Steven Caulker

Top Signing Per Club: M-W

The transfer window has now closed and the Premier League sides will have to make do with what they have until January. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the top signing made by each club whose name begins between M and W.

Manchester City
Fernando (FC Porto, undisclosed). Fernando was signed to bolster City’s options in midfield and has slotted seamlessly into the side thus far. He is a strong and powerful midfielder who will do the dirty work in midfield to allow Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking options more freedom so they can maximise the damage they inflict on the opposition.
Other notable signings: Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed), Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto, £32m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free).

Manchester United
Angel di Maria (Real Madrid, £59.7m). Louis van Gaal has smashed the British transfer record by acquiring the services of Argentine winger di Maria. Di Maria was influential in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory last season and was a key member of the Argentina side that reached the World Cup final. United have signed a world class player and one that has the ability to turn their fortunes around.
Other notable signings: Daley Blind (Ajax, £14m), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco, loan), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao, £29m), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon, £16m), Luke Shaw (Southampton, £27m).

Newcastle United
Jack Colback (Sunderland, free). Sunderland fans were furious that Jack Colback was allowed to move to their bitter rivals for no fee. Sunderland’s loss is Newcastle’s gain and Colback should play a big role at the heart of their midfield. He was recently called up to the England squad and, although he had to leave the squad with an injury, has a bright future in front of him.
Other notable signings: Remy Cabella (Montpellier, undisclosed), Karl Darlow (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar Donetsk, loan), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Siem de Jong (Ajax, undisclosed), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Ayoze Perez (Tenerife, undisclosed), Emmanuel Riviere (AS Monaco, undisclosed).

QPR
Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m). QPR manager Harry Redknapp has been keen to add solidity to his back line this summer and highly rated English centre-back Steven Caulker fits the bill perfectly. QPR kept their first clean sheet of the season in their last match against Sunderland and there were encouraging signs that the Caulker-Ferdinand partnership is ready to blossom.
Other notable signings: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free), Leroy Fer (Norwich City, £8m), Mauricio Isla (Juventus, loan), Alex McCarthy (Reading, undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (Cardiff City, £6m), Jack Robinson (Liverpool, undisclosed).

Southampton
Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m). A lot of the focus of Southampton’s summer spending has been on replacing the key players who left for pastures new. There are question marks over how successful their recruitment drive has been, however, one position they have certainly strengthened is in goal. Forster is a top young goalkeeper who has the potential to challenge Joe Hart for the England goalkeeping jersey and represents a major coup for The Saints.
Other notable signings: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid, loan) Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, loan), Florin Gardos (FC Steaua Bucharest, £6m), Shane Long (Hull City, £12m), Sadio Mane (Red Bull Salzburg, £10m), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, £10.9m).

Stoke City
Victor Moses (Chelsea, loan). Mark Hughes has largely spent the summer bolstering his attacking options and Victor Moses represents a good piece of business for The Potters. After an uninspiring loan move at Liverpool, he will be keen to get back on track with Stoke and rediscover the form that made him heralded as a highly rated prospect.
Other notable signings: Oussama Assaidi (Liverpool, loan), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland, free), Bojan (Barcelona, £3m), Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover 96, free), Steve Sidwell (Fulham, free).

Sunderland
Jack Rodwell (Manchester City, free). Rodwell’s career may have stalled at Manchester City but The Black Cats have pulled off a major coup in landing him. He is a tall combative midfielder but has rediscovered the attacking side to his game that was evident in his goal against Manchester United. Sunderland fans can expect Rodwell to really kick on and become a key player for them.
Other notable signings: Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea, undisclosed), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan, loan), Will Buckley (Brighton and Hove Albion, £2.5m), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool, loan), Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic, free), Billy Jones (West Bromwich Albion, free), Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City, free), Santiago Vergini (Estudiantes, loan).

Swansea
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Spurs, undisclosed). Sigurdsson has been one of the stars of the Premier League season so far and has played a large part in guiding Swansea towards the top of the table. Swansea fans will expect more of the same from a man who looks to be enjoying his football again after an indifferent spell at Spurs.
Other notable signings: Tom Carroll (Spurs, loan), Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez (Napoli, undisclosed), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free), Raheem Hanley (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed), Jefferson Montero (Morelia, undisclosed).

