6th November – Andre Schurrle

Andre Schurrle might be a World Cup winner with Germany and have a lot of ability but it seems like he has yet to convince Jose Mourinho that he deserves to be in his starting eleven despite scoring some important goals for the club.

The winger isn’t always fully switched on when it comes to defending and this is largely why Mourinho might not see his future at Chelsea. However, there is no doubting that going forward there are few wingers who can get into as many goalscoring positions, he times his runs from the wing into the middle of the box very well and has got a lot of goals from this.

Schurrle is still only 24 so he still has a lot of time to learn different parts of the game and will keep on improving over the next few years. The German international started his career at Mainz, making his Bundesliga debut on the opening day of the 2009-10 season against Bayer Leverkusen in a 2-2 draw. He had to wait a month to score his first goals in 3-2 win over Bochum. He had a decent first season and in September 2010 the club agreed a fee with Leverkusen and he would join the club at the start of the next season. This obviously gave Shurrle a lot of confidence and he would score 15 goals in 33 games.
Schurrle Mainz
After joining Leverkusen he scored on his debut in the German Cup against Dynamo Dresden but had to wait until the 15th October 2011 to score his first Bundesliga club, rescuing a point with a late goal in a 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. A few days later he would score his first Champions League goal in a win over Valencia. He ended his first season with nine goals in all competitions and was putting in some great performances. Yet again he would have an even better second season and was a vital part of Leverkusen’s first away win against Bayern Munich since October 1989, setting up a goal for Stefan Kiebling. He finished his second at the club with 14 goals and nine assists.
Schurrle BL
On the 25th June 2013 Schurrle joined Chelsea and made his debut as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Hull City in the Premier League. His first goal would come in a 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester City and he would also go on to score twice against Stoke City a few weeks later. But his best moment of the season came when he scored a hatrick against Fulham in a 3-1 win and then later in the month was named the Man of the Match after the 6-0 win over Arsenal where he was a constant threat, setting up the first goal and scoring the second.
Schurrle Chelsea
This season he scored a fantastic goal on the opening day of the season against Burnley and scored once again against Manchester City to help his side get a point away to the defending champions. But it has been struggle for him to remain a first choice player this season as Mourinho has preferred other options.

The final word can go to Jose Mourinho. “Andre Schurrle is still so young but he already has great history because he plays in his national team. So he is a player who is absolutely ready and he gives us more than one position in attack and adds quality. He will be important for us.”

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28th October – Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins is a player with a fantastic history, having been the number nine at Newcastle United and also scoring the winning goal for Birmingham City in the League Cup final.

The striker had electric pace and a brilliant shot on him that a lot of goalkeepers struggled to keep a hold of. He has had a lot of ups and downs in his career but has largely been a fan favourite at every club and is now currently scoring regularly for Seattle Sounders in the MLS and his goals have helped his side to the top of the table.

The 30 year old started his career in Nigeria before getting a trial at Serie C side Reggiana in Italy and signed a youth contract with the club in 2000. After just two appearanceshe joined Inter Milan and would go on to make his debut against Parma in December 2002. Martins began to make an impact during the 2002-03 season where he showed his quality in the Champions League, scoring against Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan. His best season for the club was in the 2004-05 season, where he scored 22 goals in 45 games, unfortunately for him, Inter decided to sign other strikers soon after.
Martins IM
In total he scored 49 goals for the Italian side before signing for Newcastle United on the 24th August 2006 and was handed the number nine shirt, taking over from Alan Shearer. After a difficult start, in which he suffered a few injuries, he would go on to score his first goal for the club on the 17th September against West Ham in a 2-0 win and he became a regular scorer hitting one of the goals of the season when he scored from 20 yards against Tottenham Hotspur at a speed of 84mph. Martins ended his first season with 17 goals in all competitions. His second season at the club was mixed as he had to settle for a place on the bench under Sam Allardyce, as he preferred Michael Owen and Mark Viduka upfront. But after Kevin Keegan became manager he found a system that allowed all three players to be on the field and combine well. He finished the season with 10 goals in 33 games.
Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa Park
Martins then started the 2008-09 season in fantastic form, scoring six goals in 12 games before tearing his hamstring and later in the season needing an operation on a hernia, meaning he could not continue this form. After being out since January he returned to the side in a relegation six pointer against Middlesbrough and scored twice. However, this would not be good enough to keep them in the Premier League.

On the 31st July 2009 Martins joined Wolfsburg for £9 million and went on to score on his debut against FC Koln. He only stayed at the club for one season but scored six times in 16 Bundesliga games. He then moved on to Russian side Rubin Kazan and helped them win the Russian Cup but it was not the greatest time for the striker and on the 31st January 2011 he joined Birmingham City on loan. Although his time at the club was ruined by injuries, he still managed to write himself into their history books as he scored the winning goal in the League Cup final against Arsenal.

