New additions to the Premiership

From the Roman conquest of Stamford Bridge to the latest prodigies and the most exotic imports
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The Independent Football

Roman Abramovich

Chelsea owner

Like a whirlwind, scattering millions of pounds in its wake, Abramovich has blown a hole in the assumption that Chelsea would never be more than Premiership and Champions' League also-rans. At least that's the theory. It remains to be seen whether his money can bring in a Vieira or a Van Nistelrooy as well as the best from Southampton and Blackburn. Fly-on-the-wall footage of the Russian's boardroom drinks with Doug Ellis, Sir Jack Hayward or Professor John McKenzie would be priceless.

Bobby Zamora

Tottenham Hotspur

No one could accuse Glenn Hoddle of failing to address Spurs' attacking shortcomings. To last year's Robbie Keane he has now added Helder Postiga, Freddie Kanouté and Zamora. At £1.5m, the 22-year-old offers good value, having scored 83 goals in 136 games for Brighton. His manager there, Steve Coppell, sees him as a 20-goals-a-season man and likens his poaching prowess to Ian Wright, whose stellar career Coppell launched at Crystal Palace.

Matthew Taylor


Successive promotions with Luton and Portsmouth, for whom Harry Redknapp snapped him up for £400,000 last summer. Initially a left-back, the 21-year-old blossomed in a wide midfield role, a position that makes it certain Sven Goran Eriksson will assess his merits in a Premiership context. Voted into the First Division XI alongside Messrs Merson, Irwin and Izzet by his fellow players and attracted close-season interest from Arsenal.



Silas is golden. As well as being a headline waiting to happen, Wolves' manager Dave Jones is confident it will prove true of the promoted club's £1.5m recruit from the Portuguese minnows União Leiria. An attacking midfielder who compares his style to Freddie Ljungberg's at Arsenal, he rejected Porto in favour of the Premiership. Broke into Portugal's midfield this year alongside Luis Figo and Rui Costa, scoring brilliantly against Slovenia.

Jens Lehmann


From Seaman to Lehmann - there is rhyme as well as reason in Arsenal's trading a 39-year-old keeper for a model six years younger. The £1.5m signing has understudied Oliver Kahn with Germany and has the experience to settle swiftly: a decade with Schalke 04, six unhappy months at Milan and a Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund. Technically excellent if temperamentally suspect, his fifth red card coming barely a month ago.

City of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City

The Premiership's newest venue, built for last year's Commonwealth Games, is the only top-flight ground built with public funds (£100m from the Lottery, £22m from the Council). So the pain of leaving Maine Road will be softened by the thought of United fans having financed the stadium with their council taxes. With 48,000 seats, it should be full for most fixtures and, with a pleasing nod to tradition, it stands a mile from City's original Hyde Road home.

Luciano Figueroa

Birmingham City

A quarter-century after Birmingham last signed an Argentinian, the World Cup-winning defender Alberto Tarantini, Figueroa should excite St Andrew's more. Aged 22, "the new Batistuta" cost Steve Bruce £2.5m from Rosario Central. Top scorer in his home country last season, his 17 goals including five in a 7-2 rout of Boca Juniors. Provided he adjusts to the intensity of the English game, it is easy to imagine his feeding off Christophe Dugarry's flicks.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

Manchester United

Old Trafford has an Eric again, and one known in his native Cameroon as "Little Cantona" at that. The capture from Nantes is actually a defensive midfielder, closer in style to Nicky Butt. But Sir Alex Ferguson believes his passing range will surprise opponents, springing attacks from deep positions. With 10 yellow cards and one red last season, he could be Roy Keane's eventual successor.

Aaron Lennon


The next Wayne Rooney? Parallel to their reputation as spenders, Leeds have been one of the most diligent clubs in developing players. Next in line after Kewell, Woodgate, Smith, Robinson and Milner is Lennon, 16, a wide attacker with searing pace and tricky feet. The England U-17 player created a goal soon after coming on in his debut against Aston Villa in Dublin last weekend. Given Peter Reid's needs, could be fast-tracked to the senior ranks.

3G Mobiles

Some football fans have only just learned not to be awed by giant screens showing action-replays at many stadiums. For them, the word "mobile" evokes forwards rather than phones. The pace of change is such that this season sees the launch, by the telecom company 3, of video clips transmitted to mobiles within seconds of a goal, save or major incident. Highlights of all Premiership games will be available, with "near live" coverage of 40 matches.