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Premier League Summer Signing XI feat. Manchester United and Manchester City stars

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We’re almost a third of the way through the 2015/16 Premier League season and most of the signings made in the summer have adapted to their new surroundings and, for some, their new culture. There were some big money moves in the summer. Some of them have paid off almost immediately, but others haven’t. Some arrived at their new clubs with a small price tag and have already increased their value and posed the question as to why other clubs didn’t fight for their services. Based on performances at the start of the season, I’ve compiled a starting eleven of summer signings.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech, Arsenal

This was probably the easiest decision to make. Not just because other goalkeeping acquisitions have been poor, but because Cech has already shown his worth to an Arsenal side that again are being touted as possible title winners this season. Despite a shaky start in the opening day defeat to West Ham, Cech has replicated the impressive form that made him Chelsea’s number one for 10 years. The Czech’s performances have been crucial for The Gunners this season in matches such as the 0-0 against Liverpool and the 2-0 win against Bayern Munich. For his performances so far this season, Cech would be a sure starter for any team in the top flight.

Full back: Cedric Soares, Southampton

Cedric just edged past Matteo Darmian for the full back position with Nathaniel Clyne getting the other. The Portuguese right back joined Southampton for a reported fee of £3.5m and his performances on the south coast make that fee look a bargain. The former Sporting Lisbon defender has improved with each game and has attacking qualities in abundance. The concerns over the 24-year-old initially were on his defending capabilities but Cedric has started to display his abilities at the back and has been key in performances such as the win at Stamford Bridge and has started to fill the boots of Nathaniel Clyne excellently.

Centre back: Virgil van Dijk, Southampton

Virgil van Dijk swapped Scotland for the south-coast on deadline day and has put an end to the defensive worries that Southampton had in the first few games of the season. The Dutch international has slotted in effortlessly alongside skipper Jose Fonte in the Saints backline and looks right at home in the Premier League. The former Celtic man has won plaudits from fans and pundits alike with his defensive qualities and the threat he poses in the opposition’s penalty box with two Premier League goals to his name already. With widespread interest in him whilst he was playing his football at Celtic Park, the Saints will feel lucky to have captured van Dijk’s services.

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Centre back: Toby Alderwiereld, Spurs

The man who Virgil van Dijk replaced at Southampton partners him at centre back in this summer signing XI. With Alderwiereld’s time at Atletico Madrid evidently up, the Belgian had a choice between Southampton and Tottenham and opted for the latter. It was a tossup between Alderwiereld and Nicolas Otamendi for the centre back spot but the drastic improvement of Spurs’ backline since the Belgian joined the club made it an easy decision. This time last year, Spurs had already conceded 14 goals compared to the nine this season. The Belgian connection between Jan Vertonghen and Alderwiereld has improved Spurs’ defence and could be pivotal if they are to mount a challenge for a top four finish.

Full back: Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool

We complete the Southampton-themed backline with Nathaniel Clyne. Clyne was the fourth player to join Liverpool from Southampton in two summer windows and has arguably made the best transition of the quartet. He is as strong going forward as he is at the back and has added some much needed reliability and quality in Liverpool’s right back position. The 24-year-old will hope that his impressive performances at Anfield will help him nail down the England right back slot ahead of next year’s Euros.

Centre midfield: Yohan Cabaye, Crystal Palace.

Palace’s capture of Yohan Cabaye was something of a coup for Pardew’s side. The Frenchman has shown his qualities immediately with four goals and has been crucial to their impressive start to the season. With the attacking threat that Palace pose going forward, Cabaye’s experience and leadership is pivotal in protecting the back four. The Frenchman has made more interceptions than any other player in the league this season and only Lucas has made more tackles, making Pardew and Cabaye’s reunion all the more sweeter.

