From Cazorla to Oscar via Kagawa: The top 10 Premier League newcomers to look out for this season

By Chris Myson

The new Premier League season is finally here and there is nothing fans love more than seeing their new signings take to the pitch in the opening weeks of the campaign.

We have seen some exciting domestic transfers take place, none more intriguing than Robin van Persie’s move from Arsenal to rivals Manchester United.

However, there will also be an unknown factor for some Premier League fans, with a number of big names ready to make their bow in English football, having been snapped up from around the globe.

With the opening day now just one day away, profiles and ranks the top 10 Premier League newcomers to look out for this season. Do you agree with our choices?

10. Steven Naismith – Everton

While some of the new Premier League recruits for this season have come from around the globe, there is one newcomer to England’s top-flight who is from much closer to home.

David Moyes has snapped up the under-rated Steven Naismith from troubled Rangers this summer and the versatile Scotland international could be a big hit.

Capable of playing on either flank, in the hole or as a striker, the 25-year-old will be invaluable to a squad like Everton’s which is tight on numbers.

He also has significant quality and is one of the few Scotland regulars with an excellent technique. Moyes got it right in signing Nikica Jelavic from north of the border and he could have found a gem again in Naismith.

9. Modibo Maiga – West Ham

After his move to Newcastle fell through in January due to a failed medical, Modibo Maiga has finally got his dream Premier League move and he will be one to watch over the next season.

The summer signing from Sochaux is almost certain to lead the line for West Ham, meaning he will get plenty of chances to prove he packs a punch in attack.

The 24-year-old has scored 24 goals in Ligue 1 over the last two years, so certainly knows where the goal is and has the power to hold the ball up and bring others into the game, which should work well with the likes of Kevin Nolan surging forward behind him.

Also capable of playing in a wide role, there is plenty for Maiga to offer the Hammers and he will be keen to show Alan Pardew what he narrowly missed out on.

8. Jonathan de Guzman – Swansea City

Could be one of the surprises of the season. While he was part of a poor Villarreal side last year, Jonathan de Guzman should be judged primarily on his spell under Michael Laudrup at Mallorca, where he was outstanding and played in a similar system to the one he will be integrated in at Swansea.

Time and time again he bossed the midfield, but not in one specific aspect as he is equally as comfortable at putting his foot in and making tackles, as he is surging forward and creating chances.

His main assets are his acceleration and overall power, but he also possesses very good ball control and should prove a very good replacement for Joe Allen.

While many are focusing on the players who have headed out of the Liberty Stadium this summer, observers need to also look at the quality they have brought into the club.

7. Olivier Giroud – Arsenal

The sale of Robin van Persie piles the pressure on powerful striker Olivier Giroud to deliver in his first year at the Emirates, particularly with Arsene Wenger saying the Dutchman’s replacements have already been signed by the club.

A late developer, Giroud only made his France debut in 2011 after making his way through the lower leagues in his homeland.

He announced himself on to the scene in emphatic style last year as he netted 25 times as Montpellier secured a stunning Ligue 1 title triumph against all the odds, which earned him the move to England.

A strong, traditional No.9, it would appear he has the attributes to succeed in the Premier League, but whether he has the capability to spearhead an Arsenal title challenge and replace the goals of Van Persie is far from certain.

6. Lukas Podolski – Arsenal

Arsenal fans were thrilled when Lukas Podolski was signed from Koln earlier this year and the forward was a top player for his hometown club and has been a stalwart for Germany over many years.

He struggled at Euro 2012 though, and at a previous spell at Bayern Munich so he has critics who claim he cannot deliver at the highest level.

Capable of playing on the left wing or as a central striker, Podolski should be a useful first-team player for Arsenal and a good contributor to the Gunners over the course of his deal. Whether he’ll be any better than good, is what we will find out when the season gets going.

5. Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham

It is often hard for defenders to get recognition for awards or recognition, when star strikers and creative stars capture the attention of fans and the media.

However, in Jan Vertonghen Tottenham have signed a classy defender at a potentially bargain price from Ajax.

Capable of passing the ball out of defence and playing in a number of positions, Vertonghen should prove to be a vital component of Andre Villas-Boas’ plans both for this season and beyond.

His international team-mate Thomas Vermaelen made amazing progress at Arsenal after a move from the Eredivisie and Spurs fans will be hopeful of a similar impact from their own new addition.

After Chelsea splashed out on Eden Hazard and with the likes of Juan Mata and Marko Marin already in their ranks, it was a surprise when they spent big on another attacking midfielder.

Oscar arrives at the club from Brazilian football and is being pencilled in to be the No.10 for the Samba stars at the 2014 home World Cup, so he clearly has plenty about him.

All the signs are that he is going to undoubtedly be a star of the future, the only doubts come over how quickly he will be able to settle in the English game and whether he will immediately be a lynchpin of Chelsea’s attacking formation, considering the competition for places that he faces at Stamford Bridge.

Whatever happens, Oscar is a talented player and definitely one to watch in the Premier League during his debut season.

After a lengthy transfer saga where he flirted with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, Eden Hazard eventually announced he would be joining the European champions in a deal worth an eye-watering £32 million.

The 21-year-old is certainly highly-rated for a reason, he had a sensational 2011-12 season for Lille, scoring 22 times and grabbing 16 assists as he inspired the club to third place in Ligue 1.

In almost 200 appearances in his young career, he had helped them to the league title the previous year and is one of the emerging players in Europe, with his creativity and classy technique undoubted.

However, he is yet to hit the heights at international level nor has he played in the latter stages of the Champions League, meaning the question on how quickly he will settle is up for debate.

2. Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United

Fans at Old Trafford are currently ecstatic about the arrival of a certain Dutchman, but they have also been very enthusiastic about the arrival of Shinji Kagawa since early in the summer.

A vital part of the Borussia Dortmund team which won the last two Bundesliga titles, it is hoped the Japanese star can finally bring some creativity to the Red Devils’ midfield.

Kagawa’s pre-season form has certainly been impressive, scoring his first goal against Shanghai Shenhua before netting the winner in a thrilling 4-3 win over Hannover.

The signing of Van Persie may hinder his influence on the team early on and deny him space in central areas, but Kagawa has the quality to shine wherever he is deployed on the pitch.

1. Santi Cazorla – Arsenal

Arguably the signing of the summer, Arsenal fans will be desperate for Santi Cazorla to ease their hurt after the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United.

The versatile attacker was the best player in La Liga outside of Real Madrid and Barcelona last season as he helped Malaga to a Champions League place and it is a rare change of policy for Arsene Wenger to spend big (£18m) on a more established star.

Cazorla can play on both wings, behind the strikers or even in a deeper role pulling the strings from further back. An impressive dead-ball specialist and an impressive passer with good vision, Cazorla is also a willing worker who should be able to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Having spent most of his career at Villarreal, the 27-year-old Spain international finally has the chance to compete for one of Europe’s heavyweights, but faces a challenge to end the Gunners’ trophy drought.

Have your say

Do you agree with the order of our top 10? Which newcomer to the English game are you most looking forward to watching this season? Have we missed anyone out? Get involved in the debate, vote in our poll and give us your own top 10 by leaving a comment below!

Follow Chris Myson on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.