What will the PL latecomers bring to their teams?
The new boys explained by FFT's writers
It was a hectic end to the transfer window, with a fair few players arriving in the Premier League late on. So what will the new boys bring to England's top table? FourFourTwo's writers examine the evidence...
Mesut Ozil £42m
(Real Madrid to Arsenal)
See Joe Brewin's separate analysis
(Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea)
Technically, Willian shouldn't be allowed to play in England: he hasn't played enough internationals to get a permit. However, his native country is Brazil, and the Blues received special dispensation under the "exceptional talent" visa clause.
He's been exceptional for a while, since breaking into the Corinthians team at barely 17 and moving to Shakhtar Donetsk a fortnight after his 19th birthday. His low centre of gravity makes him hard to mark, but his football brain has marked him out for great things.
Long mentioned approvingly in despatches, he rocketed to the centre of English attention with his Champions League group performances against Chelsea in autumn 2012. During the 2-1 win in Ukraine he frequently switched the attack from the left. At Stamford Bridge a fortnight later he was statistically outshone by team-mate Fernandinho - now of Manchester City - but he roamed up and down the left side of the pitch, and his two goals grabbed the headlines as Shakhtar all but eliminated Roberto Di Matteo's team.
Many expected him to move to the Premier League – Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs were all strongly linked before Chelsea got his autograph – but in January 2013 he moved to nouveau-riche Russians Anzhi Makhachkala. His display in Anzhi's first Europa League knockout game - the 3-1 home win over Hannover – showed his positional dexterity and tactical acumen.
He completed a busy 39 of 45 passes from right across the pitch - starting on the left, but coming infield and switching to the right to lay on Eto'o's vital equaliser. In the second half he ended up back on the left again, and once Anzhi had gone 3-1 up he wasn't shy of keeping possession with backward passes rather than risking another away goal. Mourinho would surely approve. (Gary Parkinson)
Erik Lamela £25.7m
(Roma to Tottenham)
See Michael Cox's separate analysis
Mamadou Sakho £18m
(Paris Saint-Germain to Liverpool)
See Jonathan Fadugba's separate analysis
Christian Eriksen £11.5m
(Ajax to Tottenham)
Although he has played both on the left and as part of a central midfield three, Christian Eriksen's best position is probably as an advanced playmaker, playing behind a main striker. He drifts wide and deep looking for the ball, and is always willing to shoot from the edge of the box - a quality not too many players in the Tottenham squad possess.
He is also a capable set piece taker (something else Spurs lack), as highlighted by the fact his set-up three of Ajax's eight Champions League goals last season from corners, not to mention this pair of free-kicks from a recent pre-season match against Dinamo Dresden (opens in new tab).
He's also more than comfortable in open play, and has a decent range of passing. Despite Ajax being completely over-run in last season's 4-1 Champions League group stage defeat at Real Madrid, Eriksen was still able to leave his mark on the game. He completed 61 passes, 24 in the final third (more than any other player on the pitch) and created four goalscoring opportunities for team-mates.
The main question mark has been over his consistency, although in recent months his levels of performance have hit a far steadier level. He may need to crank that up another level now he's in the Premier League, but at 21, time is on his side, if not Tottenham's. (James Maw)
Vlad Chiriches £8.5m
(Steaua Bucharest to Tottenham)
In the spirit of comparing players to their most famous compatriot of the same position, Tottenham's latest defensive acquisition has already had his name spoken in the same breath as Romanian great, Christian Chivu.
Like Chivu, Chiriches is a centre-back capable of filling in at full-back. Comfortable in possession, the 23-year-old often looks to bring the ball out of defence and shift it to the wide players further up the pitch. He'll also cover his fullbacks in times of need, with the below graphic highlighting how often he moved to the left to make tackles in last season's Europa League last 16 first leg win over Chelsea.
He was among the star performers as Steaua's run to that stage, and his solid showing against the then European champions was particularly impressive.
