Five players to shock the Premier League
The World Cup is over and attention has rapidly turned to the league season ahead. In just a few days, transfer activity has increased significantly as clubs look to cement their plans ahead of preseason tours and the big kick-off.
The Premier League, with its enormous financial resources, will be a hotbed of activity, and several major deals have already been done, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Ander Herrera, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas all arriving.
But who are the slightly lesser-known players who could make a major impact on the season ahead? Who might shock fans?
ESPN's Scout's Notebook takes a look at five Premier League-bound or reportedly top-flight targets who have the potential to shake things up this year.
- LIVE: Transfer talk
Reportedly headed to South Wales with Swansea, winger Jefferson Montero has earned a second crack at European football with his performances in Mexico over the past couple of years and will hope for increased success this time around.
A standout for Ecuador at the World Cup, the slight and agile winger has always had the technical attributes to shine at the highest level but struggled for consistency as a teenager after joining Villarreal. Soon to turn 25, his all-round game has now matured.
Montero still undoubtedly has much to prove and Swansea will expect more than just the glimpses of talent he has given in the past. Now he must step up and consistently influence games. Given the success of Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge over recent seasons, though, it is fair to say Swansea are a team set up well to accommodate quick, technical wingers.
With Montero an upgrade on either Englishman, he could make a real difference to the Swans in attack for the season ahead and help them accommodate the impending departure of Michu.
Serbia international Lazar Markovic is no Luis Suarez, and it appears Liverpool will need to continue looking at strengthening their attack. He is, though, a winger with frightening potential for the years ahead.
At the age of 17, he was starring for Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League against the likes of Inter Milan. Playing from the left-flank and drifting on to his favoured right foot, his ability to run with the ball at pace was a clear indication that he was bound for big things.
At Benfica for just one season, he has already enticed Liverpool to make their move. While he started slowly in Portugal, he began to show his true potential once he hit his stride later in the year, and fans of the Reds will hope he continues in that vein.
He is not the finished product yet and may still need some time to adapt given his relative youth and inexperience. His attitude, though, is said to be excellent, and under Brendan Rodgers' guidance, he could go on to fulfil his enormous potential.
With his potential transfer fee set to top 30 million pounds, Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala is no unknown in the true sense of the word. Yet despite his glowing reputation, it would be perfectly understandable if those who don't watch the Liga Sagres on a regular basis were unaware of his rise.
Manchester City have long since been looking for Vincent Kompany's ideal partner, and it appears this summer they may have their man. Mangala is reported to be close to completing a move, and on paper at least, he appears ideally suited to Manuel Pellegrini's side.
- Mooney: Mangala's a coup
Just 23, Mangala was a member of France's World Cup squad and has amassed a good amount of European experience to his name from his adventures with Porto over the past couple of seasons.
A no-nonsense centre-back comfortable with the ball at his feet, his potential is massive, and City have been bold in beating rivals to his capture. He could be the signing that cements their position at the top of the table once more.
Newcastle United's season fell apart following the departure of Yohan Cabaye in January, with the team's inability to create regular goal-scoring opportunities detrimental to their chances of success.
Cabella is a very different player to Cabaye, playing further up the pitch or even from wide areas if needed. However, he is a creative player of considerable quality and could prove to be a real game-changer for the Magpies if he can link effectively with Siem de Jong and any new forwards arriving at the club.
- Duffy: Cabella move means pressure on Pards
Much has been made of Newcastle's French links over recent seasons, with some signings paying off handsomely, while others have fallen well short of expectations. Based on his time at Montpellier, though, Cabella is among the best players they have brought in and could help return the club to European contention if he hits the ground running.
If the right striker can be found to profit from his vision, Newcastle will have had a great summer in the transfer market.
Southampton's Adam Lallana replacement, there have been doubts raised about languid Serbian Dusan Tadic's ability to adapt to the fast pace of the Premier League.
Tadic, though, is an exceptional player whose track record in the Eredivisie compares favourably with any of his rivals. His 14 assists last campaign led the way for the division, while no other player came close to matching his average of four clear chances created per game (WhoScored.com).
It was no one-off, either; year after year he has been among the league's very top performers since arriving in Holland with Groningen. Southampton will hope he can bring that wonderful touch and vision to the Premier League.
He may need a little time to adjust, but Saints have signed a potentially magnificent attacking midfielder. In terms of pure talent, he is an upgrade on Lallana and arrives for around half the price.