EPL, a league of stars both old and new
Analyse this: Premier League kicks offShare your stories, photos and videos.
Analyse this: Premier League kicks off
Introducing the leagues new stars
A new English Premier League season brings with it a host of new stars from around the footballing universe, many of whom are already well known to EPL fans.
Take Alexis Sanchez, if anyone didn't know him from his Barcelona days they certainly would after his electrifying World Cup. Cesc Fabregas is another... who doesn't know what he's capable of having already lit England up during his Arsenal days?
I won't be examining these high profile established superstars, if you want that you'll be able to find it in detail on any number of sporting pages on the internet. I'll be having a look at some of the lesser known names, players you may not have heard of, or may know little about.
Dusan Tadic (Southampton)
Liverpool had the nerve to pinch Adam Lallana from Southampton this transfer window, so poor Ronald Koeman had to find a replacement.
How exactly do you replace an English lad who's gone through the club's youth academy before eventually rising to club captain, not to mention becoming an England international? If you were thinking of heading to the Netherlands to find a Serbian then you'd be on the right track.
Whilst not able to share Lallana's history with the club he may well be able to fill the void on the pitch. Described as a phenomenal playmaker Dusan is a great dribbler, he scores goals, and racks up plenty of assists. If he adapts quickly then watch out for him lighting up the highlights reel.
Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea)
Certainly no stranger to keen followers of European football. My knowledge, however, boils down to watching a few matches in Europe and countless hours of playing Fifa computer games. He's been linked to bigger clubs in England throughout the years and as a former French international coming off the back of a prolific season is something of a coup for Swansea, especially on a free transfer. A powerful player and a very clean striker of the ball, it'll be interesting to see how he plays with Wilfred Bony.
Emre Can (Liverpool)
German midfielders are in fashion. There's no hiding from it. After the world watched the German team spank Brazil in the World Cup who wouldn't want one of them in your team?
Well Liverpool haven't managed to get one who was playing in that match (or even in the squad for that matter) but they've landed one who could well be a mainstay of the German team for the next decade.
A great passer, strong dribbler and a physical presence Emre Can will be hoping to cement a place in Liverpool's first team. How successful he is could well depend on what formation Brendan Rodgers settles on in the post Suarez era. Stevie (we don't let this slip) Gerrard and the rapidly improving Jordan Henderson appear to be nailed on starters in midfield and Emre will be hoping he can lock down a spot alongside them.
Mauricio Isla (Queens Park Rangers)
You're 26-years-old, you've just represented your country at the World Cup, getting knocked out on penalties in a heroic effort to Brazil. Domestically you're playing for Juventus and have won the Scudetto in consecutive seasons... Life is good... the world is your oyster
Well not quite for poor Mauricio Isla, he's been shipped off on loan to newly promoted Queens Park Rangers, however, whilst this isn't ideal for his career trajectory it's another great addition to the EPL, especially for a club of QPR's stature. Isla is a very gifted right back possessing good pace and a lethal cross.
Good old Harry has assembled a handy squad and Isla will play a big part in their survival bid. Something I'm backing them to achieve.
ROUND ONE REFLECTIONS
So there's a quick insight into some of the new stars entering the EPL. If there are any question marks over my scouting credentials, as touched on above they come from many dedicated hours playing Fifa as well as an extensive career playing Football Manager.
Onto a few points from the opening round of fixtures from the weekend.
I had to stifle a laugh when I saw the Man United lineup. Louis Van Gaal needs to spend big and spend quick or he may find that this United squad is beyond even his magical touch. Except for Rooney and Januzaj they looked very poor and Swansea were well worth the three points.
It was a rough match for Ashley Young, an average performance and a terrible result. If that wasn't enough at one stage of the match he actually had a bird crap in his mouth. If you haven't watched it yet, get on YouTube quick.
Arsenal were poor and unrecogniseable from the team that dismantled Man City last week. However, all that matters at this stage of the season is getting the points and that's what they did. Arsenal are title contenders, no doubts about it.
Hull's three points against QPR were huge, teams that make the Europa League through a cup run often struggle in the league, Swansea last year are a great example, so getting points early are important.
Eric Dier, the young English defender raised in Portugal and developed through the famed Sporting Lisbon youth academy looked like a striker scoring his winner for Spurs and looks a real talent. West Ham were desperately unlucky to get nothing out of this one.
How good was it seeing Chris Wood get on the scoresheet and at such an important stage of the match? All the murmurings suggest he will be getting sold to a team in the championship but could this be a lifeline?
Man City had arguably the trickiest opening day fixture, but managed the most convincing win. Ominous signs?
Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge both enjoyed great campaigns last season, but in the absence of Suarez they need to step up further and against Southampton they came up trumps. Southampton were unlucky not to get a point in this one but Brendan Rodgers won't care one bit. Next up... Man City... away!