6 Under the Radar Premier League Transfers Who Will Impress in 2013-14
The summer transfer window is well into full swing and Premier League sides have little more than a month left to buy, sell and strengthen as required.
Of course, those deals involving the "bigger" clubs and marquee players such as Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale dominate the back pages of newspapers and the column inches on most websites, but some of the Premier League's lesser likes have gone about their business with some astute signings.
Therefore, here's a look at six Premier League signings that have gone somewhat under the radar, but who could be set to impress in the upcoming campaign, away from the top-flight's supposed elite.
Jores Okore (Aston Villa)
The 20-year-old Denmark international has traded in the Danish Superliga for the English Premier League this season following his £4million move to Aston Villa.
Ivory Coast-born Okore has spent the last two years playing an integral part at the heart of FC Nordsjaelland's defence, proving key in the club's maiden championship success in 2011-12.
Paul Lambert's side were dismal defensively last season, conceding 69 goals in 38 matches—only relegated Wigan and Reading shipped more—and the young defender will hopefully prove to be the answer to those troubles.
Strong, good in the air and with a more than decent turn of pace, Okore's physical presence and aggressive style should make him a decent bet to succeed in the Premier League. Last season's turn in the Champions League with his former club won't have done him any harm.
Alongside the more cerebral and experienced Dutch centre-back Ron Vlaar, Lambert may have put together a complimentary partnership which could well see both individual's and their team thrive in the coming campaign.
Jose Campana (Crystal Palace)
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Another Iberian youngster rich in promise, Spain's under-20 international captain has this summer swapped Seville for Selhurst Park and Ian Holloway may well have got himself a bargain: a mere £1.7million the transfer fee.
The 20-year-old made more than 20 appearances for the La Liga club over the past two seasons, despite struggling with various injuries, particularly a broken foot during the last campaign.
When Holloway's Blackpool graced the Premier League in 2010-11, they were a wildly attacking outlet who played some of the division's most adventurous technical football, with Charlie Adam as the creative hub. For Adam and the Tangerines then, read Campana and Crystal Palace now.
From a position at the heart of midfield, the young Spaniard mixes superb technique and a wonderful range of passing, with good reading of the game and the ability to turn defence into attack quickly, through an interception and quick, accurate vertical passes.
How Campana deals with the physicality of the Premier League will make interesting viewing, but if he can settle into a midfield role alongside skipper Mile Jedinak, expect him to make a big impression for the Eagles.
Sascha Riether (Fulham)
The experienced German full-back was on loan at Craven Cottage last season, and having suitably impressed during 35 Premier League appearances which saw him voted as Fulham's Player's Player of the Season, Riether was snapped up from FC Koln at the start of summer for an undisclosed fee.
Tigerish in the tackle, positionally sound and decent with the ball at his feet, Riether was one of the Premier League's standout right-back's last season—arguably only Rafael and Pablo Zabaleta were more consistent performers.
The 30-year-old helped himself to one goal and four assists during his maiden campaign in west London, but having proven himself one of Martin Jol's most valuable and reliable performers, expect him to improve further in the new campaign.
Perhaps the fact that he isn't a Premier League newcomer makes his inclusion in this list something of a cheat—but the German's permanent arrival is a sound piece of business from the Cottagers.
Leroy Fer (Norwich)
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When Leroy Fer's move to Everton broke down in January, it was seen as something of a blow to the Toffees, such is the quality of the Dutch international.
Thus with the 23-year-old joining Norwich City this summer, the signature of the former Twente midfielder is something of a coup for Canaries boss Chris Hughton.
A powerful, versatile, box-to-box midfielder, Fer's dominant figure has seen him nicknamed "the Bouncer" since his youth days at Feyenoord, and his preseason performances already have Hughton purring:
He is a physical presence but he also has a pass on him. I think in the short period of time that he was on he showed some of his passing range and he gives us real good option in that central midfield position. (Paddy Davitt, Norwich Evening News)
Though much of his time in the Eredivisie with Twente was spent in a defensive midfield role, Fer also has a happy knack of powering into the final third and scoring his fair share of goals, as 11 in 38 for the Dutch club in 2012-13 will attest.
No matter the exact specifics of his role in the coming campaign, expect Fer to impress at Carrow Road.
Nicolas Anelka (West Bromwich Albion)
No stranger to the English top division, the former France international returns to England from a sabbatical in China— via Turin—with West Bromwich Albion, last season's surprise package, who become the sixth English side on the 34-year-old's CV.
The loss of loanee Romelu Lukaku, last year's 17-goal striker who returned to parent club Chelsea this summer, was expected to hit the Black Country side hard but Anelka's signature will ease that blow.
The Frenchman has already made his presence felt in preseason, scoring twice in Albion's 3-0 win over Hungarian club Puskas Academy whilst also putting in a good performance in the defeat against Hannover 96.
The Anelka effect has already rubbed off on captain Chris Brunt, who told the Birmingham Mail's Chris Lepkowski, "I have enjoyed playing with him so far in the games. He obviously wants the ball and I like passing to him."
Whilst the pace may not be as electric as it once was, the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward remains a sharp and elusive mover, with clever feet, tremendous technique and the happy knack of rarely conceding possession.
Align the aforementioned characteristics with his intelligence and vision, and the Baggies new centre-forward will very much be both a scorer and a provider in 2013-14. Steve Clarke will be hoping his quality can help bring out the best in those around him.
Razvan Rat (West Ham United)
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One of the earliest deals completed this summer was that of the Romanian international left-back Razvan Rat, who exchanged Eastern European powerhouse Shakhtar Donetsk for East London and West Ham United.
Ten years in Ukraine saw Rat claim seven league titles, five Ukrainian cups and the 2009 UEFA Cup as he became an integral part of compatriot Mircea Lucescu's side, which has for so long mixed Eastern European nous with South American flair.
Now the defender undertakes a new challenge in the Premier League, Sam Allardyce brought him to Upton Park on a free transfer.
Positionally sound, a fierce competitor and with no shortage of technical ability, he offers a more natural alternative at full-back than the Irishman Joey O'Brien, who, though nominally a right-back, often deputized on the left side in the last campaign.
Like Messrs, Okocha, Djorkaeff and Campo in a past life at Bolton, this could be a shrewd move from the Hammers boss.