Centre midfield: Etienne Capoue, Watford

Another tough decision but Capoue just edges past Morgan Schneiderlin in central midfield. The Premier League new boys have had a decent start to the season and like Cabaye, Capoue does the ugly side of the game fantastically. The headlines tend to focus on the performances of Ighalo and Gomes, but Capoue has been the unsung hero for The Hornets so far. The Frenchman swapped White Hart Lane for Vicarage Road in the search for more first team football and his form will be crucial if Watford are to keep their top flight status.

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Attacking midfield: Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City

Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City confirmed the signing of Kevin de Bruyne for a huge fee of around £54m. However, the Belgian has started to prove why City spent that much on him. The attacking midfielder has been one of the best performers for last season’s second place side. The former Chelsea man has netted six times already for the title contenders and with the fitness of Sergio Aguero a reoccurring concern, City will be hoping that de Bruyne will be able to continue his early form to push City to a third Premier League title.

Attacking midfield: Dimitri Payet, West Ham

Dimitri Payet has been arguably the signing of the summer so far. His performances have been outstanding and crucial to West Ham’s strong start to the season. Payet starred in The Hammers’ victories at the Emirates and the Etihad as well as the brace that secured the win against Newcastle. Hammers fans are optimistic about the rest of the season given the start Slaven Bilic has made and Payet will hope that his early form will continue through to May and drive West Ham into the top half of the table and potentially the European places.

Forward: Andre Ayew

Andre Ayew could prove to be one of the bargains of the summer. The Ghanaian joined the Swans on a free transfer and has already found the net five times. Despite Swansea’s early form dropping off, the quality of Garry Monk’s men should see them return to their impressive performances. The highlight of Ayew’s Swansea career so far has been notching an assist and a goal in Swansea’s victory over Manchester United and he  has proved to be a steal for Swansea.

Forward: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

What a start to his Manchester United career this young man has had. United paid a record £36m for the teenager and that fee could potentially rise to £58m. His goal on his debut raised the roof at Old Trafford and even got Martin Tyler seemingly jumping for joy. The 19-year-old has scored five times so far for United and picked up the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for September and his strike against rivals Liverpool won him Goal of the Month. Early signs suggest that Martial’s huge fee will be a worthwhile investment for the future as well as the present.

Featured image taken by Emrah Partal.

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Dan is a Journalism student at UWE and is an aspiring football journalist. His first ever football match was Southampton's 3-2 win over Leeds in 2003 and he has been a Saints fan ever since.

West Ham United

What’s next for Jordan Hugill after becoming a West Ham outcast?

The former Preston striker has had a difficult time since his January move.

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When Jordan Hugill signed for West Ham United on January 31, many in east London had high hopes for the former Preston North End striker.

However, nearly three months later, the 25-year-old striker has played a grand total of 22 minutes for the Hammers and registered no goals.

The West Ham outcast must now look for a move back to the Championship to end his Premier League exile.

Hugill earned his big move to the top flight after an impressive first half of the 2017/18 season that saw him score ten times for the Lilywhites. The forward was coming off a productive 2016/17 season when he bagged 12 goals and was Preston’s top scorer.

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But his time at the London Stadium has been a deeply disappointing one. Hugill has played on a paltry three occasions for the Hammers: ten minutes against Brighton, two minutes against Watford, and ten minutes against Southampton.

The English striker was always going to find things difficult making the step up to the Premier League, but few expected him to struggle this much. It is telling that even when main striker Andy Carroll was out injured, Hugill was not granted a larger role in the first team.

With the season winding down, the ex-Preston man must be desperately searching for an escape from his West Ham nightmare.

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Starved of playing time and vital confidence, Hugill would do well to seek a return to the Championship. With his physical style of play and target man attributes, the forward would slot in seamlessly in many a Championship squad.

One team that has been linked with the West Ham man is Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough; a club that would be a perfect setting for Hugill. Pulis cherishes hefty strikers that can bully defenders and lead the line like Hugill can, and would certainly grant him significant time on the pitch.

