thumbnail Hello,

While the top sides have been procrastinating in the transfer market, Everton, Swansea and Southampton have led the lesser lights making waves in the summer window

ANALYSIS
By Ewan Roberts

With the most mouth-watering deals for the Premier League's biggest clubs so far failing to materialise – Thiago, for example, has snubbed Manchester United to join Bayern Munich, while Arsenal's move for Gonzalo Higuain has stalled – it has been left to the league's lesser lights to capture the imagination with their transfer business.

Largely fuelled by the bumper new Premier League TV deal, the likes of Everton, Swansea, Norwich, Aston Villa and Southampton have been busily adding to their ranks with eye-catching acquisitions. Here, we take a look at the pick of those signings, Arouna Kone, Victor Wanyama and Wilfried Bony, and what they can bring to their respective new clubs.

WHY KONE IS THE STRIKER EVERTON HAVE CRAVED




Everton's successes last season were largely built on a solid shape and frugal backline. Moulded in the image of the now departed David Moyes, the Toffees were pragmatic, reliable and, often, dour. But, their assault on the top four lost momentum in the final quarter of the season as their lack of firepower became an increasing problem.

GOODISON GOALSCORERS
2012-13 SEASON GOALS SHOT ACC % CCC%

KONE
11 51% 35%

JELAVIC
7 44% 18%

ANICHEBE
6 47% 33%
Barring a brief flurry of goals from Nikica Jelavic upon joining the club in January 2012, they have lacked a genuine, thoroughbred goalscorer throughout the latter part of Moyes' reign. Everton's top goalscorer last season was midfielder Marouane Fellaini with 11 goals – only four teams, West Ham, Norwich, Stoke and QPR, saw their top goalscorer net fewer times.

But the arrival of Arouna Kone, who worked under new Toffees boss Roberto Martinez at Wigan, is both a significant upgrade on the existing striking options at Goodison Park and a potential remedy to their lack of goals.

While Kone scored a fairly modest 11 times last season (though that figure has only been bettered by an Everton player in two of the last 13 seasons, by Yakubu in 2007-08 and Louis Saha in 2009-10 – both scoring 13 times), he did so within a far less creatively endowed side. Wigan had 133 fewer attempts at goal than Everton last season, and created 20.8 per cent fewer chances, yet scored only seven less goals.

The Latics may have carved out fewer opportunities, but they were more efficient in front of goal, and that clinical edge was embodied in Kone. Not only did he test opposition goalkeepers more often than any of Everton's strikeforce (with a 51% shot accuracy), he boasted a higher clear-cut chance conversion rate too (51%). More direct, Kone completed 45 dribbles compared to seven for Victor Anichebe and six for Jelavic.

Three of Kone's 11 league goals were headers last season, as many as Anichebe and Jelavic combined, which suits Everton's cross-heavy style, while, should Martinez look to implement his possession-based blueprint, Kone is an ideal fit for that, too. The Ivorian played 52% more passes per game than Anichebe, the Toffees' busiest forward, and boasted a pass completed rate of 84%.

     HOW BONY CAN EASE THE GOALSCORING BURDEN ON MICHU




Swansea, normally hailed for their bargain pick-ups from La Liga, have taken a large stride outside their scouting comfort zone with the club-record purchase of Eredivisie top goalscorer Wilfried Bony for £12 million. But it is a risk the club needed to take, with Michu overly relied on for goals and massively out-scoring the Swans' out-and-out striking options.

HOTSHOT FROM HOLLAND

BONY'S 2012-13 SEASON
GAMES PLAYED
GOALS
SHOTS PER GOAL
SHOT ACCURACY
ASSISTS
30
31
3.6
62%
8
The Spaniard scored 18 league goals last season, while Luke Moore, Itay Shechter and Danny Graham scored seven between them in 53 outings. When Michu did not score, Swansea's win percentage dropped from 53% to 13%. Bony's acquisition rectifies that problem, sharing the burden currently placed on Mihcu: Vitesse never lost when the 24-year-old scored, with his 31 league strikes coming in 22 different games.

The Ivorian scored a goal every 85 minutes last season (for the sake of comparison, Chicharito had the best minutes-per-goal ratio in the Premier League last year at 94.8 mins/goal) and hit the target with 70 of his 113 shots, an astonishing 62% accuracy – only four players in the Premier League who took 30 or more shots had greater accuracy.

Having a centre-forward to play off would suit Michu, too. The Ovideo-born attacker scored a goal every 1.6 games when fielded in a deeper position, but only every 2.4 games when pushed into a lone striker role.

But, beware Eredivisie exports baring gifts. For every Luis Suarez there is a Mateja Kezman, for every Ruud Van Nistelrooy there is an Afonso Alves. But while Alves – who famously netted seven times in one game against Heracles – scored just once against “the big two” of Dutch football, PSV and Ajax, in four matches, Bony bagged five goals against the pair in three games last season, proving he's no flat-track bully.

HOW WANYAMA CAN MAKE SOUTHAMPTON EVEN MORE DISRUPTIVE




Previously linked with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, Southampton have pulled off a major coup by securing the services of Kenyan midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama. The 22-year-old won back-to-back Scottish Premier League titles with Celtic and was hugely impressive in the Champions League last season.

SAINT OR SINNER?
2012-13 SEASON TACKLES PER GAME INT
PER
GAME
PASSES
PER
GAME

SCHNEIDERLIN
4.1 3.9 52.1

WANYAMA
4 1.3 30.1

CORK
1.9 2.3 52.1
Tall, powerful and imposing, Wanyama shone against both Barcelona and Juventus. Against the Catalans, across both group games, he made four interceptions, 10 tackles and won four aerial duels – the most of any player on either side. One of those aerial duels saw him soar high above Jordi Alba to power a header past Victor Valdes.

Of players to have made six or more appearances in last year's Champions League, only four players, Riccardo Montolivo (5), Arturo Vidal (4.9), Jeremy Toulalan (4.3) and Manuel Iturra (4.3), made more tackles per game than Wanyama (4).

But far from being a pure destroyer, the former Beerschot midfielder has proven composed on the ball and adept at turning defence into attack. Against the Bianconeri at Celtic Park, Wanyama successfully completed more passes (54, at 90% accuracy) than any other player, including pass master Andrea Pirlo (52, at 81%).

The Italian was effusive in his praise of Wanyama in the build-up to the match: "He is big and can be a presence in the middle with his tackling. But there is also a calmness about Wanyama where he plays the right pass and does the simple things well under pressure. He has the attributes of a young Patrick Vieira."

Wanyama joins a Southampton midfield that has established itself under Mauricio Pochettino as one of the most combative and disruptive in the Premier League. Fifteen of the 16 teams who played Pochettino's Saints last season endured significantly lower pass success than their average. Ironically, it was Stoke, by just 0.8%, who enjoyed marginally better pass accuracy, while champions United, the most accurate side in the league, saw their pass success drop from 85.7% to 74%.

At the heart of that was Morgan Schneiderlin, who attempted (146) and won (108) more tackles than any other player, as well as recording 139 interceptions. The Frenchman and Wanyama, pressing hard and aggressively, could combine to become one of the league's most powerful, stifling and hard to penetrate midfields.

*Stats courtesy of www.WhoScored.com and www.eplindex.com

Follow Ewan Roberts on 

Related

From the web