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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Shrewd signings or dodgy deals?
By Ian Hughes

Sol Campbell
Will Campbell prove a good purchase for Pompey?
If you were a Premiership manager, who would you have signed over the summer?

Do you think Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has spent wisely by signing Andriy Shevchenko? Should Manchester United have paid 18.6m for Michael Carrick?

Or is it at the other end of the financial spectrum that the best value for money acquisitions have been made?

Sol Campbell cost Portsmouth nothing, while Newcastle snapped up Damien Duff for what seems a steal at 5m.

So who has struck the best deal? Read our verdict on the main moves so far, and then give us your opinion on our 606 message board...


Portsmouth boss Harry "Houdini" Redknapp pulled off one of last season's great escapes to keep his side in the Premiership.

And he may well have achieved another status-saving feat by capturing former Arsenal defender Campbell.

At just 31, and with a wealth of experience, there is no doubting the England international's pedigree and value.

As long as Campbell can remember the old cliche that football is a game of two halves, and that he has to turn up for both of them, he could prove the signing of the summer.

Value for money does not mean much at Chelsea, where they splashed out 30m for Ukraine striker Shevchenko.

Last year, Thierry Henry was the Premiership's top scorer with 24 goals.

Andriy Shevchenko
Don't mention Shevchenko's price tag

Should Shevchenko match that figure this term, each strike would have cost Chelsea an incredible 1.25m.

Is he really worth the money?

Speaking of which, does almost 20m for Carrick seem a bit overblown?

The 25-year-old impressed at Tottenham last season and went to the World Cup with England.

But he played little part in the tournament in Germany, and few feel he can boss the Premiership in the way Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira did in their pomp.

One man who almost certainly will is Germany captain Michael Ballack - another new arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Ballack had a decent World Cup and led his country to the semi-finals, despite not looking 100% fit.

He was out of contract at Bayern Munich and there are few teams in the world who would not have jumped at the chance to sign the powerful goalscoring midfielder.

606 VIEW
HH

Great business from Chelsea - but, of course, they are more than happy to pay the kind of wages that dwarf a small nation's gross domestic product.

Another midfielder who will surely make a big impact on the Premiership is Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who is Arsenal's sole signing.

Quick, skilful and with an eye for goal - as demonstrated with style at the World Cup when he scored one of the goals of the tournament - even Mourinho has thrown an envious glance Arsenal's way.

Clearly Rosicky is an excellent player, but can his 5ft 8in, 10st frame stand up to the rigours of the fast and furious Premiership?

Back at Chelsea - as if they are lacking top midfielders - Jon Obi Mikel arrived at a cost of 16m.

Manchester United had also wanted the 19-year-old prospect, who has been described as one of the best young players in the world.

But he is also untried and untested in the Premiership.

Maybe Carrick's price tag doesn't look so expensive in comparison.

Michael Carrick
Carrick has a lot to prove at Old Trafford

One player who looks to be the bargain buy of the summer is Duff, who cost Newcastle only a third of the price of Mikel and Carrick.

The tricky winger will provide the width Newcastle have been crying out for and he should link up well with Michael Owen - when the England striker is fit.

Staying with forwards, Blackburn look to have bought themselves a decent strike partnership in Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts, who impressed for Wigan last season.

But they have lost lively forward Craig Bellamy to Liverpool.

However, the speedy Welshman has a habit of getting himself into trouble as quickly as he gets himself into the box.

And with Jermaine Pennant also arriving at Liverpool, boss Rafael Benitez will have to play Sergeant Major to his bad lads' army if he is to benefit from their talent rather than be frustrated by their attitude.

Tottenham could well have made the most shrewd purchase in striker Dimitar Berbatov, who will make a massive impression if he can live up to his pre-season promise.

Quality control

Andrew Johnson returns to the top flight after leaving Crystal Palace for Everton.

He scored 21 goals for Palace when last in the Premiership in 2004-5, and the Toffees will be hoping their 8.6m investment provides a similar return for them.

Last season's surprise package Wigan may find it tougher this time around.

After all, what is there about new signing Emile Heskey that will catch the Premiership's rearguard on the hop?

Manager Martin O'Neill has arrived at Aston Villa - but no new players have as yet.

But would Villa fans have been happy had the club brought in Bolton's fearsome threesome Quinton Fortune, Abdoulaye Meite and Idan Tal?

Bolton's faithful probably aren't that impressed either...



SEE ALSO
Premiership club-by-club guide
14 Aug 06 |  Premiership
Premiership ones to watch
14 Aug 06 |  Premiership
The sack race
14 Aug 06 |  Premiership


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