EPL Predictions: Deadline-Day Transfers That Will Make an Immediate Impact
It is astonishing to me that professional managers, who are in an industry where there is such a fine line between success and failure, leave it until the final day of the summer transfer window to buy players.
While it may be a day of frustration, angst and torment for managers the world over, for fans it is an enthralling day, where rumours, gossip and speculation shamelessly fill newspaper back pages.
Several Premier League clubs started the season with massive gaps in their squads which had to be filled come Aug. 31st.
This is a list of several deals that were completed on deadline that could make or break a club’s season.
The former Everton prodigy will need to make an immediate impact at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s midfield is in dire straits and the team is ready for a creative leader.
The problem is, Mikel Arteta is not the same player that he was three seasons ago. A cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for much of the 2009-2010 season, and since then the Spaniard has not had the same positive influence over the Everton team.
Instead, it is Tim Cahill who has been the Toffee’s main creative spark.
Last season the Spaniard only managed three goals and four assists in 29 games. Such figures can be viewed in stark contrast to those of Cesc Fabregas, who scored three goals and contributed 15 assists to the Arsenal cause last season, in just 25 games.
It is this creative service that Arsenal is desperately in need of, and is precisely what they need Arteta needs to provide them. History suggests Arteta is capable of filling the role, but recent form suggests that he is struggling to make par.
The presence alone of Arteta should have a positive influence on the youth in Arsenal’s midfield. Although he has never played international football, or won a major trophy, he has made 167 Premier League appearances; a figure much higher than the Gunner’s current crop of midfielders combined.
After a difficult start to their Premier League campaign, Arsenal will host Swansea this weekend. With all due respect to the Welsh club, it is the perfect opportunity for Arteta to walk into the Arsenal team and pick up their playing style.
Arteta does have the potential to make an immediate impact, especially with Robin van Persie on the receiving end of his through balls.
It is likely that he will play in a position identical to the one Fabregas occupied for seven years, with Aaron Ramsey teeing off alongside him.
Following in the same vein as fellow Iberian Mikel Arteta, Raul Mereiles submitted a belated deadline day transfer request to his former Merseyside employers. His destination, London.
Reports had linked the attacking midfielder to Stamford Bridge in the weeks leading up to deadline day but it always seemed that the Blues were distracted by other targets; namely Luka Modric and Javier Pastore.
The signature of the Portugal international has provided Chelsea with two things they were desperately lacking: midfield creativity and width.
Chelsea’s midfield are excellent ball winners and superb at retaining possession, but they had no one capable of producing passes that will split defences.
Frank Lampard seems to have lost the ability to play a through ball, as all too often the English international has opted to pass the ball horizontally: slowing down any Chelsea defence.
Ramires and Mikel are equally as ineffective. Both players are well equipped holding midfielders, but all too often they run out of ideas when the ball is in the final third of the pitch.
The arrival of Meireles should have a significant impact on Fernando Torres’ goal scoring form. At Liverpool, the Spaniard plied his trade by making menacing, off-ball runs behind the final line of defence, relying upon the service of Steven Gerrard to provide him with goal scoring opportunities.
Meireles can create such opportunities for Torres. In the brief time he spent on the pitch with Luis Suarez at Liverpool this season, the two players looked like a menacing double act. There is nothing to suggest El Nino and the tattooed midfielder cannot form a similar partnership.
The Portugal native is set to make his debut against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, a team who have endured a difficult start to the season.
Meireles will likely find himself trying to outwit Wes Brown and John O’Shea in the centre of Sunderland’s defence, two defenders who were humbled by himself and Dirk Kuyt in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of Manchester United in March.
The physical presence of Chelsea’s midfield should give Meireles more creative freedom in the heart of midfield. He will be able to find the time and space needed to run with the ball and pick defences splitting through balls, so long as the midfield line behind him is solid.
If everything goes to plan, it could be worth placing a cheeky bet that Meireles and Torres link up and score a goal this weekend.
The Queens Park Rangers looked desperately short of the cut in their Premier League debut against Bolton.
Despite securing an impressive 1-0 win over Everton on the following weekend, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wigan reaffirmed many critics' opinion that QPR’s time in the Premier League would be short lived.
A 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Rochdale in the Carling Cup would have added to the pressure mounting on Neil Warnock, but following a splash of investment from new owner Tony Fernandes, QPR looks like a rejuvenated team. On paper at least.
Shaun Wright-Phillips’ enthusiastic style of football will carry the QPR team. He plays with an omnipresent smile and his work ethic should inspire his teammates to improve their games.
The Rangers have struggled to create goal scoring opportunities and looked desperately short of width in their opening league games.
Adel Taarabt was an overworked figure in the centre of QPR’s midfield, allowing him little creative freedom.
Shaun Wright-Phillips should open up the opposition’s midfield more frequently, easing the pressure on Taarabt to score goals and produce goal scoring opportunities.
A problem that Wright-Phillips may be hindered by is a lack of talent up front. Jay Bothroyd and Patrick Agyemang are both unproven in the Premier League and may struggle to convert opportunities provided by the former Manchester City winger into goals.
Agyemang in particular has a poor career goal-scoring record, despite spending all of it in the lower leagues. In 369 career games, playing as a striker, the former Ghana international has scored just 65 goals.
For Wright-Phillips to make an impact at Loftus Road, his attacking teammates will need to step up too.
Per Mertesacker is anything but a breath of fresh air to football. The German international is a traditional, hard-hitting centre-back. He plays a role similar to the one Sol Campbell and Tony Adams did for many sensational seasons at Highbury.
This is precisely what Arsenal needs amongst their back four; leadership, aggression, strength and a cool head.
Mertesacker will be thrown straight into the first team, a role he would probably have taken whether half of Arsenal’s squad was injured or not.
His experience will not only bring some stability to the Arsenal back four, but it will also serve as guidance to his teammates.
One concern that fans may have is that the 6'6" defender is lacking in pace, which could turn his impact from being great to calamitous. Having spent his career playing in the Bundesliga, he is unfamiliar with the pace and physical demands of playing in the Premier League, and until he does, a question will loom over him as to how good he will be for the Gunners.
He will make his debut against Swansea at the Emirates this weekend. Minimum expectation has to be a clean sheet.