Twelve months ago N’Golo Kante and Dimitri Payet were virtual unknowns on these shores, admired only by managerial gamers and Ligue 1 aficionados. Fast forward eight months and they were both rightfully selected in the PFA Team of the Year, their status elevated from intriguing signing to outright superstar.
Despite there still being five weeks of this summer’s transfer window remaining ajar we’ve already witnessed some exciting and fascinating additions to the Premier League as the television bonanza kicks in and clubs go on a spending splurge. Are there any so far who might introduce themselves in style and make 2016/17 their own thus replicating Kante’s and Payet’s success? The Cutter takes an early punt on these seven…
Ahmed Musa (CSKA to Leicetser)
At the time of writing Riyad Mahrez seems destined for the Emirates but while Leicester will undoubtedly need to replace their brilliant star they do at least already have the signature of a forward capable of incendiary excellence.
The Nigerian’s explosive pace and trickery will light up the King Power Stadium and prove a formidable foil to Vardy’s directness. It’s why Claudio Ranieri was more the happy to break the club’s transfer record, on a 23 year old he has been closely tracking for some time.
Vincent Janssen (AZ to Tottenham)
Spurs fans will be pleased to see their new signing already off the mark with a debut strike in this week’s friendly against Rotherham especially as the club’s track record with targeting forwards has been mixed at best.
Here though is surly no Soldado or even Darren Bent. The 22 year old Dutchman has enjoyed a whirlwind rise to prominence from lower league hitman to becoming the Eredivisie leading scorer last term, a feat that deservedly earned him the Johan Cruyff ‘Talent of the Year’ award. The lad just loves scoring goals.
Playing second fiddle to Kane will help his progress allowing Pochettino time to bed in his new attacking threat.
Lys Mousset (La Havre to Bournemouth)
The highly-rated 20 year old can play anywhere across the front three and has quietly impressed at this summer’s Toulon Tournament. The evidence so far suggests Bournemouth’s £5.4m outlay will be a steal for the La Havre prodigy and with Callum Wilson back and firing the Cherries suddenly have a very dangerous attack to unleash on unsuspecting rearguards in the months ahead.
Steve Mandanda (Marseille to Crystal Palace)
The 31 year old French international is hardly an obscure figure in the game nor an unearthed diamond but many will be surprised at how iconic a presence he makes himself between the sticks. Cutter writer Kevin Galvin summed up the larger-than-life keeper’s connection with supporters at the beginning of the year and Palace’s red and blue army will surely take him to their hearts.
£1.5m represents tremendous business for someone named Ligue I goalkeeper of the year on three separate occasions.
Gokhan Tore (Besiktas to West Ham)
Slaven Bilic may be becoming increasingly exasperated at his attempts to snag a much-needed goal-machine but in Tore he has secured entertainment galore to spark the Olympic Stadium to life this season. The Turkish international’s one year loan offers up a mouth-watering double act with Payet that will have full-backs scampering for cover and the rest of us giddy should the 24 year old immediately find his feet.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich to Southampton)
One of the window’s more eyebrow-raising moves and an overdue fillip for beleaguered Saints fans who are justifiably growing sick and tired of seeing their finest talents poached.
The young Dane is an elegant and intelligent talent who merges calmness on the ball with an admirable work-rate not to mention two year’s intensive coaching under a certain Mr Guardiola.
A midfield partnership with Jordy Clasie (a player the Cutter is tipping for a splendid season) offers balance and poise that should see Southampton once again bouncing back from suffering key departures.