. The 27-year-old signed a three-year contract at the Midlands club, and the defender, who has played ten times internationally for the Netherlands, certainly looks better than James Collins, who left for West Ham in this window. He is physically strong and appears solid, a real presence on the field. At such a low price in modern footballing terms, Ron Vlaar looks like good value for money.
LB: Fabio – Manchester United to QPR (Loan)
The Brazilian youngster was hardly top of the pecking order at Manchester United, so a loan switch to another Premiership club looks like the best option for Fabio Da Silva. The Brazilian is a right-footed left-back, but seems to be full of potential and can do a good job at QPR. Should the Hoops have a successful season this campaign, they will have no issue in filling his vacancy with the investment from Tony Fernandes. Nonetheless, in the meantime, Fabio certainly seems their best left back option. His twin brother Rafael has played more Premier League football, but Fabio is no doubt talented; In my opinion Fabio is the brother with more potential, but has obviously struggled to dislodge Patrice Evra in the United first team. Should he develop well on loan, he could really compete with Evra for a place in the Red Devils’ starting line-up.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – Crystal Palace to Southampton (£2.5m compensation)
Signing the England Under 21 right-back for just £2.5m appears a good piece of business for Southampton, and Clyne, who impressed in the Saints’ unfortunate 3-2 defeat against Manchester United, certainly looks like a starlet with a lot of potential. Clyne is quick, sharp and adventurous, and does appear to be an option for England as a right-back in the future. Clyne may well become an important player in Southampton’s fight to stay in the Premier League, as usually it takes a solid defence for teams to stay up. If the youngster can perform in the important games, he will be well worth the small £2.5m that he cost the Saints.
CM: Shinji Kagawa – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United (£12m)
Shinji Kagawa looks like the player United desperately needed last season – an attacking midfielder with vision, technique and intelligence on the pitch, and one who could score goals at that. The Japanese star was key in Dortmund’s league-winning season and has been brought in for an incredibly low fee given his talent. Still just the young age of 23, Shinji Kagawa looks to be one of the bargains of the season for just £12m and will be a key man in Manchester United’s title challenge this campaign.
CM: Santi Cazorla – Malaga to Arsenal (£16.5m)
Cazorla looks like yet another class Spanish international playmaker that has taken no time in opening his box of tricks since joining the Premier League. The Spaniard, who stands at just 5’6″ tall, has impressed in his first three games at Arsenal and looks a steal for £16.5m, even if it is a club-record fee. Though his first goal for the Gunners at Anfield was hardly the most memorable ever seen, the vision, control and technique shown by Santi Cazorla throughout the first few games of the season indicates that Arsenal have a true talent on their hands. The playmaker is good with both feet, and his awareness for clever passes has already been displayed in the short time he’s played in an Arsenal shirt. Cazorla has had a highly promising start to the season, and it appears that is more to come.
Eden Hazard – Lille to Chelsea (£32m)
Despite his price-tag, Eden Hazard cannot be excluded from this team, as he has stood out as world-class and well worth what Chelsea paid for him. At the young age of just 21, it had been suggested that Hazard may have needed time to settle in to the pace and physicality of the English game before truly being at his best. This did not appear so, as Hazard has terrorised the defenses of Wigan, Reading and Newcastle in helping Chelsea to claim top spot for now. Very deservedly the Belgian has been awarded man of the match in all of Chelsea’s three league games so far, having claimed five assists and netting his first Chelsea goal from the penalty spot. Hazard already looks like one of the best players in the league, and is only likely to get better with time.
AM: Michu – Rayo Vallecano to Swansea (£2m)
Michu has joined a Swansea side that many touted for relegation and stunned the Premier League from the first whistle. The 26-year-old has scored in all three of Swansea’s league games so far, and being just a £2m purchase, it has to be asked why noone else went in for him. The Spaniard was the top scoring midfielder in the Spanish league last season, and this was for Rayo Vallecano, hardly giants in their country. His sharp, powerful attacking play looks like a real weapon, and with Swansea having replaced Scott Sinclair in this transfer window as well, the Welsh club only look much stronger.
ST: Dimitar Berbatov – Manchester United to Fulham (£4m)
Dimitar Berbatov may have been an outcast towards the end of his Manchester United, but you can count on him being a regular at Fulham. Berbatov still appears to have tremendous close control and skill, and has a sublime level of vision and technique that is well worth the £4m price that they paid for him. Essentially Fulham have bought a player that not long ago cost a fortune for a minimal fee. Berbatov was the winner of the Golden Boot a couple of seasons ago, and his game has not fallen to pieces with age, though he did fall down the pecking order at United. The Bulgarian appears to be a top-class signing for the Cottagers, and signing Hugo Rodellega and Berbatov for a combined sum of £4m goes a long way to replacing the departed Clint Dempsey.
ST: Robin van Persie – Arsenal to Manchester United (£25m)
What can be said about Robin van Persie that has not already been? The Dutchman is a world-class player, and showed it once again when it mattered, scoring a dramatic hat-trick to clinch an important (if undeserved) 3-2 win for his new side Manchester United at St. Mary’s. Questions have been raised about his age, and it has been reasoned that £25m is a good sale for Arsenal: the player is 29-years-old, has one year left on his contract and has a long history of injuries. Despite this, Robin van Persie is worth the money paid for him. His style of play is not based on running around constantly, meaning that he will still be able to maintain his game in to his thirties if he remains injury-free. The Dutchman’s goal record speaks for itself, and, despite his frosty exit from the Gunners, he dragged Arsenal out of trouble and back into the Champions League last season, scoring 30 times in the league. He had a very quiet time at the Euros in the summer, scoring just once as Holland crashed out, nonetheless he still has a very decent international goalscoring tally. Van Persie has shown numerous times that he can score in the big games, such as his scoring at hat-trick at Chelsea last year. It is a genuine signal of intent for Alex Ferguson to sign the captain and best player of a rival, and his presence is likely to keep United fighting Manchester City and Chelsea for the Premiership title.
Ben Foster – Was solid last season on loan at the Hawthorns and no reason can be seen that this year will be different for him.
Geoff Cameron – A physical, powerful defender. The USA international brought into Stoke from MLS club Houston Dynamo looks like he will fit right in.
Lukas Podolski – Scored his first goal for Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday and with over 100 international caps for European giants Germany, Podolski looks a great signing for £11m.
Pablo Hernandez – A technically gifted winger who looks a steal for £5m. Expect Valencia to miss his presence.
Gaston Ramirez – The Uruguayan was a rumoured target for Liverpool, and with good reason. A record £12m for the playmaker could end up money well spent.
Moussa Dembele – Scored on his Spurs debut and looks like he could get into almost any side. No surprise that Real Madrid were interested in the Belgian.
Esteban Granero – A gifted midfielder linked with Arsenal and Liverpool last year. Stood out as the best QPR player in their defeat against City, and is likely to settle in further given time.
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