Every Premier League Side's Best Summer Signing so Far

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentOctober 22, 2013

Every Premier League Side's Best Summer Signing so Far

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    Bleacher Report brings you every English Premier League side’s best summer signing so far.

    Yes, it’s only two months into the season, but the point of this article is to inform you which transfers are making a positive first impression and the ones that aren’t.

    Should a club have no in-form summer signing right now, then N/A (not applicable) will be recorded.

    Loan deals will count. 


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    Arsenal's Best Summer Signing So Far: Mesut Ozil

    Signed from Real Madrid for £42.4 million, Ozil has smoothly transitioned into the Premier League with two goals and three assists in five games. 

    In contrast, the £78 million-valued Gareth Bale, whose transfer from Tottenham Hotspur led to Ozil's departure, has poached a goal and dived for a penalty. 

    Ozil arrived at Arsenal with compatriots Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker already at the club. 

    Gedion Zelalem, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld are additional German Gunners.

    Meanwhile, there wasn't a Welshman at Real to ease Bale into life in Spain's capital.

    Then take into account that he's devoid of match fitness—an issue he has taken personal offense to—Bale has yet to give any indication that he'll justify his enormously inflated transfer fee. 

    "It was just a little thigh strain that was blown massively out of proportion," said Bale, from Real Madrid TV via Sky Sports. "It is just a minor injury and I'm back now."

    This is why Ozil was bound to succeed initially while Bale's first impressions have been underwhelming. 

Aston Villa

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    Aston Villa's Best Summer Signing So Far: Antonio Luna

    Luna, a £1.5 million signing, has found fulfillment at Villa, having been out of favour at Sevilla. 

    Last season, he was behind starting left-back Fernando Navarro and his backup, Alberto Moreno, forcing a January loan to Mallorca.

    Luna had a notable game against Atletico Madrid for Mallorca by keeping Arda Turan quiet in a 0-0 draw.

    That performance may have swayed Villa management to take a calculated gamble on Luna.

    In an email interview with Bleacher Report world football tactics lead writer Sam Tighe, he told me that Luna's positioning needed improvement, but he was an upgrade over Joe Bennett.

    Tighe said:

    Bennett allowed wingers to encroach and get a cross/shot off. Luna works hard to close the space.

    They're polar opposites, and given the fan base's extreme dislike for Bennett (he was blamed for everything), Luna is an automatic winner. He still has a lot to improve on, though.

    LEAGUE ONLYBennett 12-13Luna 13-14
    Tackles Per Game1.73.0
    Tackle Success %7679
    Interceptions Per Game1.81.6
    Cross Success %7.1 21.4

    Allan Jiang is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this slide were obtained via email interview.

Cardiff City

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    Cardiff City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Gary Medel

    Cardiff bought Medel, an elite defensive midfielder, from Sevilla for £11 million

    Medel is known as the "pitbull" for his dogged defending.

    Last season, only he and Alejandro Arribas of Osasuna received three red cards or more in La Liga.

    So this prompted some journalists to ask Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay if Medel's short fuse would become a talking point. 

    Mackay responded, via Phil Cadden at The Express: "I won’t have to speak to him [Medel]."

    Eight games into Medel's Premier League career, he's yet to receive a yellow card, let alone a red. 

    Excluding the 4-1 defeat to Chelsea, where he was jet-lagged after playing two FIFA World Cup qualifying games in the span of four days, he's been reliable in possession by completing 90.1 percent of his passes and solid in winning back the ball (2.4 tackles per game).


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    Chelsea's Best Summer Signing So Far: N/A

    None of the Blues' transfers have stood out. 

    Willian, a £32 million signing from Anzhi Makhachkala, curled an audacious left-footed shot past Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy and created a goal against Steaua Bucuresti.

    On both occasions Willian came on as a sub late in the game with no expectations to do anything.

    When he has started—in the 2-1 defeat to Basel and the 4-1 win over Cardiff City—he's failed to live up to his transfer fee. 

    He didn't register a shot or a key pass in 67 minutes of play against Basel. 