After his failed Premier League step-up, Jordan Hugill would do well to save his career and make the switch to the Riverside to link up with Tony Pulis.

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English Premier League

If Everton are serious about top four challenge they must battle rivals for Clement Lenglet

The Frenchman has been sublime for Sevilla this season and Everton need a new central defender.

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After a summer of investment Everton‘s aim for this season was to challenge for the top four. It was a bold and ambitious plan which failed miserably.

They spent much of the first half of the campaign in the relegation reckoning, sacked their manager and have now limped their way to the top-half playing a dreadful brand of football under the guidance of Sam Allardyce.

It is fair to say, Everton fans are not happy.

Next season, the challenge again will be to try and compete with the Premier League’s elite.

But if Everton are going to do that, they need to improve one area of their team drastically – the defence.

Ashley Williams has been woeful this season and Everton fans would happily see the back of him.

Phil Jagielka does his best, but age is starting to get the better of him. Michael Keane took a while to settle following his move from Burnley.

Meanwhile, Ramiro Funes Mori has been injured most of the campaign and Mason Holgate has had an inconsistent season.

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A new centre-back is a must and, if Everton are serious about challenging for Europe, it needs to be a top defender.

Plenty are about at the moment, but the one which springs to mind for Everton is Sevilla star Clement Llenglet.

He caught the eye of English football fans after shackling Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford in the Champions League.

The Frenchman has been in fine form for the club this season and now Lenglet is being linked with a host of clubs.

One such team is Liverpool, and with good reason. Lenglet has a release clause in his contract at Sevilla which stands at just €30 million (£26.25 million) – according to Marca.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Considering the price paid for the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Aymeric Alporte and John Stones after the past year that fee is an absolute bargain.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is expected to dig deep into his pockets again this summer as Everton look to mount a renewed campaign next season.

Beating the likes of Liverpool to Lenglet’s signature would be the biggest signal of intent yet that Everton are ready to push into the Premier League elite.

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English Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur should give Reo Griffiths first-team chance after 9-0 heroics

The teenager scored four and assisted three as Tottenham Hotspur’s under-18s routed Arsenal.

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Tottenham Hotspur have plenty of young talent coming through at the moment and never has that been made more evident than in the under-18s result this afternoon. Tottenham dealt their North London rivals Arsenal a serious thrashing, winning 9-0.

It was a massive win for Spurs’ talented youngsters, albeit against a much changed and much younger Arsenal side.

But any North London derby win of this magnitude was going to have Spurs fans excited and rightly so. One player, in particular, was the talk of social media for Tottenham fans after the game. Reo Griffiths put in a fantastic performance for Spurs. He netted four goals and also grabbed three assists. That means the youngster only failed to play a direct hand in two of Tottenham’s nine goals.

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The 17-year-old forward has long been tipped as a future star for the Tottenham first-team and his four-goal salvo this afternoon took his tally for the season to 23 goals in 18 games in the under-18 Premier League.

His excellent form has not gone unnoticed and fans on Twitter were ecstatic with his display. In fact, some are even calling on Tottenham to give him a place in the first-team for the end of the season:

So should they?

It is hard to see why not. Harry Kane is, of course, the undisputed starter for Spurs – even when clearly not at full fitness. But second choice Fernando Llorente is widely expected to leave the club this summer after failing to find his feet in North London. Whilst Kazaiah Sterling is a strong option as another youngster, Tottenham fans would like to see Mauricio Pochettino give the 17-year-old a chance instead.

Griffiths is clearly a top talent of whom Tottenham will have high hopes. With just four games of the season left and Spurs looking strong in a top-four spot, it would be no skin off Pochettino’s back to see what the young lad can do.

Griffiths certainly looked like the real deal this afternoon and Tottenham should definitely consider giving him a chance in the first-team before the end of the season.

He can do no worse than Llorente and it could be the dawn of a fantastic career in North London for the teenager.

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