Amongst the big name signings in the summer transfer market, there have been a number of strong arrivals that have been overlooked.
Dimitri Payet’s £10.7million move to West Ham from Marseille has been wrongly overlooked by many as one of the best summer signings. This comes as something of a surprise given how Payet created more chances last season than any other player from the Major European Leagues with a tally of 134, beating Kevin De Bruyne at second with 112. Payet’s performance in West Ham’s victory at Arsenal on the opening day showcased his power and grace when running with the ball as well as his impressive final product. He can offer West Ham some much needed creativity in the final third and will be important in helping Slaven Bilic take his side to the next level and to a position where they can compete for a place in Europe. The Frenchman represents an excellent and intelligent buy.
Salomon Rondon’s £12million switch to West Bromwich Albion acts as another big deal to go fairly unnoticed. The big Venezuelan has been in-demand and comes with a positive reputation following an impressive Copa America tournament. His large physical presence means he should be able to quickly adapt to the tough nature of England’s top league while he also promises to give his new side a greater attacking threat. Rondon could prove to be a useful acquisition if Saido Berahino leaves The Hawthorns this summer. His performance against Chelsea showed he is an intelligent centre forward and one that strives to put himself in goal scoring positions, which explains why Tony Pulis is so hopeful the club’s record signing will begin finding the back of the net once settled in.
At Swansea City, Andre Ayew joins as a more recognised name having regularly featured for Ghana at International level. He has been a player that has been pushing for a move to the Premier League for many seasons and has already proved he is up to the task with a strong contribution on his debut against Chelsea. Ayew will give his side pace and energy as well as experience. He will complete a balanced setup of attacking midfielders, offering Swansea a similar intensity to Jefferson Montero on the opposite wing while Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson pose as the main central technicians. The Ghanaian can be a huge player for Gary Monk and is capable of helping Bafetimbi Gomis in terms of scoring goals for his team. As a free transfer, he is a bargain.
Despite being a familiar face in the Premier League after his time at Newcastle, Yohan Cabaye’s move to Crystal Palace has been forgotten by many. Alan Pardew has, perhaps, pulled off one of the signings of the summer by bringing in Cabaye from Paris St Germain. The playmaker will bring a lot of experience to the Palace midfield and will be important in bringing more creativity to Selhurst Park to enhance the level of conviction in the team’s attacking play. Cabaye’s elegance on the ball and eye for a pass will add another dimension to a physical Palace side while ensuring Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are brought into the game more. He will pull the strings from deep positions and simply create more chances for the attackers ahead of him.
The return of Micah Richards to the Premier League was always going to be a positive for the team that secured his signature. Aston Villa have been lucky enough to gain his services with the former Manchester City man a strong leader and an experienced defender. Richards is quick, powerful, both in tackle and in the air, and is good with the ball at his feet. For a free transfer, he is another great find. For me, he deserved to play for England when he was at his best a few seasons ago. His motivation to return to the International set up means he will be determined to perform well under Tim Sherwood at Villa.
Finally, Everton’s signing of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona for £4.25million marks more great business. The winger was so impressive in his loan spell at Goodison Park a couple of seasons ago and looked capable of beating any defender with his direct attacking style and quick footwork. If he is able to replicate his form at that time, Everton fans can be hopeful that their side will enjoy a much more successful campaign than they did last time round. Pace, skill and the experience of growing up in the Barcelona youth system, Deulofeu will only get better and can offer Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley some much needed help in attack. His style could go a long way towards helping Roberto Martinez re-establish his no-fear attacking attitude that has earned him so much praise in previous seasons.