The 6 Most Tactically Influential Premier League Transfers so Far This Summer
It's been a busy summer transfer window so far with more than £200 million spent in the Premier League alone.
Preseason is the time to make sweeping changes and remodel your team if you have to, and managers are taking advantage of intense training sessions and warmup games to instill new beliefs and strategies.
We've looked at the Premier League dealings and picked out the most influential of the lot. By that, we mean the signings that can instigate real change in philosophy or shore up a particularly sub-par area of a team.
Players who've turned a season-long loan deal permanent, such as Andy Carroll, were not considered.
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Jose Campagna, Crystal Palace
It's unclear how much of a role he'll play, but all signs indicate he can have a big say in ensuring Crystal Palace play some neat and tidy football in the right manner this season.
Emmanuele Giaccherini, Sunderland
Giaccherini will be Paolo Di Canio's reliable right-hand man, playing almost any position he's asked to and excelling on a consistent basis.
Marc Muniesa, Stoke City
A ball-playing centre-back at Stoke City football club?
Finally, Norwich City will be able to build attacks through the centre and not rely exclusively on the wingers. Shedding Grant Holt and gaining Fer is brilliant.
Wilfried Bony, Swansea City
The addition of Bony means Swansea no longer look to Michu—and only Michu—for goals, buildup play and movement.
6. Jores Okore, Aston Villa
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Aston Villa became the envy of many club's fans when they snapped up Jores Okore extremely early in the summer window.
The Danish centre-back, who shone for FC Nordsjaelland in the UEFA Champions League last season, joins a club who desperately need to improve on the defensive side of the game.
Villa haven't kept a competitive clean sheet since December 8, 2012 against Stoke City, and Jores Okore's first task will be to settle into the side and help goalkeeper Brad Guzan break what is becoming an unenviable record.
By all accounts he can have a big impact, as his physically imposing yet positionally clever blend of player is perfect for Premier League life.
Bar warrior-esque defender Nathan Baker, Villa are not aggressive enough aerially, and Okore will be looked to to change this.
5. Erik Pieters, Stoke City
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Erik Pieters is an inspired signing by Stoke City, who have surprised many this summer under the stewardship of Mark Hughes.
For the first time in what seems like an age, the Potters will field an actual left-back at left-back, rather than a rotation of right-backs, wingers and central midfielders.
Pieters is very capable, if a little aggressive, and will help Stoke control games a little better with the ball on the floor. Defensively speaking, he's a significant upgrade talent-wise on Marc Wilson.
At £3.1 million it's a very impressive acquisition.
4. Antonio Luna, Aston Villa
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Antonio Luna was a consequential find by Paul Lambert, who when checking in on loanee Alan Hutton at Mallorca, stumbled upon a marauding left-back who shows no fear in playing an aggressive game.
Left-back was the No. 1 position to reinforce this summer, with Eric Lichaj leaving on a free transfer to Nottingham Forest, Enda Stevens transfer-listed and Joe Bennett—the only senior presence in the position—coming off the back of a difficult season.
Villa were incredibly lopsided last season, with right-back Matthew Lowton starring while Bennett remained timid, playing within himself.
Housing a left-back who's confident and able will balance Lambert's side out, and it just so happens that the Villa faithful adore "Tony Moon."
3. Arouna Kone, Everton
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The reception to Everton signing Arouna Kone was mixed, with half believing it was a good deal and half feeling the club could have attracted a bigger name.
But Kone is the ideal man to help Roberto Martinez turn footballing philosophies on their heads at Goodison Park, and signing him will ensure Everton can play to the managers' ideals in the final third.
Martinez has switched between 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 during preseason, encouraging free-flowing, dynamic football—a far-cry from the rigidity of David Moyes' 4-4-1-1.
Truth be told, neither Victor Anichebe or Nikica Jelavic boast ability between the lines anywhere close to that of Kone, and the Ivorian is the perfect man to instigate change on the pitch.
2. Paulinho, Tottenham Hotspur
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Snagging a key member of a Brazilian side who just won the Confederations Cup is fantastic no matter the circumstances, but the nature of Paulinho's game makes it all the more significant.
Paulinho is a player who can play as a holding midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, giving Andre Villas-Boas depth he could only have wished for last season, while he can also help the Portuguese install a 4-3-3 formation if he so chooses to replicate his shape at FC Porto.
Paulinho can partner Mousa Dembele in the centre with Sandro holding, or even play as a No. 10 like he did toward his latter days as a Corinthians player.
The Brazilian gives AVB the freedom and flexibility he's been yearning for since signing as manager last summer.
1. Jesus Navas, Manchester City
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Manchester City have had issues with width since Roberto Mancini took over, but it appears Manuel Pellegrini has solved them in his first summer in charge.
Jesus Navas, a steal at approximately £15 million, is a rare breed of traditional winger who plies his trade as a true wide man.
As a right-footed winger playing from the right flank, his pure speed and ability to cross brings new value to Edin Dzeko and gives reason to the €25 million spent on Alvaro Negredo and gives City the ability to stretch the pitch and create space for their tricky attacking midfielders.
There was no match more perfect this summer than Navas and City.