|Football Bettor's Survey|
West Brom: Gearing up for top flight action
It is always interesting to see what plan of action the newly promoted clubs take in the Premier League and they have all been busy in their own way.
Champions West Bromwich Albion made a lot of moves at the start of the summer and have been quietly adding to their squad since.
Of the three promoted teams, the Baggies look the best equipped to stay up but even they have needed to add quality to the squad that was easily the best in the Coca-Cola Championship last season.
Champions Make Early Move
The Midlands club quickly secured the permanent signings of previous loan players Luke Moore and Roman Bednar at the end of May and Gianni Zuiverloon, a Dutch defender, has been brought in to bolster the defence at a price of £3.2m.
Zuiverloon will be lining up in front of Scott Carson, a £3.5 signing from Liverpool and this permanent deal sees the goalkeeper finally ending his nomadic ways.
Carson has been loaned out in his last few seasons and has had a year where his value has dropped dramatically. This team last season he was signing on loan for Aston Villa and there was talk of a £10m transfer fee. Ever since Carson blundered at Wembley in the match that saw England knocked out of the European Nations, the goalkeeper has lacked confidence. It is not clear if keeping goal for a newly promoted club is the best decision he will make but he should be kept pretty busy.
West Bromwich Albion were joined in automatic promotion by Stoke City and there has been an attempt to improve the squad of the Potteries club too.
Stoke were involved in the fight to sign Scott Carson but were turned down by the goalkeeper and the club have recently signed Tomas Sorenson from Aston Villa who will bring top flight experience. The most notable signing made by Stoke City so far was the capture of Dave Kitson from Reading for a fee of over £5m.
Stoke have shelled out a further £3m on Seyi Olofinjana from Wolves. The Nigerian midfielder is not a renowned goal scorer but at 6’4”, he will add much needed fight and drive to the team although a long season seems to be in store for Stoke City.
First Time in Top Flight for Hull
The last team promoted to the premier League was Hull City who clinched their place with victory in the Play-Off final. Hull have made a number of additions to their squad with premiership experience coming from George Boateng, Tony Warner, Geovanni, Bernard Mendy and Anthony Gardner, a loan signing from Tottenham Hostpur.
The majority of pundits are predicting that Hull City will be going straight back down to the Championship but there is no doubt that the club and fans are looking forward to their season in the big time as this is the first time ever that the club has appeared in English football’s top flight.
Away from the newly promoted teams, there has been a lot of action from teams wanting to push on for a European spot or perhaps move themselves away from the drop zone and into mid-table safety. Managerial changes are also a reason for new players to be brought to clubs and there has been the usual merry-go-round of players moving between clubs.
Keane Shows Who's Boss
One club who have made a few interesting signings are Sunderland and Roy Keane has been his usual bullish self in the transfer market. Some of the signings that Keane made last summer may be debated but given that Sunderland stayed up, there can be no real complaints.
The fans and chairman will be looking for an improvement this season but if Keano keeps Sunderland up again he will have done his job.
So far, Sunderland have brought in three players from other Premier clubs ensuring that the new signings are aware of what the league is all about. The signing of Diouf from Bolton Wanderers has raised a few eyebrows as the player is known to be a troublemaker but it would take a brave or silly man to pick a fight with Roy Keane. Sunderland have also made two purchases from Tottenham Hotspur with a possibility there will be more coming from that area of London.
Pascal Chimbonda and Teemu Taino have already signed up with Steed Malbranque and Younes Kaboul being pursued. There are also string rumours that Sunderland are in negotiations with Celtic centre half Bobo Balde who would be available on a free transfer if a club could meet his wages. The imposing centre half would add a level of solidity to the Sunderland backline that would be most welcomed by the Mackem fans.
Bentley Tottenham Bound?
The David Bentley transfer saga hasn’t been as long running as the Christiano Ronaldo one but it does appear to be nearing a conclusion with Tottenham lining up a medical for the player. This move has been expected since goalkeeper Paul Robinson moved in the opposite direction but nothing has been confirmed yet. New Blackburn Rovers manager is yet to make any outfield additions to his squad but if the Bentley transfer goes through, expect to see a number of new faces arriving at Ewood Park shortly.
Other notable transfers this summer out with the big four have been Fulham signing Bobby Zamora from West Ham, West Ham signing Valon Behrami from Lazio, Steve Sidwell to Aston Villa and Peter Crouch’s arrival at Portsmouth.
There are still a few weeks until the big kick off and just over a month of the transfer window itself so there will be many more new signings to be paraded before then. However, with the importance of a good start, clubs will want to get their key players in for the first match and try to get some points on the board. Will the newly promoted clubs be able to cling onto their top flight status and will any continual relegation battler finally break free from the low level they play their football? Equally, will there be anyone able to make a consistent challenge to the top four; the actions undertaken in the next month may go a long way to deciding what is going to happen this season.
for The Silver Circle at www.footballtip.co.uk
I've been a member since July 2003, maybe one of the first to join the Silver Circle. 2004 was a good year but I really enjoyed the long run we had in, I think, July 2005. It was exhilarating! 2006-2007 was not as exciting although still quite profitable and so far 2007-2008 looks quite good. I'm wondering if we're going to hit a long one again soon. Anyway, it's been a pleasure as always with your service, Greg. Armstrong and you are one of the few people I trust on the internet. You have made my retirement so much more fun and financially happy!
Best Wishes, Trent Wrayford, Sidney