How did the signings fare? (Part two)

Part two of how did the signings fare including Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United.


Dimitar Berbatov – Excellent first season in London from the Bulgarian striker who turned out to be a bargain at just £4million. The gangly striker managed to notch up 15 goals in 33 games, all of those coming in the Premiership, making him Fulham’s top scorer for the 2012-13 season.

Mladen Petric – Started off as an excellent signing with a two goals and an assist in his first game in a 5 – 0 thrashing of Norwich but his form dipped immensely as he only mustered five goals in 20 appearances all season. Released by Fulham at the end of the season.

Hugo Rodallega – Another bad season in front of goal for the Colombian who could only manage three goals in 28 games. If Fulham can sign someone to help Berbatov I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodallega leave too.

Kieran Richardson – Only made 17 appearances over the whole season, grabbing two goals. Unfortunately had his season scuppered by injuries.

Ashkan Dejagah – Made 24 appearances in all competitions grabbing no goals but troubled a few defences along the way. Had his season cut short by injury at the beginning of April.

Giorgos Karagounis – Added steel and experience to the Fulham midfield. Made 28 appearances, scoring two goals. Plenty of his trademark dogged, hard-working displays. Released at the end of his one-year contract.

Sascha Riether – Signed on a one-year loan deal initially which was made permanent after a successful first season in English football. Made 38 appearances in all competitions, even grabbing a goal from right back. Voted Fulham Player’s Player of the Year ahead of Berbatov and Karagounis.

Emmanuel Frimpong – Signed on loan from London rivals Arsenal and made six appearances. Gave Fulham an extra and more youthful option in defensive midfield.

Urby Emanuelson – Signed on loan from AC Milan. Made 13 appearances and scored one goal. The quality which must have been needed to make 51 appearances in two years previous for AC Milan didn’t really tell for the Dutchman, making many appearances from the bench.

Stanislav Manolev – Signed on loan and only made five appearances at right back/right midfield.

Eyong Enoh – Signed by former manager Martin Jol on loan from Ajax, made nine appearances.


Fabio Borini – Signed for £10million from Roma and unfortunately missed out on three months of the season with a broken foot which he suffered in October. Only made 20 appearances, scoring just two goals and hasn’t really won over the Anfield faithful.

Joe Allen – Signed for £15million from Swansea, following manager Brendan Rodgers. Made 37 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, grabbing two goals. Not seen as the midfielder that Liverpool fans really craved to help Steven Gerrard. Season cut short in March after he required surgery on a shoulder injury.

Oussama Assaidi – Was hailed as an exciting acquisition by Brendan Rodgers but only made four appearances, failing to break into the Liverpool first team.

Dan Sturridge – Signed to give Luis Suarez a helping hand in the frontline and delivered superbly with 11 goals in 16 games after his £12million move from Chelsea in January.

Coutinho – An excellent signing by Rodgers at just £8.5million from Inter Milan. Already struck up a wonderful partnership with star man Suarez. Scored three and assisted seven in 13 games and is an exciting prospect for Liverpool fans.

Nuri Sahin – Signed on loan from Real Madrid with heavy expectation. Scored three and assisted three in 12 games but left Merseyside after being unhappy at Liverpool.

Manchester City

Jack Rodwell – Signed for £12million from Everton, had a disappointing, injury-laden first season with City after he was stricken with injuries from October to February. Only made 15 appearances, scoring two goals – both goals actually coming in his best performance in a City shirt, a 3 – 2 defeat to Norwich on the final day.

Richard Wright – Made no appearances, so, just… why?

Scott Sinclair – For me, made a mistake in leaving former club Swansea. Only made 14 appearances in all competitions, scoring no goals. Should look to leave Manchester City if he wants to further his career at his still relatively young age.

Maicon – Limited to 11 appearances in all competitions owing to the fine form of Pablo Zabaleta, another questionable signing for me by City.

