Skip to main content

Meet the men who could be Prem stars by Christmas

Marco van Ginkel

In the end there was a certain inevitability about Van Ginkel’s transfer to Chelsea. Constantly on the lookout for outstanding young talent, as their track record in recent years shows, Chelsea’s links with Van Ginkel’s former club Vitesse Arnhem meant they were always a likely destination for the 20-year-old voted the best young player in Holland last season.


Van Ginkel is earmarked as the long-term successor to Frank Lampard in midfield and it’s said Jose Mourinho personally promised the Dutchman significant playing time this season to help seal the deal. Neatly-coiffed, tall and strong with a robust physique, Van Ginkel describes himself as a “box-to-box player who covers a lot of metres and can score a goal.”


The Dutch international has shone in pre-season. He breaks up play well, tackles firmly and has a promising level of game intelligence and tactical awareness for one so young. Expect him to break into Chelsea’s first team before long.


Etienne Capoue
Capoue has been known for some time as one of the most exciting central midfielders in French football, a dynamic, driving force in Toulouse’s midfield who can either play the piper or pick the peppers.

Operating at the base of the Ligue 1 side’s defensive 4-2-3-1, Capoue held the fort in front of their defence resolutely for six years and, at 25, fully deserves his move to one of England’s big clubs.


The France international is strong in the tackle, energetic, imposing and passes well too – making the joint-highest average passes per game in Ligue 1 last season with an 81 per cent success rate.


One particular highlight that stands out was his role in a thrilling 3-2 win, from 2-0 down against their big rivals Bordeaux in 2011. At 2-1 down Capoue grabbed the equaliser with a neat, hooked volley - showing an eye for goal Spurs will hope to develop further – before playing an outstanding 50-yard pass to set up Emmanuel Riviere for the winning goal in the 91st minute.


A beast that day in a truly remarkable game which displayed his wide range of abilities perfectly.


Leroy Fer
Norwich have been particularly active in the transfer market this summer. Much has been said of the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond and Gary Hooper, but the signing of marauding Dutch midfielder Fer could turn out to be the best of the bunch.

Fer has often looked outstanding both at youth team level for the Dutch Under-21s and at Feyenoord, where he made a big impact before moving to FC Twente. 


Chris Hughton is not sure where he will play his powerful, roaming centre midfielder yet, admitting in pre-season he would experiment with him in defensive midfield and a freer role that can allow him to push forward as he likes to do.


Handing Fer the No.10 shirt at Norwich this season gives us a hint about his final decision, but Fer can do either job well and also comes with a respectable goalscoring rate. 

Stevan Jovetic 
A livewire forward, Jovetic’s signing for Manchester City, where he will combine with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas, has to go down as one of this summer’s most exciting transfers in England.

The 23-year-old has long been on new City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s radar. Pellegrini told Gazzetta dello Sport Jovetic would be football’s next big star back in 2009 and has finally got his man after years of distant admiration.


City are getting the best of both worlds with Jovetic. Both a No.10 and No.9, he’s comfortable in a deeper attacking role; involving himself in play, pulling defenders out of position, offering neat one-twos in and around the area and creating chances. He can also finish moves with aplomb too, as 13 league goals last season suggests. Only four players had more shots in Serie A last season, and his finishing is often deadly.


Put simply, the Montenegrin striker is a fantastic, wonderfully versatile forward who has everything it takes to become one of the Premier League’s big stars.


Jores Okore
A centre back whose tough tackling, pace and fine reading of the game was fundamental to FC Nordsjælland’s first ever Danish league title win in 2011-12, Okore moves to Aston Villa looking to establish himself at the heart of Paul Lambert’s defence.

Okore turned down Chelsea before making the move to Villa Park and, in explaining his reasons why, showed refreshing maturity and a carefully considered logic that is increasingly rare in the ‘I want it now’ age of player impatience.


"I chose to turn down Chelsea as it did not fit the strategy I have for my future. My biggest wish is to play first team football and that was not something that was on the cards,” the 20-year-old told Danish TV, adding: "Sure, if you are interested in the money, then it would have been the right decision.”


Likened to Marcel Desailly by those who know their Danish football, big things are expected of the six-foot defender.

Gerard Deulofeu
One of the pearls of La Masia, the great hope of the latest generation to emerge from Barcelona’s academy, Roberto Martinez has used his contacts book well to secure the loan signing of Deulofeu at Everton.

A skilful, tricky winger with good speed and polished technique, Deulofeu has been whispered about in the corridors of Camp Nou since he burst onto the scene with Spain’s Under-19 European Championship-winning teams of 2011 and 2012. In 2011, 53 per cent of Mundo Deportivo readers said the teenager should be in the first team already after Deulofeu played a starring role, and he was even better a year later, winning the player of the tournament award.


“We have to be patient with Deulofeu. He’s very young, but we will enjoy having someone of his quality,” Martinez said of the wide forward, who can play down either flank. Deulofeu’s talents will take a while to nurture – he is only 19 after all, and in completely new surroundings – but the ability is certainly there.

Wilfried Bony 
Swansea have bought well this summer, making smart, calculated signings that complement the players already at Michael Laudrup’s disposal. One of the most intriguing strike partnerships in the Premier League this season will be found at the Liberty Stadium, where Michu, a revelation last season, will combine with Ivorian, Bony.

‘Daddy Cool’ (as he was affectionately known in Holland) looks the perfect foil for Michu, a focal point in attack who will allow Swansea greater variation and a more direct style in attack.


Bony netted 31 goals in 30 Eredivisie games last season, winning the top scorer award, and was crowned Dutch player of the year. He is a more traditional target man – strong and brilliant in the air. Meanwhile, his presence will allow Michu to drop deeper and burst forward with those menacing late runs into the box, position from which he is more prolific.


The early signs are promising: Bony and Michu linked well as Swansea battered Malmo 4-0 in a Europa League qualifier, and with Jonjo Shelvey also joining to add even further creativity there could be goals galore in South Wales.


Jose Campana
It’s really rather strange that a player for so long considered the very future of Sevilla could end up at Crystal Palace before his 21st birthday, but here we are. At the very least, the deal tells us something about both Ian Holloway’s eye for a player and his eminent charm to be able to attract the midfielder to south London.

Such is his talent, Real Madrid tried to sign Campana when he was just 10 years old and Sevilla sporting director Monchi followed his progress since he was nine, describing him as someone who could end up being “super important in the history of Sevilla”. 


Captain of Spain at the recent Under-20 World Cup, the highly-rated central midfielder’s sale caused something of a stir in Seville, while club president Jose Maria Del Nido called it a sackable offence for a coach to let such a talent go.


Campana suits Holloway’s vision for an aesthetically pleasing football team, sitting in front of the defence and building play with imagination and skill. “He is a young man who knows how to play and how to pass the ball," Holloway said of his new recruit in pre-season, and at £1.7 million this looks like a badly botched deal in Palace’s favour.