The who's new guide to the Premiership

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The Independent Football


Tomas Rosicky

Cost: £6.8m Previous club: B Dortmund

Labelled by the Czech media as the "Footballing Mozart", his graceful movement will be central to Arsenal's attacks. Capable of defence-splitting passes and runs and swerving long- range shots, the 25-year-old scored two goals at the World Cup which showcased those qualities. More in the mould of Alexander Hleb than Robert Pires, he scored only 19 times in 149 Bundesliga appearances.


Martin O'Neill

Cost: Free Previous club: Celtic

Apart from possibly Roman Abramovich, no other appointment could have generated as much enthusiasm among the supporters, players and officials at Villa. The former Leicester manager will be expected to revive the fortunes of this ailing club despite limited funds and a disgruntled set of players. O'Neill's powers of motivation are legendary, and if he could get the best out of Emile Heskey, then why not Milan Baros?


Jason Roberts

Cost: £3m Previous club: Wigan

Four years ago the then 24-year-old managed only three goals in his debut Premiership season for West Bromwich. Three years on and an older, stronger Roberts scored 14 goals on his Premiership return. His pace and power complemented the graceful but unorthodox talents of his partner Henri Camara at Wigan, and Roberts' hard work and determination drew admirers, including his new manager, Mark Hughes.


Abdoulaye Meite

Cost: Undisclosed Previous club: Marseille

The six-foot centre-back played two of Ivory Coast's three World Cup matches, but unfortunately they conceded four goals in the process. However, the 25-year-old was in fine form for Marseille last season, helping them finish fifth. Meite is strong, both in the air and on the floor, combative and determined. Bolton fans will recognise similarities with the club's Senegalese midfielder Abdoulaye Diagne Faye.


Jimmy F Hasselbaink

Cost: Free Previous club: Middlesbrough

Although not as fit or as fast as when he was discovered by George Graham in 1997, the seventh-highest goalscorer in Premiership history with 127 goals can still strike fear into the hearts and hands of goalkeepers. Despite his age - he was 34 in March - the Surinam-born striker scored 18 goals in all competitions last season, only four less than Charlton's top scorer, Darren Bent, and he still possesses a fearsome shot.


Michael Ballack

Cost: Free Previous club: Bayern Munich

Ordinary German players are never bestowed the title of "Kaiser", in any form, but then this midfielder is no ordinary player. Known as the "Little Kaiser", the 29-year-old oozes class. He swaggers, in a manner reminiscent of the German sides of the early 1990s, confident that he is best. He rarely gives the ball away, is proficient with both feet and excellent in the air. In 107 games for Bayern he scored 44 goals.


Joleon Lescott

Cost: £5m Previous club: Wolves

Lescott's biggest task? To justify the big outlay. How can he do that? Improve Everton's goals-against record (they conceded 50 in the League last season). Big, strong in the air and quick on the ground, the 23-year-old has the qualities to encourage Everton's fans. Also, having missed Wolves' Premiership season in 2002-03 through injury, he will be desperate to prove he is capable of competing with the game's élite.


Jimmy Bullard

Cost: £2.5m Previous club: Wigan

The 28-year-old worked his way up the Leagues starting at Gravesend (in the Ryman Premier) via West Ham and Peterborough to Wigan. There, under the tutelage of Paul Jewell, he combined hard work, determination and enthus-iasm with skill and poise. Although not a regular scorer last season, his memorable curling left-footed finish against Arsenal was an example of his potential. A tidy addition to the Fulham midfield.


Jermaine Pennant

Cost: £6.7m Previous club: Birmingham

Pennant represents Rafael Benitez's second gamble of the summer, after the signing of Craig Bellamy. However, Liverpool's manager has been looking for a right-winger since he took over, and there are few with as much potential as Pennant. Lightning quick, good at crossing and a tidy finisher, the 23-year-old was comfortably Birmingham's best player last season. He lifts the crowd every time he touches the ball.


Bernardo Corradi

Cost: £1m Previous club: Valencia

The 30-year-old striker came to prominence during Chievo's extraordinary debut season in Serie A in 2001-02, scoring 10 goals to help them finish fifth. He was signed by Internazionale but moved to Lazio after just one game. Two years, 64 appearances and 20 goals later he joined Valencia. He has experience, quality and reliability. Solid rather than spectacular, if he adapts to English football he could get into double figures.


