Football

Five EPL stars who will shine

ALEXIS SANCHEZ

Club: Arsenal (from Barcelona)

Fee: £30 million ($62.9m)

Age: 25

Position: Winger/forward

Sanchez carries his country's flag wherever he goes.

The first Chilean to play for Barcelona, and now Arsenal, he stole the imagination during the World Cup in Brazil, performing a starring role as Chile bulldozed their way to a round-of-16 spot at the expense of Group B favourites Spain.

Although they were subsequently knocked out by hosts Brazil via a penalty shoot-out, Sanchez had stamped his class by then, scoring two goals and setting up another in four matches.

In securing his signature, Arsenal may have pulled off the transfer coup of the season.

Sanchez is simply a delight to watch on the field, whether you are a fan or a manager.

Extremely quick and skilful, he may also be Arsene Wenger's attacking trump card as Arsenal look to build their first Premiership-winning team in years.

His humility and industry will endear him to the Gooners quickly.

An outstanding performance against Manchester City in Arsenal's 3-0 win in the Community Shield during the weekend augurs well.

When Mesut Oezil fizzled out after the halfway mark last term, Arsenal looked in desperate need of a man with the individual qualities to surprise opponents.

Sanchez fits that bill perfectly.

ADAM LALLANA

Club: Liverpool (from Southampton)

Fee: £25m ($52.5m)

Age: 26

Position: Attacking midfielder

One of the many stars plundered from Southampton following their highly successful 2013/14 campaign, Lallana was perhaps the most coveted of the lot.

So impressive was he that the Saints captain was called up to the England World Cup squad.

Most feel that England manager Roy Hodgson's pragmatism resulted in the Three Lions' group-stage exit, and didn't do justice to Lallana's talent.

With Brendan Rodgers committed to attacking football, the Reds manager has every right to believe he can extract the best out of his new capture.

Lallana is a rarity, considering he has English blood in his veins.

He has superb close control, thrives in tight spaces and thinks on his feet.

Intelligent and comfortable with either foot, he is seen as a great buy by some, including former England players Michael Owen and Paul Merson.

But there are also those who question the price tag, pointing out how Real Madrid got German World Cup winner Toni Kroos for £5 million less.

The verdict on Lallana will be delayed, though, as he will miss the first few matches due to injury.

Rodgers must get this right if Liverpool are to have another shot at the league title.

ROMELU LUKAKU

Club: Everton (from Chelsea)

Fee: £28m ($58.7m)

Age: 21

Position: Striker

Everton are entitled to believe they have turned a corner, following their success with Lukaku.

Their ability to turn the loan deal into a permanent one proved two things.

Not only have they demonstrated that they are no longer a selling club, but they have also shown that they now have sufficient drawing power to attract quality players in the transfer market.

The Blues have gotten themselves a bull of a striker with a prolific scoring record.

His 17 strikes from 35 league matches during the 2012/13 term, when he was sent by Chelsea to West Bromwich Albion to hone his skills, demonstrated his potential.

Fifteen goals in 31 league outings for the Toffees while on loan last season convinced Everton to shell out for a club-record fee.

Lukaku has attributes that will put him in good stead.

His 1.90-metre frame alone pretty much sums up what his game is about.

The raw power and finishing ability makes him an out-and-out striker very much in the mould of Chelsea hitman Didier Drogba, a player he admires.

Manager Roberto Martinez seems on the cusp of something spectacular at Goodison Park.

He's hoping Lukaku can be the catalyst.

DIEGO COSTA

Club: Chelsea (from Atletico Madrid)

Fee: £32m ($67.1m)

Age: 25

Position: Striker

A wretched World Cup campaign with Spain has dampened his arrival in London, but Jose Mourinho knows enough about the Brazil-born striker during his time with Real Madrid to place his bet.

Observers say that Costa's allegiance to Spain - he gave up the chance to represent Brazil - was doomed from the start.

His game centres on his drive in the penalty box and a physicality that doesn't necessarily blend well with tiki-taka football.

But they will come in handy at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho's penchant for counter-attacking, conservative football appeals to Costa, who thrived in a similar system at Atletico Madrid.

To say Costa impressed in La Liga is an understatement.

His 27 goals in 35 league matches for Atletico fired them to last season's La Liga crown against massive odds, and the statistic was essentially the reason for the tug-of-war between Spain and Brazil.

Chelsea fans are hoping that his appalling performances during the World Cup aren't a sign of things to come.

Given their experience with Fernando Torres, they have reason to be sceptical as well.

But Costa has shown fortitude through a difficult start to his career to rise to the top, and Mourinho is a master of nurturing men with appetites.

The lowered expectations of him may just work in his favour.

ANDER HERRERA

Club: Manchester United (from Athletic Bilbao)

Fee: £28.4m ($59.6m)

Age: 24

Position: Midfielder

Herrera may be worth the embarrassment after all.

Before last season, Manchester United had already set their sights on the midfielder.

But a ridiculous sequence of events saw the Red Devils miss out on his signature, and end up with egg on their faces.

One episode had United denying that they had appointed the three mystery lawyers, who claimed to represent them during talks with the Spanish club.

This time, they made no mistake in getting their man, and he has already started to show glimpses of what the fuss was all about.

During his first game in a United shirt, in a pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy last month, he shone and created three goals in the 7-0 win.

He looks the man United have been crying out for, since Paul Scholes slipped into his twilight.

Herrera is intelligent enough to dictate the tempo, has the vision that the United midfield lacked last term, and is blessed with the technique and awareness to produce killer passes.

Following the debacle of David Moyes, United are looking for a new start under new manager Louis van Gaal.

Herrera can become the face of their revival.