There may still be a few weeks to go before the start of the season, but a number of big-money moves have already been finalised. Here, news.bwin.com/en/ runs through some of the players who will be looking to make an impact at new clubs when the campaign gets underway.
David de Gea
Spanish youngster David de Gea will have his work cut out to fill the boots of former Manchester United star Edwin van der Sar, particularly since his breakthrough is coming at such a tender age. De Gea, 20, is set to sign for the Red Devils from Atletico Madrid for more than £17 million following the retirement of the legendary Dutchman and is odds-on to assume the number one jersey upon his arrival. It is a big gamble from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, with goalkeepers usually at their peak in their early thirties. Indeed, Van der Sar was still performing at the top of his game at the ripe old age of 40. With the goalkeeper key to a defence’s solidity, it would be no exaggeration to say that Manchester United’s Premier League chances could hinge on the performances of the Spanish youngster. Whether De Gea turns into a worthy successor to Van der Sar or another Massimo Taibi will therefore be one of the season’s most intriguing sub-plots.
The big-money move of Jordan Henderson from Sunderland to Liverpool may have fit in with the latter club’s policy of buying promising young players with resale value, but the size of the transfer fee nevertheless raised a few eyebrows. A deal in excess of £16 million seems rather a lot for a player with fewer than 100 first team league games under his belt, a solitary England cap and no experience of European club competition. An alarming dip in form following his national team debut against France last November hasn’t helped to justify the price tag, and neither did an underwhelming performance during England U21s’ recent European Championship campaign. And although the promise shown at the beginning of last season suggests Henderson is a star of the future, should he fail to hit the ground running the 21-year-old could easily get lost amidst the sea of Red midfielders currently on the books at Anfield.
Another new addition at Manchester United, Young was heavily tipped to move to Liverpool from Aston Villa before the Red Devils moved in. He might not have convinced England boss Fabio Capello of his quality, but Ferguson seems certain that Young is the type of player who will help challenge Barcelona for European supremacy next year. An exciting winger with a good cross and eye for goal, Young is nevertheless frustratingly inconsistent. Should he string a few good performances together then expect him to become a key player at Old Trafford; a shaky start and he could find himself warming the bench with worrying regularity as the likes of Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ji Sung Park keep him well down the pecking order.
Newcastle might have lost their club captain to West Ham, but they pulled of a coup with the signing of Sylvain Marveaux on a free transfer from Rennes earlier this month. Rumoured to have attracted the interest of Chelsea and Manchester United last season, Marveaux was on the cusp of joining Liverpool before eventually signing for the Magpies. A gifted left-sided attacking midfield player, Marveaux has been described as a “real talent” by manager Alan Pardew and has already targeted a place in the France squad following his move to England. However, having not played since November because of a groin injury, doubts persists about his fitness and the jury is still out on whether he will prove to be a success or another resource drain on Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
He isn’t strictly a new signing, but Fernando Torres will surely return a new player after a recuperative summer. The £50 million acquisition scored just one league goal for Chelsea following his record-breaking transfer from Liverpool and looked short of match fitness during his first four months at the club. However, Torres was running on empty after having a truncated off-season in each of the last three years, with the 2008 European Championship, 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup getting in the way of his holiday plans. With a few weeks’ rest behind him and a full pre-season, expect a fully-fit Torres to set the Premier League alight when the new campaign gets underway.