5. Pablo Hernandez
Valencia to Swansea for £5.55m
Hernandez is another very astute signing made by Michael Laudrup. Like all Spaniards, his technique is brilliant, very much in the same vain as Michu. He may not have the same impact, but for £5.55m he is another bargain. He has spent the last two seasons vying for his place on the right wing at Valencia. Firstly, he was stuck behind Joaquin, but last year he made more of an impact starting 30 games. He bagged 5 goals and 5 assists which is a healthy return for a right winger.
He will fit right in at Swansea as Michael Laudrup has signed a number of talented Spaniards. He hopefully won’t take too long to settle into his stride. His ability to pick out an angled through ball cutting in from the wing will delight a player like Michu who will run onto those all day. He will blend seamlessly into Swansea’s version of tiki-taka. Swansea sold Scott Sinclair to Manchester City for £8m and have picked up a very able replacement for only £5.55m.
4. Charlie Adam
Liverpool to Stoke for £5m
Many may see this as a controversial choice for my top 5, but I think Charlie Adam could do brilliantly at Stoke. He joined Liverpool after a fantastic first season in the Premier League with Blackpool the year before but like a couple of others in this list, last season was one to forget.
At Blackpool, Charlie Adam was the fulcrum of their midfield. Everything went through him. Last season he had more of an all round role to play. He played second fiddle to Gerrard, which is something he is not used to and couldn’t really adapt to. At Stoke he will be the playmaker again as they do not have too much creativity in their midfield. He will be able to get on the ball as much as possible and dictate play. His ability to play balls through to their wingers will be key. Stoke are very dangerous on the flanks as they have Pennant, Etherington and now Michael Kightly who are great crossers of the ball.
Stoke’s strength is quite obviously in their physical presence. They are brilliant in the air and always a real danger from set pieces. Adam is a master of the dead ball. 10 out of 14 of his assists at Blackpool came from set plays. Stoke will thrive on this slightly different presence in their midfield, and especially on the quality of his set piece delivery.
3. Clint Dempsey
Fulham to Tottenham for £6m
At 29 years old, this represents Dempsey’s last chance for a big move. He took his time in the hope that he would secure Champion’s League football eventually compromising with Tottenham in the Europa League. At £6m he is an absolute snip for Spurs.
After his brilliant performances last season, Dempsey has been understandably linked to a number of clubs over the summer. He scored 17 Premier League goals for Fulham, which is an incredible achievement for a player thought of as an attacking midfielder. The truth is that he spent a lot of time up front last season, but its his ability to time his run into the box that has made him so lethal. In the Premiership, Frank Lampard has been noted as one of the most prolific attacking midfielders but he never managed 17 goals in a season.
His versatility will be a huge asset to Tottenham, he can play up front on his own and can chip in with goals from all across the midfield. He is very composed on the ball, a great dribbler, and he has excellent vision providing many chances for teammates in the final third.
2. Dimitar Berbatov
Manchester United to Fulham for £4m
Berbatov has been accused of being lazy in the past and drifting in and out of games, but he likes to be centre of attention and at Man U he was always second choice behind Rooney and Ronaldo. He has a silky touch and is brilliant at floating in between midfield and attack. He was never given the licence to roam at Man U and if given a free role at Fulham he could be very effective.
1. Gaston Ramirez
Bologna to Southampton for £12m
Gaston Ramirez has been highly rated ever since he signed for Bologna in 2010. Over the summer he has been heavily linked with both Tottenham and Liverpool, so it was strange to see him end up at Southampton.
Southampton have strengthened well over the summer, Nathaniel Clyne and Steven Davis the most notable conclusions. The left footed Uruguayan is their marquee addition though, the icing on the cake as it were. As an attacking midfielder he can play on either wing and through the middle. Ramirez is blessed with great dribbling ability, technique, decision-making and a playmakers vision. He has a decent turn of pace and has a strong left foot that allows him to operate very effectively on the left wing. He likes to drift in from the flanks as a playmaker and its perhaps his vision which has seen him tipped to become a top player. He made over 50 chances for Bologna last season and that is the sort of creativity that will help Southampton avoid the drop.
There is an element of inconsistency in his game as he is relatively raw, at 21 years old. His form will only increase with maturity though and he will be a very exciting player to watch at Southampton. Bags of skills and tricks, it may be like having a mini Zola at St Mary’s. This signing is so far out of left field that it just has to be my number one on deadline day.