Michael Carrick

Cost: £18.6m Previous club: Tottenham

The last of West Ham's famed academy trio (after Frank Lampard and Joe Cole) has finally made his big-money move. Some said he was the best of the three; he is certainly the most expensive, costing more than the other two put together (Lampard £11m, Cole £6.6m). But how will he justify the price? His passing range is excellent, he uses the ball well and is suited to United's system. But can he propel them to the title?


Julio Arca

Cost: £1.75m Previous club: Sunderland

It felt like the Argentinian had been at Sunderland forever. The 25-year-old was signed by the then manager Peter Reid for £3.5m in 2000, and a year later helped Argentina win the World Youth Championship. Naturally left-footed, Arca can play on either wing and in midfield or defence. He possesses a deft touch, which is utilised to the fullest at set-pieces. His whipped crosses are particularly difficult to defend against.


Damien Duff

Cost: £5m Previous club: Chelsea

The Ireland left-winger is a bargain at £5m and just the kind of player the Geordies adore. Attack-minded, skilful, always looking to beat players, the 27-year-old is bound to become a fans' favourite. Much like Laurent Robert, Duff will excite the crowd with every touch; unlike Robert, he will earn their applause for tracking back and his willingness to defend. The recently retired Alan Shearer would have appreciated his arrival.


Sol Campbell

Cost: Free Previous club: Arsenal

At the beginning of the summer the Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, said he wanted a world-class defender. If Campbell is physically and mentally fit, he may just have one. Despite what was, by his standards, a poor season last year, the 31-year-old centre-back retains most of his speed, strength and agility; that, combined with his experience and tackling ability, means he will remain a formidable opponent.


Seol Ki-Hyeon

Cost: £1.5m Previous club: Wolves

Via Antwerp and Anderlecht, Seol arrived at Wolverhampton in 2004 but struggled, scoring only eight times in 69 matches. The South Korea striker is possibly more famous for being named in the Funk Seoul Brothers team for the Nike Football Tournament advert in the build-up to the 2002 World Cup, alongside Ronaldinho and Denilson. He then went on to score the equaliser against Italy in that tournament.


Li Tie

Cost: Free Previous club: Everton

Some players return from serious injury fitter, stronger and more determined than ever (Marc Overmars); some never fully recover (Pierluigi Casiraghi). Li Tie has not played since January 2004 due to a shin injury, and arrives at Bramall Lane with much to prove. A skilful player, the 28-year-old is comfortable on the ball, has a range of passes and links well with midfielders and attackers, while his little flicks delight crowds too.


Didier Zokora

Cost: £8.2m Previous club: St Etienne

Zokora possesses all the attributes of a modern midfielder - strength, speed, aggression and determination - combined with the required technical ability in passing, heading and shooting. Much is expected of the 25-year-old, who is likely to play in the role recently vacated by Michael Carrick. Zokora has already endeared himself to the fans by declaring he chose Tottenham instead of their north London rivals Arsenal.


Damien Francis

Cost: £1.5m Previous club: Wigan

This box-to-box midfielder can score vital goals. His solitary one last season earned Wigan a priceless away victory at Everton, and at Norwich the year before the East Anglian strugglers invariably won or drew when he found the net. The 27-year-old makes late runs into the box, often leaping to head in from deep crosses. His aerial power is important in both penalty areas, just as his energy and hard work will be vital in midfield.


Lee Bowyer

Cost: Undisclosed Previous club: Newcastle

All eyes will be on the controversial midfielder's return to Upton Park. The 29-year-old spent six disappointing months with West Ham in 2003, an ankle injury preventing him from making an impact. This time, however, the player is fit and determined. It's a gamble, but if the manager, Alan Pardew, can coax Bowyer into showing his talent rather than his temper, the Londoner could propel West Ham into Europe.


