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From Jesús Vallejo to George Hirst: 10 Astute Premier League Summer Buys

From Jesús Vallejo to George Hirst: 10 Astute Premier League Summer Buys

Amid all the headlines of record-breaking deals, some top-flight clubs have made clever acquisitions for a fraction of the price
Tuesday, 13 August, 2019 - 09:00
Clockwise from left: Leicester’s James Justin, Angeliño of Manchester City, Sheffield United’s Callum Robinson and Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton. Composite: Leicester City via Getty; Manchester City via Getty; PA Images; Bongarts/Getty
London- John Brewin, Paul Doyle, and Will Unwin
David Martin, goalkeeper, Millwall to West Ham, free
You may recall Martin as the goalkeeper who made the catastrophic error that cost Millwall a place in the semi-finals of last season’s FA Cup when he allowed Solly March’s free-kick to drift past him and pull Brighton back into the tie. And yet Martin was able to make a dream move to play for the Premier League club he has supported since birth; his father is the former West Ham captain Alvin Martin, who played for the club for 21 years. At 33, he has been signed to provide experienced back-up to the undisputed first-choice Lukasz Fabianski and Roberto, the Spanish keeper signed on a free transfer from Espanyol this summer. JB

Angeliño, defender, PSV Eindhoven to Manchester City, £5.3m
The left-back position has become worrisome for City. With Benjamin Mendy’s reliability as a social media star and master of ceremonies during trophy celebrations far more assured than his fitness record, Pep Guardiola has been forced to improvise. Oleksandr Zinchenko filled in last season, just as the now-departed Fabian Delph did previously. City chose to option the buy-back clause they inserted last year during the sale of the Spaniard to PSV. Angeliño, signed as back-up, has returned to the club he first joined as a 15-year-old. By little coincidence, his re-signing adds a player who counts as ‘homegrown’ to City’s squad of expensive imports. JB

Jesús Vallejo, defender, Real Madrid to Wolves, loan
Having Jorge Mendes’ contacts book to hand continues to bring great benefits to Wolves. Furthering the club’s wealth of Iberian talent is the central defender who captained Spain’s Under-21 team to a convincing victory in this summer’s European Championship. Vallejo, 22, may well still make it at Real Madrid but has Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos ahead of him in the queue. He has been sent to England to learn his trade in a similar fashion to his Real and Spain U21 teammate Dani Ceballos, whose move to Arsenal received far more column inches. If he can stay fit – he struggled with injury last season – then Wolves have a defender of talent and poise. JB

Tom Heaton, goalkeeper, Burnley to Aston Villa, £8m
Heaton’s departure from Burnley registered as a surprise, and particularly in the light of his impact on his now former club last season. His return to Sean Dyche’s team on 30 December coincided with a revival of form that took Burnley away from the relegation zone they ended 2018 in. Heaton was the club captain but, with one year left on his contract, Burnley sought to cash in on the 33-year-old, and will turn back to Joe Hart or Nick Pope. Villa have been allowed to purchase a goalkeeper of lengthy Premier League experience and a more than decent organizer of a defense. JB

Victor Camarasa, midfielder, Real Betis to Crystal Palace, loan
A shining light in Cardiff’s relegation back to the Championship, Camarasa has decided another tough season of Premier League football is just what he wants. The Spanish midfielder quickly settled under Neil Warnock, the right man to teach him the graft required to battle it out at the bottom of the table. Camarasa’s ability at set-pieces will be an added bonus for Roy Hodgson, who could use the loanee out wide as well as in the centre of midfield. He is happy with the ball at his feet, whether it is dribbling or finding the right pass. If Wilfried Zaha does depart, Camarasa’s creative streak could go some way to replacing the winger. He even scored five goals in 32 league appearances, a impressive feat for a midfielder in a doomed side. WU

George Hirst, forward, OH Leuven to Leicester, £450,000
Hirst signing for Leicester will come as a shock to few, least of all those at Sheffield Wednesday. The 20-year ended his season-long stay east of Brussels by moving from the Belgian B club owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family, who also own Leicester, and managed until February by Nigel Pearson, the captain of the Wednesday team that David Hirst, George’s father and Owls legend, played in. Wednesday had been powerless to stop the younger Hirst, who had fallen out of contract, moving to Leuven for a knockdown compensation fee of £150,000 and even more powerless to stop him moving to Leicester. For a striker considered one of the best prospects in his age group, £450,000 looks cheap. JB

Callum Robinson, forward, Preston to Sheffield United, £8m
The 24-year-old became the Blades’ record signing when they bought him in July, although they soon surpassed that fee by splashing out £10m to bring in Lys Mousset from Bournemouth. Robinson, a Republic of Ireland international, will help supply Mousset while contributing goals himself. He is an exciting sort with potential to improve: fast, tricky, direct and dynamic, capable of playing across the forward line. Norwich were outbid for him by Sheffield United, while the other newly-promoted side, Aston Villa, may regret releasing him as a youngster. PD

Che Adams, forward, Birmingham City to Southampton, £15m
To fans of Birmingham, for whom he scored 22 goals in last season’s Championship, he became known as “Chelé”. To Southampton he has the makings of a terrific Premier League striker – strong on the ball, a dangerous runner and a deadly, swift shooter. That is why they paid £15m for the 23-year-old in the summer and why, assuming Danny Ings stay fit, Saints are hopeful their scoring problems may be coming to an end. PD

Philip Billing, midfielder, Huddersfield to Bournemouth, £15m
The Dane is an unusual talent who was always likely to re-emerge in the Premier League after some splendid performances amid Huddersfield’s woes last season. For £15m Bournemouth have got a player who can bring both solidity and ingenuity to their midfield. Once quite a timid giant, Billing has learned to use his physique to his advantage, enabling him to showcase his astute reading of play, a lovely range of passing and a ferocious left-footed shot. PD

James Justin, defender, Luton Town to Leicester City, £8m
The stars of Luton’s triumph in League One last season were their full-backs, both of whom were snapped up by Premier League clubs in the summer. Jack Stacey has gone to Bournemouth while Leicester moved for Justin. The 21-year-old played at left-back in what was his breakthrough campaign last season but is also adept on the right. Leicester are well equipped in both positions, since Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira are amongst the best around, but Justin will keep both on their toes and it will be interesting to see how he takes opportunities when they come. PD

(The Guardian)

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