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Monday 24 December 2012

2012 Barclays Premier League review: July

In the seventh of our 2012 Days of Christmas review, Andre Villas-Boas makes his return

  • Chelsea's Juan Mata and Fernando Torres played a key part in Spain winning Euro 2012

  • After being coveted by many top sides Eden Hazard plumped for Chelsea

  • Modibo Maiga joined West Ham after their return to the Premier League

  • Michu was poached from La Liga by Swansea's Michael Laudrup

  • Ledley King announced his retirement from the game

JULY 2012

The month kicked off with Spain retaining their title as European champions with the help of players from the Barclays Premier League. Manchester City's David Silva opened the scoring against Italy, before Chelsea's Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scored the final two goals.

Three goals and an assist meant that Torres won the Euro 2012 Golden Boot. Silva, City team-mate Mario Balotelli and Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard were selected in the team of the tournament.

The transfer season was in full swing. Internacional playmaker Oscar joined Chelsea while new Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup used his knowledge of La Liga to bring in Miguel Michu and Chico Flores, as well as a loan move for Villareal’s Jonathan de Guzman. Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert signed Karim El Ahmadi from Feyenoord, and Matthew Lowton from League One’s Sheffield United.

Tottenham Hotspur started the month by appointing Andre Villas-Boas as new head coach to replace Harry Redknapp. The former Chelsea manager signed Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who impressed on loan at Swansea in the previous campaign. Vertonghen bolstered his defensive options after the retirement of Ledley King, who retired due to persistent injuries and took up an ambassadorial role at White Hart Lane.

One player who left Spurs was Steven Pienaar, who returned to Everton, who said goodbye to Tim Cahill  as he took on a new challenge at MLS side New York Red Bulls.

Newly promoted Reading bolstered their squad as they prepared for their third season in the top flight. Nicky Shorey, Adrian Mariappa and Pavel Pogrebnyak signed for Brian McDermott’s side, whilst West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce bought forward Modibo Maiga from Sochaux.

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs captained Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics football tournament, where many Premier League players featured. GB made it to the last eight of the competition, before being knocked out by South Korea on penalties.

Key quotes

"It took a few weeks to sort out but I am delighted to be back and excited to play for Everton. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be back here. At the end of the season I told the manager how I felt and I am happy now it is all done." - Steven Pienaar

"For me, this is one of the most exciting coaching positions in the Premier League. This is a squad any coach would love to work with. Together I believe we can bring success in the seasons ahead." - New Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas

"I have been here since I was a boy. It is like a second home to me. I have always considered it my club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team. I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods." - Tottenham’s Ledley King

"Gutted the #KING has had to retire, the best defender I've ever played with or against, will be missed greatly!!! Legend #retiretheshirt26" - Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon via Twitter

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Key Points

  • Barclays Premier League players help Spain to retain European Championship
  • Andre Villas-Boas is announced as the new head coach of Tottenham
  • Oscar headed the influx of new players signed by Barclays Premier League clubs