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Transfer Market: Players worth a gamble by Premier League clubs

Agents and club heavyweights on the continent may be predicting doom and gloom for this summer's transfer market, but it will be business as usual for the Premier League. Just as in January, more spending records will be broken, particularly with the new owners at Manchester City entering their first offseason transfer window. We know the names who will dominate the backpages: Kaka, Franck Ribery and so on, but as Steve Bruce, the Wigan Athletic manager, has demonstrated, there's regions around the world rarely tapped by Premier League clubs.

The success Bruce has enjoyed working the Honduras market has brought Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa to English shores, with another, their Olympics captain Hendry Thomas, sure to finally secure his work permit for next season.

And that's been our focus at this week. The editorial office has been sifting through our favourites to find five players we'd like to see signed by Premier League clubs this summer. It's about players who may have slipped under the radar, but we feel can make an impact in England - and around the world - if a Premier League club was prepared to take a gamble on them.

 RAZAK OMOYOTOSSI Explosive, powerful, inspirational. Omotoyossi is a genuine crowd pleaser and his style of game would be a perfect fit for the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League.

Nigerian-born, but capped by Benin, Omotoyossi played alongside Henrik Larsson at Helsingborgs last season, hitting 23 goals in just 38 games - his one and only full season in a big European comp. He almost joined Stoke City in January, only for his Swedish club to price him out of a move.

The striker is now a free agent after a big earner in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nasri went pear-shaped.

 IKECHUKWU UCHE A pure big game player. Uche always manages to deliver on the big stage. With both Getafe, and former club Recreativo, the Nigerian has beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid virtually on his own.

His slalom runs have cut the best Spanish Liga defences to ribbons - and drawn comparisons with fellow Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu, now of Portsmouth.

Perhaps it's his inconsistency that has frightened off Premier League clubs in the past. But in the red-hot atmosphere of the Nou Camp or Santiago Bernabeu, the sort of crackle which can be found at virtually every Premier League stadium, Uche never fails to deliver.

He's been in-and-out of a struggling Getafe this season and after eight years in Spain the 25 year-old is in need of a change. A ball-player, brave, direct and with bags of pace, Uche is the type of African dazzler made for the Premier League.

 CARLOS KAMENI A goalkeeper as an entertainer? Usually not, but in Carlos Kameni's case we will make an exception. The Espanyol No1 is a spectacular shot-stopper, capable of winning games on his own with an athleticism that draws comparisons with Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel at his very peak.

Kameni has to be the hottest Bosman available this summer. Bayern Munich, Bordeaux and Paris Saint Germain all want him, while Martin Ferguson, the brother of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, is among Premier League scouts to have made regular checks on the Cameroon international over the last two years.

There's always a question mark against bringing a foreign goalkeeper to England, but Kameni has the character and ability to make it work. He rows with teammates, he grabs fans by the collar, he saves goals, he saves games ... Kameni does the lot.

 NASHAT AKRAM / YOUNIS MAHMOUD Okay, we're cheating a little here by pushing for both Iraqis Nashat Akram and Younis Mahmoud to be considered for a summer Premier League switch. They both play for Al-Gharafa in Qatar and both have the ability and physique to break the barrier that has prevented great Arab players from making it in England.

Akram's our No1, but we've thrown Mahmoud into the mix as his teammate has gone off the boil in the last 12 months. The way Akram was rejected by the UK work permits panel was disgraceful last January and failing to earn that historic move to Manchester City has obviously knocked him about a bit.

But Akram is the business. Standing over six-foot, he can play behind the strikers or as a holding player in midfield. Outstanding on the ball, great in the air, brave and with an excellent engine, it was madness to dismiss his case for a work permit last year.

But, if Akram's form has Premier League clubs thinking twice, then they should go for his club and international teammate Mahmoud. The majority of Arab fans will say he's the better player, a six-foot-plus powerful centre-forward boasting good pace and an excellent goal scoring record in Asian club football.

If Premier League clubs have their doubts, then all they have to do is get their hands on DVDs of Iraq's recent internationals against an Australia team packed full of England-based players. Both men enjoy huge followings across Asia and the club which takes the gamble on them is sure to enjoy major commercial benefit.

 FREDDY ADU Okay, this one we know will have people shaking their heads. But hear us out.

Yeah, it didn't happen for him at Benfica - and he's not getting a game with Monaco. But the lad is barely 19, he still qualifies for this year's U20 World Championships - where most of the players will be just kicking off their careers.

Adu can still make it - and we're not talking about just as a senior pro. The USA international has the ability to become one of the biggest names in the game. It's just two years ago that, playing against lads two and three years his senior, Adu dominated the U20s in Canada. His performance against a Brazil featuring the likes of Marcelo, Jo and Pato really delivered on what his fans have been promising.

And that's what we're asking. Let's judge Adu against his peers. At 18 and 19, people were doubting Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United. How many 19 year-olds are playing consistently in the attack of decent-sized clubs?

Adu will become a franchise player in the years to come - and we don't mean for a club, but for an entire league. Whether it's England, Spain or Italy, whoever has Adu running around at their stadiums will dominate the American soccer market in 2014 and beyond.

Adu will have a bit-part role for the USA next year in South Africa. But come 2014, he will be the dominant figure for the 'States and also in the game itself. Forget about clubs, whichever league boasts Adu will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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