Matija Nastasic – Signed in a player-plus-money deal involving Stefan Savic who went the other way and quickly performed better than the hopeless Montenegrin. Pushed Joleon Lescott out of the team and became a fan favourite. Made 25 appearances in all competitions.

Javi Garcia – Alongside Nastasic, pick of a relatively poor bunch for me. Signed for £17million and added more steel and solidity into Man City’s midfield. Made 25 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals.

Manchester United

Robin Van Persie – Made former club Arsenal see what they were missing out on as he continued his fine form. Scored 30 goals in 48 games and fired Man United to a 20th league title. Also won the Man United Matt Busby Player of the Year award.

Shinji Kagawa – An excellent signing from Man United who bought a really exciting and creative player. Made 26 appearances, scoring six goals. Unfortunately missed out on two months of the season with a knee injury.

Nick Powell – One for the future for United. Made six appearances and scored one goal; goal came on his debut though when he came on as a substitute, netting just 11 minutes later.

Alexander Buttner – Exciting left back prospect which is unfortunate given Man United’s interest and bid in Leighton Baines. Made 13 appearances, scoring two goals. Should be loaned out if United do sign Baines, considering Fabio Da Silva is also set to return after QPR his loan spell at QPR.

Angelo Henriquez – Signed and immediately loaned out to Wigan.

Wilfried Zaha – Signed in January and loaned back to Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season, helping them to gain promotion to the Premiership.

Newcastle United

Romain Amalfitano – Only made two appearances in European competition.

Gael Bigirimana – Young, tough-tackling centre midfielder. Made 25 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal and generally impressed with his work-rate.

Curtis Good – Bought for a reported £500,000 from Melbourne Heart and loaned out to Bradford for whom he made three appearances for.

Vurnon Anita – Made 37 appearances in his first season, scoring one goal. Good signing as a squad player but doesn’t really possess the class to help lift Newcastle back to their previous heights.

Mathieu Debuchy – Signed after much speculation on the Frenchman’s future. Made 14 appearances and the French international impressed in his first half season in English football. Defensively sound and a handy outlet going forward.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – Made 20 appearances for Newcastle after signing from Montpellier in January. Showed excellent versatility as he was able to play anywhere across the backline well.

Yoan Gouffran – Signed from Bordeaux and added some excitement to the Newcastle frontline with his pace and trickery. Made 15 appearances, scoring three goals after his January arrival.

Massadio Haidara – Made four appearances after signing from Nancy. He was the player who was stretchered off after a high tackle from Wigan’s Callum McManaman. Filled in well for the injured Ryan Taylor and Davide Santon when required.

Moussa Sissoko – Good January signing from Toulouse. Scored three and set up five in 18 appearances. Playing style very similar to that of Yaya Toure with thunderous runs and good range of passing.



Top five centre backs in the world

Sorry for the length of time between the two posts in this series, but have no fear, everything will be a lot more up-to-date.

Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham’s Belgian centre back impressed in his first season in the Premiership after a long-awaited transfer to Spurs. He started out at Spurs at left back after an injury to regular Benoit Assou-Ekotto but after an injury to Younes Kaboul and a drop in-form for veteran William Gallas it was down to Vertonghen to form an impressive partnership with club captain Michael Dawson.

After initially being linked with Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal, Vertonghen quickly started showing Arsenal what they were missing out on with some dominant displays in defence, whether it be at centre back or left back.

Vertonghen’s displays were rewarded as he was named in the PFA Team of the Year alongside Rio Ferdinand, Leighton Baines and Pablo Zabaleta.

Vertonghen has made 288 club career appearances to date, scoring 38 goals; winning two Eredivisie titles and a KNVB Cup in his time at Ajax. He has also made 49 appearances for the Belgian international team, scoring four goals.

Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund

Over the last few years, Hummels has emerged as one of the top defending attributes of a Dortmund side that has boasted a lot of attacking talent and some under-rated defensive players.

