The best of Summer 16

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With the BPL kicking off today (no pun intended), and other leagues getting closer and closer to kick-off, it only makes sense to look at a number of teams that have made big changes to their squads this summer.

 

Here are some teams that I have highlighted

 

Bayern Munich

Mats Hummels-Borussia Dortmund

Renato Sanches-Benfica

-They did not do too much this summer, but there was no real need to do much with the line-up that the German side can put out game to game. Mats Hummels is a great addition, but he has had some injury problems the last couple of years. When he is healthy, he is one of the best centre-backs in world football and that is what Bayern are hoping to get with this addition to their already stellar team. I have nothing but the highest of praise for Portuguese youngster, Renato Sanches. I hope he gets a chance to prove himself this year with Bayern because in a few years down the road, he can easily be one of the best midfielders in world football. He will face some stiff competition for playing time, but that is why he will need to make the best of it, when he gets a chance to showcase his skills.

 

Borussia Dortmund

Marc Bartra-Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele-Rennes

Emre Mor-Nordsjaelland

Mario Gotze-Bayern Munich

Raphael Guerreiro-Lorient

Andre Schurrle-Wolfsburg

-They are baaaaack! BVB did a great job in signing some very good players this summer that will be able to step in and help the team right away. Bartra, for the first time in his career, should see plenty of playing time in the BVB backline. Dembele has already shown that he is an absolute wizard with the ball, especially in the match versus Manchester United. Mor will not be thrown into the fire right away. Instead I think they will ease him in slowly and see what he can do in his first year. Remember, he showed glimpses of brilliance playing for Turkey this past Euro Cup. Gotze has been here before and if he can duplicate what he did for the team a few years ago, I am sure he will win a lot of fans back, although I am still not a big fan of what he did a couple of years ago. I expect Gotze to be a real game changer for Dortmund, as he teams up with his partner in crime, Reus once again. Guerreiro had an excellent summer with the Portuguese national team and I fully expect him to continue that this year with Borussia Dortmund. Guerreiro’s pace and outstanding shooting can make him a real threat for Dortmund on the left flank. Schurrle had nine goals and five assists in 29 matches last season for Wolfsburg, but I expect him to improve those numbers when you consider the talent that is around him-no disrespect to Wolfsburg. Schurrle has shown that he can score for both the national team, as well as club. He could be a great second weapon behind Aubameyang.

 

Juventus

Miralem Pjanic-Roma

Dani Alves-Barcelona

Medhi Benatia-Bayern Munich

Gonzalo Higuain-Napoli

-Pjanic was the best Roma player for at least two or three years, which is saying something considering the team had it’s up and downs during his tenure there. Pjanic will be a huge part of the Juventus midfield line. His main job will be to feed Dybala and Higuain, but Pjanic can score goal himself, as he has proven in the past. Dani Alves is yet another great acquisition for Juventus. His experience in playing big matches for Barcelona will help out Juventus mightily. Benatia is a good option for Juventus to have on the bench for when one of the big three in their backline need a day off. They also have youngster Rugani there, as well. Higuain made the biggest splash by signing for The Old Lady. Juventus are already stacked up front, but you have to think that Higuain would get the majority of minutes because of his outstanding track record of scoring goals for Real Madrid, Napoli and the Argentinian national team. He also came with a very hefty price tag.

 

Manchester City

Ilkay Gundogan-Borussia Dortmund

Nolito-Celta de Vigo

Oleksandr Zinchenko-Ufa

Leroy Sane-Schalke

Gabriel Jesus-Palmeiras

Marlos Moreno-Atletico Nacional

John Stones-Everton

-Gundogan has been one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga for a few years now. It is time now to see what he can do in the best league in the world. Gundogan should see plenty of playing time with Fernando possibly switching to centre-back. It will be interesting to see how Pep uses Nolito with a log jam of wingers already on this City team. With Bony most likely being sold, Nolito could see minutes up top with Sergio Aguero. Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Marlos Moreno are pieces for the future, as three of the four have already been sent out on loan. Sane is yet another piece up top for Manchester City. He has excellent dribbling ability, but the question is how will Pep distribute the playing amongst all the attacking players. Do not be surprised if two or three players are sold to make room for the new acquisitions.

 

Manchester United

Eric Bailly-Villarreal

Zlatan Ibrahimovic-PSG

Henrikh Mkhitaryan-Borussia Dortmund

Paul Pogba-Juventus

-I have seen Bailly play only a handful of times, but I was extremely impressed with what he brings to the table; excellent tackler and a great interceptor of the ball. He does commit quite a few fouls, which he will need to get better at now that he is in the BPL. Ibrahimovic’s veteran presence on a fairly young squad could potentially do wonders for United. He has a knack for scoring goals and could very well find himself as the starter up top come opening day. At 34 years of age, do not expect Ibra to start 30+ games, especially with the young talent United has coming up. If I am a striker on United, my mouth is watering right now because Mkhitaryan is one of the best distributors of the ball in Europe and he showed that last year when he totalled 32 assists in all competition. Depay struggled immensely last season, and United better hope they got it right with the signing of Mkhitaryan because the team cannot continue to take steps back. And finally-Paul Pogba. It is a HUGE price tag, no question about that and it will come with plenty of pressure for the young Frenchman. Pogba is a great footballer who will need to live up to all that money and hype. He is lanky, yet very difficult to slow down or control. He possesses great shooting ability, as he displayed when he was a part of Juventus, but he will need to provide United with even more, specifically when you consider what they paid for him.

 

 

Notable Mentions:

Barcelona

Lucas Digne-PSG

Andre Gomes-Valencia

Denis Suarez-Villarreal

Samuel Umtiti-Lyon

-The only question with Suarez and Gomes is how they fit into the starting line-up. Perhaps Barcelona uses them as subs until they sell others. Umtiti should see plenty of playing time.

 

Chelsea

Michy Batshuayi-Marseille

N’Golo Kante-Leicester City

-Both great signings. Kante covers plenty of ground and when you pair him with Matic, Chelsea arguably has the best defensive mid pairing in the entire league.  With Remy and Diego Costa being the only other two players up top, Batshuayi should have no problem earning the number one striker spot at the start of the season.

 

Liverpool

Joel Matip-Schalke

Loris Karius-Mainz 05

Sadio Mane-Southampton

Ragnar Klavan-Augsburg

Georginio Wijnaldum-Newcastle

-Klavan and Matip will provide much needed depth at centre-back, a position Liverpool was very shorthanded with last season. Karius should push Mignolet for playing time, while Mane and Wijnaldum provide speed and creativity in the midfield.

 

PSG

Thomas Meunier-Club Brugge

Hatem Ben Arfa-Nice

Jese-Real Madrid

Grzegorz Krychowiak-Sevilla

-Meunier was one of the biggest surprises at the Euros, for me at least. He showed that he can be a great piece on a pretty good national team and that is what he will have to do at PSG as well. Ben Arfa has life once again after a spectacular 15/16 campaign with French side Nice. He will need to be just as good for PSG, as he was last year, especially with the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ben Arfa can play either attacking midfield or striker, which gives PSG plenty of options. Similar to Ben Arfa, Jese can play many attacking positions, which will allow Unai Emery to rotate players in and out of the line-up. Jese did not get much of a chance to showcase his talents in Madrid, playing behind the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and others, but hopefully he will get a chance to do just that in Paris. Krychowiak is yet another great acquisition for PSG. He has emerged as a really good defensive midfielder and he is someone Emery is familiar with having just coached him at Sevilla. The depth on this PSG squad is great now, which could mean that they are finally ready to make a run in the Champions League.

 

Author: Ogi

Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.

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