The Premier League is widely known abroad as the midfield capital of European football. The brilliance we watch on our screens week in week out is testament to the big money signings that seem to grace the Premier League each and every summer. With big money again being splashed this summer on Midfield talent, and even more rumoured to be in the pipeline, here is our list of the top 5 Midfield signings by Premier League clubs so far this window.
Siem De Jong
Siem de Jong becomes the third ‘De Jong’ in recent memory to feature in the Premier League after Manchester City’s Nigel (no relation), and ironically, Newcastle loanee Luuk (brother). Born in Switzerland to Dutch parents, Siem moved back to the Netherlands aged six, and began his youth career with local amateur club DZC ’68. De Jong was picked up by the Ajax Youth Academy aged 15, and made his first team debut only a few years later aged 18. De Jong’s all round ability has seen him being used in a variety of positions. For Ajax in recent years, he has played primarily as a number 10, but also as a Striker and a deeper lying Centre Midfielder. Following the departure of now Spurs Defender Jan Vertonghen, De Jong was awarded with the club captaincy – a role which he relished. His fine form saw him score once at home and twice away to Manchester City in the Champions League (2012-13 season). While De Jong suffered an injury plagued final season at the Amsterdam ArenA, he finished the league campaign with 7 goals and 2 assists from 19 games, and fittingly, leaving the club on the back of a fourth consecutive league title.
The void left by the sale of Yohan Cabaye was never quite filled at Newcastle United last season, but the signings of Siem De Jong and fellow Frenchman Remy Cabella look like going a long way towards doing so for this coming season. Cabella has been on the radar of numerous Champions League clubs ever since Montpellier’s incredible Ligue 1 title in 2012 (the first league title in the club’s history), but has decided to join the French revolution at St James’ Park with Alan Pardew. Cabella has been capped 17 times for the France under 21 side, and once at full International level. Despite being named on the standby list for the World Cup, he found himself in Brazil at the expense of the injured Clement Grenier. Cabella scored 14 goals and made 7 assists in Ligue 1 last season, and could prove to be a real bargain over time for £8.5million.
Not quite a transfer saga of sorts, but the story of Tom Ince has seen him travel all around Europe before deciding that a stay in England was his best bet. Despite travelling to Monaco and Inter Milan for talks, Ince (wisely) decided that first team football was the most important thing at this stage of his career, and joined Hull on a free transfer (fee to be settled at a tribunal) after his Blackpool contract expired. After letting him go in 2011, Liverpool appeared to move heaven and earth in an attempt to get Ince back to Anfield. That move, like many other projected ones that Ince has seen come and go, never came to fruition. Resigned to losing him at the end of his contract, Blackpool allowed Ince to join Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season in January 2014, and Ince did well in his 8 league appearances – scoring 1 and assisting 1. Hull could be a perfect move for Ince, allowing him regular first team football to possibly enter the thoughts of Roy Hodgson.
The Eredivisie has become a successful import hub for the Premier League in recent years. With the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Christian Eriksen and Wilfried Bony proving a success for a relatively low transfer fee in recent years, Dusan Tadic may be the next addition to the growing list. The flamboyant Serbian attacking midfielder is a like for like replacement for Liverpool bound Adam Lallana and boasts similarly impressive stats too. Last season, Tadic scored 16 goals and made 14 assists in 33 league games, but even more impressively, created the most chances of any player in European football (133). At 25 years of age, Tadic is sufficiently experienced to adapt to the demands of a new league, but also young enough to be considered a long term option for Southampton. The Saints look to have found an absolute gem for around £11million.
What can be said about Cesc Fabregas that is not already known? Last season, Fabregas was one of the few players who prospered under Tata Martino in an otherwise dismal campaign. While playing in Midfield as expected, Fabregas also had a spell playing as a Striker in the absence of Lionel Messi – and appeared to thrive in the role as the attacking figurehead. His season stats of 8 goals and 19 assists in 35 games don’t show the full story however, after only adding 1 goal and 4 assists to his league tally betweenJanuary and May. There is little risk in the signing of Fabregas, after already proving himself in England with Arsenal . In fact, he is arguably more suited to English football than Spanish. In today’s transfer market, £27million for a world class, internationally renowned player (91 Spain caps) like Cesc Fabregas is a fantastic piece of business by Chelsea.