    Juan Mata had four more touches in 59 minutes of play than Willian, who played the entire match in the win over Cardiff. 

    Andre Schurrle, an £18 million signing from Bayer Leverkusen, has been woefully inaccurate in the Premier League with only a 20 percent shooting accuracy.  

    Yet for Germany, he's a dead-eye, scoring a combined four goals in two matches against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden over four days. 

    Marco van Ginkel, one of the best midfielders in the Eredivisie last season, was signed for only £8 million from Vitesse, a club that shares a close relationship with Chelsea. 

    Unfortunately, Van Ginkel will be out for around nine months after suffering a knee ligament injury.

    Samuel Eto'o, whose only productive performance (a goal and an assist) came against Cardiff, has been lackluster.

    You're right, he arrived on a free transfer, but he's a two-time UEFA Champions League winner, so he has to be held to a higher standard. 

    Age is no excuse.

    LEAGUE ONLY (Last 3 Games)Samuel Eto'oGerman DenisRodrigo Palacio Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Crystal Palace

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    Crystal Palace's Best Summer Signing So Far: N/A

    Dwight Gayle's rags-to-riches story from non-league football to the top flight has an Ian Wright-esque feel.

    Gayle, a £4.5 million signing from Peterborough United with Sky Sports reporting the fee could rise to £8.5 million in add-ons, has struggled to adjust to the Premier League. 

    In Wright's debut campaign in the First Division, he scored eight league goals. 

    Gayle has netted twice in the current Premier League campaign. 

    Wright won the Golden Boot several seasons later and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp believes Gayle has been hindered from not being the No. 9. 

    "Dwight Gayle in the first couple of games was playing on the left side of midfield," said Redknapp, via Sky Sports. "The hardest thing in the world when you're a footballer is not playing in your best position."

    Jose Campana, a £1.7 million signing from Sevilla, has floated around the pitch. 

    He isn't a midfield destroyer as he averages 1.3 tackles per game and his passing has been middle-of-the-road.

    Palace manager Ian Holloway sees potential in Campana, but his inability to communicate has been a problem.

    "It is a shame he can't speak more English because I might be picking him a bit more," said Holloway, via Carl Markham at The Independent. "I thought we settled a bit on the ball with Jose Campana."

    Marouane Chamakh, who arrived after flopping at Arsenal, has won 45 headers but isn't a threat to score.

    His decision to dive against Southampton irked Holloway.

    "He went over far too easily," said Holloway, via BBC Sport. "I cannot understand why he didn't shoot or chip it."


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    Everton's Best Summer Signing So Far: Romelu Lukaku (loan) 

    Jose Mourinho's inability to promise Lukaku regular playing time forced the Belgian, who scored 17 times in the Premier League last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, to be loaned out to Everton.

    "The only thing I can do is play well and score as many goals as I can," said Lukaku, from Nieuwsblad via Daniel Jones at The Metro.

    "I can only underline my case by scoring more goals than all the strikers currently at Chelsea."

    Currently, Lukaku has scored more league goals for Everton (four) than Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba combined (one).


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    Fulham's Best Summer Signing So Far: Scott Parker

    Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is dreaming big which is why Parker was phased out of Spurs, a club that now have Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue and Sandro as midfield options.

    This worked to Fulham's advantage as Parker, a workhorse, brings professionalism, grit and clean passing to Martin Jol's first XI. 

    If you want a blue-collar midfield pair, Steve Sidwell and Parker are your duo. 

Hull City

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    Hull City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Curtis Davies

    Signed for £2.25 million from Birmingham City, Davies has been an indispensable part of Hull's defence. 

    He's a major reason why Hull have only conceded nine goals in eight league games. 

    Davies averages the most headers per game for a Premier League defender (4.9). 


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    Liverpool's Best Summer Signing So Far: Simon Mignolet

    £9 million signing from Sunderland, Mignolet has been a massive upgrade over Pepe "Mistakes" Reina.

    If not for Mignolet making several vital saves and denying Jonathan Walters from the penalty spot, Liverpool would not have beaten Stoke City. 

    Mignolet placed second behind Daniel Sturridge for the club's August Player of the Month award and was named the September Player of the Month.

