WhoScored's Five Foreign Targets For PL Clubs

Ali Tweedale of WhoScored picks five foreign footballers Premier League clubs should look to sign before Monday's transfer window deadline. One has already arrived...

Last Updated: 28/08/14 at 11:38 Post Comment

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Just one week remains of the summer transfer window and even though we have already seen millions spent, be sure that the busiest period is still to come. As we have seen in the not so distant past, buying English - or even just from a fellow Premier League side - means paying over the odds, particularly as teams become desperate in the window's latter stages. Thus, looking abroad is often the answer and may well be in the coming days, with these five players potentially set to be imported into England's top tier.

Alessio Cerci
Torino's previously unknown strikeforce was one of the deadliest in Europe last season and, as is the case with so many surprise packages, the off-season is a time of struggling to hold on to your prized assets. Over here, Southampton have been picked apart while Torino have already lost half of the front two that fired them to a European place (albeit via Parma being denied a license to compete in UEFA competition).

Ciro Immobile has long since departed for Borussia Dortmund but for now Torino still have Alessio Cerci on their books. Immobile hit most of the Serie A side's goals last season (22), but had Cerci to thank for providing 10 assists, while he also attempted the second-most crosses in the Italian top flight (260). Creativity is far from the extent of his talents, however, as he also hit double figures for goals (13). In doing so, he was was the only player in Serie A to attain more than 10 in both departments. In the previous campaign in Italy, the only players to do so were Marek Hamsik and Francesco Totti. Some company for a player who has been linked with a move to Arsenal.


Mattia Destro
Even though Chelsea have already brought in Diego Costa and Didier Drogba this summer, they are reportedly in talks with Roma about a £20m move for Destro. It may seem strange, but it in fact makes perfect sense when considering the recent failings of Fernando Torres (who himself is being linked with a move to AC Milan).

Injury has plagued much of Destro's short career, so for that reason he is something of a risk, but the way he rediscovered his form last season despite a lengthy lay-off was remarkable. The 23-year-old started just 15 league matches in 2013/14 and yet ranked in the top 15 goalscorers in Italy. He was thus averaged fewer minutes per goal (95.1) than anyone else in Serie A. Comparatively, the now-departed Demba Ba scored most frequently for Chelsea last term with a goal every 132.2 minutes. Destro doesn't need many chances to score either; of the 24 players to hit 10+ Serie A goals last season, Destro scored the highest proportion of his shots (33.3%) and the highest proportion of his shots on target (59.1%). Considering Liverpool paid £16m for Mario Balotelli (whose respective goalscoring rates were 9.2% and 27.5%), £20m for Destro could prove a snip.


Toby Alderweireld
After a trip to the World Cup quarter finals in Brazil - with Belgium conceding only three goals during the tournament - defender Toby Alderweireld may be looking for a move to a club where he will be guaranteed more playing time. Having moved from Ajax to Atlético Madrid last summer, he made only 12 appearances in their triumphant La Liga campaign and played only 307 of a possible 1200 minutes in a run to the Champions League final.

There has been talk of him moving to either Arsenal or Southampton, and while the former may be the more attractive and lucrative offer, it may be in the Belgian's best interest to go to St Mary's and get a run of first-team football. His 3.0 tackles per game at the World Cup put him amongst the top 20 defenders at the competition, while he also averaged an impressive 4.3 clearances, too. He certainly has the quality to play regularly in one of Europe's top leagues and he could be well-suited to England.


Christian Fuchs
Some of the bargains reported from the Bundesliga make one wonder quite why it is a market so few Premier League teams tap into, but rumours are circulating that Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet are chasing the £3m signing of Schalke's left-back Christian Fuchs. The 28-year-old has lost his place in Gelsenkirchen and looks like he could be on his way to England.

Although an adept defender, his strengths on WhoScored show that he is perhaps best going forward, with key passes, crossing and taking set-pieces amongst his best assets. Meanwhile his assist tally (22 in his last 106 Bundesliga appearances) will certainly appeal to potential suitors. A serious knee injury for first-choice left-back Sead Kolasinac this weekend may mean Schalke are reluctant to sell their backup, but after three years at the club, Fuchs may be looking to move on.


Federico Fazio
Having joined Tottenham in a €10m deal, Fazio is a man-mountain of a defender who will add serious physicality to Mauricio Pochettino's back line. The new Spurs boss has been chasing a fellow Argentine to deploy in his new side's defence and Fazio is the perfect fit. He played a key role in Sevilla's Europa League win last season and in their fifth-place finish in La Liga, showing exceptional reading of the game with 3.3 interceptions and 7.6 clearances per appearance.

He is brilliant in the air, winning an incredible 77.4% of the aerial duels he contested. To add some context to that, of the 211 players to compete in 50 or more aerial battles in La Liga last season, Fazio's success rate was the best. He and Younes Kaboul or Jan Vertonghen could form a formidable centre-back partnership at White hart Lane.

Ali Tweedale - follow him on Twitter.

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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