European clubs have been increasingly snatching up South American players over the past few seasons.
This summer, some of the most expensive player transfers involved South American footballers: James Rodriguez to Real Madrid (£63.2m), Luis Suarez to Barcelona (£65m) and Angel Di Maria to Manchester United (£59.7m).
Players from this region are typically suited for a free-flowing, attacking style of play and possess a technical ability – or natural flair – on the ball. They also play with an energy and passion that is a joy to watch for the average fan of the sport.
This season, similar to ones of the past, Premier League clubs have benefited from the influx of foreign players who originate from this part of the world. The speed and power of the English top flight, as well as the enthusiasm of league supporters, have made it a perfect fit for South American players.
The star names at the big clubs are well-known: Falcao, Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa are all on top of most lists.
But it’s the transfer moves of teams outside of the Premier League’s ‘usual’ top four contenders that have really shaped the early part of this new season.
Those who watched Leicester City come back twice from a two-goal deficit to defeat Manchester United today saw the quality of the club’s two standout summer arrivals from Argentina, Esteban Cambiasso and record-signing Leonardo Ulloa.
If it weren’t for Jamie Vardy’s man-of-the-match performance, Cambiasso may have stolen the honor in his full debut with the club. The midfielder scored a goal and terrorized United until he was substituted for in the 71st minute.
While Ulloa scored a brace against Louis van Gaal’s side and has been Leicester’s top scorer with five goals during its opening five matches – which have seen the club also defeat Stoke City and draw matches with both Arsenal and Everton.
Last Monday, Hull City and West Ham United introduced supporters to their club’s newest South American signings.
The Hammers unveiled Ecuadorian forward Enner Valencia, who was coming off of a solid World Cup performance in Brazil. The 25-year-old didn’t waste any time showing the club that he was worth every bit of his £12m fee, as he blasted a stunning strike into the top right corner of the net from beyond 18-yards to level the match.
This summer, West Ham also acquired the services of Argentinian Mauro Zarate from Velez in Argentina’s Primera Division.
Hull City’s record-signing Abel Hernandez from Uruguay also made his Premier League debut during that contest and scored the opening goal of the match after burying a perfect header past West Ham goalkeeper Adrian in the 39th minute.
Manager Steve Bruce also brought in Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Ramirez from Southampton.
Swansea City surprised some with the start of their season. The Swans made some interesting signings during the most recent transfer window when they brought in former-Velez winger Jefferson Montero (Ecuador) and defender Federico Fernandez (Argentina).
Montero’s start at the Welsh club couldn’t have been any better as just seconds into coming off the bench in his first match (against Manchester United at the Theatre of Dreams), he set up the goal that gave Swansea their first ever league win at Old Trafford.
Fernandez debut wasn’t as storybook as his Ecuadorian teammate, as Wilfried Bony’s sending off reduced the Swans to ten-men and the club eventually succumbed to Southampton, 1-0.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has brought in Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez – a.k.a. ‘The Rock’. The 28-year-old spent the majority of his career with Valenciennes in France, before spending last season with the Spanish side, Elche.
Sanchez’s positional awareness, passing and strong tackling has been a welcomed addition to the Villans; who despite this weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal are still sitting in third-place on the league table.
There are a number of other South Americans dotting the first teams at various Premier League clubs:
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino brought in Argentinian defender Federico Fazio from Sevilla. Sebastian Coates (Uruguay) and Ricky Alvarez (Argentina) now call Sunderland’s Stadium of Light their home. West Bromwich Albion signed Argentinian midfielder Sebastian Blanco to add a little creativity to the center of the pitch at the Hawthorns. While QPR boss Harry Redknapp continued with his long history of ‘wheeling and dealing’ during the transfer window by signing both Eduardo Vargas and Mauricio Isla from Chile.
Whether or not all of these signings pan out for these individual clubs will be determined in the coming weeks and months. But the early signs are some Premier League clubs have greatly benefited from the influx of South American players to England.
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