Monday, 13 July 2015

Five players who will be like new signings

When your club hasn’t been particularly active in the transfer window in order to drum up a bit of optimism it isn’t unusual to hear your manager talking about players being “like new signings”. This is reserved for players who have faced a long spell on the sidelines or some time away on loan. It might be a bit early in the day for managers to start trotting this line out yet but I’m expecting to hear quite a bit of it come the opening week of the season.

This is a list of five players that you can expect to be referred to as like new signings and their managers will be hoping that they are.

I think every football fan really felt for Jay Rodgriguez when he was stretchered off with a knee injury prior to the World Cup, the Southampton man was considered a shoe in by many for Roy Hodgson’s squad but it was not meant to be. After over a year on the sidelines we should be seeing a lot more of Rodgriguez this season.

Prior to that injury Rodriguez had fifteen goals in thirty starts in the 2013/14 season. Whilst he will by no means be a shoe in for a starting place given how far Southampton have come in the past 12 months, Rodriguez will provide another attacking option and if he finds his goal scoring form once more he will be very hard to leave out.

Siem de Jong was meant to be Newcastle’s marquee signing last season, however he only managed a handful of appearances, although he did grab a goal in those 147 minutes. De Jong was ravaged by injury but Steve McClaren will be hoping the former Ajax captain spends more time on the pitch than treatment table this time around. In his last season in the Netherlands de Jong scored seven goals in sixteen appearances, not a 
bad return but one Newcastle fans will be hoping he can surpass this season.

Sturridge and Suarez came so close to helping Liverpool to the title the season before last and their struggles last year are reflected in the lack of game time Sturridge managed, the England striker played just 750 minutes for Liverpool last campaign.
You feel if they are to mount any real title challenge this season Sturridge must remain fit and score at least the 21 goals he managed when partnered with Luiz Suarez. There’s no doubting Sturridge is a real talent, with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho creating the chances you’d like to think a fit Sturridge would be near the top of the scoring charts come the end of the season.

If ever there was a player to signify the transition of Stoke’s footballing identity it would be Bojan. The young Spaniard, tipped earlier in his career to be the next Messi, traded the Nou Camp for the Brittannia last summer in a move that raised more than a few eyebrows.

Before suffering an ACL injury in an FA cup tie against Rochdale Bojan managed four goals and an assist in 14 Premier League games. He certainly added another dimension to Stoke’s attacks and there were glimpses of the talent that saw him posited as Mesi’s heir, Mark Hughes will be keen to have him fighting fit as soon as possible. Stoke have strengthened well this season as they look to build on a top half finish, if they are to push for European qualification you can’t help but feel Bojan will be central to that.

Signed from Newcastle last summer Mathieu Debuchy was regarded as a solid replacement for the departing Bacary Sagna. Things didn’t work out as planned, with Debuchy featuring just ten times in the Premier League thanks to a series of injuries. Debuchy will be keen to regain a place in the Gunners side and will be hoping to be part of the French set up comenext summer’s Euros.

Hector Bellerin and Callum Chambers provided ample cover for Debuchy but Wenger will be pleased to have someone more experienced to call on in big games. He was regularly one of Newcaslte’s best players in his time on Tyneside and Arsenal fans will be hoping he can recapture that form and remain injury free for the upcoming season. 

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