Emile Heskey

Cost: £5.5m Previous club: Birmingham

Cumulatively speaking, Heskey has cost almost £23m; statistically speaking, he is worth a goal every four League games. Derided by many in the media for his tendency to fall over and fail constantly to fulfil the target-man position for which his giant figure seems so aptly designed, he is admired in equal measure for his strength, power and tireless running by the managers who have signed him.

Blue still the colour - and we don't mean Wigan


Manager: Arsène Wenger.

Last season: 4th. Prediction: 3rd.

Prospects: Henry stayed to play in new stadium but departure of Campbell and maybe Cole leaves holes to fill at back.

Ins: Tomas Rosicky (£6.8m, Borussia Dortmund), Fran Merida (Barcelona).

Outs: Dennis Bergkamp (retired), Robert Pires (Villarreal), Sol Campbell (Portsmouth), Ryan Smith (*Derby), Kerrea Gilbert (loan, Cardiff), Nicklas Bendtner, Sebastian Larsson, Fabrice Muamba (all loan, Birmingham).


Manager: Martin O'Neill.

Last season: 16th. Prediction: 9th.

Prospects: O'Neill's arrival will lift club morale and league position but boardroom interference may stifle progress.

Ins: Yago Bellon, Damian Bellon (both *St Gallen).

Out: Jamie Ward (Torquay).


Manager: Mark Hughes.

Last season: 6th. Prediction: 7th.

Prospects: Loss of Bellamy is big blow and replacements are not top drawer but Hughes has worked wonders.

Ins: Jason Roberts (£3m, Wigan), Benni McCarthy (£2.5m, Porto), Francis Jeffers (Charlton).

Outs: Craig Bellamy (£6m, Liverpool), Paul Dickov (Man City).


Manager: Sam Allardyce.

Last season: 8th. Prediction: 10th.

Prospects: A clear-out of experienced players makes it hard to see Allardyce repeating last year's surprise success.

Ins: Quinton Fortune (Man Utd), Abdoulaye Meite (*Marseille).

Outs: Dietmar Hamann (£300,000, Man City), Rahdi Jaidi (£2m, Birmingham), Jay-Jay Okocha (Qatar), Bruno N'Gotty (Birmingham), Kevin Poole (Derby), Matt Jansen (re), Khalilou Fadiga (re), Hidetoshi Nakata (retired).


Manager: Iain Dowie.

Last season: 13th. Prediction: 13th.

Prospects: Dowie will put his stamp on side after Curbishley's long reign; can he repeat Palace success in top flight?

Ins: Amdy Faye (£2m, Newcastle), Djimi Traoré (£2m, Liverpool), Simon Walton (£1m, Leeds), Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough), Cory Gibbs (Feyenoord), Christian Bolanos (Deportivo Saprissa).

Outs: Francis Jeffers (Blackburn), Jay Bothroyd (Wolves), Chris Perry (West Brom), Jonatan Johansson (Malmo), Shaun Bartlett (Kaiser Chiefs), Sheku Kamara, Chris Powell (both Watford), Jonathan Fortune (re).


Manager: Jose Mourinho.

Last season: 1st. Prediction: 1st.

Prospects: More pricey recruits make challenge even less likely but European concerns could have repercussions.

Ins: Andriy Shevchenko (£30.8m, Milan), Jon Obi Mikel (£16m - £12m Man Utd, £4m Lyn Oslo), Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), Salomon Kalou (*Feyenoord), Hilario (Nacional de Madeira).

Outs: Eidur Gudjohnsen (£8.2m, Barcelona), Damien Duff (£5m, Newcastle), Carlton Cole (£2m, West Ham), Hernan Crespo (Internazionale), Jiri Jarosik (*Celtic), Asier del Horno (*Valencia), Lenny Pidgeley, Filipe Morais (both Millwall), Glen Johnson (loan, Portsmouth), Maniche (end of loan, Dynamo Moscow).


Manager: David Moyes.

Last season: 11th. Prediction: 12th.

Prospects: Sound investment should improve consistency but Moyes cannot mount a challenge over whole season.

Ins: Andy Johnson (£8.6m, Crystal Palace), Joleon Lescott (£5m, Wolves), Tim Howard (loan, Man Utd).

Outs: Li Tie (Sheff Utd), Paul Hopkins (re), Duncan Ferguson (re), Nigel Martyn (retired).