Tottenham Hotspur
Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, £4m). Spurs haven’t splashed too much cash this window as Mauricio Pochettino has been briefed to bring the best out of the players already at the club. However, the signing of Eric Dier looks to be an excellent piece of business. Not only is he solid at the back, he is also a threat going forward and already has two league goals this season. He is still a young prospect and will be a major asset to Spurs in the future.
Other notable signings: Ben Davies (Swansea, £10m), Federico Fazio (Sevilla, undisclosed), Benjamin Stambouli (Montpellier, £4.7m), Michel Vorm (Swansea, £5m), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC, undisclosed).

West Bromwich Albion
Joleon Lescott (Manchester City, free). It’s been a summer of change for West Brom. The Baggies have brought in more new faces than any other side in the Premier League as they hope to draw a line under last season. Their most impressive signing is that of Joleon Lescott. Lescott has vast amounts of Premier League experience as well as playing international football and in the Champions League. Once fully fit, he will be a vital part of West Brom’s plans to stay in the division.
Other notable signings: Chris Baird (Burnley, free), Sebastian Blanco (Metalist Kharkiv, undisclosed), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo, undisclosed), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg, undisclosed), Craig Gardner (Sunderland, free), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover 96, undisclosed), Georgios Samaras (Celtic, free), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool, loan)

West Ham United
Alex Song (Barcelona, loan). Sam Allardyce has been told he must bring style rather than just substance to Upton Park and he has brought in some exciting attacking prospects to do just that. However, The Hammers’ most high profile signing is Alex Song who has joined on loan from Catalan giants Barcelona. The former Arsenal man is a quality defensive midfielder who has an excellent range of passing and will drastically improve the quality of the London club’s midfield.
Other notable signings: Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, loan), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Diego Poyet (Charlton Athletic, free), Diafra Sakho (Metz, undisclosed), Enner Valencia (Pachuca, £12m), Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield, undisclosed).

Advertisements

Weekend Preview and Predictions

The long-anticipated first weekend of the new Premier League season is set to begin. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the opening round of fixtures and offers predictions as to who will emerge victorious.

Saturday

Man Utd vs Swansea (12:45)
This is the first competitive fixture of Louis van Gaal’s reign and the Dutchman will be keen to get off to a flying start. Wayne Rooney has been announced as the new club captain, so don’t be surprised to see him get off the mark this weekend. This is a tough start for Garry Monk in his first full season as a manager and it’s hard to see them picking up anything from this one.
Prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Swansea

Leicester vs Everton (15:00)
Nigel Pearson will hope that his newly promoted side can carry their title-winning form forward to this season and establish themselves as a Premier League side. The Foxes have been disappointing in the transfer market, despite having money to spend, and face a tough encounter in their first match of the new campaign. Roberto Martinez, in comparison, has splashed £28 million alone on Romelu Lukaku and the Toffees will be hoping to challenge for a Champions League place. This won’t be an easy match for Everton but they should return to Merseyside with a hard fought three points.
Prediction: Leicester 0-1 Everton

QPR vs Hull (15:00)
Harry Redknapp’s team are the favourites of the newly promoted sides to survive in the division and will be hopeful of securing a mid-table finish. Their new signings, such as centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker, signal their intentions of doing just that. Hull’s ambitions will be similar to their opponents and they should steer well clear of trouble this season, although a venture into Europe could test the depth of their squad. The sale of Shane Long to Southampton was a surprise, given that he only arrived in January, and Steve Bruce will have to replace him sooner rather than later. This match has draw written all over it.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Hull

Stoke vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Mark Hughes is building a decent side at the Brittania Stadium and has instilled a much more exciting style of play than Tony Pulis ever did. The Potters have added some stimulating signings this summer, such as Bojan Krkic and Mame Biram Diouf, and should finish in the top half once more. Aston Villa have opted to add experienced players to their youthful squad throughout the transfer window and are desperate to avoid yet another relegation battle. Stoke are notoriously strong at home and should edge Villa in this one.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Aston Villa

West Brom vs Sunderland (15:00)
These are nervous times for Alan Irvine’s team. There are question marks over whether Brown Ideye can provide the goal-scoring touch that was so desperately missing last season. If he fails to hit the ground running then this could be a very difficult season for The Baggies. Sunderland, on the other hand, will feel relatively optimistic after an encouraging run of form at the end of last season. The Black Cats have added some decent quality to their squad, with the likes of Jack Rodwell and Costel Pantilimon arriving, and the mood around the Stadium of Light is generally positive. This one could go either way so we’ll sit on the fence and go for a draw.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Sunderland

