The Premier League in England has seen increased activity in the transfer market since July 8. A number of clubs who had yet to sign a player have now dipped into the market, while others have further added to their squad in hopes of a successful new season. With players beginning to return from the FIFA World Cup and preseason training well underway, managers have a chance to assess their squads and see where they need to strengthen, and where they can shave off some deadweight to lighten the wage bill for the club.
Arsenal made their first signing of the summer in the form of the much-heralded Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez. According to the London Evening Standard, the deal cost the Gunners £31.7 for the former Barcelona player. Per 90 minutes, Sanchez had more goals, 0.72, than any of the Arsenal attacking players last season. The Gunner’s top two scorers per 90 minutes played were Podolski, who had 0.62 and Walcott, 0.52. The early summer signing was rare for manager Arsene Wenger, who has made a habit of waiting late into August to complete his moves.
Aston Villa signed Kieran Richardson from Fulham for a fee rumored to be less than a million Euros. Richardson is a seasoned left back, who has played in the English top-flight for over a decade. He will add age and experience to the Villa defense, which was sub-par in last year’s English Premier League.
Burnley signed Lukas Jutkiewicz for a sum of £2.5 from Middlesbrough, according to the Daily Mail. The journeyman striker spent the end of last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers, where he tallied seven goals. He will be added to a deep list of strikers for the newly promoted club, which include Ashley Barnes, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes and Marvin Sordell.
Chelsea has signed Mario Pasalic from Hajduk Split of Croatia. The 19-year-old is a burgeoning talent who scored eleven times in 30 appearances last year, helping his club finish in third place in the Croatian Premier League. The player is currently training with the first team, but it would not be surprising if he were to be sent out on loan for the year.
Everton picked up the aging Gareth Barry on a free transfer from Manchester City. He was their first signing of the summer transfer window. Roberto Martinez made it very clear he wanted Barry to extend his stay at Everton, after he had spent the previous season on loan there. Barry has European campaign experience, which the Merseyside club will need this year as they play in the Europa League.
Liverpool had already been active in the Premier League summer transfer market before July 8, and has since signed the 20-year-old Serbian sensation Lazar Markovic for a £20 million fee. Markovic is a dynamic winger who can also play behind the striker. He is not a prolific scorer yet, but still has plenty of time to develop under Brendan Rogers.
Newcastle had a big week, signing both Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere. Cabella, who transferred from Montpellier, is a 24-year-old attacking midfielder, who has pace and the ability to turn his opponents with his deft touch. He will have to fill the shoes of Yohan Cabaye as the creative force in the Newcastle side. Cabaye left for PSG in the January transfer window last year leaving Newcastle without a game changing creative midfielder. Cabella will be looking to supply Riviere with assist in the upcoming season. Riviere is a striker, who scored 10 goals for Monaco in Ligue 1 last year.
Southampton has had a lot of players leave so far this summer window, but had yet to sign anyone until this week. They brought in both Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle. Tadic will be asked to fill the void for the departed Adam Lallana. He is an attacking midfielder, who the new Saint’s manager, Ronald Koeman, had seen play at FC Twente, when he was managing Feyenoord. Graziano Pelle will be the new striker for the Saints. Pelle scored a very impressive 55 goals in just 66 games for Feyenoord under Koeman, so the two already understand each other quite well. Pelle will join fellow Italian Dani Osvaldo as the two primary strikers for Southampton.
Stoke City signed a young Brazilian defender named Dionatan Teixeira. He made 35 appearances in the Slovakian Premier League last year, finding the net three times. West Brom also added to their defensive ranks. Sebastien Pocognoli, a 26-year-old left back joined the club from Hannover. He was on the provisional Belgian World Cup squad, but just missed out on the final roster.
There are still a number of weeks left in the transfer window. Teams like Liverpool and Manchester United are rumored to still have massive transfer budgets available, so more transfer signings in the Premier League are bound to occur this summer.
Commentary by B. Taylor Rash