Newest EPL stars: where they would fit in


Samuel EtoÔÇÖo and Willian┬á(EtoÔÇÖo Free from Anzhi, Willian ┬ú30m from Shakhtar)

From just about his first interview after being unveiled as Chelsea manager, it was clear that Jose Mourinho had two main concerns about his attacking options. The first concerned his strikers and the fact that, in his words, the options of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku were better suited to being ÔÇ£boxÔÇØ rather than ÔÇ£spaceÔÇØ strikers.


By that, Mourinho meant that he wanted a player who could drop deep, hold the ball up and bring others into play. Two failed bids for Wayne Rooney followed and Mourinho then acted when Samuel EtoÔÇÖo became available.

More than simply scoring goals, EtoÔÇÖoÔÇÖs job will be to link ChelseaÔÇÖs attacks and provide space for the three creative players behind him to flourish. One of those is likely to be Willian. It had seemed that Mourinho already had plenty of options in those positions, with Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Juan Mata, Oscar and Andre Sch├╝rrle all competing for three places in his 4-2-3-1 system.

Mourinho, though, had previously noted that he saw only Mata as naturally suited to cutting in from the right. With his teams always so potent on the counterattack, Mourinho would also have been attracted by the raw pace that Willian will add to the team. An added bonus was that he succeeded in preventing Tottenham from signing a very dangerous player. JW



Mesut Özil  (£42.4 million from Real Madrid)
Likely fall guy Tomas Rosicky

Ars├¿ne Wenger has remained faithful to his 4-2-3-1 system for the past five years and ├ûzil is arguably the worldÔÇÖs very best player in the ÔÇÿNo 10ÔÇÖ role behind the main central striker. Since Cesc Fabregas was sold to Barcelona, it is a position that has, at different times, been filled by Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.


├ûzil ÔÇÖs arrival will mean Cazorla playing predominantly on the left and Wilshere starting in his more natural role as one of two deepest-lying central midfielders. Rosicky could be the main casualty, although his versatility means that he will still be competing to start in central midfield or even out wide on the right.

With Cazorla, ├ûzil , Theo Walcott and Wilshere behind him, Olivier Giroud should be the principal beneficiary. For both Real Madrid and Germany over the past three years, ├ûzil has provided 94 assists ÔÇô nearly double Fabregas in that same period.

Wenger will also hope that ├ûzil ÔÇÖs arrival has a transformative impact on the mood that surrounds the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal again need to be seen as a club that recruit rather than sell world-class players and the signing of ├ûzil could provide a pivotal shift in the clubÔÇÖs momentum.


Marouane Fellaini (£27.5 million from Everton)
Likely fall guy Tom Cleverley

The answer to what Fellaini will bring to United is a difficult one to identify as the Belgian midfielder divides opinion as to exactly what he offers. Few would argue that the Belgian is a holding midfielder, one capable of playing alongside Michael Carrick to strengthen the shield in front of UnitedÔÇÖs back four.


Yet there would be equally few observers willing to label the 25-year-old as an attacking midfielder with the creativity to unlock doors and make chances for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

By signing Fellaini, David Moyes has at least bolstered an area of weakness in the United squad as it is no secret that the club has been vigorously searching for proven midfield reinforcements in recent years.

But who will make way? Will Tom Cleverley be sacrificed alongside Carrick, or will Moyes rotate Fellaini with Rooney and Shinji Kagawa in the role behind the central striker. At Everton, FellainiÔÇÖs height and presence made him a crucial figure behind the front-man in a 4-4-1-1 formation, but United rarely play that way and it will be a gamble if Moyes opts for FellainiÔÇÖs physical attributes ahead of the craft and guile of a flair player.


Mamadou Sakho (£15 million from Paris St-Germain)
Likely fall guy Martin Skrtel

Following his man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United, it will be harsh on Martin Skrtel to find himself instantly dropped to make way for Sakho. However, having paid £15 million to secure the French international from Paris St-Germain, it is inconceivable that Brendan Rodgers will not find a place in his starting line-up at the earliest opportunity.

Sakho has the physical presence Liverpool often craved during RodgersÔÇÖ first season. The prospect of the clubÔÇÖs defence being bullied as it was too often a year ago has now surely receded, not only with the addition of Sakho but also Kolo Tour├®ÔÇÖs recruitment.

There is a suggestion either Tour├® or Sakho could be used at full-back, particularly given the untimely injury to Glen Johnson, or Rodgers may even play three centre-backs to accommodate his sudden variety of centre-halves.

Most likely, however, Sakho will be placed firmly where he was during his most successful period at PSG, offering the brute force and intimidation at the heart of the back four alongside the more elegant Daniel Agger.

It will be nigh on impossible for Rodgers to keep every defender happy during the course of this season, but longer term ÔÇô with Liverpool determined to return to Europe ÔÇô the assembling of high quality centre-backs is a luxury no one at Anfield will be complaining about.┬á