With the club getting relegated from the Premier League a permanent move was no longer on the cards and Martins joined Levante. On his league debut he scored twice in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad and was a decent goalscorer, hitting the back of the net in a third of his league games. But on the 15th March 2013 he joined MLS side Seattle Sounders and last season finished with 17 goals, as well as 13 assists for the club, a joint club record with Mauro Rosales.
Martins SS
The final word can go to Kevin Keegan. “He excites me very much as a player. He is very, very different to not only anything we have got at this football club, but probably in the Premier League. It sends up all sorts of ideas in your mind what this player can bring to the football club.”

15th October – Mesut Ozil

He might be a World Cup winner and used to be known as the ‘King of Assists’ but Mesut Ozil has yet to convince fans of the Premier League that he was worth the transfer fee paid by Arsenal.

With an injury that is likely to keep him out of action for a while, it at least gives Ozil time out of the spotlight as every time Arsenal play poorly, he is the scapegoat and the one everyone points the finger at. Sometimes he hasn’t been able to influence games as much as someone with his talent but he has been shoved out wide and Arsene Wenger does need to take some of the blame.

The 26 year old started his professional career at Schalke and was being labelled as the next big thing in German football. He played 39 times for the club but only scored one goal and after a falling out with Mirko Slomka he moved to Werder Bremen in January 2008. He quickly settled at his new club and began fulfilling his potential. He helped the club win the DFB-Polka Cup in 2009 and scored the winning goal in the final against Bayer Leverkusen. Ozil was also excellent in the UEFA Cup that season and was a major reason why they reached the final.

In his second full season at the club he helped them to 3rd in the Bundesliga, contributing nine goals and also 17 assists in 31 league appearances. This would be his final season at the club and he finished his time at Bremen with 16 goals and 55 assists in 108 games and after a very good World Cup on the 17th August 2010 he joined Real Madrid.
Ozil WB
Ozil made a fantastic start to his career in Spain and his form over the season kept the Kaka on the bench. He finished the season with 25 assists which was the most in Europe and after Jose Mourinho became manager, his number changed from 23 to 10 suggesting that he would be the first choice. He was a crucial in helping the club to their 32nd La Liga title after another 17 assists in the league and even chipped in with two goals on the final day of the season against RCD Mallorca which meant that Real were the first club ever to reach 100 points in a single season.

For a third season in a row nobody came close to him in terms of the number of assists he got. But there were reports that he was not happy and wanted to leave but he rejected these claims and proved with his 26 assists that he was willing to fight for his place. In his three full seasons at the club he played over 50 times and it was quite surprising that on the 2nd September 2013 he joined Arsenal for a fee believed to be £42.5 million. This was seen as a huge signing and the Real Madrid players were disappointed that he left, particularly Cristiano Ronaldo who benefitted a lot from him.
Ozil RM
The attacking midfielder made his debut away to Sunderland and it only took him 11 minutes to get his first assists as he set up Olivier Giroud. He had an even better home debut as he was involved in all three goals in a 3-1 win over Stoke City. His first two goals would come in a 4-1 win over Norwich City just over a month later but after a good November and December he started picking up niggling injuries and this slightly affected his form. Despite a shaky second half of the season he still helped the club win the FA Cup.
Ozil Arsenal
He needed a positive start to this season but it hasn’t quite happened to him and this injury will not help him but surely his quality will come through and provide a lot more goals for his teammates in the years to come.

The final word can go to Arsene Wenger. “He is a great player, with proven quality at both club and international level. We have watched and admired him for some time as he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.”

6th October – Mark Schwarzer

Chelsea are in a rare position of having two world class keepers in their squad but even more remarkably their third choice Mark Schwarzer has also been one of the best in the Premier League era.

The 42 year old will probably not play many more games but he can look back on his time in England and have some wonderful memories. Some would argue that he is still better than some first choice keepers in the top flight and maybe should have moved on and tried to have another season of regular football but it must be a fantastic experience being at Chelsea now.

Schwarzer started his career as a 19 year old at Australian side Marconi Stallions. After playing 58 times in the National Soccer League he made the move to Europe and joined German side Dynamo Dresden, where he spent one season before moving on to fellow Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. In his two years in Germany he only made six appearances.
Schwarzer Marconi
In the 1996-97 season he joined Bradford City and featured 16 times before being signed by Premier League side Middlesbrough in February 1997. The keeper made his debut in the semi final of the League Cup against Stockport County and helped them reach the final. He played the full 90 minutes of the final against Leicester City but after the game finished 1-1 an injury kept him out of the replay.

