With the new season fast approaching, GMS Academy member Anthony Reeve points out five stars across Europe that are set for standout seasons – do you agree?
Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
Thiago was linked with a move to various clubs over the summer but it was German champions, Bayern Munich who secured his signature. Former Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, now the coach of last season’s European Cup winners, will know a lot about the 22-year-old Spaniard after coaching him for a few years whilst he was in charge at Barcelona.
Thiago went for a reported €25million and we can expect flair, speed and pin point passing from the U21 Euro 2013 winning captain.
Thiago had once been touted as the new Xavi but he still has a long way to go to replicate the 33-year-old.
Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
The Spanish striker scored 59 goals in 101 appearances for Valencia, which attracted interest from many top clubs but it was Tottenham Hotspur who were the team to sign the Spanish striker for a reported £26million.
The former Real Madrid player has played 11 games for the Spanish national team, scoring six times.
Spurs will be hoping he can fire them into a Champions League spot which they narrowly missed out on last season to local rivals, Arsenal.
Soldado is a strong powerful figure who knows where the goal is. The forwards pace and great positioning could unsettle defenders in the league this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
After scoring 19 goals in Ligue 1 last season, Aubameyang was on many top European clubs' radars.
The 24-year-old Gabon International will have big shoes to fill if Dortmund’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski leaves for rivals Bayern Munich this summer, but with that looking unlikely he will provide stern competition for the Polish International.
The one time AC Milan player has said he hasn’t come to Dortmund to sit on the bench and intends to entertain the corwd at the Westfalenstadion.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Moving to Liverpool for a reported £8.5million it looks like the reds have a bargain with his first few months at Anfield showing huge promise.
The former Inter Milan attacking midfielder brings flair, skill and killer passing to Brendan Rodges’ squad.
Coutinho isn’t the biggest unit but like all Brazilians his paces and agility get him away from defenders.
When he was signed by former Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez, Coutinho was tipped to be the star of the Inter Milan squad, but with injuries and managerial changes it just didn’t happen for the 21 year old.
Coutinho will be looking for a successful season with Liverpool, personally and with the World Cup only ten months away he will be looking to cement a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad.
Isco (Real Madrid)
Turning down an offer from Manchester City and a reunion with former manager Manuel Pellegrini, Isco decided to carry on his development with nine-time European Cup winners Real Madrid for a reported €27million.
After having a successful campaign with Malaga, which included a run in the UEFA Champions league where they finally went out in the quarter final against runners-up Borussia Dortmund, he made 69 appearances in two years at Estadio La Rosaleda, scoring 14 goals.
Despite being just 21, Isco has played at every age level for Spain, with his vision and passing abilities reminiscent of France legend Zinedine Zidane, while his low centre of gravity makes him quick off the mark and able to keep possession of the ball.
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