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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton Sep 26, 2014
Read
Sep 3, 2014

How did Leicester do in the window?

Leicester City's new signing, Esteban Cambiasso, is happy to play in England and now awaits for international clearance before he can take part in the Premier League.

Ins and Outs

Players in: Matt Upson (Brighton, free), Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa, free), Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton, undisclosed), Esteban Cambiasso (free agent), Jack Barmby (Manchester United, free), Ben Hamer (Charlton, free), Danny Simpson (QPR, undisclosed), Tom Lawrence (Manchester United, undisclosed), Nick Powell (Manchester United, loan)

Players out: Zak Whitbread (Derby, free); Lloyd Dyer (Watford, free), Sean St Ledger (released), Marko Futacs (released)

Summing up the transfer window

It's a 7/10. The usually poker-faced Nigel Pearson will be visibly ecstatic to have landed top target Cambiasso, though perhaps a tad downbeat to see James McArthur pick Crystal Palace over Leicester.

I would gleefully rate the Foxes transfer dealings at 11/10 had they snared Jermain Defoe, who was allegedly open to a speedy return to England after Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen got axed. Still, considering the Harry Redknapp link, Queens Park Rangers were probably favourites to land the ex-England striker. Plus, if the form of record eight million-pound signing Ulloa continues, Leicester won't need to worry about goals.

It is also encouraging to see Pearson bring in a number of 'Fergie fledglings' from Manchester United this summer. Forward Lawrence and midfielders Barmby and Powell never quite broke into the first team under Ferguson or his successors, but the trio will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Matty James and Danny Drinkwater, who both turned into highly successful Old Trafford castaways.

Another point worth emphasising is that Leicester managed to hang on to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and playmaker Andy King despite interest from AC Milan and Sunderland, respectively. King won't start every week, but he is the club's record midfield goal scorer, and with Drinkwater and James both struggling with early-season knocks, the Welsh international is still a key figure.

Best piece of business

Undoubtedly Cambiasso's arrival. Ulloa has been in rich early-season form, but his eight million-pound fee means he can hardly be termed a bargain.

Cambiasso, on the other hand, comes with a CV that includes Real Madrid and Inter Milan, plus 52 caps for Argentina. He is actually his country's most decorated footballer, with 23 different winners' medals, including the 2010 Champions League under Jose Mourinho at Inter.

The 34-year-old will offer protection to the back four, particularly away from home and, as importantly, looks totally fired up for a relegation dogfight. Considering Pearson landed him on a free, after a pretty lengthy transfer saga, 'Cuchu' (which means "old man") was an extraordinary coup -- one that should lift the whole club.

Esteban Cambiasso brings a wealth of experience to the Leicester City midfield.
Esteban Cambiasso brings a wealth of experience to the Leicester City midfield.

Worst piece of business

I just don't see what Upson adds. The obvious answer is Premier League experience, but that's what coach Kevin Phillips is there for. Plus, all the top-flight experience in the world is irrelevant if your legs have gone. Upson has lost his pace and, to make matters worse, is currently out for three months with an ankle injury. Liam Moore and Wes Morgan are doing just fine without him. Neither seems fazed by the step up in class. On 20,000 pounds per week, Upson is essentially just eating up the wage bill. The only saving grace is that his move from Brighton was via a free transfer.

What remaining issues are there?

Leicester could still do with another striker, but what Premier League club couldn't? Ulloa can't singlehandedly fire the Foxes to safety, and David Nugent managed just six Premier League goals in his last top-flight spell with Burnley.

Chris Wood's physicality and Jamie Vardy's boundless energy will cause defenses some problems off the bench, but I am not confident in either one's ability to score week in, week out. Meanwhile, Gary Taylor-Fletcher -- the footballer who preseason forgot -- should just hang up his boots. If he manages more than two Premier League goals, I will be Filbert Fox for the day!

Who can help in January?

Omar Abdulrahman. The surprisingly unheralded 'false No. 9' -- who is currently playing with ex-Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan at United Arab Emirates side Al Ain -- is easily the most talented Emirati footballer on the planet, and yet, despite a trial at Manchester City after London 2012, he hasn't moved on to a bigger club.

Abdulrahman reminds me a bit of David Silva: versatile, with a delightful first touch and a really intelligent football brain. I remain staggered that a top European club hasn't tempted the 22-year-old away from the U.A.E.

Speaking of Manchester City, forgotten winger Scott Sinclair would also be a wonderful signing, albeit in an area in which Leicester are already quite strong. Then, given my scathing attack on poor, old Upson, Leicester could also use another centre-back. It is a shame they didn't re-sign the ever-popular Sol Bamba from Palermo, although I wonder whether the fiery Ivorian would prove a liability in the Premier League.

Honestly, though, I would gladly miss out on all these names if Defoe miraculously decides Leicester is for him. If he doesn't, though, perhaps Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes could be a viable option.

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