EPL Transfers: Grading Big-Name Signings Thus Far

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

EPL Transfers: Grading Big-Name Signings Thus Far

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    As signings around the English Premier League become official, it's time to evaluate some of the big names that have switched sides this summer.

    After Manchester City took the crown in the EPL last season, several elite squads will be looking to dethrone the reigning champions.

    Although it's early, here are grades for some of the high profile signings in the EPL thus far.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

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    A 21-year-old Belgian national, midfielder Eden Hazard has headlined Chelsea's summer transfer signings thus far.

    Coming over from French side Lille, Hazard will come to Stamford Bridge to play in one of England's most talented midfields alongside the likes of Frank Lampard and Raul Meireles.

    Hazard netted 20 goals in French Ligue 1 play last season, and will join the defending UEFA Champions League title holders with some valuable experience.

    Although Lille failed to advance to the knockout round of Champions League play, Hazard's experience at such a high level of competition will serve him well with the Blues.

    With the departure of longtime striker Didier Drogba now official, Hazard will be a nice goal-scoring complement to Fernando Torres.

    Grade: A-

Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

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    With rumors abound that Arsenal striker Theo Walcott could be on his way out this summer, the signing of Lukas Podolski may prove to be that much more valuable once the EPL season kicks off.

    A 27-year-old German striker, Podolski is a proven goal scorer who is coming off of a nice season with German side FC Cologne.

    After netting 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season, Podolski flashed enough promise for the Gunners to spend a reported £11 million on the German striker.

    Assuming Robin van Persie sticks around for another season, Podolski should be able to adequately supplement the goal scoring of the reigning 2012 FWA Footballer of the Year.

    Grade: B

Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)

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    One of the summer's biggest signings thus far has been Manchester United's acquisition of Japanese midfielder Shiniji Kagawa.

    Still just 23-years-old, Kagawa flashed his potential with German side Borussia Dortmund last season, scoring 13 goals and recording eight assists in 29 starts.

    Kagawa will join a midfield loaded with stars at Old Trafford, one that includes names like Nani, Ashley Young and Paul Scholes.

    A natural fit with United, Kagawa will be a key piece in reclaiming an English Premier League title in 2012-2013.

    Grade: B+

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

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    A luxury signing for the Gunners, French striker Olivier Giroud will join fellow transfer Lukas Podolski at Arsenal next season.

    Giroud ended the season in French Ligue 1 tied for the most goals scored with 21, a number that certainly looked appealing to Arsene Wenger and the rest of Gunners management.

    Giroud's role is a bit unclear at this point with the future of Robin van Persie currently up in the air.

    Should van Persie depart, Giroud's value will skyrocket, and his goal scoring opportunities will increase exponentially.

    One of the hottest new names in the EPL, expect Giroud to make some noise next season.

    Grade: A-

Fabio Da Silva (Queens Park Rangers)

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    Although his playing time with Manchester United has been decimated by a series of injuries, Fabio should find some comfort in his new home with Queens Park Rangers.

    Acquired on loan on Monday, Fabio will spend the upcoming season with QPR, who narrowly escaped relegation a year ago.

    With a goal differential of -23 last season, Queens Park Rangers have to be thrilled to acquire a defender like Fabio.

    While his play has not lived up to that of his brother Rafael, he will have an opportunity to thrive in a new setting next season.

    Grade: B+