With the club suffering relegation at the end of the season Schwarzer was made their first choice goalkeeper and he helped them return to the Premier League on the first attempt. He kept his place in the side for the majority of the next ten seasons and despite a mistake in the final of the 2004 League Cup against Bolton Wanderers, he recovered well and helped the club lift their first ever trophy after winning the game 2-1. He would also play a key part in the club securing a place in Europe at the end of the 2004-05 season as he saved a last minute penalty against Manchester City which meant they finished in 7th place. Middlesbrough would go onto reach the final of the UEFA Cup and Schwarzer recovered from a fractured cheekbone to play in the match, however he could not stop them getting beat by Sevilla.
Middlesbrough v Cardiff City - FA Cup 6th Round
Despite being offered a new contract he left the club and joined Fulham on the 21st May 2008 after 445 games for Boro. In his first season he played every minute in the league and kept 10 clean sheets, helping Fulham to 7th place and was rewarded by being named Fulham’s Player of the Year.

For the next four seasons he was incredibly consistent and reached his second European final as Fulham got to the final of the Europa League in 2010 but once again he had to settle for a runners up medal. After the signing of Maarten Stekelenburg, Schwarzer left the club at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Schwarzer Fulham
On the 9th July 2013 he signed for Chelsea and was limited to League Cup appearances early on but did go on to become the oldest player to debut in the Champions League when he played against Steaua Bucharest and would then become Chelsea’s oldest player to play in the Premier League as he started against Sunderland at the age of 41 years and 195 days. He also played against Liverpool at Anfield and helped his side to a 2-0 win which was his 150th clean sheet in the Premier League.

The final word can go to Jose Mourinho. “Mark Schwarzer is what we need. Mark knows that he comes to be an important member of the squad. With Mark we have a goalkeeper who has played an incredible number of matches in the last 10 years in the Premier League and he is more than ready for this.”

27th August – Dietmar Hamann

Dietmar Hamann came on at halftime in the 2005 Champions League final for Liverpool and at that point they were 3-0 down and although he doesn’t get the headlines he played a crucial role in them lifting the trophy.

The holding midfielder coming on allowed Steven Gerrard to push further forward and get into the box. For his part in the final he will always be a legend in the Liverpool fans eyes but he was also a very consistent performer and he never let down any of the teams he played for.

Hamann started his career at little known German club FC Wacker Munchen and after impressing for them he joined Bayern Munich at the age of 16 in 1989 and eventually made his debut in 1993. In his first season he played in the unfamiliar position of right midfield and scored one goal in his six appearances. After several injuries to first team players Hamann became a regular as the holding midfielder and played 30 times in the Bundesliga. The 1995-96 season was difficult for the club and he was one of the few bright spots, however they did still end up winning the UEFA Cup.
Hamann BM
For the next two seasons he was a regular in the side and added a Bundesliga title to his medal collection but after 105 league games it was time for him to leave the club and joined Newcastle United in 1998 for £5.5 million. After a foot injury he recovered to become a fantastic signing and scored five goals in 31 matches. This turned out to be his only season at the club as he joined Liverpool in July 1999 for £8 million.

The midfielder was very influential throughout his time at Liverpool and by the time he left £8 million was a bargain. The 2000-01 season was very successful for both him personally and Liverpool as they won the League Cup, FA Cup and the UEFA Cup with Hamann playing 53 times in all competitions and scoring three goals. Over the next few seasons he was a regular side and although he is mostly remembered for his contribution in the final of the 2005 Champions League final, he also had a major impact earlier on in the competition. In the first leg of the round of 16 against Bayer Leverkusen he put in a fantastic display and finished it off by scoring the final goal in a 3-1 win. He also took the first penalty in the shootout win over AC Milan.
Hamann Liverpool
In the following season Liverpool won the FA Cup on penalties and once again Hamann had the bravery to take the first spot kick and scored with what would be his last kick for the club. In the summer he joined Manchester City after being at Bolton Wanderers for one day and then having a change of heart. City had to play £400,000 for the midfielder. He spent three seasons at City and played 54 times in the Premier League but was then released in 2009 and spent a year out of the game before becoming player-coach at MK Dons on a one year contract.
Hamann MC
He played 12 times for the club before joining Leicester City as a coach on the 3rd February 2011. After this he had a short spell in charge of Stockport County where he only won three games in his 20 matches in charge.

Hamann also gets the honour of scoring the last goal at the old Wembley Stadium for Germany in a 1-0 win over England.

The final word can go to Stuart Pearce. “I am delighted he is here as he brings experience and leadership qualities to the team. He has everything. If you get more winners like him in your squad, you are going in the right direction.”

5th June – Junior Hoilett

Junior Hoilett helped QPR return to the Premier League after they beat Derby County in the playoff final and will be hoping to help the team avoid relegation next year.

