People cry tears of boredom and begin to fall asleep on the back pages of their morning newspapers as another one hundred column inches are devoted to Gareth Bale and Real Madrid, Luis Suarez to Arsenal and Wayne Rooney to Chelsea. As these extremely high profile transfer debacles continue to dominate the headlines, so many other transfer dealings have gone unnoticed. Take a look at some of the quietly astute signings to have been made under the radar.
Jose Canas – Real Betis to Swansea – Free
The 26-year-old Spanish defensive midfielder was one of the earliest signings to have been completed this transfer window. He almost joined Swansea last January as Betis looked to cash in on the player during the final year of his contract but nothing materialised and he was picked up as a free agent by Michael Laudrup on June 6. Canas is one of three Spanish signings made by Swansea this summer, as Alejandro Pozuelo and Jordi Amat also join up with fellow countrymen and established regulars Michu, Pablo Hernandez, Chico Flores and Angel Rangel. This should create an understanding between a squad of real quality that will allow Swansea to build on their impressive cup-winning campaign last season.
Dejan Lovren – Lyon to Southampton – £8.5m
Croatian defender Dejan Lovren has already received heavy praise from new manager Mauricio Pochettino during Southampton’s pre-season schedule. The Argentinian described him as a ‘quality defender with the ability to read difficult situations with a great on field presence’. The Saints were thought to have fought off extremely tough competition for his signature, with Tottenham and Inter Milan both interested in buying the International defender, who has made 17 appearances for his country at the age of 23. Southampton are looking to strengthen the spine of their high-pressing team, and with hard-tackling midfielder Victor Wanyama joining Lovren as a new arrival, they look set for a top-half finish next season.
Diego Lugano – PSG to West Brom – Free
West Brom manager Steve Clarke seems to be in a competition with himself to find the transfer bargain of the summer. As if completing the signing of free agent and former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea exquisite finisher Nicolas Anelka wasn’t enough, the Baggies have also signed Uruguay captain and no-nonsense centre-half, Diego Lugano. Lugano was named captain of the South Africa World Cup Team of the Tournament in 2010 and is known for his combative nature and merciless tackling style. Dubbed a ‘natural leader’ by Steve Clarke, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Lugano given the armband on his competitive debut for the club. Lugano also has excellent European pedigree after recent spells with Fenerbache, PSG and Champions League quarter-finalists, Malaga.
Leroy Fer – FC Twente to Norwich – Undisclosed
The exact amount Norwich City and Chris Hughton paid for Leroy Fer remains undisclosed, but it is thought to be in the region of £6m. The 23-year-old Dutchman is a box to box midfielder with the ability to dominate games and opposition players. His rangy tackling and incredible speed across the ground, combined with his build and physical appearance will draw inevitable comparisons to past and present Premier League favourites Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure. There are continued concerns over his fitness after he failed a medical at Everton last January but if Norwich hope to progress, they can only improve with signings like Fer and the prolific Gary Hooper from Celtic.
Dwight Gayle – Peterborough to Crystal Palace – £8m
The story of Dwight Gayle is an almost unbelievable one. The striker was playing as lowly as the Essex Senior League during the 2011/12 season, but finds himself an £8m signing for a Premier League side two years later after consistent goal-scoring spells with Bishop’s Stortford and Peterborough United. If you are to have a chance of staying in the Premier League, you need to score goals, and it seems Palace manager Ian Holloway is putting a huge amount of faith in 22-year-old Gayle, telling Sky Sports News: “I think he’ll score goals at Premier League level, I really do. He’s born to score goals.”
Steven Caulker – Tottenham Hotspur to Cardiff City – £8m
Cardiff City broke their transfer record to sign young centre-back Steven Caulker from Spurs in what could be the signing of the season. After an impressive loan spell with Swansea City last season and a first goal-scoring appearance for England, you could be forgiven for thinking Caulker would have been first choice at White Hart Lane. Andre Villas-Boas however decided to accept Cardiff’s bid, thought to have been in excess of £8m. Caulker is a proven defender at Premier League level and Cardiff may have doubled their chances of staying up by securing his services. At only 21-years-old, Caulker has the potential to improve at Cardiff City under new manager Malky Mackay and push for a regular position in the England squad.