Tottenham's Lloris, Arsenal's Cazorla and Swansea's Michu: It's The Summer Signing XI

They arrived last year and excelled. These 11 players, in a 3-4-3, have proven to be the greatest acquisitions during last years summer transfer window.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
21
They arrived last year and excelled. These 11 players, in a 3-4-3, have proven to be the greatest acquisitions during last years summer transfer window.

404

Starring players from the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Manchester City, Swansea City, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, these 11 players are ones that have lit up the Premier League in their debut year. And I apologise Chelsea fans, but I couldn't find a space for Eden Hazard.

GK: Hugo Lloris – Tottenham Hotspur

“But we don't need another goalkeeper!” cried Tottenham Hotspur fans when Hugo Lloris arrived on August 31st. They were, theoretically, right. Brad Friedel had been a loyal custodian to the number one spot at White Hart Lane the previous 12 months, but the fact is his approach to goalkeeping was differing to that of the Frenchman.

In Andre Villas-Boas' system, a goalkeeper capable on rushing off his line to prevent danger was a necessity, something that Friedel often failed to do. Since Lloris has established himself as Spurs' number one, the plaudits have been deserving, with the France captain keeping seven clean sheets in his 20 Premier League games.

CB: Matija Nastasic – Manchester City

When Manchester City secured the signature of Stefan Savic in 2011, many exclaimed they had acquired one of the best young defenders in Europe. A season later and the 22-year-old was being shipped out of the Etihad Stadium quicker than Mario Balotelli can set off a firework in his own bathroom.

Savic was sent on loan to Fiorentina, of whom he is currently excelling with, and in his place came Matija Nastasic. “Another Savic!” screamed many, before actually witnessing the youngster in action. Making his debut against Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was the equivalent of throwing a toddler into the deep end of the swimming pool in their first lesson, but rather than sink, the youngster swam and impressively so.

Enjoying a highly successful debut campaign with City, the continuous injury problems to Vincent Kompany have been nowhere near as cataclysmic as many had expected with Nastasic churning out performances bearing a striking resemblance to that of professionals 10 years his senior.

CB: Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur

The second of three Spurs signing and the first of three Belgians, Jan Vertonghen has been a revelation since signing under Andre Villas-Boas. Despite being utilised at left-back for much of the season, as a result of a knee injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the former Ajax ace fulfilled his defensive and attacking duties with minimal fuss.

However, it's in the heart of the defence that Vertonghen has excelled. Offering the continental approach to Michael Dawson's no nonsense, the two have combined superbly in the backline. Not only has he impressed in defence, but his attacking prowess has also aided Spurs this season, netting three Premier League goals including a brace in the 3-2 defeat with Liverpool.

Interest from Barcelona and Arsenal was expected, such were his performances in Holland, but with Spurs needing a replacement for the retiring Ledley King, it was understandable that the pursuit of Vertonghen was necessary, with the Belgium international filling the void of the White Hart Lane hero was minimal fuss.

CB: Chico – Swansea City

Following Michael Laudrup's appointment last summer, an influx of La Liga stars had been tipped to move to the Liberty Stadium, such was the Dane's history having managed both Getafe and Real Mallorca.

Michu and Pablo Hernandez arrived and were joined by compatriot Chico Flores. Since his arrival from Genoa, via Mallorca, the 26-year-old has become an integral part of the Swansea backline, forming an impressive partnership with Ashley Williams.

Vital in their run to the Capital One Cup final, only to miss out due to injury, the Spaniard will be crucial to the Swans in the final stretch in the Premier League and, should they be able to keep hold of him, will play a pivotal role in their Europe debut next season.

More...

Arsenal Memories: Watching Henry Destroy Spurs From A Bar Brawl In Hanoi

Julian Draxler: Why Chelsea & Manchester United Will Battle For Schalke's Playmaker

CM: Santi Cazorla – Arsenal

“He'll take your back four down” or so the song goes, Santi Cazorla has provided the creativity that the Arsenal midfield desperately lacked following the departure of Cesc Fabregas. Taking advantage of Malaga's financial difficulties, it still took a reported £20m for the Gunners to sign the Spaniard.

While Jack Wilshere has been preferred to Cazorla in the middle of the park, the England international operating in the “Playmaker” role, his injury means the midfielder will be relied upon to provide the creativity behind the attacking trio.

Returning to the middle of the park in the 2-0 win over Swansea City, Cazorla will look to continue his impressive form in the midfield between now and the end of the season following an under-performing stint on the wing.

CM: Mousa Dembele – Tottenham Hotspur

When Spurs sold Luka Modric in August, a deep lying playmaker was necessity. Having been linked with Mousa Dembele last January, a deal was finally struck with Fulham that saw the 25-year-old move to White Hart Lane, with the Cottagers netting a cool £15m for the classy Belgian.

Providing the attacking cohesion and verve that was desperately lacking through the sale of Modric to Real Madrid, the power and ability of Dembele has come in a vital asset for Spurs this season as they look to secure a top four finish and a Champions League place.

Forming a dynamic partnership with Sandro prior to the Brazilian's injury, Dembele is consistently impressive for Villas-Boas' side as he drifts through the midfielder like a player who doesn't stand at 6ft 1in. A vital cog in the Spurs engine room, as evidenced through their win ratio dropping from 68% to 14% when he's out of the side.

CM: Claudio Yacob – West Bromwich Albion

Following the appointment of Steve Clarke last summer, a number of signings were made in order to better the 10th place finish under Roy Hodgson last season. Romelu Lukaku arrived on loan from Chelsea, but it was Claudio Yacob who was the more pivotal of signings for West Bromwich Albion.

Signing on a free from Argentine side Racing, the 25-year-old has become a key member of the West Brom starting XI, with Yacob forming an impenetrable midfield partnership with Youssouf Mulumbu.

Arriving for nothing further improved his credentials and it's no shock that the Baggies poor run of form coincided with his injury during the festive period. His stock would've risen considerably this season and West Brom will be desperate to keep hold of Yacob at the end of the season if they're to push on for the next campaign.

CM: Michu – Swansea City

I don't know if it's been spouted before, but Michu only cost Swansea City £2m. Not bad for a team offering 11-month unpaid internships. 19 goals in all competitions - a little over £105k-per-goal - the Spaniard took to the Premier League like a duck to water.

Spearheading the Swans attack, Michael Laudrup's side have won over many a plaudit for their footballing philosophy and approach to the beautiful game, with the Capital One Cup victory over Bradford City fully deserving following the campaign they've enjoyed.

Interest from a number of England's top teams has increased significantly, with Manchester United and Arsenal supposedly sniffing around a player who, back in the day, would've cost the equivalent of 200,000 packets of Space Raiders. Having signed a new contract back in January, the deal will be a massive boost to Swansea as they look to hold onto their best players. By the way, did you know he only cost £2m to sign from Rayo Vallecano?

More...

Diego Capel: 3 Minutes Of Spurs' Next Winger Tearing Teams A New One

Neymar: A Brazilian On Why Manchester City Have No Chance Of Signing Him

ST: Dimitar Berbatov – Fulham

For just £5m, Fulham pulled off one hell of a coup by signing Dimitar Berbatov. Despite his turbulent time, last season especially, with Manchester United, the Bulgarian had his list of admirers that stretched as far east as Italy.

Berbatov had initially been expected to sign for Fiorentina, before the Cottagers came a calling and a move to west London had all but been agreed before the Viola could cancel the first class tickets the striker had demanded to complete a medical - a medical he never actually showed up to.

Spurs had shown an interest, and it's fair to say that their Champions League quest could've been that much easier had they lured him back to White Hart Lane, but Berbatov continues to excel in his role as the very big fish in a small pond, no offence Fulham fans. Evidenced that he still has the class to succeed in the Premier League with the filthiest of Berbarotica-esque volleys against Stoke City last month.

ST: Christian Benteke – Aston Villa

It's fair to say that Aston Villa would've been as good as relegated without the Belgian in the starting XI. Arriving from Genk in a £7m deal last summer, many initially doubted the credentials of Christian Benteke, but he's proved to be a revelation at Villa Park.

With Villa scoring just 31 times in the Premier League this season, Benteke has directly contributed to 17 of those, 13 of which have been goals - an impressive 55%. Such have been his performances for Paul Lambert's side, interest is understandably high in the 22-year-old.

The Villains will be loathe to losing their prized asset, but if they succumb to relegation come May, chances are they may not have a say in the matter, with the list of admirers in Benteke growing ever longer by the week.

ST: Robin van Persie – Manchester United

The goals may've dried up somewhat for the Dutchman, but Robin van Persie has continuously impressed since signing for Manchester United. Having told Arsenal he was going to depart the Emirates Stadium for pastures new, fans were understandably upset about the sale of their star striker, with the striker vital to their third place finish last season.

Many had expected Van Persie to fail to replicate his performances in north London at Old Trafford, but the 29-year-old proved his doubters wrong with 23 goals in all competitions as United edge closer to their 20th title.

His form may've dropped significantly at the time of writing, having last scored in the 2-0 win over Everton last month, but he's still been vital in United's push to Premier League and FA Cup glory, having netted 19 times in the former alone, a figure that is only bettered by Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

Are there any players I missed out on? A summer arrival that deserves his spot in this team? Feel free to say in the comments below