Manager: Chris Coleman.

Last season: 12th. Prediction: 18th.

Prospects: Bullard may prove to be an inspired signing; if not, another flirtation with relegation may end in tears.

Ins: Jimmy Bullard (£2.5m, Wigan), Gabriel Zakuani (£1.5m, Leyton Orient), Bjorn Runstrom (£700,000, Hammarby), Franck Queudrue (*Middlesbrough).

Outs: Dean Leacock (£375,000, Swansea), Darren Pratley (£100,000, Swansea), Alain Goma (re), Facundo Sava (re), Liam Fontaine (Bristol City), Zesh Rehman (QPR), Wayne Bridge (end of loan, Chelsea).


Manager: Rafael Benitez.

Last season: 3rd. Prediction: 2nd.

Prospects: Bellamy's threat holds key to potential title challenge for Benitez as more goals should complete picture.

Ins: Jermaine Pennant (£6.7m, Birmingham), Craig Bellamy (£6m, Blackburn), Gabriel Paletta (£2m, Atletico Banfield), Mark Gonzalez (*Albacete), Fabio Aurelio (Valencia).

Outs: Fernando Morientes (£3m, Valencia), Djimi Traoré (£2m, Charlton), Antonio Barragan (£680,000, Deportivo), Dietmar Hamann (Bolton/ Manchester City), Bruno Cheyrou (*Rennes), Michael Nardiello (*West Brom), Ramon Calliste (Scunthorpe), David Raven (Carlisle), Zak Whitebread (Millwall), Chris Kirkland (loan, Wigan), Djibril Cissé (loan, Marseille).


Manager: Stuart Pearce.

Last season: 15th. Prediction: 15th.

Prospects: Pearce's honeymoon period did not last and he trod water in transfer market while losing key performers.

Ins: Bernardo Corradi (£1m, Valencia), Dietmar Hamann (£300,000, Liverpool/ Bolton), Joe Hart (£600,000, Shrewsbury), Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax), Paul Dickov (Blackburn), Ousmane Dabo (Lazio).

Outs: David James (*Portsmouth), Bradley Wright-Phillips (*Southampton), Lee Croft (£600,000, Norwich). David Sommeil (Sheff Utd), Kiki Musampa (end of loan, Atletico Madrid), Alberto Riera (end of loan, Espanyol).


Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson.

Last season: 2nd. Prediction: 4th.

Prospects: Any club that can dump Van Nistelrooy should challenge Chelsea but they have not replaced him or Keane.

Ins: Michael Carrick (£18.6m, Tottenham), Tomasz Kuszczak (loan, West Brom).

Outs: Ruud van Nistelrooy (£11m, Real Madrid), Jonathan Spector (£500,000, West Ham), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (*Plymouth), Quinton Fortune (Bolton), Eddie Johnson (Bradford), Tim Howard (loan, Everton).


Manager: Gareth Southgate.

Last season: 14th. Prediction: 11th.

Prospects: Green manager will have to learn fast and he may miss Hasselbaink; we will see just how good McClaren was.

Ins: Julio Arca (£1.75m, Sunderland), Herold Goulon (*Lyon).

Outs: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Charlton), Franck Queudrue (*Fulham), Doriva (re).


Manager: Glenn Roeder.

Last season: 7th. Prediction: 6th.

Prospects: Roeder will hope to keep up his good start and good relations with board; can Duff revive stalling career?

In: Damien Duff (£5m, Chelsea).

Outs: Alan Shearer (retired), Michael Chopra (£500,000, Cardiff), Lee Bowyer (*West Ham).


Manager: Harry Redknapp.

Last season: 17th. Prediction: 14th.

Prospects: Campbell's capture was a coup even by Redknapp's standards; improved defence should bring safety.

Ins: Sol Campbell (Arsenal), David Thompson (Wigan), Glen Johnson (loan, Chelsea).

Outs: Amdy Faye (£2m, Charlton), Gregory Vignal (*Lens), Brian Priske (*Club Brugge), Vincent Pericard (Stoke), John Viafara (Southampton), Sander Westerveld (re), Aliou Cissé (re), Collins Mbesuma (re), Gary Silk (re).


