Frenkie de Jong and Luka Jovic among most exciting summer transfers in La Liga

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The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.

The transfer window is still active but most of the big transfers have already materialised and the teams are slowly shaping into the side they could look like in the 2019/20 season.

We take a look at five of the best signings from each of the top five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.

With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility, and potential are some of the criteria used in the development of this list.

Here’s a look at La Liga…

Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) – Midfielder

Frenkie de Jong, Griezmann

Age: 21

Transfer fee: €75 million

Value: €85 million

The gaping hole Xavi’s departure left in Barcelona’s midfield has finally been filled by one of the most technically gifted youngsters of this generation.

When the Catalan giants announced Frenkie de Jong’s signature in January, the Dutchman’s transfer value was just €60 million. After a series of masterclasses in the Champions League including a sensational performance against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, his value has risen to €85 million.

De Jong boasts the exact profile Barca have needed for some time now. His incredible press resistance, progressive style of play, ability to link with the forwards and the versatility to play anywhere in midfield enables him to clear the Barcelona DNA test.

The confident midfielder is the type of player Barca require in a high-voltage European away game against a high press.

Expectation: The importance of midfielders in De Jong’s ilk can’t be quantified by goals and assists. De Jong must work on establishing himself as an undisputed starter in midfield and lead the revolution of youngsters driven by grit and desire to win at all costs – a quality that seemed to have been lacking in the side last season.

Luka Jovic (Real Madrid) – Striker

Jovic

Age: 21

Transfer fee: €60 million

Transfer value: €60 million

Real Madrid were at the heart of a €1 billion-plus transfer window in La Liga. While Eden Hazard has stolen all the glances, Luka Jovic could prove to be the player the Spanish side need and so desperately missed in the past couple of seasons.

One year ago, prolific goal-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo left Los Blancos for Juventus and took all the goals with him. Madrid suffered heavily in Spain and Europe as a result of losing such a vital player.

Zinedine Zidane now requires a young fox in the box to convert his team into a formidable machine that it once was and Jovic fits the bill perfectly.

The 21-year-old, who scored 17 goals and provided five assists for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, is gifted with athleticism, positional awareness, the classic striker’s instinct and could prove to be a bargain for his price.

Expectation: 25 goals in all competitions. Jovic was born to score and he needs to focus slowly on getting the numbers here. Eden Hazard will be the creative hub of the team and Luka Modric could be the workhorse. The Serbia international must show his new team what they missed in Ronaldo’s absence last season.

Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) – Playmaker

Fekir

Age: 26

Transfer fee: €19.75 million

Transfer value: €60 million

Arguably the bargain of the transfer window, Real Betis achieved the remarkable capture of Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir for as little as €19.75 million. Liverpool’s interest and attempt to sign him last summer testifies the quality he brings to any team.

The Frenchman should be aware of the fact that he will be stepping into the shoes of their best player from last season, with Giovani Lo Celso at Tottenham.

Lyon’s former captain’s arrival will help Betis’ midfield upgrade directly and indirectly.

Firstly, his dribbling, close control, versatility and playmaking abilities compensate for what the Seville club will miss with Lo Celso’s departure. The 26-year-old’s creativity will help ease the pressure on Sergio Canales and the pair could go on to forge a lethal combination in attacking midfield. Fekir could also cure Betis’ Achilles heel that is born out of inactivity in the final third.

Betis have been performing smart business in the transfer market for a while now and this could be the peak.

Expectation: Contribute to at least 20 goals. Betis are undergoing a transitional phase with Rubi picking up the mantle from Quique Setien. It would be harsh to expect too much from the Frenchman. His combination with Canales could prove to make or break their season, though.

Maxi Gomez (Valencia) – Striker

Maxi Gomez

Age: 22

Transfer fee: €14.5 million

Transfer value: €40 million

With Santi Mina heading to Celta Vigo on a free transfer, Valencia found themselves needing a well-rounded striker to lead their attack.

Known as El Toro (The bull) due to his stocky build and tendency to use his physique to win duels, Maxi Gomez has often been touted as the heir to Luis Suarez in the Uruguayan national team.

The 22-year-old is a well-rounded striker who likes to drop and indulge in build-up play. His eye for key-passes and incredible passing ability makes him the hybrid striker that the current market demands.

The youngster could be the x-factor as Valencia look to build on their late revival from the 2018/19 season.

Expectation: 25+ goals plus assists. With a total of 18 goal involvements, Gomez was one of the few players who clicked for Celta Vigo last season. With quality, potential and La Liga experience on his side, the bar is set pretty high for Gomez as he looks to spearhead the Valencia attack.

Mario Hermoso (Atletico Madrid) – Central defender

GettyImages-1166691528(1)

Age: 24

Transfer fee: €25 million

Transfer value: €25 million

Replacing Diego Godin – a club legend in his own right – was bound to be a challenging task for Atletico Madrid and a side coached by Diego Simeone just can’t afford to compromise on the quality of defenders.

The Colchoneros deserve massive credit for achieving this at a bargain price of €25 million in a transfer market where Manchester United paid €80 million Harry Maguire.

Mario Hermoso has been the stand-out player for Espanyol in what was a rather bland season and his move to a top European club was inevitable.

The Real Madrid youth academy graduate boasts of a great passing range, accurate cross-field delivery and confident bursts of progressive play. His tackles are clean, perfectly timed and he rarely finds the need to foul any player.

Most importantly, the 24-year-old wears his heart on his sleeve while on the pitch, much like his predecessor Godin.

Expectation: 18+ clean-sheets, 30> goals conceded. Jan Oblak conceded 27 goals and kept 20 clean-sheets in La Liga last season. Despite what the numbers suggest, Simeone’s backline was far from living up to the bar they set for themselves. Hermoso needs to provide a strong supporting act and ensure Oblak finishes with numbers at least close to that of last season.