West Ham vs Tottenham (15:00)
The Hammers have been proactive in the transfer market as Sam Allardyce attempts to develop a more expansive style of play. Players such as Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia will bolster their attacking options in the absence of target man Andy Carroll. Mauricio Pochettino believes that his Spurs side is strong enough to secure a top four finish and if they are to achieve that then they will have to win matches like this one. Pochettino will be confident of bringing the best out of Tottenham’s misfiring stars and they should emerge victorious here.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Tottenham

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (17.30)
The Gunners have enjoyed a terrific pre-season and there is a real buzz surrounding Arsene Wenger’s side. The transfer of Alexis Sanchez has been widely proclaimed as the best signing of the window and Arsenal fans genuinely believe that their team can be successful on all fronts this season. Conversely, Palace have been rocked by the news that manager Tony Pulis has left the club by mutual consent. Palace have suddenly emerged as possible relegation candidates, such was Pulis’ effect on their fortunes. The air of uncertainty around The Eagles should work in Arsenal’s favour and they should run out comfortable winners.
Prediction: Arsenal 4-0 Crystal Palace

Sunday

Liverpool vs Southampton (13:30)
This is arguably the tastiest fixture of this round of matches due to Liverpool’s continuous raid of The Saints this summer. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have all moved from St Marys to Anfield, which should add an element of spice to this match. Southampton fans have been extremely disappointed by the mass exodus this summer and will hope that Ronald Koeman and his new signings can adapt to the demands of the Premier League. Liverpool should emerge victorious in this one.
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton

Newcastle vs Man City (16:00)
The Magpies ended last season in appalling form and will hope that the new season brings a halt to their dreadful run. Alan Pardew has been very active in the transfer market and players such as Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong will be expected to stop their slide. City have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, only adding quality to specific areas. In truth, their squad is already strong enough to compete on all fronts and they should enjoy another good season. It won’t be straightforward but City will have enough about them to see off Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man City

Monday

Burnley vs Chelsea (20:00)
Burnley mark their return to the Premier League by hosting Chelsea, a side widely tipped to win the league. Sean Dyche’s team finished second in the Championship last season and are expected to struggle to maintain their Premier League status beyond this campaign. If they are to survive they will have to make Turf Moor a fortress and ensure that sides do not leave there with all three points. Chelsea have strengthened extremely well this summer and have added balance, as well as quality, to their squad. This could be a tough opener for the Blues as Burnley are likely to be tough to break down but Mourinho’s side should find a way through.
Burnley 0-1 Chelsea

Premier League Preview: Leicester City

There are only 4 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Leicester.

Leicester cruised to victory in the Championship last season, finishing 9 points clear of Burnley and only losing 6 matches. They are a side backed by wealthy Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprbha who has promised great riches to be spent on the Midlands side but they are yet to make any great waves in the transfer market.

The Manager
Nigel Pearson returned for his second spell in charge of Leicester City in 2011 having fallen out of favour with then owner Milan Mandaric in his previous time in charge. In his first full season as boss he guided them to the playoffs and last year he masterminded a relatively comfortable title victory. He is yet to have been a fulltime manager in the Premier League so this is a new challenge for him.

Pearson is new to Premier League management

Pearson is new to Premier League management

Biggest Signing
Leicester are yet to really make a big splash in the transfer market and have only brought in new faces on free transfers thus far. Matthew Upson, the former England international, has been drafted in from Brighton, goalkeeper Ben Hamer from Charlton and Jack Barmby from Manchester United. Their biggest signing to date has been that of Marc Albrighton from Aston Villa. Albrighton enjoyed an impressive return to the Villa side, having struggled with injury in previous seasons, and it was a surprise to see the side from the West Midlands let him go. Their loss will be Leicester’s gain and they will be looking forward to seeing the tricky winger in action.

Marc Albrighton could be a handy addition to Leicester's squad

Marc Albrighton will be a handy addition to Leicester’s squad

Who is tipped to join them?
Leicester are set to break their transfer record by signing Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa for around £7 million. A fee has been agreed so Leicester fans can expect to see his arrival in the coming days. The Foxes are also battling it out with Queens Park Rangers to sign Steven Caulker and Fraizer Campbell from relegated Cardiff City. Finally, Nick Powell has been mentioned as a possible target to join from Manchester United on loan.

