Community Shield: Six summer signings to watch as Man Utd and Foxes do battle at Wembley
Robbie Purves | August 2, 2016
Six summer signings on show at Wembley
The Community Shield is the traditional curtain raiser of the English football season and provides punters with a first opportunity to view the incoming talent in preparation for the coming campaign.
Premier League champions Leicester City and FA Cup victors Manchester United have both been busy bringing in top talent this transfer window, so Coral football experts have picked out three new faces from each team and discuss what you can expect from them at Wembley, August 7th…
The maverick Swede joined United on a free after his contract with PSG ran out, and became the club’s new number nine. Zlatan left Paris as a “king” in his own words, and finished his tenure in France as the club’s all-time top scorer with an incredible 156 goals in 180 appearances in the capital.
Despite being 34-years-old, Ibrahimovic played in 51 of PSG’s 59 games last term and bagged a phenomenal 50 goals. Zlatan has already got off the mark with his new club, scoring a scissor-kick against Galatasaray in Gothenburg.
Sweden’s all-time leading scorer has won league titles at every club he has played for since arriving at Ajax, including one with Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan. The two have a special relationship and should complement each other at Old Trafford – Coral have them 7/2 to win the Premier League in the pair’s first term.
Claudi Ranieri broke Leicester’s transfer record with the signing of Nigeria striker Musa for £16.6m. The fast and furious forward will slot perfectly into the high-flying Foxes’ system and will likely partner Jamie Vardy in a ferocious front line.
On signing Musa and partnering him with Vardy, Ranieri said:“He can bring his speed, I don’t know if he is as fast as Jamie, but it is important to have another airplane in our squad. Remember, we are the RAF and Musa is one of them.”
Musa netted 18 times for CSKA Moscow last term and lit up Russia’s capital with glittering displays, securing a third consecutive title for the club.
Leicester’s new frontman has winning international pedigree too, lifting the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 with Nigeria.
The Old Trafford outfit signed the Premier League’s first Armenian from Borussia Dortmund for around £26.3m.
Mkhitaryan recorded an incredible 23 goals and 32 assists last term, and will bring much needed creativity to United’s attack. His signing completes a deadly attacking trio, with Anthony Martial and Ibrahimovic lining up alongside him – expect the Red Devils to be at their free flowing best when Mkhitaryan is on form.
After his impressive debut in a friendly against Wigan Athletic, Mourinho hailed his new signing saying: “He is magnificent the way he thinks about football, he thinks very quickly and it’s so sweet how he touches the ball.”
Mkhitaryan is fluent in six languages and plays chess at a near professional level, this intellect shows on the pitch. Mourinho is likely to play the Bundesliga’s Players’ Player of the Year winner in his favoured right wing position, but can also play on the opposite flank or behind the striker.
The Foxes signed Mendy from Nice for a then club record £13m. The defensive midfielder has drawn comparisons to Claude Makelele and made a name for himself in France as tough tackling, resilient and clever in possession of the ball.
Mendy has played under Ranieri before at Monaco, where the pair earned promotion to the French top-flight by winning Ligue 2.
On being reunited with his former player, Ranieri said: “I know Papy very well because I put him in the squad in Monaco when he was so young. He played a lot of matches with me and was an important player for Monaco. I think he can help us. The character is fantastic, a nice boy. Just like Kante, always laughing, working hard for the team, a very good boy.”
Expect Mendy to have no problem filling the industrious boots of Kante, and develop a rock solid base with Danny Drinkwater. The Foxes are 3/1 to win the Community Shield and start their season with a bang.
— Eric Bailly (@ericbailly24) 8 June 2016
Centre back Bailly joined the Manchester side from Villarreal for a fee of £30m. Quick, versatile and good on the ball, he possess all the qualities to be a pillar of Mourinho’s defence for years to come.
On signing the defender, Mourinho highlighted his natural talent and potential:“Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent. He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around. We look forward to working with him to help nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential.”
He was the key man in a Villarreal defence that kept 17 clean sheets in La Liga last season to secure fourth place, and the Ivory Coast international comes with winning experience, having tasted 2015 Africa Cup of Nations glory.
In United’s pres-season fixtures, Bailly has looked dominant in the air and utilises his athleticism well – expect him to form a formidable partnership with Chris Smalling.
Leicester signed former Man Utd youth player Zieler from Hannover for an undisclosed fee. The goalkeeper experienced a mixed time in Manchester, in an impressive spell he kept four clean sheets in succession, but then broke his arm. The closest Zieler got to first team action was being named on the bench for United’s 3–1 League Cup win over Middlesbrough.
During his time in Hannover, he developed into a talented goalie, excelling with his feet and impressing with superb reflexes. Zieler’s performances saw him called up to the Germany national team, registering six caps and lifting the World Cup in 2014.
On bringing the World Cup winner to the East Midlands, Ranieri said: “He made a very good season in the Bundesliga. He is a very reactive player, is very good with his feet, and very good in the goal. It is good for us to have a good replacement and to fight also…I am very happy with him and I can choose because we have a lot of matches.”
With Zieler likely to feature heavily for the Foxes this year and challenge Kasper Schmeichel’s title as number one, he could start on Sunday to let him get to reintroduced to the pace of English football.