David Silva, Manchester City Attracting admirers for his performances for both Valencia and Spain, the 24-year-old winger has finally secured his move to the Premiership. Only a select few clubs would have been able to part with the £26m that Man City paid for his services, but City have got their hands on a real talent – if you can get regular games in Spain’s midfield, you have to be good. Silva has excellent passing, is quick, and as Chelsea fans will know, has an excellent shot on him. With the attacking options at Eastlands, we will have to bide our time to see how he is deployed, but for the Premier League’s right-backs, you have been warned.
Joe Cole, Liverpool A fresh start and a clean slate for Cole this season. Cole remained popular at Chelsea, despite never realising his full potential and cementing his place in the team, but his ability was, and still is, beyond doubt. To get someone of his calibre on a free transfer is quite a coup for Roy Hodgson, and he will add an extra dimension to Liverpool’s midfield. Having the firepower of Gerrard and Cole in midfield, should relieve some of the pressure from Fernando Torres and the team’s reliance on his goals. With an England place to get back, and the chance to prove critics wrong, Cole has more than enough incentives to make his time at Anfield work.
Gareth Bale, Spurs From Spurs’ unlucky charm (no win in his first 24 competitive appearances for the club) to one of their best players in the space of a year, the Welshman will be raring to go this season. Bale may continue on the left wing where he finished last term (destroying teams along the way), or go back to left-back. Should he go back to a more defensive position, a combination on himself and Luka Modric on Spur’s left hand side could be a potent weapon in their push for another top four place. Will almost certainly score from set-pieces this season.
Javier Hernandez, Manchester United Neither Michael Owen, not Dimitar Berbatov, have forged a decent partnership with Wayne Rooney since their time at the club. The Mexican impressed during the World Cup, as well as in pre-season and the Charity Shield. Still only 22, the striker has scored 10 goals in his 17 caps for his country, and that sort of strike rate at Old Trafford will make him an instant hero, and a bargain at the £10m Sir Alex Ferguson paid for him. With the likes of Giggs, Scholes and Neville providing vital experience, they cannot play every week, and Hernandez, along with Rafael, Fabio and Macheda will need to inject fresh energy into the team.
Adam Johnson, Man City Unlucky to miss out on Fabio Capello’s squad for South Africa – although that may be a good thing considering what subsequently happened – the winger did enough in his first six months at City to show he is worthy of his place amongst the big transfer fees surrounding him. Johnson can operate on either flank, as well as deliver decent service to any of the long list of forwards on City’s books. A team with Johnson and Silva on either side looks an exciting prospect, and the £7m that City paid for him looks to have been very good business considering the prices that they are forced to pay clubs for players.
Mikel Arteta, Everton Restricted to just 13 league appearances last season due to knee ligament damage, Arteta still impressed on his return at the end of the season. Everton still managed to do well last without him, mainly down to the performances of Stephen Pienaar, but if they can keep most their players fit (Phil Jagielka’s return will be a welcome boost) they have a good balance of style and grit. As Everton’s architect, Arteta will be at the fulcrum of the best things that they do and it was a shame for the league that he missed so much of last season. We look forward to watching him again this season.
Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal Having never been able to keep Robin Van Persie fit for an entire season, the addition of another striker was key for Arsene Wenger (although they still need to strengthen some other positions) and Chamakh has been on his radar for a while. His free transfer means Wenger has more freedom to add to his squad elsewhere, and at 6”2”, and good in the air, the Moroccan front man will provide a bigger presence up front that the other Arsenal attackers tend not to provide. Excited about a Van Persie/Chamakh combination.
Michael Essien, Chelsea Like Arteta at Everton, Chelsea managed without their Ghanaian midfield force. The Chelsea machine rumbled on but lacked the dynamism and thrust that Essien’s engine gives them. Few players are capable of the box-to-box play that Essien produces and at 80 minutes, when opponents are waning, Essien keeps going. His most blatant asset disguises good passing ability, a fierce strike and tough tackling. If Chelsea are to retain their Premier League title, Essien will be vital. He was also hugely missed in the Champions League.
Ben Foster, Birmingham Having expected Edwin Van Der Sar to retire and ease himself into the Man Utd first team, Foster has become frustrated with the lack of opportunities at Old Trafford. Never given a decent run of games, Foster struggled when called upon, but regular football at St Andrews may be the making of him. The well-drilled defence in front of him will help him, and he should blossom in the same way Joe Hart did last season. He clearly has his eyes on an England position and it’s now make or break for the young keeper. Time to show his talent.
Aleksander Kolarov, Man City Although it’s yet another City purchase in this list, it is hard to ignore their summer spending. It is also hard to ignore someone who possesses a shot that has knocked two people unconscious on the pitch (a referee and Napoli’s Ezequiel Lavazzi) as well breaking three fingers of teammate Sebastiano Siviglia in a training session. Wayne Bridge failed to convince last season, so big things will be expected of Man City’s new left-back. Despite the club’s progression, their defence hasn’t quite settled, but Kolarov’s combination of stout defending and good support play in attack should help Mancini’s men.
Who else is set for a big season? Let us know what you think
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