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Arsenal's transfer policy gets a reboot

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Premier League signings to take a bow

When the clock strikes 11 p.m. BST on Sept. 1, it will be the moment when all 20 clubs in England's top division will have completed their summer dealings. Despite the World Cup, business so far has been brisk.

While familiar names like Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba are making returns, several players are beginning their England careers. ESPN FC selects the 10 most intriguing arrivals set to make their Premier League debut.

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Signed from: Barcelona
Fee: 35 million pounds
Position: Forward

For the second summer in a row, Arsene Wenger has landed perhaps the biggest coup of the transfer window. After being accused of reticence for so long, Arsenal's manager has developed an eye for seizing the offcut of a major transfer. Mesut Ozil was snared once Real Madrid had to pay for Gareth Bale, and the same pattern was followed when Barcelona needed 75 million pounds to buy Luis Suarez. Sanchez is not quite Suarez, the player Wenger wanted last year, but his ability to play across the front line and bulwarking energy should hugely increase Arsenal's attacking potency. The Chilean, rather overshadowed by Lionel Messi, never quite convinced at Barcelona, but his last season in Catalonia was undoubtedly his best. His final goal for Barca, a thrilling strike from an impossible angle against Atletico Madrid, provided a fine example of his talent.

Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Signed from: Atletico Madrid
Fee: 32 million pounds
Position: Striker

Diego Costa underperformed at the World Cup, but his displays in 2013-14 should be enough to strike fear into Chelsea's opponents this season.

A year ago, Liverpool felt they were in with a chance of landing Costa. Instead, he chose to stay at Atletico, where his performances took him beyond Brendan Rodgers' reach, since Costa had already joined Chelsea by the time Suarez was sold. Chelsea had the deal -- long since signposted -- wrapped up by the time Costa was playing at the World Cup for Spain. His performance in his native Brazil raised a question mark against the player whom Jose Mourinho hoped could answer the striking problem he suffered so publicly last season. However, should Costa come close to replicating the form that inspired Atletico to winning La Liga, Chelsea might prove unstoppable, especially as in Cesc Fabregas they have added a proven Premier League star who will be Costa's prime supplier of assists.

Muhamed Besic (Everton)
Signed from: Ferencvaros
Fee: 4.8 million pounds
Position: Midfielder/defender

Much of Everton's summer business has been spent nailing down the team that performed so well for Roberto Martinez last season. Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku are now on permanent deals, while Ross Barkley signed a new long-term contract. Besic, meanwhile, looks like a typical Martinez signing. His versatility -- capable of playing centre-back and as a midfield anchorman -- fits the profile required for a squad always thin on resources. Martinez needs someone other than John Stones to back up the experience of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin and support Barry. Bosnia-Herzegovina's youngest-ever international, Besic is a player whose time in German football -- he was born in Berlin -- was ended after a serious bust-up with Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink, which again is a classic Martinez approach; the Spaniard loves to polish a rough, talented diamond.

Emre Can (Liverpool)
Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen
Fee: 9.75 million pounds
Position: Midfielder

Rodgers is a man with an eye for fashion, and in landing a German midfielder, he made a voguish coup. Can began his career in the Bayern Munich academy that churned out Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger for the World Cup winner, but his playing style most resembles "Schweini" with added muscle. Plenty of it, in fact. Can has already become something of a Liverpool folk hero for Saturday night's barge into AC Milan's Mario Balotelli and an excellent measured pass. There was something of a young Steven Gerrard in that vignette, which, with the captain's ability to regularly impose himself undoubtedly fading, may be just what Liverpool need. Of all Liverpool's summer additions, Can, 20, looks capable of the deepest impact.

Lazar Markovic (Liverpool)
Signed from: Benfica
Fee: 20 million pounds
Position: Winger

Rodgers also has an appetite for signing wingers. Having been rebuffed in January's ill-fated attempt to get Yevhen Konoplyanka from FC Dnipro, Rodgers readjusted his sights on Markovic. He was eventually signed from Benfica, the former giant that now makes its money as a farm for talent to be sold on to richer leagues. Markovic, who was expected to join Chelsea last year from Partizan, instead alerted other suitors with a promising first season at the Estadio da Luz. He has pace to burn and is able to play off either flank, so Rodgers has a player he believes can interchange with Raheem Sterling in supporting Daniel Sturridge. Another 20-year-old, Markovic is not a player without rough edges; he missed out on Benfica's Europa League final through suspension, having been sent off in the semifinal for a fight with Juventus' Mirko Vucinic that took place after Markovic had been substituted.

