Five new signings to light up the Premier LeagueThe new Premier League season is upon us. With Leroy Sane becoming Pep Guardiola’s fifth summer signing, we’ve taken a look at the some of the smartest transfer business
Manchester City’s new big-money star Leroy Sane has bags of potential and is very much one for the future. He’s one of a host of new players snapped up by Premier League clubs flush with cash following the latest TV deal. So far this summer we’ve seen ageing superstars and title-winning midfielders switch clubs in pursuit of league glory, and the best of them are detailed here.
- New Club: Arsenal
- Former club: Borussia Monchengladbach
- Transfer Fee: £34m
- Position: Midfielder
- Age: 23
- Nationality: Swiss
It’s been another summer of frustration for Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger seemingly resistant to spending the big money required to land the big names. However, one shining light was the purchase of Borussia Mönchengladbach captain Granit Xhaka.
Switzerland’s stand-out star at Euro 2016, Xhaka’s style of play marries the technically exquisite passing football Wenger adores with the grit and bite Arsenal’s midfield has lacked in recent years. From injury-prone Abou Diaby to Emmanuel “Dench” Frimpong (last seen at FC Ufa in Russia), the “new Patrick Vieira” tag has been slapped on numerous Gunners midfielders over the past decade, but Xhaka might finally be the man to take on the iconic Frenchman’s mantle.
Fun fact: Xhaka faced off against his brother Taulant Xhaka when the Swiss took on Albania in the Euro 2016 group stages. Their mother wore a T-shirt with the flags of both nations.
- New Club: Manchester United
- Former club: Paris Saint-Germain
- Transfer Fee: Free
- Position: Striker
- Age: 34
- Nationality: Swedish
Paul Pogba’s will-he-won’t-he return to Old Trafford saga has dominated the headlines during Jose Mourinho’s first summer at Manchester United, and it’s easy to forget that the Special One snapped up Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer back in June.
The prospect of the maverick Swede ripping up the Premier League is a mouthwatering one as he appears to be as prolific as ever despite turning 35 this October. Ibra scored 50 goals in 51 games for Paris Saint-Germain last season, and won his 12th league championship in 14 seasons. With United falling by the wayside since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, fans of the club will be hoping a Zlatan-Mourinho dream team can deliver a 21st title and put the Red Devils firmly back on their perch.
Fun fact: Where to start with Zlatan. The Malmo-native holds a black belt in taekwondo and has incorporated it to deadly effect on the football pitch with spectacular overhead kicks and other acrobatics.
- New Club: Chelsea
- Former club: Marseille
- Transfer Fee: £33m
- Position: Striker
- Age: 22
- Nationality: Belgian
It’s a new era at Stamford Bridge with the arrival of Antonio Conte and the Italian will be looking to fire the Blues back to the summit of the Premier League after a disastrous showing last season for the 2015 champions. The club have shown their intent with the signing of N’Golo Kante who proved an inspiration in Leicester City’s remarkable title-winning run.
And Conte has seen his Belgian contingent grow in west London with the arrival of Michy Batshuayi from French side Marseille. The target of a number of Premier League clubs, the pacy forward scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season earning a place in Belgium’s Euro 2016 squad. And he was on the scoresheet at the finals themselves coming off the bench to find the net against Hungary in the last 16. Teammate Thibaut Courtois has said he expects his compatriot to adapt quickly to the speed of the English top flight.
Fun fact: Nicknamed ‘Batsman’ after the Caped Crusader, apparently Batshuayi is also a massive fan of another pop culture icon, Spongebob Squarepants. He has been spotted with a backpack of the cartoon character on matchday and has even worn Spongebob underwear under his shorts.
- New Club: Manchester City
- Former club: FC Schalke 04
- Transfer Fee: £37m
- Position: Right winger
- Age: 20
- Nationality: German
Although he only played 11 minutes during Euro 2016 – coming off the bench in Germany’s defeat to France in the semi-final – Leroy Sane offered enough glimpses of his lightning speed and skill to suggest he will be a great signing for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Regarded as one of the most exciting young prospects in Europe, Sane established himself in Schalke’s first team last season with a number of impressive performances in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League. A quick young player with an eye for goal, he scored nine times last season for the North Rhine-Westphalia giants, and City fans will be hoping he can contribute even more for their side this season.
Fun fact: Sane’s father Souleyman played in the Bundesliga and with Senegal while his mother Regina was a bronze medalist in gymnastics at the 1984 Olympic Games.
- New Club: Manchester United
- Former club: Borussia Dortmund
- Transfer Fee: £26m
- Position: Attacking Midfielder
- Age: 27
- Nationality: Armenian
Manchester United have been throwing cash around like Jordan Belfort this summer, snapping up £30m Ivory Coast centre-back Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic so far. Alongside that duo, Jose Mourinho added Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan to his squad from German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Described by his former manager Jürgen Klopp as “one of the most talented in the world”, Mkhitaryan offers genuine pace, craft and graft, as well as the ability to play wide and behind the main striker. He promises to provide goals from midfield for United – something that has been lacking in recent seasons under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
Fun fact: Mkhitaryan speaks six languages including English and as a teenager went on loan to Brazilian outfit Sao Paulo’s youth academy. He has studied economics and spoken of plans to eventually become a lawyer.