Manchester City

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    Manchester City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Alvaro Negredo

    What makes Negredo worth more than the £16.4 million City paid Sevilla for him is his complete game.

    In the 4-1 win over Manchester United, he created two goals in two minutes. 

    Last season, he scored 31 times for Sevilla and he's scored three times in the Premier League, despite starting only five of eight league games. 

Manchester United

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    Manchester United's Best Summer Signing So Far: N/A

    Marouane Fellaini, a £27.5 million signing from Everton, has been playing through injury which explains the drastic decrease in his defensive productivity. 

    LEAGUE ONLYFellaini United 13-14Fellaini Everton 13-14
    Tackles Per Game0.84.3
    Headers Per Game2.06.0

    According to United manager David Moyes, Fellaini will delay wrist surgery.

    "He needs an operation," said Moyes, via Mark Ogden at The Telegraph. "But we're going to keep him and not have the operation just now."

    What made the Fellaini deadline-day deal inexcusable was United paying £4 million extra when he had a £23.5 million buyout clause 34 days earlier, per Jamie Jackson at The Guardian.

    This proved Fellaini was a knee-jerk move to salvage what was a pathetic transfer window by rookie CEO Ed Woodward.

Newcastle United

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    Newcastle United's Best Summer Signing So Far: Loic Remy (loan)

    Remy was one of the few players who didn't get lambasted by Harry Redknapp when he talked about the "most toxic dressing room in football," a reference to Queens Park Rangers last season, via the Daily Mail.

    Remy, who arrived at QPR after being left on the outer by Marseille manager Elie Baup, was Redknapp's top scorer, despite a calf and groin injury. 

    Remy has been sensational in the Cristiano Ronaldo role on loan for Newcastle. 

    Positioned on the left, Remy, a physically gifted footballer, easily evades the tackle of most right-backs, cuts in and shoots.

    Rinse and repeat. 

    Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes signing Remy from QPR isn't as straightforward as it seems.

    "There is in a way, but it's complicated," said Pardew, via Miles Starforth at The Shields Gazette. "I don't want to go into too much detail."

    At the rate Remy's going—five goals in his last four league gamessome of Europe's major clubs may mull over adding such a dynamic attacking player to their squad. 


Norwich City

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    Norwich City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Leroy Fer

    Fer would have been been running around in Everton's midfield if not for a failed medical.

    It prompted the Toffees to demand a new deal, adding extra clauses to protect them in case Fer's body broke down, per BBC Sport:

    The Toffees wanted to restructure the deal based on appearances or other insurance clauses and gave Twente a deadline of Wednesday evening to agree.

    However the Dutch club insisted on keeping to the original terms.

    "He's a really good player, but it was a situation out of our control," said Everton boss David Moyes [now Manchester United manager]. "We couldn't make it work."

    The failed medical enabled Norwich City to bargain down Everton's original £8.6 million deal with Twente to £4.5 million.

    Fer was always a disruptive presence in midfield for Twente, so it's no surprise he leads Norwich in tackles per game for players with five or more starts. 

    But it was his ability to score goals at Twente which made him the complete package. 

    Once he is afforded more freedom to roam, he could be to Norwich what Aaron Ramsey is to Arsenal.


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    Southampton's Best Summer Signing So Far: Dejan Lovren

    Lovren was a red card waiting to happen for Lyon, getting sent off three times last season. 

    When a Wahbi Khazri-inspired Bastia put four past Lyon, it was astonishing how bad Lovren's positioning was.

    Lovren was reckless in the tackle, constantly went walkabout and preferred charging forward to make high-risk interceptions than maintaining his position as the back. 

    So with this context, the £8.5 million Southampton paid Lyon for Lovren seemed foolhardy at the time.

    Right now, the Lovren-Jose Fonte centre-back partnership is the best in the Premier League as the Saints have conceded the fewest amount of league goals (three in eight games).

Stoke City

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    Stoke City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Erik Pieters

    Ousted from PSV because of the club's youth policy—he lost his position to teenager Jetro Willems—Pieters was a £3.1 million acquisition by Stoke. 