Leonardo Ulloa will become Leicester's record signing

Leonardo Ulloa will become Leicester’s record signing

Who should they sign?
Nigel Pearson has been keen to stress that he believes his squad is good enough to survive in the Premier League as it is but there is very little top-flight experience amongst his players and that must be a concern. Matthew Upson and Paul Konchesky are experienced defenders but both are long past their best and don’t inspire confidence at this level so another proven defender could be an option such as Brede Hangeland. In addition to this, Leicester’s strikers are inexperienced in Premier League football and the step up can often prove to be too much. Fraizer Campbell is a sensible pursuit in that regard.

Hangeland could be a good addition for the Foxes

Hangeland would offer good experience to their defence

Key Player
Kasper Schmeichel. The son of the great Peter Schmeichel was impressive when he first burst on to the scene for Manchester City and was unfortunate to be replaced in the side by Joe Hart. Schmeichel has since plied his trade in the lower leagues but will be prepared for his Premier League return. He could be the difference as to whether the Foxes survive or are relegated.

Schmeichel is a very capable goalkeeper

Schmeichel is a very capable goalkeeper

Prediction
Nigel Pearson may be convinced his side can survive in the league this season without reinforcements but I’m not. Unless Leicester can add some real quality to their squad they will almost certainly return to the Championship at the end of the season. I feel they are likely to miss out on a number of their targets due to interest from QPR and relegation beckons. Expect Leicester to finish 18th.

Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace

There is only a month to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Crystal Palace.

Palace were promoted to the Premier League at the beginning of last season and most people thought they were doomed before they’d even kicked a ball. Ian Holloway, the man who won them promotion, left the club in October having decided he wasn’t up to the task of keeping them afloat. The Eagles took their time over naming his successor and at the end of November decided that Tony Pulis was the man to tackle the improbable task of survival. Pulis had never been relegated in his managerial and wasn’t about to start now as he guided Crystal Palace to an 11th place finish. Many called this a minor miracle and some even went as far as to claim that they should rename the club “Crystal Pulis”. Pulis will be keen to preserve his immaculate CV and establish Palace as a Premier League club.

The Manager
As mentioned above, many at Selhurst Park see Tony Pulis as a miracle worker. In fact, he is just a very experienced and tactically orientated manager who makes sure his sides are extremely well drilled. He turned Stoke into a mid-table Premier League club and his brief will undoubtedly be to do the same at Palace. He worked wonders last season but has he now got a plan to keep Palace at this level for the foreseeable future?

Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager

Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager

Biggest Signing
Crystal Palace’s only signing of the summer thus far is young goalkeeper Chris Kettings. With Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey both ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s unlikely he will make much of a splash this season. Bigger news for Palace was tying Marouane Chamakh down on a new two-year deal.

Marouane Chamakh has signed a new two-year deal

Marouane Chamakh has signed a new two-year deal

Who is tipped to join them?
The media haven’t really caused much of a frenzy concerning Crystal Palace’s transfer activity but if reports are to be believed they are in the market for a new striker. Cedric Bakambu had been linked and they have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Cardiff striker Fraizer Campbell. Palace are also believed to have agreed a deal for Tottenham’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is out of favour at White Hart Lane, and they are keen to add Jack Cork to their midfield as well.

Gylfi Sigurdsson would be an excellent signing for Crystal Palace

Gylfi Sigurdsson would be an excellent signing for Crystal Palace

Who should they sign?
Pulis seems to be predominantly focusing on adding a new striker to his ranks but I think he will also chase at least one more defender to add some quality to his backline. Steven Caulker would be a good option for Pulis to explore as Cardiff have just been relegated so he should be available at a cut-price fee. They face stiff competition from QPR to land him. If that fails then Brede Hangeland would be another option available on the cheap due to Fulham’s relegation.

Steven Caulker could be on Tony Pulis' radar

Steven Caulker could be on Tony Pulis’ radar

Key Player
Mile Jedinak. The Australian epitomises the work ethic that Pulis desires of his players and is a strong character in the middle of the park. Jedinak won player of the year for Palace the season before last and their captain is an extremely important figure in the side.

Jedinak will be of great importance at the heart of the Palace midfield

Jedinak will be of great importance at the heart of the Palace midfield

Prediction
Pulis has once again demonstrated his ability to keep a side in the league and I can see no reason why he can’t do it again with Palace. He will have had a full preseason with them so they will be better prepared and he should add some recruits to put his own stamp on the team. Palace fans will be optimistic for the upcoming season and we think they will match their achievements last season. Expect Palace to finish 11th.