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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

My Ten Premier League Signings of the Summer

With the transfer window slamming shut late last night, I've decided to run through my top 10 signings of the summer, in no particular order.

Roberto Soldado (Valencia to Tottenham Hotspur)
The signing of Soldado seemed to solve Spurs’ striking troubles. 2012/13 saw Andre Villas-Boas’ side have only Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe as recognised forwards. Thankfully for AVB, he had the talents of Gareth Bale at his disposal. In Soldado though, Spurs have really got that elusive 20-goal-a-season man in their ranks. A current Spain international, the 28-year-old moved to the Premier League from La Liga side Valencia for £26m, a club record until the capture of Erik Lamela. A total of 59 goals in 101 games for Valencia proves that Soldado, a former Real Madrid youth graduate, knows exactly where the net is. The ex-Getafe frontman has already netted twice in his opening three games with the north Londoners, both goals coming from the penalty spot.

GOAL-DADO: Spurs have their man
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid to Arsenal)
It finally happened! I’m not talking about the capture of 24-year-old Ozil, who seemed to be having a medical for days rather than hours, more to the fact that Arsene Wenger finally decided to open the chequebook to go big. £42.4m was enough for Real Madrid to part with arguably one of the world’s best players on the same day that Gareth Bale rocked up at the Bernabeu. Ozil came to the attention of the world back in 2010 in South Africa, starring in a Germany team that tossed England aside on their way to bowing out at the semi-finals stage. It was Real that moved quickest to sign the German, snatching him from Werder Bremen for a fee of £13m. Over 80 assists since he joined Madrid, I have a feeling that Olivier Giroud is licking his lips. Arsenal could be sensational with their attacking options of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Ozil.

Wenger has spent big on the quality capture of Ozil
Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea)
A player I’ve always wanted to see in the Premier League has finally arrived. Eto’o has been linked numerous times in the past, however, has pursued moves to Italy and then Russia, after departing Barcelona. A man who has scored goals wherever he's been, Eto'o didn't have the best of times at Anzhi, but still managed to find the net 25 times in 53 appearances for the Russian side. Even at the age of 32, you still expect that a man of Eto'o's quality should be fine with the quicker play and step up in quality from the Russian League to the Premier League, as he links up once more with Jose Mourinho. The duo were previously involved in the Inter Milan side that became the first ever Italian side to win the treble. The Cameroon striker has won everything on offer in Spain and Italy, will an FA Cup triumph or a Premier League title be next on his list of honours?

SAM THE MAN: Eto'o and Mourinho are back together
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to Everton)
A slightly surprising late move was Lukaku's more to Merseyside, departing Chelsea for his second successive season loan move, this time to Everton. An excellent campaign at West Brom in 2012/13, netting 17 goals for the Baggies, seemed to signal a stay at Stamford Bridge. However, after the signing of Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba staying at the club, Lukaku was farmed out on loan again, Roberto Martinez pulling a rabbit out of the hat by snaring the big Belgian, adding firepower to his new-look squad, Lukaku joining the likes of Nikica Jelavic and fellow new signing, Arouna Kone up top. Lukaku should thrive on the excellent service from the likes of Kevin Mirallas and the rampaging Leighton Baines, who is regularly seen scampering down Everton's left side. Expect 15+ goals again for 20-year-old Lukaku.

THINGS ARE LUK-ING UP: More goals on the way for Lukaku?
Scott Sinclair (Manchester City to West Bromwich Albion)
After a year of disappointment for Sinclair, he finally took off from Manchester City on a temporary loan spell at West Brom. It wasn't too long ago when the winger was excelling at Swansea City, playing for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games and being touted for a call up to Roy Hodgson's England side. It's finally a chance to play for Sinclair and show his worth once more. He'll certainly get games at the Hawthorns and expect him to get a few assists for Baggies strikers Shane Long and fellow new signings Matej Vydra and Victor Anichebe. An opportunity for 24-year-old Sinclair to rebuild his career once again to reach the potential he had during his days at Chelsea.

Sinclair knows Steve Clarke from their Chelsea days
Pablo Osvaldo (Roma to Southampton)
A real statement of intent from Southampton was the signing of Italian international Pablo Osvaldo for a club record fee. Roma let the striker leave Serie A for a sum of £15m, with Osvaldo another option up front for Mauricio Pochettino, complimenting the likes of Jay Rodriguez and new England international Rickie Lambert, nicely. The Argentina-born striker netted 27 times in two seasons at Roma and worked with Pochettino at Espanyol in Spain. With the service from the likes of Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez, Osvaldo's goals could fire the Saints into the Europa League. See you in Westquay, Pablo!

RECORD BREAKER: Pablo's a Saint
Gary Medel (Sevilla to Cardiff City)
For a team that have earnt promotion to the Premier League for the very first time, Cardiff always needed a midfield enforcer, a battler in the middle of the park. Someone to get stuck in and get their foot on the ball is vital if they aim to stay in the top flight. In Gary Medel, Malky Mackay has snapped up a tough tackling little Chilean who's known as "The Pitbull". A consistent performer during his two years at Sevilla, Medel earned himself rave reviews, with Cardiff's capture something of a coup. The 26-year-old penned a four-year-deal at the Cardiff City Stadium after a record fee of £11m was agreed.

GOLD MEDEL: Cardiff have captured "The Pitbull"
Dejan Lovren (Lyon to Southampton)
Another player that will share residence with me in Southampton is Dejan Lovren. The experienced centre back made over 70 appearances in three years during his time at Lyon, and has 17 caps for Croatia. Defenders were the main priority for Mauricio Pochettino after conceding 60 Premier League goals in 2012/13, and with Victor Wanyama also arriving on the south coast, Southampton have certainly added quality to their backline. With the centre back still only being 24, he has plenty of time to develop into a world class defender at St Mary's.

HE'S LOVREN IT!: A coup for the Saints
Darren Bent (Aston Villa to Fulham)
An extremely shrewd loan signing by Fulham boss Martin Jol was that of Darren Bent. The duo worked together at Tottenham Hotspur and Bent, a prolific scorer wherever he's been will certainly get goals in west London. On paper, the striker duo of Bent and Dimitar Berbatov looks mouth watering for Whites' supporters as Jol looks to take Fulham to the next level, especially with the recent takeover at the club by Shahid Khan. It was surprising to see Bent left out in the cold by Aston Villa last season, and could have formed an excellent partnership with Christian Benteke.

Bent is back in the capital after time at Sunderland and Villa
Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Sporting Lisbon to Norwich City)
My final choice is Norwich's purchase of Ricky van Wolfswinkel. It was confirmed at the back end of last season that the talented Dutch hitman would head to Norfolk from Sporting Lisbon, despite City's Premier League status still in the balance. A striker that scored goals a plenty in Portugal, averaging a goal every other game at Sporting, van Wolfswinkel moved to Norwich for £8m, as Chris Hughton added a proven goalscorer to his ranks after hitting only 41 league goals last term. Has also notched almost 30 times back in his homeland with Utrecht. "The Wolf" could form a fruitful partnership with fellow new striker Gary Hooper.

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF: Norwich have got themselves a goalscorer

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