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Top Ten additions of the Premier League summer

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Warning: We’re not positive this list is going to satisfy anyone, including fans of the No. 1 player’s team.

Tasked with naming the Top Ten additions in the Premier League this summer, we had to include a signing agreed to before last season began, and also wanted to account for the impact a signing could have on a team’s fortunes.

For example, Alisson is a very good goalkeeper, but we’re not exactly sure goalkeeper is what crushed Liverpool’s hopes last season (Sergio Ramos, more likely).

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10. Felipe Anderson, West Ham — Maybe just off the list if Manuel Lanzini is healthy, but the signing from Lazio will be tasked with getting service to Marko Arnautovic and Co.

9. Cheikhou Kouyate, Crystal Palace — Established PL tough guy taking some onus off Luka Milivojevic.

8. Yerry Mina, Everton — Powerful Colombian center back brings a lot to what was an aging Toffees back line.

7. Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Brighton and Hove Albion — The Eredivisie’s top star joins Pascal Gross and his rising Gulls.

6. Fred, Manchester United — The best teams in the PL give you a tough time getting through the middle of the park; Nemanja Matic and Fred should make it a nightmare.

5. Jean Michael Seri, Fulham — What a win for the Cottagers, who get a nice Nice player who can play a pivotal role in all parts of the pitch.

4. Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City — The Etihad Stadium is an embarrassment of riches.

3. Joao Moutinho, Wolves — Consider that this guy cost just $7 million. Even at age 31, that meager fee bumps him up the list for a club which will be hoping for better than simple survival.

2. Jorginho, Chelsea — Maurizio Sarri must laugh when he considers his ability to use Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, and Tiemoue Bakayoko to make a midfield hell for opposing attackers.

  1. Naby Keita, Liverpool — So much complete than anything Liverpool had in its center midfield last season. If he was able to arrive in 2017-18, the Reds might’ve won the UCL and finished second to City. Huge addition.

Season preview: Pellegrini the man to meet West Ham’s ambition?

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West Ham United at a glance

Premier League titles: 0
FA Cups: 3 (1964, 1975, 1980)
League Cups: 0
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1 (1965/66)

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They will challenge for the Top Six because… Pellegrini is simply a different class of manager to their recent bosses, and has a better grip on massaging bigger egos in a bigger squad. Marko Arnautovic is a tough mark up-top, and should be further freed by the addition of Brazilian winger Felipe Anderson. The full backs are good, especially Arthur Masuaku, and Lukasz Fabianski is an upgrade on the Joe Hart-Adrian combination.

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They’ll again stumble and find themselves in a relegation scrap… Last season’s demons hit the club on and off the pitch, and fan anger is just a moment away. Arnautovic is a combustible character, and the club is an injury or two away from counting on Mark Noble.


Transfers in: Felipe Anderson ($43 million, Lazio), Issa Diop ($29 million, Toulouse), Andriy Yarmolenko ($23 million, Borussia Dortmund), Lukasz Fabianski ($9 million, Swansea City), Fabian Balbuena ($5 million, Corinthians), Ryan Fredericks (free, Fulham), Jack Wilshere (free, Arsenal).

Transfers outCheikhou Kouyate ($12 million, Crystal Palace), Reece Burke ($2.5 million, Hull City), James Collins (free agent), Patrice Evra (free agent)


Best possible XI

—– Fabianski —–

—- Fredericks — Diop —  Ogbonna — Masuaku —- 

—- Rice — Wilshere — Obiang—-

—- Anderson —- Arnautovic —- Yarmolenko


Ranking their offseason: 7/10 – Anderson missed significant time last season but was a big part of Lazio’s strong second half to the season. Yarmolenko has been productive in multiple top leagues, and Jack Wilshere on a free is a big deal. If Issa Diop can stand firm in his first Premier League season, this figure might be an 8/10 or better.


Star player: Marko Arnautovic –  Yes, the striker often gets top billing in these preview pieces, but it’s hard to debate another player as West Ham’s star when this Austria menace is on his game. The 29-year-old matched his career-best output of 11 goals and six assists.

Coaches’ CornerManuel Pellegrini — The Premier League winner returns to England, this time in London. He’s been successful in both league and Cup play, which could bode well for West Ham’s hopes of taking a step into Europe via an alternative route.


