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The 5 Most Inspired Transfers Of The Premier League So Far

There’s been no action on the pitch since mid-May in the English Premier League. However,  us enthusiasts out there have been able to keep our sanity in large part due to a plethora of transfer rumors, 90% of which never actually come through – your Bale-to-United’s and Benzema-to-Arsenal’s of the world. However, the 10% that do materialize make you question everything you once knew about the game.

Will Swansea’s capture of Andre Ayew on a free be the shrewdest signing since Middlesborough acquired the services of Juninho? Will Tottenham’s signing of Toby Alderweireld add enough strength to their back four for a Champions League push? Will Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Ayew be enough for Aston Villa to keep their heads above water, despite the severe losses they have suffered?

I, for one, cannot wait for these numerous questions to be answered when all’s said and done and the actions gets underway a week from Saturday. However, for the time being I thought I would put my own personal opinions into the spotlight and give you my top 5 summer acquisitions in order worst to the very best, in my eyes, in terms of monetary value and also what that respective coup means to the chances of their new side. It’s a pursuit which will undoubtedly bring up different opinions, given the amount of depth and quality many Premier League sides have added during the off-season.

For example, Newcastle and Stoke are two sides who I believe have bought extremely well but don’t make the grade. By signing the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic at the tender age of 20 and the 24-year old former PSV captain Georginio Wijnaldum, the Toon Army gave its fans reason for optimism. Mark Hughes is also well underway in changing the whole ‘long ball’ tag on Stoke City, and with the signings of Joselu and Ibrahim Affelay adding to their growing collection of technically gifted players, this next season certainly looks bright for the Potters. 

But let’s get down to business shall we? Here are my top signings of the summer so far:

5. Yohan Cabaye to Crystal Palace - £12.8million

Johan Cabaye is shown holding a Crystal Palace jersey.

Photo: @etiwils4 | Twitter

This one won’t go down too well with Newcastle fans, but is a real statement of intent from Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace. He was forced to let Yohan Cabaye leave when he was Newcastle manager in 2013 due to Mike Ashley’s frustrating policies of securing profit over results, and when PSG came forward with a bid of around £19 million he was left with no option but to let the Frenchman leave Tyneside. However, fast forward two years and the player and manager are back together, this time in London, with Cabaye’s PSG career not going as smoothly as he would have liked. For a club the size of Palace it must go down as a great signing, in fact it is the most expensive in their history, with the 29-year old sure to add a great deal of quality to their side and turn provider for the likes of Yannick Bolasie and on-loan Chelsea starlet Patrick Bamford. Cabaye scored 17 Premier League goals in 79 games for Newcastle across three seasons and after a less productive stint in France will be looking forward to being the main man again under Pardew. He may have not quite cut it for French champions PSG, but class is permanent, and I’m sure he will come good again and help fire Crystal Palace to a top 10 push.

4. Dimitri Payet to West Ham - £10.7million

Dimitri Payet is shown in the middle of what we imagine is a flowing, majesterial display of skill.

Photo: @whufc_official | Twitter

Unless you’re a Ligue 1 enthusiast you will probably not know a great deal about Dimitri Payet, who has spent his entire career in France with 15 international caps to his name. However, I am confident the 28-year old will become a household name across England this season and be a star for the West-Londoners. Hammers Legend Julian Dicks has already been quick to compare their new signing to a former great, Eyal Berkovic. And a current youngster for the side, Reece Oxford, has emphasized how the team is getting Payet on the ball as quickly as possible, a strong indication that much of their creativity will flow through the Frenchman this season; it is no surprise, either, with Payet finishing last season as the most creative player in the whole of Europe. The 135 chances he created for Marseille was 34 more than Eden Hazard and 40 more than Lionel Messi, and he ended the season top of the Ligue 1 assists charts with 21 to his name. His goal tally is also pretty handy for a midfielder, with 46 league goals in his last 5 seasons in Ligue 1. A shrewd bit of business indeed for West Ham, Payet is a player who is likely to bring smiles to the likes of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll this season.

3. Morgan Schneiderlin to Man Utd - £24million

Morgan Schneiderlin is reacting to a ball in the air during a United preseason friendly.

Photo: @Nitin4681 | Twitter

Amongst all the Bastian Schweinsteiger commotion, the very same day Man Utd signed the German they also secured the services of someone who is likely to be even more important, for both their long-term and short-term aims, with the acquisition of Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. The third successive Frenchman to make my list thus far, and despite his lofty price tag in comparison to the others, he could well be the most important for his side with United having gone far too long without a capable midfield enforcer. Schneiderlin has been an integral part of Southampton’s team for many a season, winning their Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Year awards in 2013 after finishing their first term in the Premier League with the most tackles and interceptions of any other player in the whole division. 

Since then he has been linked with top sides seemingly every summer, with Arsenal and Tottenham being two sides who could well go on to rue their inability to secure his services. At the age of 25, he certainly has the best years of his career ahead of him, and Louis Van Gaal will be confident they will be served at Old Trafford.

Pre-season indications suggest he will start the season alongside Michael Carrick in the center of the park. Expect much of United’s success this year to depend on how quickly Schneiderlin adapts to his role at such a big club. 

2. James Milner to Liverpool – Free

James Miler is clapping his hands with a serious look of acceptance on his face.

Photo: @AnfieldHQ96 | Twitter

Given the amount of money Brendan Rodgers has spent in the last three years at Anfield it is ironic that a free signing could well go on to become his best bit of business yet. James Milner has long been one of the most underrated players at Manchester City since they signed him for a hefty fee of £26 million in the summer of 2010. With the depth of talent at The Etihad he rarely got the opportunity to play in his favored central position but would always prove to be consistent down the right hand side, equally adept at attacking as well as defending. However, his switch to a central role at Anfield alongside fellow English countryman Jordan Henderson could allow him to flourish even more. At the age of 29, Milner still has a few good years at the top level, barring injury, and with his engine I believe he will be exactly what Liverpool need as a combative midfielder breaking down opposition attacks and making forward runs to help the likes of Benteke, Coutinho and Firmino in attack. In terms of value for money it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this was considered the signing of the summer when all’s said and done this season.

1. Petr Cech to Arsenal - £10 million

Cech is pointing, presumably in an act of commanding his defense.

Photo: @DExpress_Sport | Twitter

Upon selling last year’s 2nd choice, 33-year-old keeper to Arsenal for a fee of £10 million, I heard many Chelsea fans saying this was a piece of genius once again from Jose Mourinho, and don’t get me wrong, given the fact they have Thibaut Courtois at their disposal the loss of Cech is by no means catastrophic. However, for Arsenal this could well go on to become one of Wenger’s best value signings for many a season.

Rewind 10 years, and Sir Alex Ferguson put an end to Man Utd’s uncertainty in the same position by signing a 34-year-old Edwin Van Der Sar. The rest is history as the Dutchman went on to have six of his most successful years at Old Trafford, picking up 11 trophies in the process.

Petr Cech is very much in the same mould as Van Der Sar; one of the best keepers of his generation; someone who can marshal the defence as well as make game-winning saves. Despite Cech’s age, if Wenger can get 6 years out of him as Fergie did with Van Der Sar, it will certainly be £10 million very well spent. You could make the case that Arsenal haven’t had a keeper of this quality since David Seaman, and with 4 Premier League titles, a Champions League and three Premier League Golden Glove awards under his belt, I fully expect Cech to become one of the shrewdest pieces of business of the window so far. Whether or not he can give The Gunners the push they need to help them challenge for the title is yet to be seen, however, like many others, I am of the opinion that this is the best chance they’ve had at glory since the era of ‘The Invincibles.’

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