Five Under-The-Radar Signings

Our friends at WhoScored.com have picked five signings that were either free or pretty cheap whose stats suggest that they could make an impact this season...

Last Updated: 14/08/13 at 09:58 Post Comment

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With each of the top seven transfers in the Premier League in terms of value joining either City, Spurs or Chelsea this summer, it's fair to say that the big clubs are getting most of the attention from the media. Indeed, a lack of signings from United and Arsenal is actually filling more column inches than the astute business done elsewhere.

In this piece WhoScored.com look at five signings in England's top flight that have gone largely unnoticed, all of which were achieved without breaking the bank. Three of our chosen handful here were in fact free transfers, proving that teams are still able to strengthen at the top level on a limited budget.


Modibo Diakite (Sunderland)
Signed from Lazio on a free, man-mountain centre-back Diakite could prove to be a very impressive acquisition by Paolo Di Canio this summer. His intimidating 6'4" frame - with a neck as wide as his shoulders - will add the physicality that was perhaps lacking at the heart of the Sunderland back line last season.

At just 26 his best years are ahead of him but he fell out of favour at the Italian club following an early-season injury. His stats from the 2011/12 campaign should encourage Black Cats fans, however, as Diakite made 25 league appearances, 19 of which were starts. Averages of 1.9 tackles and 1.6 aerial duels won per game prove that he isn't afraid to get stuck in, while impressive figures for both interceptions (2.4) and clearances (7.4) allude to an advanced reading of the game from the back.


Maynor Figueroa (Hull)
Not exactly the most glamorous signing of the window, though it's up there in terms of Hull's dealings thus far, the promoted side's addition of Maynor Figueroa will bring invaluable experience to Steve Bruce's defence. Many will point to the fact that Wigan's back line didn't exactly instill many a Latics fan with confidence, but the Honduran was often the most reliable in Roberto Martinez's back three.

The fact that the Tigers may well look to utilise a similar system this season makes Figueroa's arrival all the more welcome, as a player who is well-versed in such a tactic. Only three outfielders have started more Premier League games in the last four seasons than the 30-year old (137), and the versatile defender picked up good averages for both tackles (2.1) and interceptions (2.2) per game last season.


Nicolas Anelka (West Brom)
Replacing the goals of Romelu Lukaku was always going to be the highest priority at the Hawthorns, and Steve Clarke utilised his Chelsea connections once again to secure the services of the former Blues forward. Lukaku contributed to 32% of the Baggies overall goal tally last season, so Anelka's form in pre-season - scoring seven in seven games - will be a relief to the fans.

Short and ultimately unsuccessful stints at both Shanghai Shenhua and Juventus aren't much to go by, but in terms of proven Premier League pedigree few signings can match Anelka's acquisition. In his last full season at Stamford Bridge, the Frenchman may have only netted six goals but he also picked up four assists, with impressive averages for key passes (1.4) and dribbles (1.3) per game.


Jores Okore (Aston Villa)
A former target of Chelsea, Jores Okore snubbed a move to West London in order to play regular first-team football. It's clearly something that the 21-year old is confident he will receive at Villa, making a £4m switch having impressed in the Champions League against the Blues, as well as Juventus, for Danish outfit Nordsjaelland last season.

The youngster isn't the tallest but he's an athletic and eager centre-back who will no doubt need time to settle and adapt to a significant increase in standard. Okore did, however, show in Europe's elite club competition last season that he can cut it at the top level, maintaining an excellent pass accuracy of 88.6% over his five appearances. Averages of three tackles, 2.2 interceptions and one block per game will also appease the Villa faithful, while he can also carry the ball out from the back and should fit well alongside the more conservative and experienced Ron Vlaar.


Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea)
No doubt a controversial selection here but there is no doubt that Jonjo Shelvey has ability. Much maligned during his time at Liverpool, and perhaps unjustly so for a player that only joined the club three years ago as a teenager, if the England international can rediscover the promise that saw him earn a move to Merseyside, Swansea should benefit from their £5m investment.

The playmaker may well be under the tutelage he needs in Michael Laudrup, as a youngster who certainly doesn't lack self-confidence. He's not afraid to drive forward with the ball and can pick a pass, and with the prolific Michu and Bony to aim for, his creative figures should improve. A pass accuracy of 87.5% in seven Europa League appearances last season is a sustainable average in Swansea's system, while Shelvey also notched four times and picked up an assist in the competition.

Martin Laurence - follow him on Twitter here

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

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e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

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