Transfer talk: The 10 smartest summer scoops
The transfer season is hotting up now that Van Persie has joined United and Modric is set to seal Real deal. Because of the Olympics, the usual buzz surrounding new signings has been drowned out, but there was still astute business done
Liverpool: Fabio Borini; Roma, £10.5m
Paying £10.5m for a 21-year-old forward would perhaps raise eyebrows but then this is small change given Liverpool's recent transfer strategy. The key is that Brendan Rodgers has worked with Borini before when the pair were at Chelsea then Swansea, and in that alone is a message that the player will listen, improve and have an impact. Borini has scored goals at every level for Italy and squeezed into the Euro 2012 squad. Crucially he is renowned for his dedication, his commitment and his desire. They are good characteristics for a young forward hoping to make an impression.
Chelsea: Oscar; Internacional, £25m
We will all want to watch a Brazilian 20-year-old who cost £25m. In that, at least, Roman Abramovich will have his wish. Chelsea might finally be a team to appreciate for the language of their football, rather than just the result. Oscar has flair and can score goals from midfield, something Chelsea suddenly have in abundance, although it is worth noting his lack of experience – he has played fewer than 100 club games. However, the feeling remains that the former Internacional midfielder could be a little bit special. He has been given the No 11 shirt vacated by Didier Drogba.
Spurs: Jan Vertonghen; Ajax, £10m
The void at Tottenham is quite stark now that Ledley King no longer loiters in the physio's room, awaiting the call to deal with another defensive emergency. Instead Spurs have another powerful centre-half, except Vertonghen should clearly have his best years in front of him. At 25, the 6ft 2in defender has won two Dutch titles and 37 caps for Belgium. His strongest side is his left and as Ajax's vice-captain, he was a coveted player in the summer. For the sake of Andre Villas-Boas, his new manager, his start at White Hart Lane could do with being seamless.
Reading: Adrian Mariappa; Watford, £3m
Mariappa could have been forgiven for thinking his chance of a shot at the Premier League had gone when Newcastle and Watford could not agree a fee during the January transfer window. It had not. Indeed the defender is likely to play more now that he has joined a side newly promoted from the Championship. The 25-year-old, capped four times by Jamaica, is quick and can read the game well. He will need those skills this season for Reading, but recent seasons have proved the jump is not so great.
West Ham: Modibo Maiga; Sochaux, £5m
This will not have been where Maiga envisaged starting his Premier League career, having been chased by Newcastle for months, before failing a medical 15 days before the January transfer window opened. Instead he will be expected to find the goals that newly-promoted teams search for. The 24-year-old has the height (6ft 2in) to give Premier League defenders trouble and has scored well in Ligue 1 for Sochaux over the last two seasons – 24 goals in 59 appearances. The Mali-born striker, who has 14 siblings, has signed a four-year deal at Upton Park with an option for a further two years. He can also play as a winger.
Norwich: Robert Snodgrass; Leeds, £3m
You cannot question Snodgrass' desire – as a youngster at Livingston he turned down trials at Celtic and Barcelona because he wanted to play regularly. It was that drive which helped him break into the Livingston team as a youngster, and at Leeds he was a key part of the stabilising and slow regrowth of a fallen giant. Expect Snodgrass to play regularly for Norwich, to contribute from wide and to weigh in with goals. At 24 he has much still to prove but after 300 first-team appearances, the head on his shoulders is old. He spoke of windows of opportunity not always being open when he signed. His is now.
Swansea: Michu Rayo; Vallecano, £2m
Fifteen La Liga goals from midfield last season suggest Swansea have bought well and that their bubble will hopefully not burst after the departure of manager Brendan Rodgers. Michu arrives as a 26-year-old who has progressed throughout his career, enjoying his best campaign to date with Rayo Vallecano last year. That he will be expected to fill the void let by the departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson will make his task more difficult, but the £2m fee is seen as a bargain and he has three years to show his worth at a patient football club.
Arsenal: Santi Cazorla; Malaga, £16.5m
It should come as little surprise that two of Arsène Wenger's major signings over the last two summers have been diminutive Spanish midfielders. If the role model is now Barcelona, which surely it is, then first Mikel Arteta and now Santi Cazorla are most definitely Barça light. Cazorla's only surprise, like Arteta, is his age, signing for around £16 million as a 27-year-old. He came second in La Liga with Villareal and fourth last season with Malaga. He can pass well, manipulate the ball and play right the way across the midfield. His manager calls him technically gifted and he was Spain's Player of the Year in 2007.
QPR: Junior Hoilett; Blackburn, tribunal
There is a rawness about Hoilett that will have excited fans and put off certain managers. Unquestionably, however, there is a player who could have a bright future in the Premier League. Hoilett scored seven goals last season and assisted on a further six in the top division, for a team that was relegated. They are stats that attracted the Queen's Park Rangers manager, Mark Hughes, who will believe he has a true gem on his hands. Hoilett is quick, direct and can score goals. They are skills all too rare in one player these days.
Aston Villa: Ron Vlaar; Feyenoord, undisclosed
Ron Vlaar arrived quietly at Villa Park, which is the way Paul Lambert will like to conduct his business. In Vlaar he has landed a tough, uncompromising central defender who is likely to be a key player this season. Vlaar has caps at Dutch Under-21 level and for the full national side and, at 27, has the hunger after two injury-hit campaigns early in his career. Last season he helped Feyenoord finish runners-up in the Eredivisie. He has passed up possible Champions League participation and that should not be overlooked.
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