Manager: Steve Coppell.

Last season: Promoted (1st in Championship). Prediction: 19th.

Prospects: Coppell struck gold last season but lack of investment leaves his side looking vulnerable in top flight.

Ins: Seol Ki-Hyeon (£1.5m, Wolves), Sam Sodje (£350,000, Brentford).


Manager: Neil Warnock.

Last season: Promoted (2nd in Championship). Prediction: 17th.

Prospects: No respecter of reputations, Warnock may be ideal manager to keep Blades up, with some sound signings.

Ins: Claude Davis (£2.5m, Preston), Rob Hulse (£2.1m, Leeds), Mikele Leigertwood (£600,000, Crystal Palace), Chris Lucketti (£300,000, Preston), Ian Bennett (Leeds), David Sommeil (Man City), Li Tie (Everton), Christian Nade (Troyes).

Outs: Garry Flitcroft, Brian Deane , Stuart McCall, Craig Short (all retired), Bruce Dyer (Doncaster), Geoff Horsfield (loan, Leeds), Luke Beckett (*Huddersfield).


Manager: Martin Jol.

Last season: 5th. Prediction: 5th.

Prospects: Jol's Champions' League dream was thwarted after fine season but Zokora will alleviate Carrick's loss.

Ins: Dimitar Berbatov (£10.8m, Bayer Leverkusen), Didier Zokora (£8.6m, St Etienne), Benoît Assou-Ekotto (*Lens), Dorian Dervitte (*Lille).

Outs: Michael Carrick (£18.6m, Man Utd), Grzegorz Rasiak (£2m, Southampton), Stephen Kelly (£750,000, Birmingham), Mounir El Hambaoui (Willem II), Johnnie Jackson (Colchester), Dean Marney (re), Goran Bunjevcevic (re), Noureddine Naybet (re).


Manager: Adrian Boothroyd.

Last season: Promoted (Championship Play-off winners). Prediction: 20th.

Prospects: Boothroyd's talented young side will be enthusiastic but rawness makes them prime relegation material

Ins: Damien Francis (£1.5m, Wigan), Tamas Priskin (*Gyori ETO), Scott Loach (Lincoln), Claude Seanla (Tottenham), Sheku Kamara, Chris Powell (both Charlton), Ben Foster (loan, Man Utd).


Manager: Alan Pardew.

Last season: 9th. Prediction: 8th.

Prospects: Pardew has restored lustre to Hammers and Cole could begin to shine at front of an impressive side.

Ins: Tyrone Mears (£1m, Preston), Jonathan Pantsil (Hapoel Tel-Aviv, £1m), George McCartney (£600,000, Sunderland), Jonathan Spector (£500,000, Man Utd), Carlton Cole (*Chelsea), Lee Bowyer (*Newcastle).

Outs: Elliott Ward (£1m, Coventry), Carl Fletcher (£400,000, Crystal Palace), Shaka Hislop (FC Dallas), Chris Cohen (*Yeovil), Darren Behcet (Yeovil), Clive Clarke (Sunderland), Yaniv Katan (loan, Maccabi Haifa), Lionel Scaloni (end of loan, Deportivo La Coruna).


Manager: Paul Jewell.

Last season: 10th. Prediction: 16th.

Prospects: Defied all doubters last season but Heskey will not make up for loss of key players as reality returns

Ins: Emile Heskey (£5.5m, Birmingham), Fitz Hall (£3m, Crystal Palace), Denny Landzaat (£2.5m, Alkmaar), Emerson Boyce (£1m, Crystal Palace), Tomasz Cywka (*Gwarek Zabrze), Chris Kirkland (loan, Liverpool), Luis Antonio Valencia (loan, Villarreal).

Outs: Jason Roberts (£3m, Blackburn), Jimmy Bullard (£2.5m, Fulham), Damien Francis (£1.5m, Watford), Alan Mahon (£200,000, Burnley), David Thompson (Portsmouth), Stéphane Henchoz (re), Matt Jackson (re).

Selected transfers only; free unless stated or * = undisclosed fee; re = released.

Assessments by Andrew Tong