The transfer window has been as thrilling as ever this summer, and as always, the Premier League has been a notable beneficiary of it, with several world-class stars heading for England.
If there’s one thing that the window has taught us, though, it’s that not every player can hold his own in the English top flight no matter the price tag.
While some players are flops, others are instant sensations, and here, we take a look at a pair of new signings that will make a big impact on the opening weekend of action.
Ander Herrera, Manchester United
Though Manchester United struggled in all areas of the pitch in their disastrous 2013/14 campaign, one position that desperately needed adding to was central midfield.
The Red Devils were uncharacteristically sluggish in the middle of the park, and teams just seemed to bypass them on their way to success.
However, those days now look over. Spaniard Ander Herrera will don the famous red shirt in the upcoming campaign.
The 24-year-old will give United the injection of excitement and pace that they so sorely need in midfield, and he proved this during pre-season.
With a string of phenomenal performances, Herrera came away from the club’s pre-season tour of America as the shining star, something he’ll be aiming to be in the Premier League, too.
It’s how manager Louis van Gaal deploys Herrera that will determine his success, but as Guillem Balague says, he can perform anywhere:
Herrera can play as number 10 or centre mid, a 'volante', right or left of the defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3. Clever guy anyway— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 26, 2014
He is a very, very good midfielder. He’s a good guy, my friend, and we’ve known each other since we were 15. He’s top quality, he can play quick, slow and dictate the rhythm of a game. He can score as well. He’s a very complete midfielder and can bring these qualities to the team. I enjoy playing with quality players like him and Wayne Rooney.
The instant telepathy between Mata and Rooney was one of a very few positives that United took from last season, but with Herrera adopting a similar, tiki-taka style, it looks like the exciting duo are becoming a trio.
The former Athletic Bilbao star’s Manchester United debut will come against Swansea City on Saturday, and with the Swans likely to invite pressure and give Herrera time on the ball, he’ll certainly be enjoying himself at Old Trafford.
Though all the attention will be on Van Gaal and how his tenure as United manager begins, the man to watch on the pitch is undoubtedly the Spaniard.
Diego Costa, Chelsea
It’s safe to say that Chelsea’s strikers were partly responsible for the Blues’ lack of silverware last season, with Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o all firing blanks.
With that in mind, it was hardly surprising to see Jose Mourinho make Diego Costa his top transfer target, and it’s looking like a great piece of business by the Portuguese manager.
If Costa’s La Liga form last term isn’t evidence enough, the way he’s taken to the Chelsea shirt so capably proves that he’s the right man to turn the Blues from a goal-shy outfit into a dangerous one.
His goal against Fenerbahce sums up how lethal he’s been in pre-season, taking on all comers before finding the net in style, as Chelsea’s official YouTube account revealed:
Lining up in a one-man attack for the Blues will give Costa plenty of opportunities to find the net, and if his career is anything to go by so far, he won’t have a problem doing just that.
Faith from your manager brings confidence to a forward, and it seems that the 25-year-old has that in abundance from Mourinho, as Sky Sports revealed:
He’s a great addition for us. He is a fantastic player. Technically he is very, very good. That’s why, lots of the players, they are so happy and so surprised, because his quality is even higher than what they expect. He is so strong physically and he gives so much effort during matches.
Costa’s physicality is exactly what the Blues need, as the tactic of trying to tiptoe through defences simply didn’t work too often last season.
Though it traditionally takes strikers a long time to settle in the Premier League, it’s hard to see that being an issue with Costa, particularly against the newly promoted Burnley.
Turf Moor will undoubtedly be rocking for the Clarets’ return to the top flight, but the Spaniard is the perfect candidate to spoil the party, and it would be far from a surprise to see him grab a goal or two.