With Younes Kaboul struggling with injuries and Michael Dawson not always shining in the big matches, Chiriches could yet end up having as big a role to play in Spurs' top four push as his new club's higher-profile new arrivals. (James Maw)
Libor Kozák £7m
(Lazio to Aston Villa)
Aston Villa have splashed the cash on their new Czech Republic international from Lazio - and in truth, he's a funny one to work out.
Regular watchers of last season's Europa League will have noted his eight goals en route to the competition's top scorer prize. So far, so good.
But in 19 Serie A appearances he failed to find the net, after a similarly weak 10 goals in his previous 36 outings over two seasons. In fairness opportunities were often limited with just five starts to his name last season (Lazio picked up just a point from those matches) but Villa fans may be a little concerned that the 24-year-old hardly arrives packing pedigree where it matters.
"He'll add greatly to what we've got," beamed boss Paul Lambert. "We need somebody like him as we only have Christian Benteke really as a main target man."
At 6ft3 Kozak stands tall and was essentially used as a lump-it-long lone target man by the Italian side last season. In the devastating display against Stuttgart (above) he bagged a hat-trick with four attempts and won 3 of 5 aerial duels.
Perhaps a change of scenery for the Czech big man, coupled with service of better quality, might reap its rewards. (Joe Brewin)
Martin Demichelis £4.2m
(Atletico Madrid to Man City)
Few Manchester City fans would deny their club needed another centre-back, but veteran defender Martin Demichelis could prove more divisive than decisive.
The Argentine brings years of experience, and having managed Demichelis for two and a half years at Malaga, Manuel Pellegrini knows what he is getting from the £4m signing, who joined Atletico Madrid for free just two months ago and leaves without playing a game.
As a former midfielder, he excels at bringing the ball out of defence, which allows him to recycle play sensibly instead of making ambitious long passes that rarely find their target. The former Bayern Munich man’s ability and willingness to step up could encourage Fernandinho and Yaya Toure to drive forward as they clearly wish to do – though they’d be less keen to see their team-mate attempting take-ons, as he did against Borussia Dortmund in last season’s Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Demichelis also offers strength in the air - useful when you consider that Manchester City conceded two headed goals to promoted Cardiff. The defender made 18 clearances in that 0-0 draw with Dortmund and won five out of seven aerial duels.
However, he has his weaknesses. Fast decision-making is not his forte (witness Lee Chung-Yong tackling a hesitant Demichelis to score against Argentina in the last World Cup); he piled up 14 yellows in 40 games last term; he’s turning 33 and slowing in pace accordingly; and he also seems to lack confidence, a concern given Joe Hart’s recent difficulties in commanding his defence. Demichelis will win headers but not foot races, and a defensive mix-up may never be far away. (Huw Davies)
Kevin Theophile-Catherine £2.1m
(Rennes to Cardiff)
Kevin Theophile-Catherine (try saying that after a few shandies) would have been out of contract next summer and, with the Rennes academy graduate refusing to renew, Cardiff City saw their opportunity and pounced, paying £2.1million for his services.
Though he began his career as a defensive midfielder, Theophile-Catherine – or KTC as we’ll now refer to him – was converted into a right-back at Rennes’ academy and grew up as a pacy, marauding, right-footed full-back.
So it is really quite bizarre that former Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti chose to use him as a left-back so often over the last two seasons, given how unnatural it must have been for KTC. “The experience will do him well later in his career,” his manager reasoned.
In fairness, Antonetti’s not wrong. Theophile-Catherine now has substantial experience playing as a centre-back, left-back and right-back. This versatility, matched with his athleticism, energy and brawn, explains why Malky Mackay was keen to add him to Cardiff’s squad.