Willy Caballero (Manchester City)
Signed from: Malaga
Fee: 6 million pounds
Position: Goalkeeper

Willy Caballero will provide current Manchester City No. 1 Joe Hart with some competition.

Financial fair play reduces Manchester City's hand in this summer's transfer business. Brazilian Fernando adds to their rotation of defensive midfielders, while Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala fills a gap at centre-back. Neither is a spectacular signing of the type the club has made its habit since 2008. Caballero, however, was a purchase to raise eyebrows. Manuel Pellegrini's early-season dissatisfaction with Joe Hart in 2013-14 was quelled once the England keeper regained his consistency, but should those levels again drop, Caballero is a much higher-grade replacement than Costel Pantilimon could ever prove. The Argentine is a Pellegrini loyalist, having worked with the Chilean at Malaga with they reached the Champions League last eight in 2012-13. As his perseverance with Martin Demichelis revealed, Pellegrini likes to have such players on his team.

Remy Cabella (Newcastle United)
Signed from: Montpellier
Fee: 10 million pounds
Position: Midfielder

Newcastle's 2013-14 season is widely regarded as being split into two halves: the heady days that preceded the January sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG, and the turgidity that followed. As a midfielder who provides a similar goal threat, Cabella was linked as a replacement for his compatriot but did not arrive in January. Instead, his arrival, alongside those of Siem de Jong, Daryl Janmaat and Emmanuel Riviere, has led to a revival of optimism on Tyneside; owner Mike Ashley did not bring in a single permanent signing in the entire campaign. Cabella was an unused member of France's World Cup squad, but his promise has been in evidence since he was a starlet of Montpellier's Ligue 1 title-winning campaign. Toon fans hope this French recruit can be as influential as the departure they still lament.

Summer transfer window roundup

- Premier League: Team-by-team ins and outs
- Transfer Centre: All the done deals
- Marcotti: Mind-boggling transfers
- Delaney: What did we learn on deadline day?
- Horncastle: European transfer grades
- Smith: Transfers more important than the game?
- Macintosh: We worship goals, not balance sheets

Brown Ideye (West Brom)
Signed from: Dynamo Kiev
Fee: 10 million pounds
Position: Striker

"I don't know much about Brown Ideye. I've not seen him live, but people we trust have done," said West Brom coach Alan Irvine of his club's keynote summer signing. "It's not necessarily something that is detrimental to me not to have seen him live, though ideally I would like to because that's how I like to do my work." Such words rang alarm bells about the goings-on at the Hawthorns; Ideye is believed to have been signed for 10 million pounds on the say-so of new director of football Terry Burton, while Irvine had seen the Nigerian striker play on a DVD only. The striker was something of a hero in the Ukraine and was a surprise absentee from Stephen Keshi's World Cup squad, but Irvine has done little to convince that a united ship was behind the new arrival.

Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
Signed from: Athletic Bilbao
Fee: 28.85 million pounds
Position: Midfielder

Ander Herrera appears to have bedded down quickly at Manchester United during the preseason.

David Moyes was last heard of taking a July golfing holiday in Bermuda. The preseason performances of Herrera may have the former boss wishing that he is swallowed up by the Triangle. The Spaniard proved symbolic of Manchester United's transfer failings last summer. While United didn't meet his buyout clause on deadline day, they signed Marouane Fellaini instead. No such mistake was made in June, and under Louis van Gaal, United already look capable of the type of midfield creativity that withered amid Moyes' linear thinking. Herrera plays with buzz, works the angles and shoots powerfully from long distance. United still require recruits in other departments to be anywhere near reclaiming their primacy, but a midfielder of inventive vision had been the player most obviously lacking.

Enner Valencia (West Ham)
Signed from: Pachuca
Fee: 12 million pounds
Position: Striker

Deja vu all over again at Upton Park. Andy Carroll is injured and probably won't be back until Christmas shopping beckons. At least this time West Ham have signed a striker who may be able to play instead of the ponytailed Jonah. Last season, they often played as if Carroll was in the team, even when he wasn't; long balls drifted to an invisible target. Valencia's goals at the World Cup for Ecuador suggested a striker of considerable ability, and whose style would be suited to Sam Allardyce. The initial plan was for Valencia to augment Carroll, but instead he replaces him. Consoling for Hammers is that Valencia cannot be nearly as bad a stand-in as Modibo Maiga.

John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.


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