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Premier League sides showing big ambitions

Thursday 21st July 2016
The summer transfer window is often exciting, sometimes shocking and on other occasions very tedious and drawn out. So often we've seen big names move to big clubs, but now even the lesser sides are making those marquee signings to kick start their campaigns.

It was so often the norm that the top teams in England were the sides able to flex their financial muscle and bring in a shiny new addition to their already star-studded squad. Or even if a big team had stuttered they could remedy that problem with a new face, this happened year after year while lower sides were left with a limited budget and little attraction to bring in a big name.

Now, however, it isn't just those who challenge for the major honours who are looking at those major players, a select few other teams seemed to have that eye for the big name. Now it's not to say that ten years back a team wouldn't sign a top quality player, but back then that player would most likely be befitting of their status and position. The horizons have broadened and some real stars are linking up with unlikely sides.
The perfect example of all this is newly promoted Middlesbrough, returning to the top flight after relegation back in 2009.

The club has secured the signing of World Cup and Champions League winning goalkeeper Victor Valdes on a free after his release from Manchester United. Question marks over the Spaniard's fitness aside, it's certainly a big coup for Boro. They don't plan on stopping there though, the club is close to agreeing on deals for Gaston Ramirez and former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo. These two along with strong rumours of Neven Subotic arriving from Borussia Dortmund sound out a fantastic window and who knows if that's where it will all end.

These aren't your run of the mill "sign a Premier League proven player who can improve us" type of purchases, these are names to excite and make a statement to others.

We then come to a slightly more established side, West Ham.

The Hammers had a fantastic final season at Upton Park last term and qualified for the Europa League. French star Dimitri Payet was the catalyst but now the London club plans on not only retaining their main man, but giving him some real talent to ply his trade with too. They have been rumoured to show interest in a host of centre-forwards, with reported bids for the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Michy Batshuayi and even a possible return of Carlos Tevez as they look for their star man. Now it seems they are hoping to bring in AC Milan forward Carlos Bacca for a big money move, again this signing would show massive intent. Bacca was the hitman who fired Sevilla to the Europa League in 2015 and had many clubs hot on his trail before moving to Milan, now he could well be heading to the new Olympic Stadium in London.

Even if the bid for Bacca fails, the club is looking for that star man who improves what they already have, to take them to that next level.
Crystal Palace have done very similar, they made a bid for Batshuayi before he finally moved to Chelsea, they didn't get their man but they still looked to make a big signing, one which would have smashed their transfer record.

In the past, such an audacious move was unheard of, even through the inflation of transfer fee's you would not hear of a team outside the top 5/6 in the Premier League bidding such a fee for a player. Aston Villa did indeed pay big money for Darren Bent a few years back, and the Englishmen proved vital for them, this was a big signing for the club and perhaps more ambition following this would have seen them remain in the Premier League.

Stoke have players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan to call upon, signings which some people still can't quite believe now, but they are playing in that red and white shirt each week. This has happened because the club have broke free from the shackles and brought in that big name that can help take them up a level and avoid stagnating in the league which so many have done before. Yet it isn't as simple as picking a player and having him, it is more complicated but without the ambition to chance such a big name, it will never happen.

Now multiple clubs throughout the division are looking for that name and statement to raise the profile, excite the fans and better still produce on the pitch when it matters. Instead of signing Joe Average for a few million in a frankly sideways move, they want that star-studded and often exotic name which makes everyone pay attention. After all, with the world of social media these days you want everyone talking about you for the right reasons, instead of being ridiculed for all the wrong ones.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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