Brenden Aaronson, Nick Pope, Boubacar Kamara among best under-the-radar Premier League transfers so far

The transfer window has been open for a few weeks and there have already been some big deals including Erling Haaland, Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling who are among the big names to have new clubs this summer.

But what are some of the best transfers that may have flown under the radar? We take a look.

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Boubacar Kamara, 22, defensive midfielder – Aston Villa (free)

This will be hard to beat as the cheapest deal of the summer. Despite Kamara being watched by Champions League-level clubs, Aston Villa rushed to secure the services of one of Europe’s most exciting midfielders after his contract at Marseille expired. Mainly used as a thorough defensive midfielder with relatively sparse attacking contributions, the versatile Kamara has also been used as a centre-back and right-back. With his agility on the pitch and an impressive 5.5 recoveries per game, the former France Under-21 international has confident possession and excels as a liaison between defense and midfield. It will be interesting to see how Villa boss Steven Gerrard fits him into an area of ​​the team where there is already decent competition.

Armel Bella-Kotchap, 20, centre-back – Bochum to Southampton (€10m)

Southampton had eyed Bella-Kotchap for a year and a half but eventually landed him for €10m. His father Cyrille was a Cameroon international striker, but Armel has made a name for himself at the other end of the field – and for another country in Germany U21s – since making his league debut in April 2019 aged 18. While Bella-Kotchap is strong and 6ft 3 tall, he has also improved technically, tactically and mentally in his debut season in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old, who could soon be called up for Germany’s senior squad, was one of the best one-on-one defenders in the Bundesliga last season, winning an impressive 71% of his tackles – 75% of them from headers.

Brenden Aaronson, 21, attacking midfielder – FC Salzburg to Leeds United (€27m)

It will be interesting to see how the US international copes with the leap in level from the comparatively weak Austrian league – Salzburg has won nine championship titles straight away – to the English Premier League. For all his work pace, energy and diligent pressing, will Aaronson be able to stand out in a league where his trademark attributes are, to some extent, the norm? The midfielder is more than just a runner, however; His fine technique and speed of thought (he excels at turning his ideas into action quickly) is coupled with an innate ability to perfectly time his moves off the ball. American boss Jesse Marsch knows him well and along with fellow USMNT star Tyler Adams knows how to get the best out of him. (Aaronson was also named the 34th best male under-21 player by ESPN earlier this year.)

Julio Enciso, 18, forward – Libertad to Brighton (€11m)

It’s rare for a player to move straight from Paraguayan domestic football to the Premier League, and at a reported €11m the move isn’t risk-free either. Arguably the most promising Paraguayan teenager since Juan Iturbe, the former Libertad striker has already won six senior caps. Enciso can play in any position up front – although he prefers to attack from the left – Enciso is quick, explosive, has a low center of gravity and is good with both feet. Stylistic comparisons have been made to Man City and Argentine legend Sergio Aguero, although that’s enormous pressure to exert on a young player. While an immediate impact at Brighton might set the bar too high for the Paraguayan, his intelligence and unconventional running could see him gaining minutes this season.

Cheick Doucoure, 22, central midfielder – Lens to Crystal Palace (€21.3m)

Not only was the Mali international one of the best central midfielders in Ligue 1 (along with Lens team-mate Seko Fofana) last season, but he seemed to play better as opponents improved – he was against PSG in both games excellent while he also ran Procedure in the 2-0 away win at Monaco. Despite being primarily a defensive midfielder, Doucoure can appear absolutely anywhere on the pitch. He gets into attacking zones and can also play as a No. 8 with his frequent forward run. Not only is he a solid ball winner (five recoveries per game last season) but also a sure passer – always wanting to make a quick change when regaining possession. Doucoure is a reliable, smart midfielder who rarely has a day off. He has the quality to be an instant hit at Selhurst Park.

Nick Pope, 30, goalkeeper – Burnley to Newcastle United (€11.5m)

With the signing of the England goalkeeper – along with centre-back Sven Botman and left-back Matthew Targett (after his loan became permanent) – Newcastle have rebuilt their defense in hopes of avoiding a repeat of last year’s relegation battle. Pope’s mental alertness and ability to time his interventions outside the box make him the ideal keeper for a strong pressing team (which appears to be manager Eddie Howe’s tactical plan for the season). He’s fast and agile, improving year by year, plus he has good coordination and lightning-fast reflexes. Pope will also use his fine distribution skills more often at Newcastle and playing from behind is expected to be a regular part of his game.

Joao Palhinha, 27, defensive midfielder – Sporting CP to Fulham (€20m)

The 1.80-meter-tall presenter cuts an unorthodox figure in central midfield, but what he lacks in speed or agility he makes up for with first-class understanding of the game and positional awareness. Palhinha usually plays most effectively with a more attacking and agile No8 in midfield. Palhinha takes on the more menial duties in midfield; Tackle on the ground, challenge well in the air, or simply outsmart your opponents. He is also difficult to dispossess and protects the ball well. While not the most creative in possession – he usually keeps it simple – Portugal international Fulham boss Marco Silva offers a reliable presence in midfield.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4700526/brenden-aaronsonnick-popeboubacar-kamara-among-best-under-the-radar-premier-league-transfers-so-far Brenden Aaronson, Nick Pope, Boubacar Kamara among best under-the-radar Premier League transfers so far

Emma Bowman

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