10 players to watch

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is airborne in an attempt to beat Swindon Town’s Lawrence Vigouroux in a friendly on Aug 2. Firmino, who plays anywhere across the front three, will bring creativity and goals to the Reds.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is airborne in an attempt to beat Swindon Town’s Lawrence Vigouroux in a friendly on Aug 2. Firmino, who plays anywhere across the front three, will bring creativity and goals to the Reds.PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

More than £500 million has been spent on player transfers this summer by the world's richest league. Deepanraj Ganesan singles out the 10 English Premier League signings to look out for this season

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER, 31
MIDFIELDER, MANCHESTER UNITED

One of the most decorated players of his generation, the former Bayern Munich stalwart will be hoping to add a Premier League winners' medal to his illustrious collection.

The German's £15 million (S$32.1 million) move brings much-needed experience, an element lacking since United off-loaded Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the end of the 2013-14 season.

He also brings extra glamour to the WAGs camp at Old Trafford, as he is dating tennis star Ana Ivanovic.


DIMITRI PAYET, 28
MIDFIELDER, WEST HAM

West Ham completed a sensational swoop for the Frenchman - a star in the French Ligue 1 with Marseille - in a £10.7 million deal.

The attacking midfielder topped the assist charts (16) in Ligue 1 last term. He has wasted no time winning over the Hammers fans with match-winning displays in pre-season wins over Southend United and newly-promoted Norwich City.

The player can be a fiery presence though.

In 2010, while playing for St Etienne, he hit his captain Blaise Matuidi in an on-field altercation.


GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM, 24
MIDFIELDER, NEWCASTLE

Steve McClaren's first signing at Newcastle, the £14.5 million Dutchman had captained PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title last season with 14 league goals.

Not only has Wijnaldum excelled at club level (he is the 2014-15 Eredivisie Player of the Year), but he has also shown his talents on the world stage, netting in the Netherlands' 3-0 win over Brazil at last year's World Cup.


ROBERTO FIRMINO, 23
FORWARD, LIVERPOOL

A £29 million signing from Hoffenheim, versatile Firmino can play anywhere across the front three.

He will bring creativity and goals to a Liverpool side who were too reliant on Philippe Coutinho as a playmaking outlet last season.

While he is now known for his attacking prowess and dribbling ability, Firmino started his career as a defensive midfielder in Brazilian club Figueirense's youth team.


SHINJI OKAZAKI, 29
STRIKER, LEICESTER

Known for his tireless work-rate, the Japanese was signed from Mainz for a fee in excess of £7 million. Third in Japan's all-time top scoring chart with 43 international goals, Okazaki becomes the eighth Japanese footballer to ply his trade in the EPL, following the likes of Junichi Inamoto, Hidetoshi Nakata and Shinji Kagawa.


ANGELO OGBONNA, 27
CENTRE-BACK, WEST HAM

Another transfer coup for the Hammers at £8.5 million, the Italian defender has amassed over 50 appearances for Italian giants Juventus in a two-year spell that yielded one Italy Cup, one Italian Super Cup and two Italian Serie A triumphs.

His best attribute is pace, which will come to great use in a league known for its explosive tempo.


JORDAN AYEW, 23
STRIKER, ASTON VILLA

Villa will be hoping that the sale of top marksman Christian Benteke to Liverpool will be softened by the £8 million signing of Ayew from FC Lorient.

With 13 goals for the French club last season, he will be tasked to provide goals for his side along with fellow new signing Rudy Gestede.

His pace and movement will offer Villa options on the flanks as well.


YOHAN CABAYE, 29
MIDFIELDER, CRYSTAL PALACE

This £10 million signing from French champions Paris Saint-Germain is considered to be the transfer coup of the summer, given that he was one of the best midfielders in this league just over a year ago.

A great passer of the ball, the club-record signing will also bring goals to Palace, as shown from the 17 he netted in his three seasons at Newcastle United.


MEMPHIS DEPAY, 21
Forward, Manchester United

Louis van Gaal moved early to secure the services of one of the most promising young guns in world football from PSV in a £23 million deal that was completed even before last season ended. Last season's top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie with 22 goals, Depay is a fantastic dribbler with plenty of pace.


TOBY ALDERWEIRELD, 26
Centre-back, Tottenham

Southampton enjoyed the second- best defensive record last season behind champions Chelsea, conceding only 33 goals. Alderweireld, on loan from Atletico Madrid, contributed much to that success.

Tottenham beat the Saints to his signing this season, paying £11.5 million to prise him away from Atletico. Alderweireld will be reacquainted with Jan Vertonghen.

The duo formed a formidable defensive partnership during three seasons at Ajax.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline '10 PLAYERS TO WATCH'. Print Edition | Subscribe