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Rodri and Tanguy Ndombele among most exciting signings in the Premier League

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The new season is here, and so is the hype surrounding fresh signings.

The transfer window has closed in the Premier League and we have witnessed some big names swapping shirts. The season has already begun and the new boys are showing signs of fitting in like a glove.

We’ve been taking a look at five of the best signings from each of the top five leagues, judge them based on compatibility and lay expectations ahead of their debut season.

With the help of transfermarkt.com, age, transfer fee, and value, compatibility, and potential are some of the criteria used in the development of this list.

Here’s a look at Premier League….

Rodri (Manchester City) – Midfielder

Rodri

Age: 23

Transfer fee: €70 million

Value: €80 million

Procuring the right midfielders for Pep Guardiola in the right position is one way Manchester City can have their hands glued to the Premier League trophy.

Sergio Busquets, Javi Martinez, Fernandinho are evidence of how Guardiola has perfected the use of the central defensive midfielder position and Rodri will follow suit.

The 23-year-old was labelled the ‘next Busquets’ even before his name appeared on mainstream media. Rodri’s positional awareness, ability to make and break plays renders him a perfect fit to the City side.

Replacing Fernandinho – one of their most crucial players of the last two seasons – was bound to be arduous but City have seemingly found an upgrade.

Expectation: Numbers can’t define the impact of a player of his profile. Rodri must establish himself in the squad right away and play a key part in the title defence and a deep run in the Champions League.

Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham) – Midfielder

Ndombele

Age: 22

Transfer fee: €60 million

Value: €65 million

After hibernating for two transfer windows, Tottenham have made a statement by signing one of the most complete midfielders in Tanguy Ndombele.

The Frenchman’s physicality and defensive prowess will bring a lot of stability to the Spurs midfield. His partnership at the base of midfield with Harry Winks could provide the Champions League runners-up a massive upgrade.

Ndombele is a confident dribbler of the ball, thrives under pressure and is accurate with his pressing. His presence at the centre of the pitch could also bring the best out of Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen in front of him.

Expectation: Transform Spurs midfield. Placing such a burden on a player just entering the league could be harsh, but Ndombele is capable of seeing it through. His skill-set is diverse and he was made for the Premier League.

Sebastien Haller (West Ham United) – Midfielder

Sebastien Haller

Age: 25

Transfer fee: €40 million

Value: €40 million

West Ham witnessed the departure of Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Lucas Perez and failed in their pursuit of Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez. However, the capture of Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt saved their transfer window.

Haller’s 6’3” towering physique and huge frame is built for the rigours of the Premier League. The all-round striker’s ability to link-up with players outside the penalty box, eye for passes and smart movement to create space for his team-mates attaches a promise to this transfer.

The German scored 20 goals in all competitions at an xG (expected goals) of 17.33 last season, hence erasing doubts about his efficiency in front of goal, if any.

Expectation: 20 goal involvements. Haller was involved in 30 goals in all competitions last season with 20 goals and 10 assists. However, he will be transitioning from a two-striker system to being the lone No9 for West Ham. This and the challenge of adjusting to a league of superior quality could warrant for lowering of expectations.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) – Defender

AaronWanBissakaManUnited (1)

Age: 21

Transfer fee: €55 million

Value: €35 million

United fans will experience a welcome change in personnel with Aaron Wan-Bisssaka pacing down the right flank in place of the heavily underperforming Ashley Young.

The 21-year-old has established himself as a top tackler and interceptor of the ball during his time at Crystal Palace. He is also one of the last defenders you would want to face in a one-on-one situation.

Wan-Bissaka is still honing the offensive aspect of his game, as evidenced by the mere three assists he garnered last season. His final deliveries need to improve and the flashy dribbles must conclude with some end-product.

Expectation: Seven assists and obvious improvements in the attacking aspect of his game. Both Crystal Palace and United waste less time in build-up and look to transition very quickly. In theory, Wan-Bissaka must fit like a glove and this transfer must bear fruits from the very first season.

Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – Winger

Pepe

Age: 24

Transfer fee: €80 million

Value: €65 million

After leading Lille to the Champions League for the first time in a long time, Nicolas Pepe has decided to settle for Europa League football by choosing Arsenal over other top clubs like Liverpool. This could only mean that the marriage of interests between the parties involved was truly immense.

Arsenal’s failure to land a quality winger has brought about a sense of blandness on the flanks but the arrival of Pepe could shake things up for the better. The directness that the explosive forward brings to his game could go a long way in adding some much-needed firepower in Arsenal’s attack.

The 24-year-old is forward-thinking with his play, crafty with his movements off the shoulder coming in from the wing and confident with his finishing. In an ideal world, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pepe could forge one of the deadliest trios in Europe.

Expectation: 15 assists. Pepe managed 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille last season. Given Lacazette and Aubameyang will be first in line to bag the goals, Pepe must finish the season with at least 15 assists. He could go step on the podium for the top assists in Premier League this season.

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Franck Ribery's storied career continues in Serie A with Fiorentina

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Fiorentina have announced the signing of former Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery.

Ribery, 36, who left German champions Bayern when his contract expired at the end of last season, will be unveiled by Fiorentina at a press conference on Thursday, the Serie A club said in a brief statement on their official website.

Fiorentina have not disclosed details about Ribery’s contract, but it has been reported he has signed a two-year deal.

Ribery won a record nine Bundesliga titles and the Champions League, in 2013, during his 12-year spell with Bayern after joining from Marseille in a £17million deal in 2007.

He began his career at Boulogne in 2002 and has also had spells at Metz and Galatasaray.

Ribery scored 16 goals in 81 appearances for France and played in their 2006 World Cup final defeat to Italy.

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