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

The Boot Room

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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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Crystal Palace

Khouma Babacar would be underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem

The 25-year-old isn’t exactly a prolific goalscorer.

Max Cohen

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Babacar
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According to the Mirror, Crystal Palace are close to completing a £12 million move for Sassuolo striker Khouma Babacar.

The Senegalese forward scored just six goals in the league last season and would represent an underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem.

Last season, the Eagles struggled massively for goals, with only central midfielder Luka Milivojevic reaching double figures in the league. As for strikers, Christian Benteke scored just three goals in a hugely disappointing year, and Alexander Sorloth failed to score in his four appearances.

It is clear the south Londoners desperately need a prolific centre-forward in order to succeed in 2018/19, yet Babacar simply is not the right choice.

(Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

At 25 years of age, he has already been around Italian football for a long time, making his debut for Fiorentina in 2009 as a 16-year-old. Yet he struggled to nail down a starting spot and spent time on loan in Serie B and La Liga before enjoying a breakout season for Fiorentina 2016/17.

In that year, he banged in 10 goals in 22 league appearances while also netting four times in the Europa League. Yet disappointingly, he scored just four times in the first half of 2017/18, before being shipped off to Sassuolo on loan where he found the net on just two occasions in 13 appearances.

Far from an outstanding goalscorer in Italy, it is unclear where Babacar would fit in at Palace, and it is unlikely he could turn around the fortunes of the club’s struggling strike force.

Roy Hodgson would do well to pass on the signing of the £12 million Senegalese international and focus his efforts on a more proven striker with a better goal record.

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Everton

Three free agent goalkeeper options for Everton to add depth

Everton should consider adding depth to the goalkeeping department this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Everton currently have a fine goalkeeper in Jordan Pickford. Signed last summer from Sunderland he was the club’s player of the season last term and is now England’s number one stopper.

But it could be argued they are lacking in reserve. The veteran Maarten Stekelenburg has been an injury concern in recent times. Meanwhile, Spaniard Joel Robles has left the club at the end of his contract. It leaves youngster Mateusz Hewelt as the club’s current third-choice.

Considering his inexperience and Stekelenburg’s injury troubles, surely Everton should consider bringing in another goalie this summer?

Of course, they will not want to pay top dollar to do so.

So here are three free agent stoppers that Everton could target this summer…

Tim Krul

The Dutchman has struggled to find his way back into first-team football since a horror knee injury in 2015.

He spent last season as back-up to Mathew Ryan at Brighton and is now looking for a new club.

Since that knee injury, Krul has remained fit and would be a great back-up to Pickford.

(Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Rafael

The first-choice keeper under Rafa Benitez at Napoli in 2014-15 the Brazilian found himself pushed down the pecking order over the past two seasons by Pepe Reina.

Undoubtedly a talented stopper with three Brazil caps to his name, he would be a solid option in reserve.

(Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Miguel Santos

One Everton fans probably have not heard of, but perhaps the most likely addition.

Fresh from helping Fortuna Sittard to promotion to the Eredivisie the Portuguese talent will be known to Everton boss Marco Silva.

They worked together at Estoril when Silva was the manager. Santos, at the time, was a promising youngster but left for Benfica in 2012.

He had a spell at Port Vale in 2016 and a move back to England as Everton’s third-choice would surely appeal to the 23-year-old.

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Liverpool

Steven Gerrard called incoming Liverpool star Alisson ‘world-class’ in April

Liverpool will complete a world record move for the Brazilian this week.

Mathew Nash

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Liverpool are set to give the fans what they want by signing a new goalkeeper. A world record fee has been agreed with AS Roma for Brazilian number one Alisson this week. Liverpool will pay the Italian side £67 million for the 25-year-old. Sky Sports report he will undergo a medical this week and a deal will then be finalised.

It is a bold move from Liverpool, who for a number of seasons have suffered with mediocre goalkeeping performances from Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet.

Alisson is considered one of the best keepers in Europe and keeps Manchester City’s brilliant Ederson Moraes on the bench for his country.

He is certainly highly-rated by one former Liverpool player and legend. Steven Gerrard is a big fan of the player.

He spoke highly of the goalie whilst working on BT Sport as a Champions League pundit last season.


“This fella does deserve the praise he is getting of late. He makes world-class saves, he’s up quick, he makes second saves. A world-class keeper no doubt.”

– Steven Gerrard talking of Alisson’s quality in April 2018

 


Of course, Liverpool came up against Alisson and his Roma side in the competition. Over the course of two legs, the Reds put seven goals past the Brazilian. It led some fans to question whether Alisson was actually the right man for Liverpool.

 

But Liverpool needed a keeper with pedigree. Karius is simply too error-prone and his confidence must be at an all-time low after his Champions League final woe.

Liverpool fans will hope Alisson can live up to Gerrard’s ‘world-class’ tag and his price-tag next season.

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