Unveiled as a right-back on Cardiff’s website, which may offer a clue as to where Mackay wishes to play him, KTC will add much-needed versatility and quality to the Bluebirds’ defence. (Jonathan Fadugba)
Marko Arnautovic £undisclosed
(Werder Bremen to Stoke)
Born in Vienna to a Serbian father and Austrian mother, Arnautovic is nothing if not adaptable: England will be the fifth country he has been based in. Mind, that's partly because he frequently gets chased out of town: various Viennese clubs showed him the door; he was accused of racism at Twente; his loan at Inter didn't last long after Jose Mourinho said "Marko's a fantastic guy but has the attitude of a child"; and when Bremen went 6-0 behind in a televised game, he looked down the camera and said "Werder is a dump". It'll be interesting to see him work with Mark Hughes.
As is so often the case, the head-the-ball antics are coupled with potential brilliance on the pitch. (If it weren't, such liabilities would quickly find themselves unemployable.) An adaptable forward, 6ft 3.5in but with a good touch, Arnautovic - who has bagged 7 goals in 27 Austria caps - already speaks good English, and he has played well against English opponents, too: when Werder came from 2-0 down to draw with Spurs in the 2010/11 Champions League groups opener, nobody completed more final-third passes than Arnautovic.
He popped up all over the pitch that night, but he was largely restricted to the left wing in the subsequent 4-0 chasing at Inter - in which he showed a keen taste for take-ons, not necessarily in the places a manager would like. Even so, no Werder player attempted more passes that night. Hughes will hope the big man up top continues to wander around the pitch, while settling down off it. (Gary Parkinson)
Samuel Eto'o £free
(Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea)
He may have spent months chasing Wayne Rooney, but if Jose Mourinho wanted an experienced striker to link with all his young attack-minded talent, he couldn't have asked for much better than Sammy Eto'o. They worked together at Internazionale, where Eto'o gained such enormous respect for the manager that he would chase back with a willingness that shocked those who saw him as a self-centred striker.
The Cameroonian legend has changed a lot since his days as a shoulder-riding front-runner at Barcelona. At Inter, he was frequently deployed wide left – and happily tracked back, none more notably than in the epic 10-man defensive job at the Camp Nou in the 2010 Champions League semi. At Anzhi, where he became the world's highest-paid player, he settled into a No.10 role behind huge Ivorian striker Lacina Traore.
His passing patterns in the last-16 home draw with Newcastle typify his time in Dagestan: he received the ball in a wide swathe of the pitch, usually from close range, and kept it ticking over nicely - again, generally with short forward passes. It's not hard to imagine him at the centre of swift give-and-go plays with Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Schurrle, De Bruyne, his former Anzhi team-mate Willian… (Gary Parkinson)
Morgan Amalfitano £loan
(Marseille to West Brom)
Desperate to add creativity to remedy West Brom’s fruitless start to the season, Steve Clarke completed a last-minute loan deal for Marseille wideman Morgan Amalfitano.
Amalfitano’s cross-channel move to England sees him reunited with his younger brother Romain, who plays for Newcastle, but the former Lorient player will hope to fare better in the Premier League than his junior sibling, who’s managed just one start since moving to the Magpies in 2012.
The signing of 28-year-old Amalfitano could be a gamble given his struggles to make any sort of impact at Marseille last season (22 starts, 1 goal, 2 assists). But the Baggies will hope the versatile midfielder can regain the form that saw him win his only France cap in 2012.
A crafty right winger with decent technique, Amalfitano had his best days at Lorient where, operating as more of a central attacking midfielder, he supplied the bullets for Kevin Gameiro with devastating style. His 13 assists – more than Gervinho, Eden Hazard and Yohan Cabaye, to name a few – and 5 goals won him a move to Marseille.
At Marseille he played predominantly as a right winger, and while some argue it isn’t his best position it certainly gives Clarke options. In a late season win against Toulouse Amalfitano showed his ability to invent:
“Morgan is a technical player with good quality on the ball. He also has fantastic work-rate and we believe his game is well suited to the Premier League,” enthused Clarke. With a flurry of late arrivals at WBA it’s now up to Amalfitano to earn his place in the team. (Jonathan Fadugba)
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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.