PST Predicts: Comfortably midtable, but just below the radar of making a threat to the Top Six.

Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

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Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

Lazio president says Felipe Anderson sold to Man United for outrageous fee

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As things stand, we know very little about what the future holds for Manchester United, officially.

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Just about everyone assumes Louis Van Gaal will be relieved of his duties as manager of the club either before or during the summer, with Jose Mourinho and Ryan Giggs the two names most frequently spoken as his successor. One thing is for sure, though: whoever takes over at Old Trafford, an absolute fortune is going to be spent on new players in the upcoming transfer window(s)… again.

The spending may have already begun, actually, if a (disputed) quote from Lazio president Claudio Lotito is to be believed. According to Lotito, an astronomical fee has been agreed to send Felipe Anderson, Lazio’s prized 22-year-old attacking midfielder, to Man United in the summer — quotes from the Guardian:

“I bought Felipe Anderson for [$9 million] and have sold him for [$66 million] — next year he will go to Manchester United.”

Lazio have since denied the quote came from Lotito.

Anderson, who moved from Santos in his native Brazil to Lazio at the age of 20, has been on the radars of European giants for a long time now, with clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal reportedly longtime admirers, but a fee of $66 million for a still-unfinished product that’s far from a “sure thing” seems an insane risk. It’s barely been six months since they did the same thing with Anthony Martial ($55 million in August). Buying $50-60 million players to “develop” is an incredibly bold business practice.

[ MORE: Do Arsenal have a chance vs. Barcelona in Champions League? ]

It’s worthwhile to consider which prospective manager might be behind such a signing, perhaps having given his blessing upon accepting the job. Would they really continue to blindly purchase players for the next manager if he’s still unknown at this point? Mourinho’s certainly more connected to Italy, having managed three seasons at Inter Milan and remained close to prominent Italian football figures.

Sunday Transfer Rumor Roundup: United bid for Felipe Anderson, Liverpool done with Sturridge

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10 days into the transfer window, things are beginning to shape up. Teams have both identified their weaknesses and formulated a plan to fill the holes. They have also decided who is dead weight and must be offloaded.

Liverpool has done the latter, and it’s a stunner. Daniel Sturridge, so talented when on the field, but so often injured, has reportedly not done enough to convince Jurgen Klopp that he is still a valuable asset to the club.

Multiple reports across England say Liverpool are ready to listen to offers for the England international, with their valuation around $36 million. Sturridge has appeared just six times this season for Liverpool across all competitions, but has scored four goals in those six matches.

Manchester United, meanwhile, could be on the offensive – literally – as they hunt for replacements. Louis Van Gaal is publicly holding that no business will be done in the January transfer window, but Lazio sporting director Igli Tare claims the Red Devils have already made a bid for 22-year-old winger Felipe Anderson back in August that was rejected, and that the clubs have stayed in contact about possibly continuing talks this winter.

The rejected bid, according to Tare, was for around $54 million, but he believes the Brazilian could be worth more. “We rejected Manchester United’s offer because we think he will be worth much more once he really explodes,” Tare told Italian publication Sport Mediaset. “His situation has not changed compared to August.” Anderson has four goals in 18 league appearances for Lazio, but he has not scored since late October, and he was benched for their 3-1 win over Fiorentina on Saturday, which Tare said was due to poor form.

Arsenal has never been known to keep too many spare parts, and as a result, Mathieu Debuchy could be headed away from the Emirates with a host of potential suitors. French TV program Telefoot is reporting that Aston Villa, Bayer Leverkusen, and Roma could all be interested in pursuing the full-back. Debuchy never really got a chance to get his feet on the ground with Arsenal, as his Gunner career has been pegged back time and again by serious injuries. He’s made just seven appearances this season across all competitions, and he has not featured in the Premier League since early November.

After winning the African Player of the Year, it’s no surprise Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suddenly popping up in transfer rumors across Europe. However, Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel has squashed any inkling of his departure by saying, “I can’t imagine for one moment Aubameyang leaving. He is the core of the team. We have a lot still to do with him. There is no debate about it.”

A much bigger name possibly on the move is Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, but that likely wouldn’t take place until the summer. According to The Independent, Lewandowski may look for a change of scenery and could be intrigued by the Premier League, with the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea possibly bidding the price up, but they would also face competition from Real Madrid and Barcelona.