Top Ten Premier League Signings
Every season I paint a target on my back and provide sufficient artillery for any willing football fan by penning these top premier league signings based on personal opinion. The average football fan (myself included) thrives on avoidable controversy and it doesn’t sit well with him/her when any undertaking their team takes part in is not criticized or lauded, they want the attention yet they hate it, who am I not to indulge them then?
The 22 year old forward really came to the fore under Bernd Schuster’s ill fated reign at the La Rosaleda and his silky skills alongside Sergi Darder and Nordin Amrabat ensured that even when Malaga lost the trio entertained. Brought in by Southampton’s impressive scouting networks he is sure to light up the already impressive frontline led by Grazziano Pele and flanked by Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane. It’s the ability in tight spaces and confidence to attempt the step overs and nutmegs that excites, the premier league looks to be stacking up on tricky, intelligent gnome like players and Juanmi with a fairytale of a name fits right in.
9. JOSE HOLEBAS
What is an aging left back from an unfairly labeled ‘backward league’ doing on my list? Well Holebas or Cholevas as most prefer to call him is no ordinary fullback, in his time in Rome he did away with Stadio Olimpico stand favorite Federico Balzaretti who admittedly was injured but he also comfortably swatted off the attentions of uber confident Ashley Cole before being done away with in a puzzling move by Rudi Garcia. A buccaneering, marauding firebrand of a fullback with a sledgehammer of a shot, he claimed he had been sold without his authorization but he went through with it. A career that started as a wide man then a very fruitful front man then back to the wing and finally to left-back and occasionally center back. This eccentric Greek is set to descend on the premier league flanks with a verve rarely seen on those shores.
8. SHINJI OKAZAKI.
Probably a tad biased, my favorite Bundesliga player he doesn’t set many hearts racing but his tireless running and willingness to put in a graveyard shift puts many a premier league forward to shame. And Leicester will need his subtle craft and hardworking nature alongside Leonardo Ulloa’s more laidback approach and Jamie Vardy’s busy bee presence if they are to stay up. Offers the perfect foil for Ulloa and guarantees goals if only by constantly trying. His unique nature stems from his rather surprising stubbornness and ever smiling front, never giving defenders a moment’s peace and his sprints to actual balls received ratio would be an interesting statistic. I believe with Riyadh Marez’ vision and Shinji’s intelligent movement he’ll bag a few, admittedly his namesake endured a torrid time in this league but who’s to say he won’t buck the trend? I say he will.
7. MATTEO DARMIAN.
The hipster in me dons a Sombrero and does the tango around my insides when his name comes up. Darmian and Bruno Peres presided over a reign of terror on the Italian Peninsula’s flanks last season, constantly raiding the opposition and still shutting the gates on the other end. A hybrid of the old school Italian guardian of the Catennacio secrets stereotyped defender and the new school carefree daffodil totting attacking fullback jostling with attacking midfielders for space. Aerial ability check, tackling ability on lock, positioning supreme, attacking instincts on overdrive, my pulse flat lined.
6. JORDY CLASIE.
At 5’ 7 and described as tenacious as a bulldog I might add, a bulldog with the touch of Alice in Wonderland running through a field of daisies. If he had started his football education in England he would have been shunted out to the wing or stuck in the reserves because of his lack of height and misconceived stature to play in the middle of the park. The days of Goliaths and cohorts dominating the deep lying playmakers position have been well and truly booted out first by Xavi’s cultured boot then put to touch by this aptly named classy man-boy. His passing qualities and vision will undoubtedly top those of Morgan Schneiderlin and his tackling and interception numbers won’t slack off either. For a pea sized player he dominates the middle of the park like the Princess who slept on multiple mattresses but still felt the pinch of the Pea.
5. ROBERTO FIRMINO.
The only suitable word I can come up with to adequately describe him is stupefying. When he attacks he seems like he’s floating on a velvet cushioned cloud, frantic, purposeful and irrepressible at his best, a born entertainer. But he does not play to consciously entertain the fans; he plays to quench a thirst, put out a blue flamed fire inside him. More stupefying is his nonchalance and shyness off the pitch; he doesn’t do it for the rave reviews or adulation which inevitably comes his way. His output certainly matches his dazzlingly twinkle toes and in Coutinho he has found a soul mate, the other pea and the premier league is their chosen pod.
4. DIMITRI PAYET.
Described by Nantes reserve team coach as, “talented player despite his natural indifference.” A very difficult character, he has forced transfers from his last three clubs but the talking is done on the pitch. His set piece delivery alone is worth a couple of million pounds; he is in the business of finding team mates in extremely good positions to score lately, seventeen times last season behind only Lionel Messi. A player of his caliber and standing being snapped up by West ham is a massive coup and shows the financial might that the premier league clubs are increasingly not afraid to flex. The fact that he would get into more than eighty percent of the top teams in Europe tells its own story. The first name on any ambitious Fantasy premier league and a number cruncher’s dream.
3. GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM.
Fondly known among the Dutch enthusiasts and hipster community as Genie, every hipster worth his salt is doing cartwheels every time his name is mentioned. With firecracker Memphis Depay wrecking unimaginable havoc in front of him, Genie adopted a more withdrawn and conservative role and dragged PSV to the title as the engine of the room partnered by energy hub Andres Guardado and Adam Maher the responsibilities were shared and he chipped in with his fair share of goals from midfield. A flashy attacking midfielder in his early years, he has matured incredibly and the conservatism in the flicks and tricks shorn from his game in his more withdrawn role is evident. Capable of outrageous skills when given to it and should make for an exciting spine to the Geordies alongside Jack Colback. His infectious personality is bound to capture many a heart in the league.
2. MEMPHIS DEPAY.
Admittedly shorn of Angel Di Maria’s erratic brilliance and star turn, still walking into Manchester United’s starting eleven straight from burning down and sacking the Eredevisie is no mean feat. The ‘Dream Chaser’ seems not to notice and is still chasing, cannot be described as raw after eviscerating defenders and leaving many a destroyed defense strewn by the wayside. His genuine vanity coupled with an ability to back up the pronounced arrogance makes him a most intriguing signing. For a player who isn’t the archetypal orthodox striker his numbers make for impressive reading. He not only tormented teams in the Dutch league, he also scored two wonderful goals in the world cup from a couple of substitute appearances. His scope of improvement is huge and so is his scope for growth, a genuinely A list youngster, no longer precocious but precious attacking howitzer.
Probably still among the five best goalkeepers in world football and right smack in the middle of his prime, domineering, absolutely ginormous and like a well oiled spring in a cheetah still instinctively reflexive. Premier league experience, cliché but present, European pedigree certified, scrum cap snug, standing within the game assured and confidence seemingly intensifying. A list through and through, a marquee signing unrecognized in this age of attackers being placed on a pedestal on a pedestal. Will he win his team the title? I’m not a soothsayer, will he immensely improve them? Immeasurably, for how long? Who’s to know, a goalkeeper’s peak takes time to be achieved and usually arrives when outfield players are on the decline and managed properly could be stretched out into the forties. Unless Lionel Messi ups and leaves Barcelona for the premier league or Roberto Baggio unhangs his incredibly stylish boots I don’t foresee a signing to knock Cech out of his lush perch, Cech mate!
Honorable mentions to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andre Ayew, Max Gradel, Marco Van Ginkel, Jordan Ayew, Jeremain Lens, Joselu, Toby Alderweireld, Afellay Ibrahim and Rickie Lambert.
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