The transfer market is now over and the new signings have swapped the kits of their old clubs for their new ones. Even though the jerseys may be different, the style of play associated with these players will remain with them, unique, much like fingerprints. It is always interesting to observe how the players will settle in and how this will affect the team chemistry of their respective teams. We take a closer look at the debuts of the big name signings:
End of transfer season signings:
Christian Eriksen (Ajax to Tottenham Hotspur, €13,500,000): His first appearance for Spurs saw him in the starting lineup playing as a #10 behind Soldado, and he had the assist for the first goal. He looked as if he’d been there for years! His general play was sharp but that could also be attributed to the lack of positive football played by Norwich. Over the season, he will have to maintain his sharpness for Spurs to finish in the Top 4. Tottenham will be an exciting team to watch this season and Eriksen will be an integral part of their attack. His skillfulness in the #10 position on the pitch for Spurs could help them forget about Gareth Bale sooner than expected.
Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea, Free Transfer): Not the best of starts to life in the premier league for Samuel Eto’o, with a 1-0 debut loss to Everton. Eto’o had several chances to score but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Perhaps he needs a few games to get back at the high level of fitness that the premier league demands to be back to his best. All said and done, he will be better than Torres in attack even on his worst day. Chelsea need a striker to rely on and Eto’o was their only option as their pursuit of Wayne Rooney failed to lure the English superstar away from the red half of Manchester. He has shown that he is a quality striker in the past with Champions league medals for Barcelona and Inter Milan in recent years. While his move to Anzhi was motivated by money, it remains unclear if he can still execute his normal game style at the highest level. We will see how he does in the next couple of weeks.
Marouane Fellaini (Everton to Manchester United, €32,400,000): The reckless summer long pursuits of Fabregas and Thiago have been cast aside with the more necessary purchase of Fellaini. Many consider the Belgian to be a plug in the Manchester United midfield that has been overdue for some time. He replaced Anderson after the hour mark and played 28 minutes, making more passes with a higher passing accuracy than Anderson did in his time on the pitch. We can argue that the game had long ended as a contest by that point, with Crystal Palace reduced to 10 men and United up 1-0 facing the Stretford End. However, Fellaini’s introduction helped United finish the game strongly and his contribution has given United supporters a lot of promise. His presence in the lineup will give United more grit in the middle of the pitch as well as superiority in the aerial battles against most teams. He will be a player to watch this season.
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid to Arsenal, €50,000,000): The transfer of Mesut Ozil was one of the more positive shocks on deadline day that we have seen in recent seasons. Madristas are mourning his loss and Arsenal fans are still pinching themselves. The sly Wenger seems to have played his trump card at the right time…well, maybe we are getting carried away a little bit. Let’s look at his first appearance for Arsenal: He makes the starting lineup behind Giroud and creates a beautiful assist for the Frenchman. He put one or two meticulously weighed passes for Theo Walcott that the winger should have made more of. He was also neatly involved with Giroud once again for Arsenal’s third goal of the game. We must also take into account that Ozil was playing while ill. I know some of us like to take sick days but Ozil looked crisp on his debut even though he had a virus. If Arsenal can plug their defensive woes (Sunderland were unlucky not to score more), they will be serious contenders for a Top 3 finish that might not have much between the teams at the end of the season.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, €100,000,000): We all wanted to know how the world’s most expensive player would settle in to his new team. It was not Real Madrid’s best performance by any means (with the exception of the goalkeeping brilliance of Diego Lopez), but Bale managed to get his name on the scoresheet with a predatory finish that left his marker absolutely helpless. Players from the British Isles haven’t generally done too well in Madrid but Bale might be the most equipped of all of them to have a good chance to make a name for himself at the Bernabeu. We must brace ourselves to get used to the familiar scoresheets that will involve both Gareth Bale and Christiano Ronaldo on them. While the end result was an underwhelming 2-2 draw, Madrid’s next home game should be a good fixture for Bale to firmly establish himself in the team.
Who will have the greatest effect on his new club this season?
Some players have been signed early during the summer transfer window and have been well settled into their new teams before the onset of the season. We have decided not to overlook these players since, well…simply put, they cannot be overlooked.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint Etienne to Borussia Dortmund, €13,000,000): Aubemeyang has been on red hot form for his new club, with 5 goals in 5 appearances so far. Dortmund have had to fill the shoes of Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa in recent seasons and although they could not resign Kagawa this summer, they managed to hold on to their striker Robert Lewandowski as well as acquire Aubemeyang. He has blistering pace and has settled well into Klopp’s formation so far, with 5 goals and 1 assist, tied with Lewandowski for the overall goals and assist contribution chart for the team. Dortmund’s recent 6-2 win over Hamburg saw Aubemeyang on the scoresheet twice. Dortmund are currently sitting on top of the German Bundesliga with a perfect 5 wins from 5 and have scored the highest number of goals in the league. I don’t think they care about what Mario Gotze is currently doing at Bayern right now.
Neymar (Santos F.C. to Barcelona, €57,000,000): Neymar’s transfer saga was a foregone conclusion about a year before it actually occured. We are all aware of his unbelievable ability on the ball and silky smooth skills that lit up the Brazilian league. His early days at Barcelona were not the smoothest, as the Catalan side claimed he was suffering from some illnesses and also wanted him to bulk up a little more. Barcelona’s overall form has been a bit underwhelming and as usual, overly dependent on Mr. Messi to come up with the goods. While he has time to grow at his new club, I have no doubt that he will eventually settle into the Catalan style of soccer and when he finally clicks with Messi and co., he will be magnificent. Some of the tricks he has already put on show are breathtaking. We should not underestimate this guy by any means.
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid to Napoli, €37,000,000): Higuain’s departure from Real Madrid had everything to do with cashing in on a player at the right time. Napoli have signed a terrific striker and he has good pace and finishing ability. His early days in Naples are looking quite promising, as he has already established himself as a fan favourite. Not to mention, Napoli are currently sitting on top of the Serie A with 3 wins in 3, and Higuain has 2 goals and an assist so far. Looks like one of the better buys of Rafael Benitez’s career already! I think we could see Napoli light up Serie A this season and perhaps they can bring back the old glory days when another Argentine by the name of Diego carried Naples on his shoulders and into glory. Higuain also has a fairly decent supporting cast alongside him too.
Radamel Falcao (Athletico Madrid to Monaco, €60,000,000): Falcao is one of the most lethal strikers in world football today, and when he decided to choose the colours of Monaco, I’m sure a few eyebrows were raised. However, after learning that Monaco has no tax, I think he is a smart man to choose this club, as he has a good challenge ahead of him to bring Monaco into the top tier of world football. Monaco are first in the French league with 4 wins and a draw so far. Falcao has accounted for 4 of the 9 goals his team have scored, which is not a bad percentage of goal contribution for the team. Monaco have signed a great talent and he has shown that he is versatile and can compete in whatever team he can play for. I can’t wait to see them light up European football when they become regulars!
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City to Juventus F.C., €9,000,000): Tevez has made a nuisance of himself several times already in his career so far, with a number of high profile issues stemming from ownership agreements to attitude problems. However, he still remains one of the more hardworking strikers in the modern game. His time at Manchester City may have run out but at 29 years old, he still has a few years left in him. Juventus are a team that have been growing in strength for the past couple of seasons and are tipped to be the dark horses in Europe this year, which is an ideal place for Tevez to make his mark. He will be a major contributor to their strike force this season and with 2 goals in 3 appearances so far in the league, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Juventus are definitely stronger with Tevez in their side than without him.
Categories: Football Funnies