    The club's technical director Mark Cartwright spoke of Pieters' cheapness compared to English players with similar CVs.

    "We would have loved to sign an England international, but we couldn't have signed anyone of that ilk for that price," said Cartwright, via The Sentinel. "It's unusual to get a Dutch international for that price."

    While Pieters has made several misses trying to win the ball (he only completes 63 percent of his tackles), he has the potential to be more than just another Premier League defender. 


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    Sunderland's Best Summer Signing So Far: N/A

    Emanuele Giaccherini can skip his way around the lunging tackles of opposing defenders and create his own shots.

    However, he's playing in a terrible Sunderland team that have yet to win a league game.

    Some of his shot selections have been ill-advised.

    After Paolo Di Canio played Giaccherini out wide, caretaker coach Kevin Ball wanted Giaccherini as the No. 10, a view new manager Gus Poyet shares.

    Poyet started Giaccherini centrally in the 4-0 defeat to Swansea City, but he was anonymous. 

    Jozy Altidore, a £6 million signing from AZ, continues his Premier League struggles: One goal in 35 combined league games with Hull City and Sunderland says it all.

    The rest of Sunderland's transfers haven't stood out and have done little to stop the team from not scoring enough or conceding the most goals in the Premier League. 


Swansea City

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    Swansea City's Best Summer Signing So Far: Jose Canas

    LEAGUE ONLYCanas Swansea 13-14 Canas Real Betis 12-13
    Passes Per Game73.742.5
    Pass Success %90.380.3
    Long Pass Success %78.871.3
    Tackles Per Game1.51.8
    Interceptions Per Game3.53.1

    Canas was an average La Liga midfielder, but he's been outstanding as Swansea's primary passer.

    Canas, signed on a free transfer from Betis, keeps the play ticking over for Swansea and is one of the first names on manager Michael Laudrup's team sheet. 

Tottenham Hotspur

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    Tottenham Hotspur's Best Summer Signing So Far: Paulinho

    Paulinho is such a powerful box-to-box midfielder who hasn't even reached his full potential for Spurs. 

    His shooting has been inefficient—one goal from 28 shots—but he's a robust ball-winner, can surge past opposing players and create chances for his teammates. 

    Paulinho generally always seems to be involved.

    Signed from Corinthians for £17 million, he will become one of European football's finest midfielders if he can score consistently. 

West Bromwich Albion

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    West Bromwich Albion's Best Summer Signing So Far: Morgan Amalfitano (loan)

    Amalfitano, Saber Khalifa and Florian Thauvin are footballers with world-class technique, but they're not week in, week out starters for Marseille.

    This is why Amalfitano, who created 12 goals in his last season for Lorient, is on loan at West Brom.

    It was Romelu Lukaku last season and this season it's Amalfitano.

    One club's discarded trash is another club's star.

    What makes Amalfitano impressive is him coming up big against major teams.

    He was involved in two goals during the 2-1 win over Manchester United.

    In a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, he registered an assist.

    On paper, West Brom should have lost both matches, but because of Amalfitano, the club had four points in two big matches. 

    Ian Edwards at ESPN FC reported that a source told him Amalfitano will be available for £4 million.

West Ham United

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    West Ham United's Best Summer Signing So Far: N/A

    Andy Carroll, a £15 million signing from Liverpool, is recuperating from a heel injury, per BBC Sport: "Carroll has injured his plantar fascia, a tissue that connects the bottom of the foot to the heel." 

    Not since Chelsea buying Juan Sebastian Veron from Manchester United has another Premier League team like West Ham signed a flop in Carroll at an inflated transfer fee. 

    Stewart Downing, a £6 million signing from Liverpool, hasn't scored or created a goal in the Premier League this season. 

    Adrian, a free transfer from Real Betis, is a backup for starting goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. 

    Razvan Rat, a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk, loses possession 34.2 percent of the time he passes and isn't a prolific tackler.

    Mladen Petric, formerly of Fulham, Hamburg and Borussia Dortmund, is just a squad player for West Ham, having only featured in 65 minutes of play. 

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