It’s been a busy summer of football, with the European Championships and the football competition at the Olympics making it feel as though there’s barely been a day without some sort of footballing action.
The knock-on effect of such a busy summer schedule is usually a slow and relatively inactive transfer market, and with few big-money moves to report on, it seems that has certainly been the case.
So with under two weeks to go until the Premier League season kicks off, the usual names appear at the top of the list for the running for the Premier League golden boot 2012/13.
The favourite is Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, (7/1), who came third behind Wayne Rooney (8/1 second fav) and Robin van Persie (10/1) in his debut Premier League season. With one season under his belt, he can be expected to challenge the former two even closer this time, particularly if van Persie makes an expected move away from the Emirates.
But for the value picks it may be worth casting a glance at some of the Premier League newboys, in particular one move that may have gone under the radar of many. Mladen Petric is the veteran Croatian striker who signed for Fulham on a free transfer from Hamburg at the end of June, with boss Martin Jol having managed the 31-year-old while Hamburg boss in 2008/09.
Petric is expected to fill the role occupied by the released Pavel Pogrebnyak – now at Reading – and his career stats, not to mention his pre-season form, suggest that his current price at 66/1 is a steal.
Petric averages over one in four at international level for Croatia – including the winner in a 3-2 victory at Wembley that cost Steve McLaren his job and England a place at Euro 2008 – and managed one every 2.5 games during his four seasons in the competitive Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg.
Jol’s idea behind Petric’s signature was to take some of the goalscoring burden from Clint Dempsey, and if pre-season is anything to go by then that should prove the case – Petric has netted five goals from five pre-season games so far, including a spectacular scissor kick in their 4-0 demolition of OGC Nice yesterday.
As for other fresh outsiders, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud is 20/1, and now might be the time to grab him at that price. Should Robin van Persie make his expected exit from the Emirates, the man who finished at Ligue Un top goalscorer with 21 goals for Champions Montpellier will be expected to fill the Dutchman’s goalscoring boots, likewise fellow new Gunner Lukas Podolski, 33/1.
Liverpool’s new striker, Italian Fabian Borini (33/1), is a striker of much promise but following a season where he netted just nine goals in Serie A, the likes of Petric at 66/1 certainly seems to present more value.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing