by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Allow us whisper this: Proper football is back. From Saturday this week and for the next nine months or so, the stadia in England, will come alive with singing fans, fantastic football, hair-raising atmospheres and of course, the brilliant players that will conjure all the magic.
From today till the first match ball is kicked, we will be running this series on YNaija – the EPL Countdown. And with it, we will basically be making our predictions, for what already promises to be yet another spectacular season of football.
A number of new arrivals are ready to grace the stage, but which of them are our pick of the bunch? Here’s our top five signings of this summer, in no particular order:
1. Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United
Kagawa, along with Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski, made Borussia Dortmund thick last season. His sparkling performances for the double German champions caught Alex Ferguson’s eye and he shelled out £17 million on the Japanese playmaker. The 23-year-old is expected to step into Paul Scholes’ big shoes in the long run, and from what we have seen in pre-season, he is equal to the task.
2. Eden Hazard – Chelsea
Chelsea successfully fought off both Manchester United and Manchester City, to acquire the services of the highly rated Belgian. Hazard’s technique, often tempts one to compare him with either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but the former Lille maestro, will find out that it’s a different ball game in England. However, his pace, trickery and vision should put him in good stead.
3. Santi Cazorla – Arsenal
It is official – Arsene Wenger strikes the best deals in modern day football. Due to Malaga’s financial troubles, the Frenchman was able to get Cazorla off the Spanish club, for about £12.7 million. Absolute steal. But trust us, Cazorla is worth five times that amount. His two-footedness, sublime passing skills and an eye for a goal, will make Arsenal a much more better team.
4. Steven Pienaar – Everton
What we will never understand, is why Steven Pienaar ever thought of leaving Everton. The South African endured a miserable six months at White Hart Lane, before David Moyes brought him back on loan in the January window. The midfielder was so influential in the Toffees late surge up the table, that Moyes eventually paid £4.5 million, to bring him back on a permanent basis.
5.Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspurs
At one point, we thought this deal might not happen. But he is here now and we will see yet another talented Belgian in the Premiership this campaign. Strong, quick and attack-minded, Vertonghen will surely fit into Andre Villas-Boas, and bring in some defensive stability that Tottenham Hotspurs missed, as they collapsed spectacularly towards the end of the 2011/2012 season.
So, do you agree with our choices?