Sunday, July 11, 2010
Top Ten: Premier League transfers so far
The dust has hardly settled on the World Cup, but already focus has shifted to the transfer market and the race for signatures before the window slams shut. Joe Cole, Raul and Cesc Fabregas may not have decided who they will be playing for, but there are plenty of players who have. Soccernet has a round-up of the top ten so far.
David Silva: Valencia to Manchester City. The subject of constant interest from the biggest clubs in Europe over the past few seasons, Silva is one of the hottest properties around and worth every bit of the £25 million-odd spent on him. In fact, the signing is proof that Manchester City can now compete with the big-boys and snatched the winger from under the noses of Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid. An incisive dribbler, Silva's pace and vision down the flanks will be of much use to City, although it remains to be seen how he will handle the physical demands of the English top flight.
Yaya Toure: Barcelona to Manchester City. Certainly one who won't struggle physically is Yaya Toure, who joins his brother, Kolo, at Eastlands for a fee of around £27 million. An incredibly powerful defensive midfielder who can also play as a central defender, Toure's signing (and the £11 million spent on German defender Jerome Boateng) increases City's stopping power. Toure's arrival may create tension with at least five players capable of playing in his position already on the books, but he is a class performer.
Yossi Benayoun: Liverpool to Chelsea. The Blues have not done much to strengthen their title-winning squad, in fact until last week all they have managed to do is release a string of talented midfielders in Michael Ballack, Deco and Joe Cole. However, bringing in a proven creative talent like Benayoun for around £5 million is a good move and he will not have to acclimatise to the pressure of playing for a top club. A tricky player to mark, and one that has seen everything the Premier League has to offer, Benayoun could be a shrewd buy. He was considered a scorer of crucial goals at Liverpool and woefully under-used by Rafael Benitez.
Marouane Chamakh: Bordeaux to Arsenal. Arsene Wenger loves a bargain and they don't come any better than a free transfer. Moroccan striker Chamakh impressed in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season and his strength, agility and pace up front have made him a dangerous prospect, while he will step into the shoes long left by Emmanuel Adebayor at the Emirates. His style of play is suited to the Gunners and he could score hatfuls of goals. However, he was never prolific in Ligue 1, scoring league 23 goals in the last two seasons - a total which the likes of Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba surpassed in 2009-10 alone.
Martin Petrov: Manchester City to Bolton. Possibly the coup of the season as unfashionable Bolton managed to snag themselves a top-class winger on a free transfer. No longer wanted at Manchester City, Petrov has struggled with injury but, when fit, is an excellent performer. Fast, and a constant threat with his direct running, Bolton's Kevin Davies may be the happiest man in the Premier League next season as he will be guaranteed some great service from the Bulgarian.
Javier Hernandez: Guadalajara to Manchester United. A virtual unknown before the news broke that Sir Alex Ferguson had splashed around £10 million in April, Hernandez did himself no harm with some decent performances for Mexico at the World Cup. A striker who links well with his team-mates and is good in the air, he does lack physical power but has determination to succeed and is certainly not short on skill and pace. He may not replace Rooney, but could be an excellent addition to the squad. He will have to end a run of disappointing Mexican signings for Premier League clubs, most notably the previously free-scoring Jared Borgetti.
Ben Foster: Manchester United to Birmingham. Once tipped to become England's number one goalkeeper, Foster found his confidence damaged by inconsistent performances between the posts at Old Trafford and was let go for £6.5 million. There is no doubting his potential talent as he has shown himself to have excellent reflexes and good distribution, but he needs regular first-team football - which he will get at St Andrew's. He has a tough act to follow in Joe Hart, but Blues could have got themselves a bargain.
Stephen Hunt: Hull to Wolves. The club may have wasted £6.5 million on signing striker Steven Fletcher from Burnley, but the £3 million signing of Hunt is a great piece of business. A proven Premier League performer, Hunt has done it at Reading and Hull and continues to be undervalued by the bigger clubs in the league. He will certainly add creativity and graft to the Wolves midfield and brings a goal threat that the club desperately need. Hull might even had stayed up had he not been injured for the season in February, as he was the Tigers' top scorer. Wolves fans will have to wait until October to see him in action - it will be like the transfer window does not exist.
Cristian Riveros: Cruz Azul to Sunderland. One of the stars of the World Cup for Paraguay, Riveros put pen to paper before flying out to South Africa and Steve Bruce will be very pleased with what he saw from his new signing. A versatile midfielder with plenty of stamina, Riveros proved himself to be a jack of all trades as he ticked the boxes for his country in midfield and looks well prepared to make an impact in England.
Thomas Hitzlsperger: Lazio to West Ham. Having cut his teeth in England with Aston Villa, Hitzlsperger is known as Der Hammer for his ferocious shot and power in the middle of the park. The German is a tenacious midfielder who is both strong in the tackle and in the attacking third and he rejected an offer of a new contract at Lazio in order to sign for the Hammers on a free. He has all the tools at his disposal [sorry] to make his return to England a successful one.