The Premier League marked its return with a raft of new faces now plying their trade in England’s top flight. Fans across the country will be casting a critical eye over their new summer signings and hoping they swim rather sink in the deep end of Premier League football
We look at five of the biggest summer transfers and evaluate whether they will be a success or will they be relegated to the substitutes’ bench before their summer tan wears off.
Petr Cech – Arsenal
One of the highest profile transfers of the summer saw Petr Cech swap the blue of Chelsea for the red of Arsenal. Jose Mourinho’s spikiness on the subject is a clear signal that he would have much rather sold Cech abroad as opposed to strengthening a direct rival to the pre-season title favourites.
John Terry believes his former team mate will be worth an extra 10-12 points for the Gunners this season but Cech has already cost his new side after a horror show in 0-2 defeat at home to West Ham, so the keeper will need to remain faultless for the rest of the campaign to fulfil that prediction.
Despite a nervy start for the Czech international, he has the experience and quality to turn things around at the Emirates but suggestions that he can bring the title to North London look fanciful at best.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers has spent another small fortune this summer in a season that looks set to make or break his Anfield tenure so the Northern Irishman will be banking on new recruit Roberto Firmino to fill the void left by Raheem Sterling.
The Brazilian attacking midfielder can play pretty much anywhere in the final third and his relentless energy and pressing is reminiscent of a certain Luis Suarez but Firmino is more of a provider than a goal scorer. He hit double figures for assists in the previous two seasons in the Bundesliga and was rated the third best player in Germany behind Arjen Robben and Kevin De Bruyne (according to WhoScored.com match ratings).
Firmino, however, was on the bench for the season opener at Stoke, which suggests Rodgers will ease the Brazilian into first team in the coming weeks and give him time to adapt. But the Liverpool fans are expecting big things of the 23 year-old Brazilian.
Yohan Cabaye – Crystal Palace
Paris Saint-Germain to Crystal Palace isn’t the usual kind of trajectory for an established International footballer but Yohan Cabaye, it seems, couldn’t get to Palace quick enough.
Cabaye will be linking up with former coach Alan Pardew after growing frustrated with life in Paris and the £10m midfielder could prove to be one of the signings of the season. The Frenchman will add an extra dimension of creativity to the Palace midfield that already contains the flair of Zaha, Puncheon and Bolaise.
And, as Norwich found out on the opening day of the season, the former Newcastle man has an eye for a goal too. Pardew got a fine tune out of the 29 year-old French midfielder during their time together at Newcastle, especially the 2009-10 season when Cabaye notched 15 goals in 46 matches with ten assists thrown in for good measure. If he manages just half of that this season then Palace fans will be more than happy.
Dimitri Payet – West Ham United
Slaven Bilic appears to have struck gold with the signing of 28 year-old attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet. The former Marseille man is a skilful footballer that likes to use his pace and technique to beat the opposition,
Payet may not be a household name but he keeps improving with every passing season. Last season he provided 17 assists in 36 league games for Marseille and was second only behind Lionel Messi in Europe’s top five leagues in terms of providing successful through balls.
And Payet has already hit the ground in running for the Hammers by providing an assist for Kouyate in the 2-0 win over Arsenal. It looks like West Ham fans could have a new hero on their hands.
Memphis Depay – Manchester United
The 21 year-old Dutch winger is one of hottest properties in European football and will be eager to show exactly why he was handed the number 7 shirt at Old Trafford. He has all of the tricks in the book to compliment his electric pace and eye for a goal.
Depay, despite his relatively tender age, already has a wealth of experience with over 90 appearances and 39 goals for PSV under his belt while he has represented the Netherlands on 17 occasions already.
The Dutchman made a fairly low-key debut when he was substituted on 68 minutes against Spurs last weekend. Nevertheless, Depay has the hallmarks of a top player and it would be no surprise to see him play a key role in United’s season.