With just over a month of Premier League action behind us, which of this summer’s new signings have impressed the most? BPF looks at ten of the best transfers, including Arsenal’s sterling £10million centre half , Liverpool’s flying wing back and Sunderland’s new star striker.
Thomas Vermaelen │ Arsenal
The big Belgian defender has become an instant favourite at the Emirates Stadium after his £10million move from Ajax, giving Arsenal a different dimension from the back up. Vermaelen has slotted right in alongside William Gallas and has clicked a revitalisation in the Frenchman, while being an immense aerial threat from set pieces and solid defensively himself. He announced himself instantly, heading in on his league debut against Everton. He also scored on his Champions League “proper” debut for the Gunners, against Standard Liege. Vermaelen was phenomenal at the weekend against Wigan, scoring a powerful header as well as a beautiful left footed strike from outside the box. As well as being an attacking threat, he’s no pushover when it comes to crunching tackles and cleaning up defensively. He’s already being likened to Nemanja Vidic and Ricardo Carvalho as the best centre halves to arrive in the Premier League, and is most certainly the best new signing of this season.
Glen Johnson │ Liverpool
When it was announced that Liverpool had spent over £17million on the Portsmouth defender, there were question marks over the logic of spending so much on a suspect defender. But after just six games at his new club, Glen Johnson has showed exactly why Rafa Benitez opted to spend so much money on the right back. The England international has added a much needed attacking influence along Liverpool’s right hand side, getting forward at every opportunity and providing a different attacking dimension. He’s already pitched in with two goals, as well as creating three assists for his teammates. Liverpool were in dire need of someone to help unlock teams who came to Anfield and “parked the bus”, after drawing to the likes of Hull and Stoke last season. So far this year, Johnson has been a big factor in beating the “lesser” sides, scoring against Stoke in a 4-0 win and helping the Reds to a 4-0 victory over Burnley. Johnson hasn’t faltered in defense either, his wicked pace can get him back quickly when they lose the ball in attack, and he has been a strong point in what is a somewhat shaky Liverpool defense this season.
Darren Bent │ Sunderland
The £12million striker has been an inspired signing for Steve Bruce’s side. Sunderland sit in 8th position, and Darren Bent has pitched in with five goals already, including the winner in the opening game against Bolton and two in the victory over Hull City. After two seasons of under-performing at Tottenham, Bent has got his act together and has re-found the clinical finishing which made a name for himself at Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic. Steve Bruce showed a lot commitment in Bent’s ability by splashing the cash, and Bent has repaid Bruce’s faith with his energetic enthusiasm and lethal finishing. He’s got his confidence back, and his ready to show exactly why so much money has been spent on him through the years.
Gareth Barry │ Manchester City
Gareth Barry was once heading Liverpool’s transfer list, and was expected to join the Reds and become the final piece of their Premier League winning puzzle. However, the England international, as well all know, joined the Manchester City revolution instead where he has become just as key as Alonso was to Liverpool, Fabregas to Arsenal and Essien to Chelsea. His midfield work can’t be questioned, his tireless work rate and natural ability to pick out a pass and interchange play. As well as being reliable at spot kicks, he can get into great positions to score like at Old Trafford last weekend, netting his first league goal for the club.
Kevin Doyle │ Wolves
The Irish international has been an important addition to Wolves since his summer £5.5million move, making him the club’s most expensive player. Doyle missed the opening two games due to injury, but his availability is necessary if Wolves want to pick up goals, especially at home where he netted his first goal for Wolves in their 2-1 win against Fulham. Doyle has been linked with a number of different clubs , including Fulham and Everton, since dropping out of the league with Reading. But he chose to make the switch to Mick McCarthy’s side and help them secure top tier status for another year. He’s been a regular starter for the Republic of Ireland, and will go on to represent in South Africa if they qualify. His goal scoring qualities are a huge bonus to Wolves’ first season back in the Premier League.
Emmanuel Adebayor │ Manchester City
The £25million striker was bound to be an instant success at City after making the move from Arsenal, but nobody would have foreseen a reinvigorated Adebayor with an air of new enthusiasm about him. Along with scoring four goals in City’s first four league games, Adebayor has become a big team player with plenty of positivity in his play. He has also been remarkably effective in defensive situations, particularly when City defend corners and he dominates at the front post. Fans at the City of Manchester were initially sceptical when Adebayor arrived at the club, but despite claims of an ego big enough to match his price tag, the Togo forward has been a key team player in this new look Man City side.
Joe Hart │ Birmingham
After an impressive break through into the number one spot at Manchester City, Hart dropped out again after the arrival of Shay Given from Newcastle last January. England’s U21 ‘keeper was loaned out to Birmingham this summer, where he is now playing regular football and despite the lack of quality in Birmingham’s side, he’s already notched four clean sheets plus pulling off more than a few top saves.
Stephen Hunt │ Hull City
Stephen Hunt’s impact came moments into his debut this season as he fired Hull into a shocking lead way back on the 15th of August against Chelsea. The left sided midfielder with bundles of energy has been on sterling form since returning to the Premier League after his relegation with Reading two seasons ago. He netted twice in his opening two games, and has pitched in with the assist that earned a draw against Wolves. The Irish international is a fountain of energy with an incredible work-rate, and has already become a vital member to Hull’s starting eleven.
Lee Cattermole │ Sunderland
When Wigan lost Luis Antonio Valencia to Manchester Utd, it was a huge blow. But not as big as Lee Cattermole, when they sold the centre midfielder to league rivals Sunderland for £6.5million. The England U-21 oozes energy, and has been a breath of new life into the Black Cats’ midfield. Cattermole has an awesome work rate, and his no-nonsense style means Sunderland have a reliable player who can hold up the midfield and shield the defense, as well as one who can get forward as he loves to attack and run with the ball at his feet. There’s no surprises Cattermole was linked to sides like Liverpool and Tottenham in the past, such is his incredible ability. As we’ve seen earlier, Sunderland have signed well this summer in bringing in Darren Bent, but the signing of Cattermole has been just as important to Sunderland’s best start to a season in years.
Richard Dunne │ Aston Villa
So he’s only played two league games with Villa, but one of the most wanted centre halves in the league has already become a solid component of Martin O’ Neill’s defense; two games, two clean sheets. After Mark Hughes invested heavily in bringing Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott to Man City, Richard found himself with no option but to move elsewhere and guarantee himself first team football. The Irish international has been an integral part of City’s defense over the years, as well as being a key member to the Republic of Ireland. And with the loss of Martin Laursen to retirement and Curtis Davies to a shoulder injury, Dunne has come in to plug the whole vacated by these two and show he is one of the top performing defenders in the league.
(Images courtesy of Zimbio)