Yes, I’m going out on a limb here – and quite likely I will disappoint and potentially infuriate a few readers, but on ability versus price – I firmly believe that Santi Cazorla represents the best buy so far this transfer window.
Let’s start by looking at some of the other signings of note. Many Chelsea fans will jump to the fact that Eden Hazard and Oscar are just as, if not more, gifted than Cazorla – however a quick glance at the individual statistics of each player will show a far different story. Hazard had, by far, his most successful season at Lille last year – even then falling behind Olivier Giroud of Montpellier in the end-season goals list, and his form for Belgium – given the caliber of the countries that they are often pitted against – is marginally better than average. All in all, he hardly justifies his staggering $115m, including transfer fee, package over 5 years.
Oscar, while still very young, simply does not have the physical capabilities to thrive in the EPL. A physical, mid-table team such as QPR will easily quell any creative spirit he possesses simply by overpowering him. Additionally, his rather large transfer fee of $39.29 million seems high for a player that does not have sufficient experience at this level. His performances for Brazil during the Olympics have been below par-at-best, with other Brazilians Leandro, Hulk and Neymar far outshining him.
Turning our attention to other signings of note, Shinji Kagawa at United seems like nothing more than a replacement for Park when it comes to selling merchandise in the far East. To think that he will play a big part in Sir Alex’s plans seems highly unlikely, and a little unfortunate, for a player who would have been better suited for a move to Fulham.
Everton have re-signed Steven Piennar from Tottenham. Hardly anything to write about given his below-average form when he was given game-time for Spurs. Nevertheless, he has produced strong performances for David Moyes and it’s a pity that Everton have ended up losing money over his sale and subsequent buy-back.
And that brings us to Santi Cazorla. He’s already in a team that has acquired the highly experienced, though off-form, Lukas Podolski and Ligue One’s top scorer Olivier Giroud. It is the general ability, the style, the ability to play exceptionally in any part of the midfield at the highest level, player awareness and ball control that make Cazorla truly brilliant. He almost single handedly guided Malaga to a Champions League berth in Spain, their first in their history. An excellent piece of business, and by far, the best deal so far this summer.
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