Eto'o, Bojan and the transfers that went 'under the radar'

Once again the summer window was dominated by several long-running transfer sagas, but there were also a number of deals that clubs pushed through practically unnoticed
As usual, the summer transfer window will be remembered for the long-running sagas that either resulted in a move, such as Falcao finally ditching Monaco, or those that never quite materialised, such as Tottenham's attempts to sign Morgan Schneiderlin.

But there were occasions when teams tied up deals rather more discreetly - increasingly rare in the social media age - and where players were holding up a shirt for the official photographs before they had even been linked with their new club.

From Bojan Krkic to Samuel Eto'o, Goal takes a look at the top Premier League deals that went under the radar...

One of the stand-out coups of the summer transfer window was undoubtedly Stoke City’s capture of former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic, even if the diminutive Spanish playmaker has failed to live up to his reputation as the next Lionel Messi.

The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at Eredivisie champions Ajax, though largely struggled to find top form, registering just four goals and three assists in a side that notched 69 goals en route to the title.

But a move to Stoke provides Bojan with a shot at redemption and if he can replicate his brief Roma form, where he scored seven times in just 13 Serie A starts in 2011-12, he could provide the poise and craft Mark Hughes’s new-look are now ready to embrace.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “You can see his ability, you can see he's played at the top level," remarked Hughes. “A lot of people doubted him, but the quality is clearly there and it's just a case of bringing it out of him again.”

Just a couple of months ago, few people would have heard of Muhamed Besic or even the club he used to play for, Hungarian side Ferencvaros. Three silky, quality-laden appearances for Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Cup later and he is now a Premier League player.

Everton moved quickly to sign the 21-year-old, who is likely to be this year’s barometer of the merits in signing a player off the back of an excellent tournament, and despite a woeful first competitive touch that gifted Chelsea a goal at the weekend, they can be confident he is not another Karel Poborsky.

Only five players averaged more passes per game in Brazil than the Bosnian, who showed enough ball retention, grit and aggression to suggest he can be a long-term heir to Gareth Barry in the Everton engine room.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “I thought he looked like a player who has been at Everton for years,” gushed Roberto Martinez. “That’s what I saw in the World Cup – someone who is fazed by nothing, whether that’s man-marking Lionel Messi or getting on the ball and making you play. He’s a complete footballer.”

West Ham’s second signing of the summer, Cheikhou Kouyate, arrived with little fanfare from Anderlecht in a £7 million deal back in June, but has already shown glimpses of why he has been likened to former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira.

The Senegalese defensive midfielder-cum-centre-back has been one of the Hammers’ stand-out players in their opening three games and has taken to the physicality and pace of the Premier League like the proverbial duck to water.

Only Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak (15) has won more tackles than Kouyate’s 13, who has teamed that ferocity in the challenge with incredible athleticism, regularly breaking forward to join the attack.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “I think he's got the modern-day midfield player written all over him,” professed Sam Allardyce. "He's high-energy, two-footed, great box-to-box, committed in the air, and he tackles.”

After a productive deadline day that was capped by the £10 million capture of Sadio Mane from FC Red Bull Salzburg, suddenly the doom and calamity that was surrounding Southampton earlier this summer has lifted somewhat.

The lightning-fast 22-year-old, who has scored 45 goals in just 87 outings in the Austrian Bundesliga, was a surprise last-minute signing by the Saints, and he will be tasked with filling the attacking void left by Adam Lallana and others.

Mane could be one of the more exciting imports to the Premier League this year, having shone for Salzburg with his blend of pace and precision finishing, and is well versed in the adventurous football Southampton want to play having been coached by the attack-minded Roger Schmidt.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “He can play in different positions in the attack – he can play on the left or right side and also as a No.9,” revealed Ronald Koeman. “It is incredible how many goals he has scored from his position, and I hope that he will do the same for us.”

Having been embroiled in a long-running and much-publicised transfer saga with Southampton over Morgan Schneiderlin, Tottenham’s capture of defender Eric Dier from Sporting came almost out of nowhere.

The north Londoners activated his £4 million release clause at the start of August, and he was quickly thrust into the first team. A red card shown to Kyle Naughton against West Ham saw the England Under-21 international move to right-back, where he has gone on to excel.

Dier netted the stoppage-time winner at Upton Park before powering in a header against QPR, helping his side to victories, and clean sheets, in their opening two matches – though admittedly gave away a soft penalty as Spurs succumbed to Liverpool.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “Today he was the hero,” gushed Mauricio Pochettino after Dier’s strike against West Ham. “He’s calm, he has quality and potential, and he’s still young.”

It would have been quicker to write a list of clubs then free agent Samuel Eto’o hadn’t been linked with than those he had – so it was something of a shock when signed for an Everton side that had not been included in that speculation whatsoever.

The 33-year-old was released by Chelsea at the end of last season having been embroiled in a war of words with Jose Mourinho, but, unlike the Portuguese boss, the Toffees decided he was not too old for top-level football and brought him in as cover and competition for £28 million man Romelu Lukaku.

Manager Roberto Martinez had little hesitation in throwing the Cameroon star into the thick of the action straight away, with Eto’o picked to face his old club barely three days after signing, and even managed to score in a frantic 6-3 defeat.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “I was impressed about the hunger he still has," lauded Roberto Martinez. “For someone who has achieved nearly everything, he still has the desire he had at 15 when he went to Spain and showed what he could do. For many reasons he has got a point to prove.”

The arrival of Mauricio Isla at QPR – shortly followed by Chilean team-mate Eduardo Vargas – did plenty to subvert Harry Redknapp’s reputation as a manager that shops exclusively in the bargain basement of English football.

Off the back of a strong showing at the World Cup, where La Roja famously overcame Spain, the veteran R’s boss took a punt on a player that had largely been frozen out at Juventus and used infrequently by then boss Antonio Conte – though nevertheless picked up back-to-back Serie A winners’ medals.

Isla is adept at playing as a right wing-back and provides balance and know-how in the 3-5-2 formation QPR are dabbling with, and could be a deadly attacking weapon if he re-finds the Udinese form that saw him pick up 15 Serie A assists between 2009 and 2011.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS: “He’s a top player and we’re delighted to have him here,” enthused Redknapp. “He showed his quality in the World Cup for Chile and it’s a great loan signing for us. He’s a versatile player, he’s full of energy. I’m confident he’ll be a really big asset for us this season.”