Hummels is a player who enjoys bringing the ball out from the back and begin attacking moves. His technique in the tackle is excellent and he has an aerial and physical prowess which allows him to out-muscle opponents. His style of play has been compared to legendary German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer as his reading of the game is one of his biggest strengths.

He has made 190 career club appearances, scoring 19 goals and winning two Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal. He has also made 24 appearances for the German national team, scoring one goal.

Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus

Chiellini was a part of the Juventus defence which won the 2012-13 Serie A title and he was also a key part of the team which went unbeaten with the best defensive record the season before.

The Italian defender is known for his consistent displays, hard tackles and aerial dominance and this has gained him huge popularity amongst Juventus fans. He has made 364 career club appearance to date, scoring 23 goals and winning two Serie A titles, one Serie B and one Supercoppa Italiana.

Chiellini has also been a main part of the Italian national team since 2008, he is currently with the national team at the 2013 Confederations Cup with Italy playing World Cup holders Spain tomorrow. To date he has made 61 appearances for the Italian national team, scoring three goals.

Thiago Silva – Paris Saint-Germain

How PSG managed to sign Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from AC Milan for just 60 million euros is mind boggling. But Thiago did state Milan’s financial difficulties as a reason he had to leave.

Thiago Silva’s first season in French football got off to a slow start as he didn’t make his first appearance until September 18th, but on his debut he scored in a 4 – 1 PSG win over Dynamo Kiev but he soon became a key part of the team which won their first Ligue One title in 19 years. He has made 299 career club appearances so far, scoring 23 goals

He is captain of the Brazilian national team and is also currently at the 2013 Confederations Cup, he has made 35 appearance for the national team (including tonight’s game against Uruguay) scoring one goal.

Raphael Varane – Real Madrid

I had to do this on form and my own personal views, and my own personal view is that despite Varane’s tender age of 20, he is one of the best defenders in the world already and can only get better.

Varane’s playing style is based on his excellent reading of the game and any game I’ve seen him play he has rarely made a mistake. Didier Drogba has also described him as the best defender he’s played against. He was also named in a ‘Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid’s history’ by Marca in April.

He has made 72 career club appearances to date, scoring six goals; winning a La Liga title and a Supercopa de Espana. He has also made two appearances for the French national team.

How did the signings fare…

I haven’t posted in 40 days, so first thing’s first.. I’m so, so sorry! I’ve had to finish my degree and then had to get on with exams and then move back home which all took a lot of time but I’m back now and posts will be a lot more frequent, I promise.

As a punishment for missing so much I am going to do a rundown of how the Premiership signings fared last season. It’ll be in five instalments of four teams each, let’s go.


Lukas PodolskiA lot was expected of the German striker who finished the season with 16 goals in 42 games. Form dropped mid-season as fatigue kicked in which manager Arsene Wenger blamed on a lack of winter breaks in England. All in all, good first season.

Olivier Giroud – Signed as a replacement for Robin Van Persie, after a dry spell at the beginning of the season and doubts over his ability he finished the season with 17 goals and 11 assists in 47 games. Promising first season, must improve on finishing.

Santi Cazorla – Excellent first season as he racked up goals and assists in abundance and quickly became one of Arsenal’s key players. 16 assists and 12 goals in 49 appearances shows how important he became to Arsenal’s play in what was a great first season from the ambidextrous playmaker.

Nacho Monreal – Signed as an extra option at left-back after more injuries to regular Kieran Gibbs, showed reliability in his 11 appearances as well as good ability in going forward, scored in Arsenal’s 2 – 0 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

Aston Villa

Christian Benteke – One of the signings of the season by Paul Lambert as Benteke went on to establish himself as one of the most feared strikers in the league and maybe a move to a bigger club beckoning for the Belgian beast. He finished the season with 23 goals in 39 appearances and he was one of the major reasons Villa survived the drop.

Matthew Lowton – Good season from the young full-back who is a promising prospect for Villa. Got onto the score-sheet twice in his first season and one of these goals was a contender for goal of the season in a 3 – 1 win over Stoke City from all of 35 yards.