Some people may argue that QPR will be aiming higher than just surviving and with quality players in their squad it is easy to see why people make this argument. However they did limp over the line and were not exactly the best team to watch in the Championship but they did still get the job done. Hoilett played a big part in Bobby Zamora’s last minute winner that got them promoted and this will surely give the 24 year old confidence to perform well in the Premier League.

It has not always been easy for the winger in England as he was unable to obtain a work permit and could not play for first club Blackburn Rovers until he got this sorted. He was loaned out by Blackburn to help the situation and to give him game time, he first joined Paderborn in Germany and made his debut at the age of 17. However, it would not be a great season as the club were relegated from the Bundesliga but the Canadian player did manage to score his first professional goal against Borussia Monchengladbach in his last game.

He was then loaned out once more to another German club, this time to St Pauli and he was definitely growing as a player and getting better. He finished the season with six goals in 21 games and then when the season was finished he was finally given a work permit that allowed him to play in England.
Hoilett SP
It did not take him long to make an impact as he scored on the 25th August 2009 in a League Cup game against Gillingham and he had a lot of success in the tournament. He won a penalty in a quarter final match against Chelsea and then after the game finished 3-3 he stepped up and scored the decisive spot kick sending his team through. Hoilett was now playing more minutes and in February 2010 he signed an extension to his contract ending speculation he was going to leave the club.

The 2010-11 season was when he really let everyone know that he was going to be a threat as he scored five times in 24 games and would have been involved more if he had not suffered a few injuries throughout the season. In the next season he followed this up with more goals and better performances and in January 2012 he was named as one of the players to watch by FIFA and at the end of the season he had the most dribbles per game in the Premier League but this would be his last at Blackburn.
Hoilett Blackburn
On the 27th July he joined QPR and scored his first goal in a 3-2 League cup defeat by Reading. He did not quite play as much as he would have liked but he did set up an important Loic Remy goal in a victory over Southampton. But this, and his two goals were not good enough to keep the club in the Premier League. In the Championship he only scored four times but he provided a lot more than just goals and was always a threat to the opposition.
Hoilett QPR
The final word can go to his manager at both Blackburn and QPR Mark Hughes. “He was just a young boy trying to make his way in the game when I had him at Blackburn. We knew then he was going to have a great future and he’s shown he’s a player that can make things happen, both on his own and as a team player.”

4th June – Lukas Podolski

Lukas Podolski has one of the best left foots in football and is always looking to smash the ball into the back of the net and he will be hoping he can have a positive impact at the World Cup.

At the age of 29 he has played 113 times for Germany and scored 46 goals which makes him the fifth highest in German history and will be an important member of the squad and along with Miroslav Klose is the most likely to put away the chances the team create in Brazil.

He has always been a promising player and when he was just 18 he made his debut for first club FC Koln and despite scoring 10 goals in his first 19 appearances, they could not avoid relegation from the Bundesliga. Even though he was linked with moves away he stayed at the club and played a big part in getting them promoted by scoring 24 times and finished as the top scorer in the league. The pressure was on Podolski to keep them in the top division and he almost succeeded singlehandedly by scoring 12 goals but they did eventually get relegated and it was time to move on.
Podolski Koln
He signed for Bayern Munich in 2006 and made his debut against Borussia Dortmund but he did not start many games and had to deal with coming off the bench and found it tough to make an impact. The next season was even tougher as the club signed striker Luca Toni and first team opportunities were harder to come by, despite this he still managed to score double figures in all competitions.
Podolski Bayern
When Jurgen Klinsmann took over at Bayern it seemed like he would get more chances and his goal record did improve as he got six in 24 games. But in July 2009 he returned to first club Koln with the club coming up with a unique way or raising the money for the transfer. They sold pixels of an image of the player in order to gather €1 million. Formula One racer Michael Schumacher bought several of these pixels for nearly €900. Podolski had a difficult return and only scored three times all season with one salvaging a point against Bayern Munich, but he returned to form in the next season, scoring his 50th goal in the Bundesliga and ending it with 13 in total and made seven assists. The 2011-12 season would be his last at Koln as they were once again relegated but Podolski scored 18 goals in 29 games.

In the summer of 2012 he joined Arsenal and started the season well by scoring in consecutive games against Liverpool and Southampton. In his first season at the club he impressed the fans not only with his goals but also his assists. He ended the season with 16 goals and 11 assists and when Arsenal were on form he was certainly a big part of it.
Podolski Arsenal
Last season he had a lot of ups and downs, he started off well scoring twice against Fulham but then he got injured in the next game and was ruled out for 10 weeks. On his return he scored against West Ham in a 3-1 win and then was an important part of Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph, ending the club’s nine year trophy drought as he scored twice against Coventry City and then an important goal against Liverpool. He ended the season with 12 goals in 27 games which was impressive as he rarely played 90 minutes.

The final word can go to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “He is a top class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. A level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26. That is a phenomenal record.”