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TSN.ca BPL Preview: A round-up of BPL off-season activity

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
8/14/2014 10:43:17 AM
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The new Barclays Premier League season gets underway on Saturday and prior to the first kick, TSN.ca presents a week long look at some of the teams and stories that will shape the up coming campaign. Take a look at the biggest new face on each of the top division's 20 rosters. Some teams (Chelsea) have done more and spent freer than others (Aston Villa), but everyone has at least one new name to learn.

Here's the rundown of the biggest off-season additions.

Important note: the transfer window remains open, so the following 20 teams are all just one move away from overshadowing everything they`ve done so far this summer.

Arsenal: The Gunners liked what they saw in the World Cup, dropping 35 million pounds on Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez. The 25-year-old moves to London from a crowded Barcelona attack that completed its South American triumvirate, adding Luis Suarez to the existing dynamic duo of Lionel Messi and Neymar. Sanchez poured in 21 goals and set up an additional 15 in 54 total appearances with the Catalonians last season. The Gunners also made a solid future investment in doling out over 15 million euros for Saints defender Calum Chambers.

Aston Villa: Somehow, the spendthrift Lions' response to a 15th-place finish was to make money on the transfer market. The biggest name coming in is former England international Joe Cole who saw 25 games between the Premiership and the League Cup last season with West Ham. The 32-year-old missed a good spell with a hamstring injury last season, but cost the club nothing.

Burnley: The Championship runners-up have marked their first Premiership appearance since 2009-10 with a couple fresh faces for the stiffer competition. The costliest of the newbies is Middleborough/Bolton striker Lukas Jutkiewicz. The 25-year-old finished admirably with the Wanderers in the Championship last season, netting seven times in 20 games on loan.

Chelsea: With all due respect to the return of all-time-great Didier Drogba, the biggest impact Chelsea made this off-season was adding the very player that helped end their Champions League run last season. At 32 million quid, the Stamford Bridge faithful won't like remembering how Diego Costa's season ended (seven minutes into the Champions Final derby against Real) but will welcome his 36 combined competition goals and the fact that he will lessen the team's occasional need to turn to certain other high-priced, enigmatic Spaniard. Oh, yeah, there`s also the not-so-small addition of Cesc Fabregas.

Crystal Palace: The Eagles emerged like a Phoenix from a first half spent almost entirely in the relegation zone to earn their best finish since the foundation of the Premier League at 11th. So why mess with a winning-ish formula, right? Palace added few new faces for the coming season, the biggest of which coming in the form of 26-year-old striker Frazier Campbell. Palace plucked him from the Championship-bound Cardiff City. Campbell netted nine in 39 total appearances last season, but only cost 900,000 pounds.

Everton: The Merseysiders look ahead to this season with the task of proving they can stay ahead of the likes of Spurs and Manchester United. The team took a step towards trying to achieve that in ensuring full-time hours out of the temporary addition that made 2013-14 such a success, Romelu Lukaku. Everton paid Chelsea 28 million pounds for the Belgian striker who scored 15 BPL goals on loan last season. The team also added some Championship pedigree with two-time Premiership winner Gareth Barry coming over from City on a free transfer.

Hull: The Tigers picked off the carcass of the relegated Norwich City squad, adding 26-year-old Scottish winger Robert Snodgrass. The former Leeds captain netted seven times in 34 appearances with the Canaries last season. Keeping him in the Premiership cost the Tigers seven million pounds, while the team dropped an additional eight on giving Jake Livemore a permanent home.

Leicester City: The reigning Championship, errr, champions made just one move that cost them anything this off-season, bringing in Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa from Brighton & Hove. Ulloa has proven he can score at the secondary level, topping the Spanish Segunda Division in 2011-12 and notching 23 goals in 50 collective appearances with Brighton since 2013. The Foxes also took a shot on 19-year-old Manchester United cast-off midfielder Jack Barmby.

Liverpool: Believe it or not, Liverpool wound up in the red this off-season in terms of transfer spending, despite netting 75 million quid for Luis Suarez. They used that money largely on the Benfica's Lazar Markovic and a Southampton pair: midfielder Adam Lallana and defender Dejan Lovren. However, the biggest name they plucked from the Saints was also the cheapest in the form of 32-year-old striker Rickie Lambert. The Reds don't appear to be slowing their spending, either, paying up an additional 12 million pounds for Alberto Moreno on Wednesday.

Manchester City: Hampered by financial fair play penalties, it seemed like the Citizens weren't going to make the big splash their fans have become accustomed to. Then they went and dropped 32 million pounds on Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala. They may also have found value through a club they partly own. Frank Lampard is on his way to the Big Apple with New York FC for the 2014-15 MLS season, but until that time, he'll wear a lighter blue than he's used to at the Etihad, with City paying his wages while he's in Manchester. The Champs will still get six months' worth out of Chelsea's all-time scorer in addition to the signings of Arsenal right back Bacary Sagna and Brazilian holding midfielder Fernando.

Manchester United: On the heels of their worst season in a quarter-century, United clearly identified defence as a key weakness. Out are long-standing trio Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand and in are young Saints back Luke Shaw (who will miss about a month with a hamstring) in addition to Atletico Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera. But the Red Devils seem to have their sights set on just about everyone under Louis van Gaal (Marcus Rojo being the latest high profile target linked to the Red Devils), so just Google the team daily for more possible additions until the window closes.

Newcastle United: After a surprising 2013-14 season that saw Newcastle as high as fifth in the table at one point, the 10th-place club did some work on its attack this off-season adding a host of players from some of Europe's top teams outside the top four leagues. In comes Ajax midfield/striker Siem de Jong, Montpellier middleman Remy Cabella, right back Daryl Janmaat, Monaco striker Emmanuel Rivière and striker Facundo Ferreyra from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. Net cost: 29 million pounds. That's a lot of options, let's see how it shakes down on-field.

Queens Park Rangers: QPR is back in the top flight after winning promotion via a playoff and Harry Redknapp's approach to ensuring they stay up this time is to work on his back line. Incoming are one defender he helped get started and one he watched in his prime Premiership years. Former Spurs centre back Steven Caulker heads to QPR from Championship-bound Cardiff while Rio Ferdinand will be out of red for the first time since 2002 with the Rangers on a one-year deal.

Southampton: The Saints made a lot of money this summer. Despite adding Eredivisie pair Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle and giving the net to Celtic keeper Fraser Forster, Southampton bid adieu to a lot of fixture faces. Most notable amongst those gone are Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren. The team made roughly 80 million pounds, but will it cost them a chance at repeating in the top half of the table?

Stoke City: After a successful top-half finish, Stoke took a finders-keepers approach to spending this off-season, adding a pair of free transfers to complement buys on both their front and back ends. Sunderland man Phil Bardsley joins young Brazilian centre back Dionatan Teixeira while Senegalese striker Mame Diouf joins three million pound purchase Bojan Krkic up front. The 23-year-old Spanish striker is an interesting add, having previously shown goal-scoring form in his late teens and early 20s with Barcelona.

Sunderland: Sunderland was another team looking for a boost from the defending champs as they paid an estimated 10 million pounds for City midfielder Jack Rodwell. Sure, he only appeared in 10 games with the club across all competitions last season, but a title's a title, no? The team looked to shore up its back line with a pair of defenders, grabbing Billy Jones from West Brom and sending Chelsea 1.5 million pounds for young Dutch national left back Patrick van Aanholt. They also grabbed a midfield addition with some experience in Wigan man Jordi Gomez.

Swansea: Michu is out on loan, but the Swans were enterprising in re-shaping their attack. Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson comes over from Spurs while Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero should lend a hand after the club dropped 4 million pounds.

Tottenham: The Spurs seemed to be in a money-making mood this off-season after seeing the departure of Jermain Defoe last season. They made a combined 12 million pounds off the exits of midfielders Jake Livemore (who heads to Hull) and Iago Falque (who moves to Genoa). The middle of the pitch got further depleted with the aforementioned exit of Sigurdsson. In are MLS defender DeAndre Yedlin and Lisbon backliner Eric Dier while the team picked up Michel Vorm from the Swans.

West Brom: West Brom added presence to its forward ranks, dropping a reported club-record 10 million pounds on Nigerian Brown Ideye. The 25-year-old has spent the last three seasons with Dynamo Kyiv and has been given the number 9. The Baggies also brought in Joleon Lescott on free transfer from Man City. The England international collected his silverware with the Citizens last season and was promptly given his walking papers. Lescott's bound to get more playing time with West Brom, so it will be interesting to see what the 31-year-old left back can bring to the pitch.

West Ham: Enner Valencia turned some heads with his three-goal output for Ecuador at the 2014 World Cup, and one of those, apparently, was Hammers boss Sam Allardyce. A sum of 12 million pounds got the forward out of Mexico and into the Premier League. The team also dropped seven million on Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate while cutting ties with veteran Joe Cole.



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