Ron Vlaar – Was named captain in the absence of club captain Stiliyan Petrov and was one of very few senior players to play regularly for the club. Presence at the back should be built on if Villa want to use their survival as a foundation for better things.

Brett Holman – Not the best footballer technically but quickly became a favourite with the Villa fans due to his hard-working nature and determination.

Joe Bennett – Another young full-back who was signed and thrown into a lot of first-team football early on, similar to Lowton, also similarly had a solid first season in which he impressed despite no top-flight experience.

Yacouba Sylla – Not utilised much in his first season in English football in which he only made 10 appearances but a hard-working midfielder who is solid on the ball. Good squad player.

Jordan Bowery – Only made 10 appearances and seemed to be a bit of a waste of a signing, only really used as a sub sparingly, needs to be loaned out.

Karim El-Ahmadi – Made 24 appearances for Villa last season and looked to be a good squad player, not the quality which Villa need to re-establish themselves as a top-half club but reliable nonetheless. Scored on his home debut in a 3 – 1 loss to Everton.

Ashley Westwood – Another promising prospect for Villa, a player who seemed to go about his business with little fuss whenever he played. Made 30 league appearances and his versatility proved useful.



Eden Hazard – Signed after a massive transfer saga which was settled when Hazard announced he was signing for Chelsea. Scored and assisted in quantity, including 13 goals in his 62 appearances. Candidate for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year in his first season in English football. Great first season despite massive price tag.

Oscar – Another youngster who arrived with a huge price tag at Chelsea but quickly formed an excellent partnership with midfield duo Juan Mata and fellow newbie Hazard. Scored 12 and assisted 12 in 62 appearances in his first season. Also scored Chelsea’s goal of the season with his strike against Juventus in the Champions League.

Victor Moses – Scored 10 goals in 43 appearances in which he was mainly used as a sub. Handy player in both cup runs as well as Chelsea’s successful Europa League run. Still a player with a lot of promise, hopefully will be given more of a chance this season.

Marko Marin – Player signed with huge promise and a big reputation in Germany but not played nearly enough for me. Only made 15 appearances all season and if Chelsea continue to spend must look to move on.

Cesar Azpilicueta – Reliable right-back who Chelsea initially used as back-up to Branislav Ivanovic who moved into the centre mid-way through the season. Azpilicueta made 48 appearances in all competitions and showed consistency throughout both in his defensive duties as well as going forward.

Thorgan Hazard – I can only help but feel he was signed purely because he is Eden’s younger brother…

Demba Ba – Signed to provide Chelsea with some goals from their striking department as Torres continued to struggle for form in the Premiership. But at the end of the season it looked as if Ba wasn’t the answer to Chelsea’s misfiring frontline as he finished the season with six goals in 22 appearances.



Steven Pienaar – Returned to Everton after a brief spell away at Tottenham and built a strong partnership with left-back Leighton Baines, seen at one stage as the best left sided partnership in the league. Scored 7 goals in 40 appearances, becoming one of Everton’s most creative influences.

Steven Naismith – Enjoying the Steven’s weren’t they? Made 35 appearances in which he grabbed five goals but his work-rate is his best asset which was utilised by David Moyes as he played him mostly in a midfield role.

Kevin Mirallas – Another brilliant prospect in the seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of Belgian talent. Scored nine goals in 33 appearances and added pace and trickery to the Everton frontline and looks to be an exciting player for the Toffees after a promising first season where he impressed.

Bryan Oviedo – Only made 15 appearances for Everton after signing from Copenhagen. Mostly coming on as a late substitute.

Thomas Hitzlsperger – Only made nine appearances after only initially signing on a short term contract, an extension was signed so Hitzlsperger could stay as an option in Everton’s midfield.

John Stones – Erm.. didn’t make an appearances after signing in January… *Tumbleweed*

Next four teams coming up tomorrow! Also a top five centre-backs in the World coming up later!