With the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season almost upon us, we felt it was a good time to go over some players to watch during the impending campaign.
Instead of simply selecting ten players from around the league, we have divided them into two categories – established players from other leagues and promising youngsters.
So, here goes…
Roberto Soldado – Tottenham
The 28-year old joined Spurs from Valencia for a club record fee of £26million earlier this summer. The North Londoners pursued Soldado relentlessly and if you take a look at his scoring record, it is not hard to see why.
24 goals in 35 La Liga appearances last season took his Spanish league total to 101 from 207 matches for Real Madrid, Osasuna, Getafe and Los Che. Add to that 15 goals in 20 Champions League appearances for Valencia and Tottenham have themselves a serious goalscorer.
The Swans moved heaven and earth to get the Ivory Coast international, paying a club-record £12million to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem. The former Sparta Prague man took the Eredivisie by storm last season, scoring 31 times in 30 appearances, and has already scored two goals for his new club in Europa League qualifying so far this season.
Known to many around Europe and South America but not as familiar to fans of the English game. The 32-year old centre-back counts Sao Paulo, Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain and Malaga as some of his former clubs and has also amassed 85 caps for his native Uruguay. Lugano was selected as the best captain at the 2010 World Cup and guided the nation to the 2011 Copa America, indicating just how good a leader West Brom have signed….for nothing.
Gary Medel – Cardiff City
‘The Pitbull’, as he is affectionately known, was recently signed by Cardiff from Sevilla for, you guessed it, a club record fee of £11m. The Chilean operates as a defensive midfielder and will aggressively provide cover to the Bluebirds defence in their debut campaign in the Premier League. The signing of this hard-tackling enforcer is truly a monumental effort from Cardiff.
Fernandinho – Manchester City
One of City’s four big-name signings of the summer and the most expensive, Fernandinho is expected to slot straight into Manuel Pellegrini’s line-up. The 28-year old, although not a regular for Brazil, has starred in Ukraine and in the Champions League with Shakhtar Donetsk in recent years. The £30m signing will form a solid partnership with Yaya Toure in the centre of midfield.
Nicklas Helenius (Aston Villa) – Towering Danish striker signed from Aalborg has already impressed in pre-season.
Ravel Morrison (West Ham United)
Highly-rated but ill-disciplined at Manchester United, the 20-year old midfielder is having a splendid pre-season with the Hammers. Morrison was sent to Birmingham City last season and made 30 appearances for the Championship club, giving him some much-needed experience to prepare for the Premier League. Expect to see him around the Hammers first team with regularity this campaign.
Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)
The 18-year old Belgian attacking midfielder has impressed United so much since his move from Anderlecht two years ago that the club want to offer him a long-term deal. Januzaj was brilliant on United’s tour of Asia and Australia and has been backed for greatness by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ross Barkley (Everton)
The England U21 international has had valuable loan spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United over the past two years which will help craft him into a top Premier League midfielder. Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has already labelled him as ‘something special’ and a ‘football diamond’ and he could see more chances in the Goodison first team this season.
Jose Mourinho wanted the 20-year old Dutchman badly when he arrived at Chelsea and eventually got his man from Vitesse Arnhem. Maybe not ready for regular first team football with the Blues just yet but has been touted as the successor to Frank Lampard and should get a few chances to shine in 2013/14.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Not so much one to watch, as we have already seen what he can do, but he had to be included. The Brazilian scored three goals and produced seven assists in 13 Premier League outings after joining Liverpool from Inter Milan. Expect more of the same from the 21-year old this term.
Nathan Redmond (Norwich City) - Redmond has been performing superbly for new club Norwich in pre-season. Signed from Birmingham earlier this summer, the 19-year old winger has plenty of scope and has already impressed England boss Roy Hodgson.
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